Sarah Harris reports from this year’s race…
We set off bright and early on Sunday 9th of September to take part in the River Relay. It was one of those beautiful mornings when late summer is still holding out against the advent of autumn and after months of running through pretty warm weather, race conditions were near perfect. The race is a baton relay organised by The Stragglers running club which tracks the river Thames from Boveney to Kingston-upon-Thames for a total of 26.5 miles. This stretch is divided into five stages of between 4.4 and 6.5 miles and ESM impressively put forward five teams of five among the 77 teams who competed.
Half the challenge, and fun, with this race are the logistical arrangements: right place, right time, where’s the baton? Go! And each team managed to successfully negotiate this, despite the arrangements for team four sounding particularly Kafkaesque! (Involving Anne Price driving to the start, running the first leg, getting an Uber back to the start, picking up Pat and dropping her at some station to get back for the Middlesex Road Relays before getting to the next point… and then I’m sure there was another factor complicating matters further!)
Everyone I spoke to enjoyed this race, there was a great team spirit in the air and plenty of inter and intra club banter. It was also the most amiable race I’ve taken part in – with lots of “well dones” and encouragement lobbied around as runners passed each other.
So how did we do? On paper we all knew our speedy “A” team could be in with a chance and we were excited to see Santosh finish in lead position after the first leg. This lead was maintained and extended by Sarah Richardson (who it was great to see after her move out of town), followed by a strong performance by Jonathan Horan, Nick Steel bringing us back into first position and Mark Kencroft holding onto that lead for the last leg and bringing it home in a winning team time of 2:44:59. The remaining ESM teams competed the marathon distance in times of between 3:10:40 and 3:38:52 with great running evident on all legs.
Another positive aspect to this event is that it’s a charity fundraiser. Proceeds are divided between the charities nominated by the first three teams, and ESM opted for London air ambulance – a wonderful cause and very fitting tribute to Claudia Manera.
Thanks go out to all those who participated, to Malcolm for putting together the teams, to the drivers and supporters (thanks Claire and Sheralyn!) and to Bruce for the photos.
Full results: The River Relay results 2018 v2