|Greensand Ridge Relay|
Saturday 23rd June saw the 25th running of Greensand Ridge Relay. The race is run over six legs and 34 miles from Waterside Park in Leighton Buzzard to the village of Northill near Sandy. Most of the route is off-road and unmarshalled so you have to know where you are going, otherwise rely on signposts and navigation.
For the first time this year there were forty teams permitted to enter and it was still oversubscribed. We had four teams taking part with a ladies team, two senior men's teams and a bunch of old boys.
The race is handicapped in terms of everyone being given a target time based on their gender and age category. These times are then added together and taken away from the 5pm target finish time so the team that beats their handicap by the largest amount crosses the line first (like the Stag) and takes the main trophy. Additionally though there are trophies for the fastest, ladies, mixed and mens/open teams.
Gail went off first for our ladies as the 12th team to depart just before 12pm. She was followed by Nick for the old boys team ten minutes later and our two senior men's teams were the very last to go at 12:46 and 12:47 respectively with Tom I hoping to get to Tesco's before Ben overtook him!
As it turned out, Tom just made it to Tescos despite the hangover and even achieved the fifth fastest time of the day over leg 1. Ben however, was the fastest over the 5.5 mile leg by 2:17 with 33:32 and was the fourth fastest ever. Before these guys had started though, both Gail and Nick had finished. Nick was the fourth quickest of the forty runners and overtook five people on route, while Gail was the fastest lady and broke the course record for the F55's.
The second leg goes from Stockgrove Park to Woburn and is the shortest of the race. For once the usual scorching weather was replaced by good running conditions overhead, but meant that underfoot it was still pretty muddy from the previous weeks of rain. Unfortunately Fiona was caught out by the conditions and took a tumble on route but managed to finish a little ahead of Richard who was running for the old boys. As a V60 he was delighted with his 33 minutes as he was the 13th quickest of the day.
Billy Mead overtook four people for the lads A team as he broke the U20 course record and was second quickest of the day, while Chris Dimmock began the overtaking for The Tinchley Sandwich as the seventh quickest over the 3.9 mile leg.
Leg three is the longest leg of the race usually, but due to the M1 roadworks the usual bridge was closed and the diversion was an extra mile for the four members on the leg. Amy left Woburn first with on route to Millbrook with Joe Hurley just behind in 9th and 10th respectively. Despite Billy's cracking run, the Bolts were still back in 35th as Simon took over and Chris Norman was in 39th giving him plenty of targets too!
Out of the 40 people doing the nine miles to Millbrook, Amy was the 16th quickest and 2nd of the nine ladies. However, despite his sore back she couldn't hold off the storming Joe who was thirteen minutes inside his handicap as the took the old boys up to 5th overall. Amy gained a place for the girls, but Simon ran the second quickest time of the day to overtake fourteen people and get the Bolts up to 21st place in the handicap race at the halfway stage.
Chris Norman comfortably broke the hour for the route and was fifth quickest on the leg as the Tinchley Sandwich started to make real progress through the field. Chris handed over to Steve in 32nd place and despite everything he managed to gain to places on the 5.7 mile leg 4. This leg is the one where more people go wrong than any other and as Steve was still getting lost on it the night before it was pretty remarkable that he was only a minute and a half outside his handicap!
Pete Mackrell picked off a further seven people for the Bolts as he ran the 6th fastest time ever and second on the day on the leg to get the team up to 14th place. One of the people he ducked past was Jo Breslin, who has been off running for a couple of months due to injury and was a little unsure of the route too. Jo still managed to get inside her handicap time though and was in the top half of the ladies on the leg.
Still out in front though in our terms of our teams were the Old Boys in the shape of Phil. His 43:40 for the undulating route was a the 11th quickest on the day and six minutes inside his handicap. Fred Watt took over from Phil with the Old Boys in 5th place, but with a couple of other teams just behind him. Andy was next off in 14th, ten minutes behind Fred.
Jo handed over to Jane in 17th position for the 5.5 mile leg from Deadman's Hill to Deadman's Cross, while Steve had made up six places to get the Sandwich up to 26th overall as Mike Bryant took on leg five for them. The handicaps on leg five seem to be a touch harsh as Mike was 10th quickest on the day and gained two further places for the team, but was nearly a minute outside his handicap.
For the girls, Jane was delighted with her 44:00 minutes for the leg that saw her gain a place overall. She was also the second fastest of the eight ladies who ran the leg. Meanwhile, Andy was on the hunt for Fred as he gained a further five places for the bolts to get them into the top ten as he ran the second fastest time of the day and the third fastest ever over the leg.
However, he couldn't quite get in front of Fred who beat his own V60 leg record as he finished in 7th place and handed over to Warren for the final 4.7 mile charge to Northill and the pub. Tom May took over from Andy and had Warren firmly in his sights while Jane passed the baton on to Amelia and Mike to Tim.
Tim managed to get past another two teams to complete the Tinchley Sandwich and bring them home in 22nd place overall and an excellent 5th fastest tea on the day. Amelia was one of fifteen ladies to run the final leg and was the fifth most rapid through the mud as she brought the team home in 16th on the handicap and 3rd ladies team.
The race between the other two teams was tight, but Tom ran a storming final leg to sneak past Warren and record the fastest final leg of the day in 29.15 as the two teams closed in 7th and 8th on the handicap. The old boys had a remarkable effort of being the 8th fastest team on the day.
In the post race presentations we discovered that the Bolts team had succeeded in the target of taking the fastest team trophy from Ampthill for the first time in four years and would have beaten the course record was it not for the extra mile that Simon had to run.
All in all, an excellent day and we'll be looking forward to next year.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 July 2012 )|
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