Greensand Ridge Relay
26th June 2010


Official Results

  Real Time Leg Race
Leg Runner Name Start Finish Posn Time Rank Time Posn
1 Viv Kilgour 12:09:00 12:58:47 23 00:49:47 21 00:49:47 21
2 Beverley Tredget 12:58:47 13:32:17 22 00:33:30 16 01:23:17 21
3 David Holt 13:32:17 14:29:55 18 00:57:38 7 02:20:55 12
4 Lawrence Folley 14:29:55 15:17:28 18 00:47:33 13 03:08:28 10
5 Caroline Devine 15:17:28 16:15:22 24 00:57:54 26 04:06:22 17
6 Adam Hills 16:15:22 16:48:16 19 00:32:54 9 04:39:16 15
Leg Runner Name Start Finish Posn Time Rank Time Posn
1 Alex Rothwell 12:27:00 13:19:44 39 00:52:44 24 00:52:44 24
2 Alistair Vile 13:19:44 13:48:51 35 00:29:07 4 01:21:51 16
3 Paul Holmes 13:48:51 14:54:58 35 01:06:07 17 02:27:58 18
4 Veronica Singleton 14:54:58 16:03:39 39 01:08:41 30 03:36:39 24
5 Graham Short 16:03:39 16:48:32 36 00:44:53 12 04:21:32 22
6 Kate Barnard 16:48:32 17:27:53 35 00:39:21 21 05:00:53 21
  Real Time Leg Race
Leg Runner Name Start Finish Posn Time Rank Time Posn
1 Darren Miller 10:00:00 10:56:56 1 00:56:56 30 00:56:56 30
2 Darren Miller 10:56:56 11:38:54 4 00:41:58 32 01:38:54 34
3 Darren Miller 11:38:54 13:05:17 2 01:26:23 38 03:05:17 37
4 Darren Miller 13:05:17 14:20:27 3 01:15:10 40 04:20:27 39
5 Darren Miller 14:20:27 15:24:50 2 01:04:23 31 05:24:50 35
6 Darren Miller 15:24:50 16:15:17 2 00:50:27 33 06:15:17 34

This race report is subtitled, "where oh where is my Ronnie gone, oh where oh were can she be". I believe this is the first time we've put a team into the Greensand ridge relay, although the event had been running for over 20 years. In fact we put in two teams of six runners. It was certainly very different from the normal road races and cross country events that I'd entered. Caroline picked me up at 1:45 as we were both running Leg 5, me for team A and she for team B. Here was the first noticeable difference. The race had started for both our teams some hour and half ago and as we made the way to the start of our legs, Paul Holmes and Dave Holt were running the 3rd leg from Woburn to Millbrook. There's was the long leg of 8 miles. Most of the rest of us were running around 5 miles. "We go down the Hitchin road past Cotton End don't we ?" she remarked as we drove off. "No", I replied, "we need to go down the A6, we're starting from Deadman's Hill laybay". So here was the second difference. I'd not run relays before where the start and end were at different points. This race was put on by the South Midlands Orienteering Club. It had started way back then as a race for orienteers but had now been rather taken over by running clubs, glad at the experience of a different kind of race. So this was a race where there'd be no marshalls, no signs, and with a limit of 30 teams, there were not likely to be much in the way of other runners to follow. Of course we were on the greensand ridge walk, which is well signposted, isn't it ? And MOST of us had previously ran our legs, so we knew, more or less, where we were going. Down at Deadman's Hill we reached the checkpoint where we'd get our numbers. Not long after we got there the first solo runners started to come through. These hardy souls were running the entire 33 and a half miles. They included our own Darren Miller looking a little warm but in good shape. Not at all showing the fact he'd run 23 miles already. This a week after he'd completed the Colworth challenge in under 3:15. He's running well. I hand him a spare Lucozade Sport and he heads off for the finish. It is very hot for these guys. In the next group that comes through, one of them decides to quit now rather than complete the last 10. 

A text come's through from Lakes to say that David has handed over to Laurence at 2:30 on Leg 4. So we still have about 45 mins before Caroline will start. My wife Lynn arrives. She and Keith are picking up the runners from the end of their legs, giving them water and driving them back to their cars. I await my text anxiously. Rob Miller arrives. He's running for Bedford Traktors and chides me about not going to track on Friday. "I didn't want to risk an injury". Laurence finishes his leg carrying a dibber. No he's not been gardening, its a bit like a chip timing thing that you put into a reader at each checkpoint, and it doubles as the baton as you pass it on to your team mate. Its a small cylinder with a strap of velcro to wrap it round your finger and in a touching shade of red which makes it look like a rather fetching false nail. Off goes Caroline. My text comes in to say that Paul passed to Ronnie at 2:55. So I figure around 3:40 maybe or 3:45 I should be off. Our own Carla Fisher is running Leg 4 for Bedford Traktors, handing over to Rob Miller. We recognise her running style from a distance and I go ahead and shout to her to slow down. There's no rush. Give me a chance to beat Rob. I try grabbing Rob round the waist, but its no good. I'd not see him before the finish. It gets to about 3:40 and I'm jogging around to warm up. A Leighton Buzzard runner has just come in and handed over. "Hasn't your lady arrived yet ?", he asked, "We were running together all the way into Maulden woods, she was just behind me". She must have missed the turning off to get to the layby. But when she gets to the A6 she'll figure it out and head up towards the layby. Its 3:50 now and she should have made it here. Well perhaps she decided to double back along the path to pick up the track she missed. That must be it. Laurence chides, well if she gets lost she can always ask a policeman (ask me if you don't get the joke). 3:55. A lady arrives. "I've just seen one of your runners coming up the A6 on the far side of the greensand ridge crossing". That's odd. She surely wouldn't have gone south along the A6. 4pm, I'm now getting worried in case she's fallen or something. Shall we call her, she should have her mobile. Lynn decides to call but just as she does so at 4:05 she comes in and she dibs and hands to me. "Sorry Graham I got horribly lost", "Don't worry Ronnie" I reply as I head off down the layby in an adrenaline fueled rush. A quick look at my watch. OK, Graham slow down. You're not going to be able to maintain sub 6 minute miling for more than 200 yards anyway. I settle down into a more sensible pace. Normally there's only checkpoints at the handovers, but my leg has an extra one at the Stone Jug in Clophill as its possible to miss the main route and pick it up again, bypassing a half mile of the leg. Even though I'd reckied (can't spell that) my leg it still looks different. I don't see the turning to Clophill when I expect it. I slow down. Oh no, it's further on. So I'm off again. After about a mile and half I start to wish I'd carried water. I thought for 5 miles it'll be easy, but its a warm day and I've spent a long time waiting and I could do with a swig. I catch up a runner on the lane towards Clophill church and head off past him. As I continue the sweat in my eyes dislodges my contacts and I'm messing with it to get it back. I miss my turning and head into a farm. There's a girl there tending horses. Her two dogs come out barking at me. "Could you tell me the way to the greensand ridge walk OW". The small dog has leapt on my leg and and taken a bite out of it. "It's just 200 yards back up the track", she replies "Sorry about the dog". That's alright then, as long as she's sorry. Off I head off to Haynes and Deadman's cross, with my sock turning pink from the streams of blood down my leg. I reach my checkpoint and hand over to Katie to run to the finish.

This checkpoint was manned by Noel, Sylvia, Anne and Anna. Anna washes my leg for me and gives firm instructions on taking care of it. Keith drives us back to Deadman's Hill. Caroline admits to going wrong on her leg in a different place to my mistake. We know Ronnie went wrong and we find out later that Adam did also. Why is this ? Even those of us who'd actually run the route before, its strange to think that you could take a wrong turning on a signposted route. However it's very different from a road race where there are signs and people to follow. I'm also of the opinion that when you're under the stress of a race and your physically tired from the exertion, its much harder to think and following a course does take some mental ability. Interesting. Caroline and I head off to the finish at the Crown at Northill. There's around 200 competitors, plus support here now and the pub has laid on a BBQ. We meet together as a team actually for the first time, another strange twist to the event and Lynn takes photos. We share our war stories. Ronnie explains that she was following a Leighton Buzzard runner and when she got to the A6 she spotted a Leighton Buzzard runner on the far side and started following him into Clophill. She'd gone quite a way before she realised she'd gone wrong. Well 5.5 miles is a bit short for someone who's run the MDS. At the awards we find that our B team comes second in the mixed category (3 men, 3 women), so well done them.

Would I do it again. Oh yes definitely, but with two provisos. a) I want to be in Ronnie's team. This may suprise you, but I'm firmly of the opinion that she'd not go wrong a second time, after this experience and b) I'm carrying a gun


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