Gone to the Dogs
Olney Squeaky Bone Relay
by Sam Dear
Having run this last year for the first time, Andy had been hounding people from the club to enter a team this year it seemed like he was barking up the wrong tree so entered his own team joint with MKAC (Milton Buzzards). Finally, having got their act together, it was down to Dan, Jo, Laura and Sam to step up to the plate as the Leighton Buzzard Bulldogs.
The race is a 4 person team taking on a 3.5 off-road lap each near Olney, just north-east of MK. With almost 100 teams of all abilities it’s a good mix meaning that every dog can have his day here.
The baton is a squeaky dog toy in the shape of a bone and for the last 2 years this has been attached to a baton with the timing chip in. Ours was a fetching pink colour this year!
As the pack of first leggers were lining up for the race, the usual pre-race talk involved whether spikes, trails or road shoes were the best option and Laura complaining that she felt ruff. Dan opted for spikes and went off on the course, to return in 25:58, leaving a 3 minute lead over Andy’s team.
Dan, always the coach, criticised the technique of all the changeovers with howls of disapproval, but next up was Jo, who bounded out across the field and out of sight around the course. Jo, the team’s young pup, returned at the top of the field about 24 minutes later and with a strong finish going past several runners handed over to Laura in 24:19 and concluded that spikes were definitely the answer.
The course takes the perimeter of a small field before heading out into the open countryside keeping to the hedgerows and downhill towards the Great Ouse. Running alongside the river for a mile it then heads past the outskirts of Olney before joining the old railway line up hill and back to the field with the changeover area.
Laura ran a dogged and determined 3rd leg and finished in 23:51 but Andy was on her tail from the start so unfortunately the Milton Buzzards caught the brave Bulldogs up. Laura finished well and passed the bone over to Sam with another dog’s breakfast of a changeover (according to Dan)
It’s a dog eat dog world out there and Andy had taken no prisoners, so it was down to Sam to catch the Milton Buzzards’ final leg runner and take victory.
This was looking unlikely from the start however and Sam was left sniffing around for scraps and despite growling his way round the course and through the pain (the ground was too hard for spikes!) and finishing with a time of 21:36, the Bulldogs were ultimately left with their tails between their legs.
Overall the Bulldogs finished 8th as well as the 3rd Mixed team, behind the Milton Buzzards in 2nd with a time of 1:35:44. The only bone of contention was that the 1st mixed team only had one female runner. It’s a good event and as with all relays is more fun than the usual race with the added extra here that you can squeak your bone as you run past the marshals! The course is also lovely and takes in the surrounding countryside to make it extra worthwhile.
As Andy did last year, I strongly recommend that we get a few teams together for 2017. It’s only 3.5 miles, it’s fun and it’s all good practice for the Cross Country season! Plus you get to squeak a dog toy for 20 minutes! What more could you want?!
All there is left to say is to congratulate the Milton Buzzards and to Andy for finishing with the fastest leg of the day (out of 384!) proving he truly is the Dog’s B*ll*cks!