An ever-popular event on the HRR’s race calendar, this year’s Ridgeway Relay (25th June) certainly did not disappoint. The day started with team managers frantically looking for a substitute runner, and ended with the celebration of HRR bringing home the prestigious winner’s shield – 9 years after the club’s last Ridgeway victory.
For this year’s event, we managed to enter a team for each of the 3 categories – “Mostly Men”, “Mostly Ladies” and “Vets” – to compete with 39 other teams from clubs across Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire. Unfortunately, one of the original “Mostly Men” team members had to pull out at the last time due to an injury, and our backup runner was already covering for another injury. Harry Geddes, the team manager, was quickly on the phone looking for a replacement. Matthieu Marshall was first to volunteer running two legs, which, considering the heat, would have been a massive undertaking even for a superhuman like him.
With that plan in mind, James Eve, Rachel Shaw and Duncan Henning set off from Ivinghoe Beacon. After the first leg, the “Mostly Men” team gained 2nd position, while the “Mostly Ladies” and “Vets” teams were at the very respectable 27th and 29th positions. After the second leg, the “Mostly Men” team climbed up to 1st position, and never looked back. As the temperature rose to over 28 degrees after midday, the running got very tough, and after 5 legs, our team positions were 1st, 30th and 34th.
Out of the blue, we had a message from Tom Dobra, who had just run a fast race at Thame 10k in the morning, saying that he could take the last leg. This was a huge relief for us, but he still had to make his way from Oxford to Barbury Castle, the start of the last leg. Somehow he got there with plenty of time to spare to receive the proverbial baton from Fergus Campbell. He ran an amazing 6:08 min/mile leg to claim overall victory. Soon after, Anita James and Nicole Hare also crossed the line to claim 28th and 33rd positions for the “Vets” and the “Mostly Ladies” teams, bringing to an end a very successful day for the club.
Once again, the Ridgeway Relay proved to be an amazing team event for all. Well done to all those all helped organise and took part.
P.S. some of our runners claimed that they only got to maintain their positions because other runners went the wrong way, but that is the fun of Ridgeway Relay – to not get lost!