I had the privilege to be part of a team of runners from Thorney Running Club in the Hereward Relay today. It is a relay race from Peterborough to Ely, run in four legs. The total distance is 38 miles.
I took part last year and had a really bad run - doing the same leg as today which is 10.3 miles (actually - I made it 10.9) from the George Campbell Leisure Centre to Welney Parish Hall.
It is quite a tough leg, with loads of running off-road on muddy tracks. Today it was even more adventurous because of some rather interesting weather. Half way round the rain started to really chuck it down and that, coupled with some real windy conditions heading into Welney, meant it could have been just as tough as last year, but I actually found myself enjoying the challenge today, and getting a bit of speed up during the on-road stretches (speed when running is, of course, all relative). Running along the Old Nene, along the dykes and past Coldham Wind Farm and seeing the sights was actually far more fun than I thought it would be.
I am still waiting for my official time and the times for the Thorney teams - but I personally will be much, much faster than last year (by at least 15 minutes), which is a real confidence boost as I start increasing the miles ready for the London Marathon next year.
Hats off to March Athletic Club who organise the event. I have a lot of time for March Club, they are a good bunch who I occasionally chat to at various events and they do a great job with the Hereward Relay. Also thanks to my own running club, Thorney (who are of course based in Whittlesey and Thorney!) for letting me take part.
Special congratulations to Eamonn Dorling from Thorney RC who, I understand, was the first ultra runner home (which means he ran the whole 38 miles on his own). Eamonn is quite an inspiration as a runner,and deserves loads of credit for a fantastic effort today.