The second (and 2023) KRR vs PRR Mob Match took place on Weds 23rd August, on a trail course around (and starting from) Crook of Devon. See below for results, photos and a race report.
The 2024 Mob Match will take place on Tuesday 20th August at Murthly (a PRR home fixture).
It’s probably a little premature to refer to the PRR vs KRR Mob Match as a Club Classic … but it has the makings of one if the first two encounters are anything to go by.
A mob match is a club-on-club affair: normally, just two clubs and two sets of colours. Mob matches are something of a South of England thing, but let that not be held against a format which can be high-tension, tough of competition and big on drama.
2022 saw PRR challenge local friends-and-foes Kinross Road Runners to exactly this format of race, thereby inaugurating this fixture. It was a brave – and arguably foolish – throwing-down-of-a-gauntlet based on exuberance, curiosity and confidence.
2023 saw numbers increase from 60ish to almost 100; the Mob Match has firmly become A Thing.
The fixtures alternate between PRR and KRR as organisers each year; the 2023 races were on KRR territory so the matches north to ‘proper’ Perthshire in 2024.
Here’s how it works:
Two matches occur together: one for the men and one for the ladies. In the inaugural year, these were run as one race overall. The second fixture saw them started separately (ladies starting 3 mins behind men). There was, afterwards, considerable favour for this format among the ladies racing. It is likely that the 2024 matches will start independently.
Each match is scored as per cross-country races: the race-winning male and female each record 1 point, 2nd in each race takes 2 points, 3rd takes 3 etc. These are added up across each team for all the scoring places (see next point), with the lowest team total winning that match.
How many runners score points in each team? The concept of mob matches is that the majority of the ‘mob’ have a direct influence on the outcome; scoring is typically deep into each team. However, it’s quite possible one club may struggle to field good numbers, and a format has been chosen not to overly disadvantage that team. The number of scoring runners in each team is thus three fewer than the smaller team in each match. The larger team retains an advantage in that its non-scoring athletes may push the opposition’s scorers to lower positions.
Mob matches are all about the winning club overall. It’s quite possible – nay, likely – that the above format will see each club win one match each (ie one wins the ladies’ match, the other wins the men’s). In this eventuality, the club winning its match more emphatically is declared triumphant overall. For a full explanation of how that works, and of a couple of other rules to govern unlikely (but possible) eventualities, see here.
The trophy and the first match
And what do they win? The obvious derision/bragging rights put aside, mob match trophies are known for their quirkiness and individuality. They tend to require a tongue placed firmly in one’s cheek and relate to the nature or location of the event. The PRR vs KRR trophy fully adheres to this approach.
The choice of course for the match(es) emerged from the PRR 2021 (semi-virtual) Summer Series race that employed the ‘Not The Hermitage’ loop around Birnam: that is, along the Tay under Dunkeld Bridge, up into the forests above Inver and down the Inchewan Burn to finish above Dunkeld & Birnam railway station. Despite its obvious toughness (it climbs 160m), the course proved (broadly) popular with PRR runners and led club founder member Neil Muir to suggest a match or open race over its 8.8km (5½-miles). A venue-without-a-race had already emerged.
Birnam is famed for its links with Beatrix Potter. Registration occurred in the Beatrix Potter Garden. The choices of trophy rapidly reduced to one celebrating the greatest of all trail runners:
Match reports: (click links)
2023 – Kinross win 2-0
- Ladies – KRR 178, PRR 243 <14 score>
- Men – KRR 606, PRR 669 <25 score>
- Full race results
- Course map (interactive)
2022 – Kinross win 2-0
- Ladies – KRR 65, PRR 73 <8 score>
- Men – KRR 210, PRR 260 <15 score>
- Full race results
- Course map (interactive)
- Course map (PDF)
Current Rabbit Status:
Owing to KRR’s second victory in 2023 (see here for trophy handover video-snip), Peter Rabbit has alas seen an going reduction in his quality of life and still resides in Kinross-shire, his smart blue jacket still painted KRR yellow … until at least August 2024.
Congratulations to the two KRR teams for their fine victory/ies!!
The struggle to turn that jacket green – or keep it yellow – will return to a Perth-ish location in August 2024. Watch this space and join the effort.