All the Way
A Team Report
As Sean ran through the hedge marking the final hundred meters of running on leg 18, with his team screaming for him to sprint, it became clear that after about eleven hours of racing across the downs we had managed to come second, by a decisive seventy seconds!
The trip to the finish had been emotional - we had started off on a very foggy Beachy Head, which in a first meant that the start was neutralised for safety reasons, to basically stop people going over the edge. The runners, in our case Milan ‘jogged' at 5.45 mile pace to Birling gap where the path veered inland which was the sign that the fuses could be light and the race was off proper. The first few legs were tight between ourselves, Arena 80 and Stubbington Green exchanging the lead between us until eventually we arrived at leg 6.
Sean, unfortunately took a wrong turn on this leg and we slid from first to third place with some minutes to make up now and as the other teams were starting to hit their stride this seemed a difficult task, but as the guys in the team pointed out to me ‘there is a long way to go yet'.
We kept plugging away with a strong team spirit and the gap to the other teams reduced as the legs ticked by. Everybody put in a strong effort on their legs, also galvanised by the misconception that only the first two teams would receive a medal!
Onto leg 13 in which Josh proved that he too is human. The brutality of the hills on this leg were too much for Josh, after hammering two legs already, he was unable to keep up with the competition and we ended up back in third place, once again with some minutes to make up. By this stage it was clear Stubbington Green were going to win but the race was still on between us and Arena 80.
Step up Dave, who had discovered a caffeine sports drink in the back of the van, to unleash a tenacious attack with which he clawed back some minutes. This was followed by Milan who put in a mighty shift up Butser Hill to set me up for a race in my leg. With about ninety seconds to make up, once I had caught the Arena 80 runner I only had one objective; to eek out a few seconds advantage so Alex had a chance on leg 17. The marathon monster was feeling it by this stage, having raced his two earlier legs, but I felt he would power over the hills if he knew all was to play for still and he certainly did just that handing over in second place.
And, back we are in the field with Sean who raced his guts out on the last leg to complete a mighty team effort.
I can't say that I have ever been involved in a longer or more thrilling race!
A massive thank you also needs to go to our driver Andy Bone who not only ferried us expertly from stop to stop but also brought a calm head and excellent race advice to the team. And thank you Josh, who as team captain organised everything!
Well done guys!!!