It was bright and early on Sunday morning when the Clarendon Marathon Relay team, consisting of Fiona Slevin-Brown, Alan Kirby, Graham Meek and Alison Jones met at Sandhurst Library, along with Mick Jones, who was to be our chauffeur for the day.
We had decided previously that the logistics of getting to each handover point would be quite challenging so I decided to recruit some help in the form of my husband, which meant we could all focus on the running and the picnic I had packed for the day.
We reached the start with plenty of time to spare and registered, so no backing out now! At the start we met Leon Martin and Patrick all raring to go. Leon and Martin were in the 09.30hrs wave followed by Patrick and Fiona for the first leg of our relay.
We left them on the start line and headed off to the next handover point, which was not very far away although we drove round some of the hills they would have had to run up, which was quite a daunting thought.
We arrived in plenty of time for Fiona to hand over to Alan and saw Martin and then Leon come through, then Alan was off.
Fiona was pretty muddy, but felt she had run well, so off to a good start, we tried to count how many teams were in front of us at this point, but it was difficult since some were male only and some were female only, the mixed teams we later found out comprised of 3 males and 1 female.
Off we went again to the next handover point, which again was easy to find and we were there in plenty of time. Alan arrived looking slightly less muddy, but again felt he had run really well.
Off Graham went to tackle the toughest section and the longest section of the race and off we went again to the final handover point, which was always going to be the longest trip and the most difficult to find since it was in the middle of nowhere and had no postcode.
A couple of wrong turns later, we managed to find it and had seen Graham as we turned round, but we knew he had a bit to go, it was then my turn and I thought I don’t remember volunteering for this event, in fact since I have a marathon in 3 weeks time I am sure I did not, but here I was (I must get these blackouts seen to, I often find myself standing on a start line wondering how and why) anyway too late for that, I just remember someone saying the last leg is downhill and on road, my two favourite things!
It was neither of these things it was off road, off track and through a swamp! Every time we came across some gravel or some solid surface to run on another swamp loomed, I told myself it was just another Tuesday night club run with Dick. The last 1km was on road so I manged to finish strong and very muddy. As I crossed the finish line I was taken to a tent at the side and given our result of a combined time of 3.42.26 when I asked what position we had come in was told 10th out of 54 teams, we were delighted as we had held this position mostly throughout the race.
We were really pleased with our performance on the day, in difficult conditions, and hats off to Leon, Martin and Patrick for tackling the whole marathon.