Team sports have never been my thing. My deeply hidden competitive side would always do battle with my inate ineptness and lack of hand eye co-ordination, and the result would be shame at letting my side down.* I was always one of the last to be picked for teams in PE, but my natural nerdiness meant this was to be expected.
A series of relay races around a local village is therefore something I would have avoided like the plague … until now. Tonight I took part in the second of this year’s Lacock Relays. As well as lots of Chippenham Harriers running I knew some other people who were going as well, so I knew I’d have people to chat to. Each team is made up of a fast, a medium and a slow runner and teams are allocated on the night. As you register you are asked for either your time at the last relay, or for a recent 10K or 5K time. When I said around 56 minutes for a 10K, I was put down as 22 minutes for the 2.6 mile course (which sounded pretty fast to me).
The teams were called out and I was delighted to be in a team with one of my friends. I had been worrying that I wouldn’t spot who I was meant to be taking over from or handing over to, but I was to be the last runner and just had to spot my friend Julia as she came in at high speed. We didn’t know the first member of our team, but that didn’t matter, we cheered her on anyway as all of the medium speed runners set off together. Around twenty minutes later runners started reappearing. As each runner came around the corner people started shouting out their team so the next runner could get ready. Handover was a simple hand clap -so I didn’t have to worry about dropping the baton, despite my husband’s ‘helpful’ earlier advice. Julia took over from our ‘medium’ speed runner, and I waited again for the third lap.
As the fast runners streamed in and handed over to the ‘slow’ runner in their team, I waited and waited and finally set off – the fourth from last. There was quite a gap between me and the runners ahead, so I ran as fast as I could to make sure I had someone to follow. As soon as I could see other runners I slowed down a little because I was already hot and tired.
Aware that it was less than a 5K I tried to keep my pace up, but it was really very warm and sunny and much too lovely to be pushing too hard. Despite this, I came around a corner and was surprised at how close I was to the runner in front of me. Apologetically I passed her, and pushed on. Then there was another runner ahead, and I caught them as well.
By the time we were turning back onto the High Street I was overtaking my 8th runner and I was quietly delighted. Passing runners isn’t something I’m used to doing! A hot sprint to the line and it was done. Team CC complete! My Garmin makes my time as 22:01 so the guys registering made a good assessment of my pace!
In line with such a low key event, the top 3 teams won a voucher for a drink and a packet of crisps each in the local pub. It was a great friendly event on a lovely evening (did I mention how hot and sunny it was?) I’m very glad I went, and with another two in the series I’ll be back!
* This reminds me of one of my all time favourite jokes. What did the headmaster of the inflatable school say to the naughty child with the pin? You’ve let yourself down. You’ve let your class down. You’ve let the whole school down.