Sunday, 12 June 2011

Record Breakers: Millennium Way Relay 2011

A weekend jumping back on the training horse included plans for some big mileage to round up this week; a smell-the-roses Sunday run to kick off a return to marathon prep. However, such fine plans went to pot on Friday night with a late call up from the club for the Millennium Way Relay team. I'd decided to pass this year, what with a month of long runs to catch up on. But this was not just just any relay team. This was the Bingley Open Team. This was the proper Bingley men/blokes/fellas/male team. Yikes.

Will: that's not mascara he's wearing. 
He swallowed a bit too.

Last minute injuries led to a gap in team pairings and an unexpected invite to step in and help the boys out. How could I refuse?! M can be very persuasive... I joined the boys to run leg 3, paired with M over an 8 mile leg of undulating off-road running, from Laycock to Silsden. The heat was on!

Excluding the addition of Runningbear, the team was impressive. My knees knocked at news of the team sheet with thoughts of fell running legends Andy Peace and Ian Holmes handing over the relay baton to little old me;  this is the stuff of running dreams... a true running career highlight it has to be said (am still hoping someone caught it on camera!). In fact I'm sure I spotted a few double takes as M and I sauntered up for registration. Being mistaken for a mixed team I enjoyed a wee ripple of smugness I have to admit. (I might have even swaggered a bit).

The hanging around at the hand-over was torture; visions of picking up a lead from Andy and Ian and throwing away the race to the chasing teams was pressure enough without even thinking about what competition faced us on the leg. No scarily fast types were spotted though and somehow we kept our cool. Soon we spotted Ian running in like a train and Andy on his shoulder. M and I were off, me with jelly legs at the occasion of it all.

I ran my heart out, trying to hang on to M who was truly motoring. Not knowing what lead we had and fearing we'd soon be caught by the chasing teams; it was mental torture. We flew across the early climbs and hammered down the descents, slowing only for an excited sheep dog who abandoned his owner and mistook us for his flock for a quarter mile. The heel snapping and path weaving caused me an ankle twist and a near race-fatal tumble but we eventually lost the excitable pup at a stile. We pressed on through the valley, crossing the Aire with ease. Luck was on our side at the road crossings and we were on the final miles of the leg with no other teams in sight.
M was a star and showed his fitness, managing all the gate openings and taking on bum pushing duties as I scrambled up the final climbs. He was a patient partner and got me through the rough bits until we hit the final 2 miles when I had a final Runningbear burst for the finish. We arrived at the hand-over with a fine lead. 12 minutes in fact, doubling our 6 minute lead from leg 2 and finishing as fastest pair overall for leg 3; also setting a new all-time leg record! It was flippin' brilliant stuff. 

No. 1 and no lie; it's in black & white!
Final results saw Bingley boys (and a girl) finish in first place by 24 minutes, including four fastest legs out of 5, two leg records, and an overall course relay record by 2 minutes. We had a storming race despite missing some of our fast boys. An unexpected but spectacular day out. We came home with trophies, prizes and great memories for me of being a boy for the day. Relay results here.


Old Runningfox. said...

There you are, you see, I said you'd push each other to great heights. Congratulations yet again, to both of you. It was a brilliant achievement after the exertions of the Upper Wharfedale race. You never cease to amaze me!

ultra collie said...

amazing result from you all and especially you that now 'running bob'?

Jerry Rogers said...

Wonderful writing and running! thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great run by you and Marc. Your flying! Thanks for the very unflattering picture!!
Will Kerr

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