Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shugborough Relays

Wednesday was one of those days where I’d been feeling really grumpy, so much so that I wasn’t really in the mood for the annual Shugborough Relays. The weather had been rubbish with heavy rain on and off all day, and then a few people had rubbed me up the wrong way and all I wanted was a nice relaxing evening in front of the TV cuddled up with my two dogs. The problem was that I had said I would organise the ladies teams for the relays, and having already got 8 ladies who had committed themselves to racing, I really didn’t want to let them down.

I turned up at Shugborough still feeling a little moody, but the sun was now shining and with the usual hustle and bustle of races, I started to feel a little bit more cheerful. Unfortunately, some of our Trentham ladies were unable to run due to illness or injury, but we’d had a couple of last minute volunteers in the form of Kerry and Lynne which meant that we could still field two teams. Rose had turned up but was still quite poorly and having tried a warm up, there was no way that she would be able to run and do herself justice, so in the end she made the sensible decision not to race. Now down to just 7 runners, we needed somebody to run 2 legs and having rallied round to find a volunteer, it was Jo Donnelly who saved the day, agreeing to run the first and last leg on the open team and then the vets team respectively.

With relays, it really does come down to a team effort, but individually you still want to do your damned hardest so as not to let the team down. Having not really been in the mood for the relays, I anticipated quite a slow leg for me, and with Jo starting on the opening leg and bringing us home in second place behind Newcastle, I knew I wouldn’t catch their second runner but wanted to give Chris and Deb every opportunity to catch them on the final 2 legs.

The course is approximately 2 miles long, mostly off-road and is actually quite nice to run on when feeling fit and healthy. My best time on the course is around about 11.30 which I ran a few years ago now, but this year I struggled a little and found the hill at the start quite tough. Although feeling quite strong, I felt slow and it took me 12.43 to do the 2 mile multi-terrain circuit – way off my best for previous years at this event.

With Chris on leg 3, she had an excellent run and gained some ground on Newcastle, being no more than 50 yards behind when handing over to Deb on the final leg, still in 2nd place but with a greater chance of catching the leading team.

Deb had an absolute stormer on the final leg. She had managed to overtake Newcastle and with just ¾ mile still to go, had a 20 metre lead. Newcastle looked strong, so did Deb, and it was going to be a close call as to who would cross the line first. With just a lap of the field to do and some very loud vocal support from Team Trentham dotted around the course and urging Deb on, she managed to hold off the challenge of Newcastle and brought Trentham ladies home victorious once again.

Meanwhile, the Trentham Ladies Veteran Team – consisting of Lynne, Becky, Kerry and Jo – were still holding their own, and whilst we had no idea of how they were doing in the veteran competition, we thought that maybe they had a chance of winning too. It was only during the presentation that we found out the result and were pleasantly surprised that Trentham ladies had indeed once again won both the open team event AND the veteran team event, despite not necessarily having our fastest runners out on the night.

It was a fantastic evening, made all the more the better in that all the ladies that had turned up and ran came away with a nice little trophy, some of which perhaps wouldn’t normally have had the opportunity of being on the winning team, but it shows the strength, depth and quality of the ladies at Trentham.

The men didn’t do too bad either, managing to field 4 teams and all having great runs to give Trentham the best chance of getting a top position. It was the ultra vets with a combined age of 240 years that finished the highest team in their category with a superb 2nd on the night, whilst the men’s open team had the youngest team member with 12 year old Harry running their final leg and having an outstanding run. All the gents gave us ladies such fantastic support which was very much appreciated, and with such team spirit it makes events like the Shugborough Relays so much more fun when being a member of Trentham.

From me personally, well done Team Trentham – you all did fantastic – and here’s to more success for both the ladies and gents of Trentham Running Club.

Some of the Green Army at Shugborough Relays

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