Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Real Relay - An Amazing Running Feat


Just a quick post about the Real Relay.  If you are like me, then you are more than likely to be one hundred percent in support of the London Olympics and really looking forward to it, although I will be missing the opening ceremony due to a more important event!.  However, there was a wee bit of disappointment when I discovered that the Olympic Torch Relay was a bit of a farce!  Looking at the publicity surrounding the Olympic Torch Relay you are strongly encouraged to believe that the Olympic Torch Relay covers 8000 miles, with the torch being carried by 8000 runners, so simple each torchbearer runs one mile.  The BBC website illustrates what I assumed was happening with the Olympic Torch Relay.

When you go to the Official Olympic Torch Relay website the same illusion is being portrayed .  Today it states "The Flame will travel 107.66 miles through 12 communities before arriving at Popes Meadow Park in Luton for the evening celebration. A total of 131 Torchbearers will carry the Flame through the day."  So when I discovered that in fact the torch travels more than 6000 of the 8000 miles in a car, I was rather disappointed!

Fortunately, Endurancelife, the people that organise some awesome endurance events, also felt the same disappointment and decided to take up the challenge and set in place the Real Relay!  The Real Relay website describes what the Real Relay involves:
The Endurancelife Real Relay is an exciting attempt to follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous non-stop journey, running every step of the way.  Starting out from Land’s End at midnight on Monday 28 May, ten days behind the official Olympic Torch, the Real Relay will involve hundreds of runners from across the British Isles running through the day and night on an 8000 mile mission to reach London in time for the Olympic Games opening ceremony. We’re calling on runners from all over the British Isles to join the relay by signing up to run one or more of the stages (below) and help achieve one of the greatest Olympic endeavours of all time.
So as you would imagine, the task Endurancelife set to the running community of the UK was a very demanding challenge.  Well with the Real Relay now into day 40, the runners of the UK have carried the Real Relay baton non stop, 24 hours a day, covering close to 5000 miles.  Tonight the 500th leg, each leg is on average 10 miles, will be completed.  At times the Real Relay has got behind schedule, for example due to floods, or simply due to some rather demanding legs, such as reaching the summits of Ben Nevis, Snowdon, and Scaffel Pike, but at the moment it is bang on schedule.  The progress of the Real Relay can be tracked online on the Real Relay website.

Although the Real Relay started at Lands End ten days after the Olympic Torch Relay, the Real Relay is scheduled to overtake the Olympic Torch Relay at Dover on Wednesday 18th July.  Immediately prior to reaching Dover, that morning the Real Relay passes through East Sussex, and I am very fortunate to be running one of the relay legs.  At 4:15am on the morning of Wednesday 18th July I am scheduled to run the 12 miles from Seaford to Eastbourne.  The Real Relay follows the route of the Olympic Torch Relay, running through all of the towns that the Olympic Torch actually travelled through by foot.  However, since over three quarters of the Olympic Torch Relay is travelled by car, Endurancelife allows each leg runner  to decide the route they wish to take during the sections in which the Olympic Torch Relay travelled by car.  I have therefore decided that I will cover the 12 miles from Seaford to Eastbourne along the footpaths of the South Coast which include the awesome landscape of Seaford Head, Cuckmere Haven, the Seven Sisters, Birling Gap and Beachy Head, before dropping down into Eastbourne.

To date the schedule of the Real Relay has been set at typically ten minutes per mile.  However, in order to overtake the Olympic Torch Relay at Dover, the schedule has been slightly quickened.  I have therefore been allocated 1 hour 40 minutes to cover the 12 miles, which works out at exactly 8 minutes 30 seconds per mile.  A bit quicker, although hopefully should be a reasonably comfortable pace, although I have seen some reports that the baton is reasonably heavy due to the inclusion of the gps tracking device.

I would like to share this great occasion. so send an open invite to any runners out there who would like to run the Real Relay leg 613 with me, and help with the carrying of the baton.  If you would like to run the leg, simply send me an e-mail or leave a message on Facebook . Along with being a great opportunity to strengthen the unity of the UK running community, it is also a good opportunity to raise money for the charity CHICKS.  All Real Relay runners are encouraged to donate a minimum of £10 to this worthy charity. To date over £7000 has been raised from the Real Relay.

I look forward to receiving contact from many runners out there.  The more runners the better.



1 comment:

  1. Katrina and I ran the leg from Kilmacolm to Bishopton at 2.30am on Friday 15th June, It was great fun and really good to be part of this amazing relay.

    I'm sure you'll enjoy it. BTW the baton is a lot bigger than you might think!