No Park Run on a Saturday morning.
This could only mean one thing. The Surrey Road Relays had arrived.
With familiar pre-race nerves, I sloshed my malt loaf down with a coffee whilst packing my kit bag. It had been a long time since I had taken part in a relay. Four years to be exact.
Dorking and Mole Valley AC were fielding several teams, so with nothing to lose I stepped forward.
The event was a perfect reintroduction to relay running:
- Each leg three miles.
- Teams made up of three to six runners.
- Men and women running together.
- A loop round and through Wimbledon Park.
- Start and finish at the athletics track to provide an ideal focal point.
- Participants from the very speedy to a more mere mortal pace.
Jon came along to provide the obligatory shouts of ‘faster Nik‘. I think his attendance actually had more to do with him revisiting his teenage stomping ground. I was thankful he did not pack his skateboard!
The race start was a mela of lycra, limbering up, number pinning and socialising. Talking of lycra, I was trying out my newly acquired crop top from Wasp Sports Wear. They did a fabulous job of matching the club colours in a bespoke fit for me. It was perfect.
Midday was upon us. Our teams were on the line and charged off at the gun. I was next up on leg two. Long enough to feel the nerves, but not too long to get overwhelmed by them.
Time for me to warm up then. With every passing year my body takes longer to loosen and wake up. My mind has yet to grasp this concept so I have to thoughtfully get my lungs, joints and muscles moving.
Here we go, my turn. I trotted out of the park and on to the road. Mouth dry and legs not belonging to me, I wondered how I was going to survive three miles at my tempo pace. Thinking rapidly went out of the window when I hit the ‘hill’. ‘Just keep running‘ became my mantra.
Sooner than expected I turned back into the park and began the home run. This portion of the run felt like it went on forever. Luckily Jon was perfectly placed and there to encourage me for a last push.
So I was done. I had turned up, competed and enjoyed. Success.
If you are based in Surrey, get involved next year it is definitely worth it. If not, maybe find a relay local to you to take part in.
Have you already competed in a relay that you would recommend? I would be interested in hearing about it.