The Green Belt Relay 20161 team, 2 days, 11 runners, 22 stages and 220 miles.... it can only be one event: The Green Belt Relay!!!
There is a wealth of hidden beauty in the countryside around the M25. Most of us whizz around in our cars (or not depending on how the M25 is behaving) and rarely think about what's on either side. Over the weekend, teams of 11 runners took on a 220 mile route, along footpaths, canals and byways. Whilst some of the legs were not easy, everyone will agree that the scenery was stunning. The race attracts a wide variety of abilities from the super speedy to the super 'keen to give it a go'. The legs are all different distances and difficulties, so it provides something for all kinds of runners. It also has, without fail in my opinion, one of the friendliest and most supportive atmospheres I have come across at such a big event.
This year Sandhurst Joggers (the reigning champions of the veteran runner category race) entered two teams. A super "vet" team and a mixed "everybody else" team, lovingly labelled "Sandhurst 1" and "Sandhurst 2". This event is special in that we are always more keen to beat each other than the teams from other clubs.
So for two days we whizzed around the outside of the M25 in two minibuses. Eating, chatting, running a bit, enjoying a beer and eating a lot more. A lot more!
At the end of the event we were delighted to find that our vet team had won again! The trophy for this race is an old walking stick with little engraved plates on it and it is dearly treasured (and definitely never misplaced and then driven to the presentations at speed on the day of the event). Our mixed team came a very respectable fifth in the mixed category. But more importantly, the mixed team beat the vets team by 11 mins. In 2015 I think it was the other way around - so I'll call it a draw....until next year!
Huge thanks go to the team of organisers from The Stragglers running club. We have no idea how they can manage an event that covers such a huge area with such smooth organisation. It makes the whole weekend incredible fun and easily one of my highlights of the running calendar.