Many thanks to everyone, all 190 runners, for supporting the Greensand Ridge Relays again. I'm delighted that we had a very successful day, with record numbers, the customary cameraderie, and of course the traditional Greensand summer weather! And thank you, too, for the many appreciative comments that I have received at and since the event. We are a small club, SMOC, and providing a team of runners and a team of helpers consumes most of our resources, but I know that all of us enjoy Greensand day. My thanks on your behalf to the small but enthusiatic team who made it all possible.
The results tell some interesting stories, and convince me that despite the convivial atmosphere on the day, there is some very keen competition for the trophies. Performance of the day, I think, was the significant slice taken off the Handicap record by "Wasdell's Wanderers" of MMKAC. Crafty team selection led to a finishing time over 42 minutes ahead of handicap, knocking three and a half minutes off the previous record. For the 'Fastest Team' trophy, Ampthill & Flitwick put up another very strong performance, but found themselves only just less than a minute outside the previous record time they set a couple of years ago. The ladies trophy was reclaimed by to Milton Keynes, who have traded the honours with Ampthill and Flitwick on an almost alternate basis in recent years.
Meanwhile, the other story of the day was that of the soloists. No less than sixteen people set out to run the full 33.4 miles from Leighton Buzzard to Northill, and despite the heat and mhumidity, no less than sixteen people completed the course. Remarkable, I think. Fastest time of the day was Steve Harrison from Leighton Fun Runners, in 5 hrs 37 mins. I noticed that only two of the sixteen, Richard Harrison and Raymond Hickman of Milton Keynes, actually ran faster that their estimated time. It's an indication that it's a tougher run than you might expect. But very well done to all sixteeen who made it to Northill.
A few afterthoughts... If they inspire any reaction or feedback then please share it. I think, at 29 teams and 16 soloists that the race has got about as big as it should. Partly because for the first time this year I didn't get time to talk to all the team captains, which just starts to take the edge of the intimate nature of the event, and partly because the parking is getting a bit tight in some of the changeovers. I'm minded to set a limit to next year's event of thirty teams, just in case we spoil thing by getting too big.
And on the soloists... I have to confess I was taken aback by the number of solo runners this year. While I'm pleased, of course, I don't really want to end up with the 'ultra' event overshadowing the traditional local and informal relay. I also heard on the grapevine that there were some who might have appreciated a higher level of organisation for solo runners, for example transport between finish and start. Regretfully, we never really set out with that aspiration, and don't have the manpower to support such a move. While I would hate to turn anyone away, I don't want to fail to meet expectations. My thoughts at the moment are to suggest next year that solo entries are open as an 'extra' only to members of local clubs that have entered one or more teams in the relay. Any feedback?
By the way, try the 'Interactive Chart' on the results links if you haven't yet. Change the default selection of 'Splits Graph' (which compares elapsed times) to 'Race Graph' (which shows real time and indicates where team positions were exchanged).
Make a note of Saturday 26th June for next year - always the 4th Saturday in June. I hope to see you and your friends back for another Greensand.
All the very best,