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More GBR action – Sharon Burfield tells of her first time…

As a Green Belt Relay virgin, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this all weekend event. As I had said to my work colleagues, I was going to spend most of my weekend being driven around in a minibus with one stop on Saturday and another on Sunday for a run. Well that wasn’t far off the mark, but it was so much more than that!

After an early meeting at Sandhurst Library on the Saturday morning, a few of us set off in the ‘Even’ bus towards Staines. We had a little wait around and made time for a couple of toilet stops and a cup of tea. Then there was a touch of drama as one of our runners for Stage two didn’t arrive in time!!! Thankfully, one of our club heroes; Nikki Stanley, was ready to step into the breach. Off she went with Alison Jones while we awaited the arrival of our SJs finishing Stage One…

GBR Odd minibus

Once we had safely seen in Brendan and Newton, we set off again… arriving at the start of Stage Four to drop off Stuart and Carl, before seeing in Emy and Krystoff. My ‘roomie’ Janice and I were eagerley awaiting the start of Stage Six, so ate an early lunch whilst we waited.

Eventually the time arrived for Janice and I to set off on Stage Six, a leg of 8.2 miles (ish) I started out fine but after a couple of miles a niggly knee began to bother me. I carried on and managed to complete the run in an OK time. However poor Janice had taken a slight detour and ended up coming in last after being lost!

After a short recovery, drink of water and nice cereal bar, it was time to set off again! After several more drop offs and pick ups, it was time to head to the hotel. On arrival we had time for a quick shower and freshen up, before heading out for a lovely meal at Wildwood in Epping.

green-belt-relay 18th

After a reasonably late night (I’m normally in bed by 10pm!!!) Janice and I settled down for the night. Before we knew it, the alarm was going off and we were up and ready for another day in the bus.

Janice was unning one of the first legs of the day, along with Jim Casey, so we saw them off before setting off for Stage Fifteen. I was a bit concerned about my knee, and at the start of my run I was in a lot of pain so thought I may end up walking. However, I managed to slow down and keep everything in check (with the help of some Biofreeze and paracetamol!) After a good run through some beautiful countryside, I even managed a sprint finish cheered home by Nikki and Janice.

green belt relay finish

The last few stages seemed to fly by and we were soon at the finishing point with hundreds of other people, waiting for Alison and Krystoff to complete the Final Stage. After a lot of cheering, hanging around, food and drink, the results were announced. Unfortunately we hadn’t won any prizes but we all had an amazing time!

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will definitely be signing up for next year. A great mix of chatting with fellow SJs, running, marshaling and eating. All in all a great weekend!


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