Round MK Relay

We were lucky on Sunday. The weather so far in May has been pretty lousy but Sunday actually saw a dry day with some sunshine fighting it’s way through to keep the runners in suitable conditions throughout, although those battling their way through the nettles on leg 3 may not entirely agree with that!

There were six LBAC teams utilising the redways and footpaths of MK plus a team of colleagues who work with Andy, Adam & Sam at AVDC. We also had to make a couple of late replacements with friends from Redway Runners and MKAC, but it’s the sort of event where that’s half expected anyway.

Our teams were all starting between 9:25 and 9:45 in Stony Stratford with the unusual sight of Pete Mackrell going off first. This is because start times are calculated based on the team’s total expected time to complete the 32 miles with the aim of everyone getting back to Stony at 1:30pm. Other teams had faster runners on later legs, which meant that Pete was given a head start! Other people kicking off for their respective teams were Laura Brine, Andy Inchley, Jon Hull, Chris Dimmock and Sam Dear.

What Andy hadn’t realised when estimating times was that Pete was on a steady run (for him anyway) due to a niggly injury and a plan to turn it into a 20 miler so the estimates immediately went out of the window. This often happens anyway when one runner gets lost so it’s all a little arbitrary but the concept is there. Across the seven teams (including AVDCAC) there were seven people who made navigational errors to a greater or lesser extent which has the combined effect of amusement, occasional concern and more importantly a reminder to check you know your leg first.

The most amusing of these errors this year fell to Andrew Hallworth who “did a Steve Orlando” by getting within 200 yards of the finish of leg 2 and turning right to add on an extra half mile and come into the changeover point against the flow of leg 3 runners going out! Obviously he’s not the first to do it and almost certainly won’t be the last!

Leg one had finished with the runners still fairly well spread. Having chased Pete down very early on, Andy had a pretty lonely run until he saw his colleague Rob asking some lads for directions next to the canal with two miles to go. Lacking in sympathy, Andy just shouted “follow the canal” and hammered on past with Rob suddenly in hot pursuit at 5:55 pace! Fortunately for Rob, having not managed to hold on to Andy for too long, Pete came up behind and shepherded him to the finish in much more generous fashion. The result was though, that Andy was just 8 seconds outside the course record (briefly) until it was broken 10 minutes later by a minute, damn it!

However, LBAC did set a new course record for the leg with Laura taking over three minutes off the previous record for the 10.3 miles by completing it in 1:12:47 and setting our all ladies team off to a cracking start. Katie Haylock took over from Laura and proceeded to run a minute quicker than she managed last year so the ladies team were going very well. The same could not be said for the AVDC team who had lost ten minutes on leg one and now their leg two runner, Jenny made an error very early on and spent the entire run trying to navigate her way to the finish by google maps! She did make it in the end though, which was an achievement in itself.

In her first ever race, Chie Besson had to ask for a few directions on route but still managed 52 minutes and both Coralie and Liz Miller ran well to hand over to their team mates in good time. Leg three saw a little bit of excitement with two of our late substitutes making navigational errors and adding on over a mile to their respective runs with Mark Haynes simply deciding that 9.6 wasn’t long enough and Ali McColl also having a minor scrape with a branch that saw blood running down his face for most of the run!

Charlie Mead (Jane’s Joggers), Tom Inchley (Coralie’s Cruisers) and Adam (Kate’s Canterers) were having a royal battle with Tom using every race tactic you can imagine to continually duck ahead of Adam at every turn only for Adam to overtake again when it was clear running. Much Adam’s annoyance, Tom’s tactics kept the race close for the first six miles of the leg and it was only when they reached Newton Longville that Adam managed to get away.

Meanwhile, up ahead of the duelling boys, Amy was continuing the consistent running of the all-girls team and was the first of the club teams to reach bottledump. She was pretty happy with her 1:16 at the time but later learned that this was the second course record set by the team on the day to show what a good run it was, and whilst weather conditions were good the course was certainly more overgrown than previous years so not at all easy.


There was a tennis match going on at the leg 3-4 changeover!

As a result of all the shenanigans over the previous three legs, the leg four runners went off in a somewhat unexpected order, but fortunately there were no more accidental diversions on route and everyone made it back to Stony in the end. Jo Sharples was the first of our runners to finish for the Leighton Ladies who were just 24 seconds out from their handicap time and Jo recorded the fifth fastest time for a woman on leg 4. Tim Inchley recorded the fifth fastest time for a man and was pretty happy with his 38:28 for the leg which is basically 10K.

Fred brought home Chie’s Chumps a little ahead of Roger, but Roger won the V60 battle for fastest time on the leg. Chris Williams continued his return to running after a winter off by completing the loop of MK for Coralie’s Cruisers and Jo Vick, our late replacement for a poorly Kate, did very well to come home in good time having not seen any aspect of the course the day before!

Following the arrival of the AVDC team, there was a swift adjournment to the pub – which we won’t be using again – for the prize giving and a pint. Whilst we didn’t feature in the awards, the team of girls were remarkably close, being only 24 seconds past 1:30 when they finished and they were also the fastest of the LBAC teams.

All in all a pretty good day out and hopefully this will continue next year, so put a pencil date in your diary for the same weekend next May………………. and get out reccying Greensand!!