Big thank you to Rachel our official press officer, for both donning her trainers for the Christmas pudding relay, and for this wonderful write up. Enjoy….
Ah, time for the Christmas Pudding Relay, one of the two ‘fun’ events in the club’s calendar. The most pressing question of Sunday morning was probably “has Mike not seen the weather???”, followed by “where are my trainers?” and “whose idea was this?”. Regardless, the clouds parted, the rain paused, and the relay runners assembled in an excellent array of hats.
On to the business of the morning, and the team captains and their eager squads were announced, (these teams are drawn at random you say…?) revealing early favourites and plucky underdogs and everyone in between. The brisk walk to the Leys is a nice social interlude, with happy chatting and gentle psyching out, the teamwork of getting 80 odd people (read that how you will) across roads and a record number of participants ready at the start line. Ridiculous amounts of rain had rendered parts of the course a little too soggy for use so the detour was applied and rules explained: “the baton change is between THAT lamppost and THAT tree. No, listen, THAT lamppost and THAT tree!” “Follow the path!” “Don’t knock any innocent people over, especially if you’re in a road runners top”. Cats successfully herded and marshalls in position, the first batch of runners were under starter’s orders.
And they were off, and spectators and team mates were trying to identify bobbing bobble hats on the other side of the fence. Excitement mounted as the coats of outgoing runners were hurled at team mates and the second leg was underway, leaving the first runners to get their breath back and remark that 700m is a lot further than you might think, and actually that gentle looking hill is nearly vertical.
Runners came in and runners went out, cheered by their teams and families, unless their families happened to be on another team. The changes were slick, with Amanda having to remind only a few enthusiastic competitors that the baton change was between THAT lamppost and THAT tree. Timekeepers clicked their stopwatches in a flurry of efficiency.
And so it went on, until in a surprise to no-one, Team Matt had completed the final change and were over the line in first place, and so many congratulations them to them. The happy atmosphere prevailed as teams welcomed their final runners home and as Ned crossed the line for Team Mark the crowd went wild.
With Tony exhorting everyone to “REMEMBER TO TAKE ALL YOUR BELONGINGS” the athletes, marshalls and spectators made their way through the Leys, past St Mary’s and along Church Green, forming an impressive procession along the path, and what a lovely sight that was. New friends and old joking and chatting, congratulating and commiserating, back to the leisure centre for the presentation.
To the coaches, helpers, marshalls and spectators, many thanks, it couldn’t happen without you. To all of the participants, regardless of time or position, well done because it also couldn’t happen without you. To the winners of the coveted chocolate oranges, remember Christmas is a time for sharing.
What a fun way to finish the year. Happy birthday to Edie, and merry Christmas to you all.