Reporting for relay duty at Beckenham Sports Ground has become an annual pilgrimage. I’m not
really sure why, because everyone stands at the top of a modest hill for the start and doesn’t look
forward to running back up it for the finish.
This year after a strong whip from long time team captain(?)/coach/cajoler Bob, a whopping 51
harriers, many of whom were first timers, turned out in deckchairs to make up 17 teams and more
than 10% of the total entry field. This may therefore have been the highest team % entry grading,
Bob?! This race may also be the shortest, and therefore surely the least enjoyable race in the
programme. At only 2.6 miles, it’s first half on undulating suburban roads, second half on flat park
footpaths which includes just a slight rise of around 2.7% over the last half of a Kilometer. Entry
level stuff for seasoned road racers but not to be taken lightly!
There are no batons required on this relay, with all change overs in clearly marked pens for the out
and in runners. This system did however manage to befuddle one team, I shall not name names but
let’s call them team ‘C’, whose ‘A’ member finished without the anticipated ‘B’ member prepared to
whizz straight off a moment later. Cue cries of ‘where’s the harrier!’, and a brilliant spectator video
now trending on social media.
Meanwhile, ‘A’ team gladiators Liam White, Will Levett and Alex Reid went on their way to secure a
stunning third place run.
Not to be outdone, the ‘F1’ ladies team of Ali Farrall, Cathy Gill and Emily Nash put in three strong
laps to claim a brilliant podium position in the female competition.
As the light faded and all teams were accounted for as finished, we homed in on the clubhouse for
buffet chilli, light refreshment and the awarding of a few generally liquid prizes.
Well worth the trip into suburbia on a school night, the chip shop stop and local alehouse afterwards
served up a fine finish to the evening.