Saturday, 12 July 2014

Dearnford Relays

Before I discovered the pleasures (and pains) of running, what might I have been doing at 7.30pm on a school night the week before the end of term? Putting the kids to bed, cooking a late dinner, getting ready to watch a bit of telly, feeling exhausted? Instead, I was at the starting line of a local relay race poised and ready to run the first leg of the six mile race at Dearnford Lake.

My team was originally comprised of myself, my regular running partner daughter Liberty and her boyfriend. We called ourselves Speedy and the Backmarkers (no prizes for guessing which one of us was Speedy and which two the Backmarkers). Unfortunately our 'Speedy' realised that he had to work that night so he roped in his mum to take his place. Now Speedy's mum was never going to run her leg as fast as her son would have but compared with us Backmarkers, she was still our secret weapon.

Team photo for Speedy and the Backmarkers
It was a lovely social occasion as our Running club had turned out in force to participate creating a vivid sea of orange in their club colours. My husband and daughter Taylor were in a team with a family friend and Taylor's boyfriend's family had entered as Team Murray.

Team "No one Else Wanted Us"

Team Murray

I love the photograph I took of Team Murray. The big smiles and evening sunshine really sums up what this event was all about for me. Obviously, as well as big smiles and evening sunshine, there was the actual running part!

The race was a three lap relay race. The course was 2 miles of off road track which snaked all around the picturesque Dearnford Lake with loops through woods and meadows to make up the distance. Just before the final loop and the finish, the course passes the cafe and play area where my two little ones were happily settled under the watchful eye of anyone who was available (mostly Liberty's best friend Carole).

There were some serious runners taking part. The starting line was an impressive display of determination, lean muscle and testosterone. Things were much more sedate at the back of the pack where I positioned myself. I watched with awe as those front runners raced away and tried to find my pace over the uneven surface.

Dearnford Relays - On Your Marks...
It was hot. It was much harder going than running on the road. I inhaled more little bugs than I cared to think about. But I loved it. As I passed the play area, my two little ones were ready with a wave and a cheer that gave me a much needed boost. 

Photograph by Carole (Carole Finds Her Wings))
I had wanted to complete my 2 miles in 20 minutes. My first mile was just under 10 minutes. Support at the finish line from other running club members gave me the push I needed for a little burst of speed but not enough to compensate for dragging my feet at other moments. I finished in 20 minutes 36 seconds. Honestly, I was pretty happy with that. I caught my breathe and watched my daughter setting off on the journey I'd just completed.

Liberty's running form is very hit and miss but she looked great at the finish and achieved a time of 21 minutes 41 seconds. It was all in the hands of our secret weapon now and she was amazing, finishing in 18 minutes 21 seconds giving our team an overall time of just over an hour. 

It might seem laughable to be celebrating a time of 1 hour 38 seconds when the winning team were able to finish in a mind blowing 31 minutes 48 seconds. It might seem an embarrassment to have finished in position 103 out of 111 but that is what I love about running at my level. I can be inspired by the elite runners but I never need to worry about trying to compete with them. My goals and targets are my own.   My sense of achievement is not measured against anyone else's. I am doing it and I can't even begin to describe how good that feels.

It was a late night for my little ones but they had lots of fun and there's always a daddy to carry his sleepy boy to bed.


  1. loved reading was my first relay and i did it in 20m20 and felt id done my best and glad i had achieved such an amazing experience your word were like exactly how i felt :) well done !

    1. thank you for that lovely comment - and here's to many more race experiences like this one :)


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