Squeaking the Bone
By Andy Inchley
Some of you may have noticed an event in the calendar called The Squeaky Bone Relay. This is a cross-country relay that has been organised by Olney Runners since 2010 and has grown from 15 teams in the first year to over 100 in 2015.
It’s not one that we have ever done as a club, but when some friends from MKAC started to get teams together I thought I’d sign up with them and check it out on our behalf, just in case we fancied it in 2016.
It takes place in the village / hamlet of Clifton Reynes near Emberton and Olney and utilises the farmland around there by permission of a friendly farmer. We are not talking about point to point relays like Greensand or Round MK but a simple four-person team where everyone does the same 3.5 mile route which is taped and marshalled like any other cross-country, so there is no reconnoitring required, you can just rock up!
The name Squeaky Bone comes from the fact that you don’t run with a standard baton, but a dog toy that is a squeaky bone. This year it was attached to a baton, because chip timing had been introduced and I suspect there was some issue about attaching chips to rubbery toys directly, but I don’t really know.
Everyone goes off together, including the junior teams who were running 2.3 miles each in teams of four for the first time. It’s a very fast start with a gradual downhill in the first mile that you don’t notice followed by a couple of miles flat running around the edge of some arable fields before a very long straight drag back up to the finish that seems to go on forever!
The standard is hugely mixed, with the leading teams running around 6mpm and the final team running around 12:10mpm. This makes it a very friendly and welcoming event with quite a few in fancy dress. Admittedly we were blessed with perfect weather on this occasion and I guess it could be a bit bleak on a bad day, but no different from any other cross-country really and there were cakes, burgers, teas and coffees all for sale in a marquee so it’s pretty well set-up.
All in all, at £10 per team member I would recommend it as an event for anyone in the club as it is something different and good fun so if someone fancied taking entries next year then we could get involved and squeak our own bone!