Early on a Sunday morning several weeks ago a merry(ish) band of (ten) Waverley Harriers assembled for our debut entry in the ‘River Relay’ event organised by the Stragglers Running Club. The event is a mini version of the Green Belt Relay, which does away with a complete circumnavigation of London, instead focusing on (probably) the most scenic bits divided into 5-6 mile legs.
Unlike the Green Belt this is a true relay where a physical (rather than metaphysical) baton is passed between team members (for baton read roughly cut piece of generic plastic pipe).
After the usual cat-herding and wrong turns the two teams assembled in Windsor for the all-important coffee and toilet stop and then on to the start (a path behind by a field near a church in Boveney) where our two teams of five lined up with 75 others for a low key briefing (don’t get lost – follow the Thames path) and equally low key start.
Like the Green Belt Relay this was another really friendly event, helped by the mandatory mixed teams (by age and sex) and all abilities were represented.
Due to the short(ish) distances involved getting to the handover before the incoming runner required some swift driving, little room for directional errors and loose regard for parking regulations. However, with the help of James Burnard’s (mostly intelligible) spreadsheet (no doubt driven by a self-learning algorithm he knocked up in an afternoon) we managed the improbable and had all runners in place at the right place and time and even managed to (mostly) get there early enough to cheer people in.
Having attempted to roughly match the pace of the runners on each leg of the two Waverley teams there was a modicum of competition but mostly just mutual respect for all round solid performances. Maybe it was the sunshine or maybe it was the lure of a barbecue and beer at the end, but the day seemed over in a whirlwind which I’m sure is a familiar feeling to those of you who have taken part in something similar.
I’m not 100% sure where we placed, but it wasn’t the sort of event where that seemed of primary concern to anyone in attendance, and for a change I think it was all the better for it.
Waverley Harriers 1
Runner 1 – Elaine Williams
Runner 2 – Jo Lofthouse
Runner 3 – Ian Campbell
Runner 4 – Luke Staddon
Runner 5 – James Williamson
Waverley Harriers 2
Runner 1 – Claire Chappell
Runner 2 – Kate Horne
Runner 3 – Katherine Hobbs
Runner 4 – James Burnard
Runner 5 – Mark Hobbs