Green Belt Relay – Round 3!

Last weekend was the annual Green Belt Relay, it’s one of the Chasers favourite events of the year and never fails to be an awesome weekend away.

At the start line


The Facts:

  • GBR is a 220 mile running relay around London’s scenic Green Belt
  • The race is made up of 22 stages over 2 days
  • Stages differ in length, terrain, elevation, and navigational difficulty to allow everyone to participate
  • Teams of 11 race 1 leg per day across the 2 days
  • A record 40 teams entered the GBR this year, Chasers made up 3 of them
  • Although the routes are marked, you are reliant on your own navigation to make sure you don’t get lost
  • The smooth running of the event relies on participation from all teams to help marshal each stage and provide water stations
  • It is not flat!

Marshaling duties – Chasers this way, Serpies, errr, that way…image

The Highs:

  • Chasers took 9 stage wins in total
  • Bryn smashed the leg 17 course record by over 3 whole minutes!
  • Leg 3 and Leg 14 were lovely routes
  • There was a pub right next to where Graham and I were marshaling (phew)
  • We got to stay at the high class Miami hotel in Essex again
  • I got to spend the whole weekend with Gemma
  • I didn’t crash a minibus!
  • It was Nathalie’s 30th birthday so there was lots and lots of cake
  • We rescued 2 injured runners from leg 10 and safely got them back to their friends and relations


The Lows:

  • I had a bit of a breakdown on not just one, but both of my stages
  • My legs didn’t work
  • My lungs didn’t work
  • I was a little bit sick in a bush near the River Lea
  • We accidentally forgot to pick up the leg 10 runners at the end of their run – sorry 😦
  • Sleep. There was none
  • A Serpie on leg 17 rudely told our helpful marshals to ‘get out the way, I know where I’m going’ – Simon Barrett, shameful & unnecessary, you give Serpies a bad name


The Learnings:

  • There’s a possibility I still haven’t fully recovered from the London Marathon
  • It’s easier to write the route on your hand than look at a map
  • No matter how many times Gemma tells you how pathetic you are, it won’t make your legs move faster
  • No matter how pathetic you actually are, Gemma will never leave you
  • It’s much more fun to cartwheel and pirouette at the finish line than run sensibly
  • No one can beat Bryn
  • You can always count on Ross to run an extra leg if there’s an injury
  • You can also always count on Ross to wear very tight shorts
  • No one enjoys Ross’s very tight shorts as much as our Barry. He even has a special dance
  • You can’t wash your hair with a bar of soap no matter how hard you try (and Jenn really did try)
  • The Green Belt Relay was, as it always has been, a very well organised, fun and all-round brilliant event


Huge thanks to the Stragglers, and everyone else involved in organising the GBR, and Bryn for organising the Chasers.  Until next year!

The Finish Line


The only real trouble with the Green Belt Relay is that there is no down time, no time for a drink, and definitely no time to pop into a cactus fair…



2015: Another Year Over

It’s that time again when I throw myself into a panic about the year nearly being over and how I haven’t actually achieved anything.  After a little think I realised that isn’t quite true and, upon reflection, 2015 has been a year that’s given me some great memories with some awesome people.  These are my highlights.

1. I ran my first* ultra marathon SBU35

On the 29th August I ran 36.8 miles and became an ultra runner.  It was a huge achievement for me, not least because it was a trail race that included a mountain in the middle (OK, technically it might not be a mountain but at almost 2,000 ft it’s described as ‘one of the steepest sections of track you’ll have ever seen…).  It rained, it was windy and it challenged me in ways I’ve never been challenged before but, with an ever patient and reassuring Chris by my side, I finished in one piece, albeit a slightly emotional wreck.

Learnings: Sometimes, mental strength is everything.  I don’t give up easily.  Chris is a really good friend.

*and very probably last


2. I ran 4 other marathons in 2015

Brighton – the one where I barely ran the last mile, got overtaken by a dude dressed as a toilet, and was annoyed I missed sub 4 by 13 seconds but enjoyed it all the same.

Learnings: London isn’t the only marathon in the UK worth running. I have more bounce-back-ability than I thought.

London – the one that’s my absolute favourite, the crowds, the sights, the Chasers, it just leaves me high on life.

Learnings: Always run the London Marathon when you have the opportunity.  Shots of sambuka a few hours after running a marathon is a punchy move.

Vanguard Way – the one where I ran my first trail marathon, got lost and it was hot, hot, hot.  All ended well cause Jas and I had Coke, sweets and each other.

Learnings: When you’re running on the trails it really doesn’t matter what your Garmin says.  It’s OK to walk up hills.  Jas is awesome.

Medoc – the one where we started with a hangover, drank wine all the way round, had shots of whiskey at 20 miles, ate oysters, finished drunk and drank all the beer at the end (I don’t even like beer). Good times!

Learnings: Sometimes you should break all the rules.  Drunk running is fun.  I can’t beat rugby boys at drinking games.

Including SBU that makes a total of 5 marathons this year.  That’s kinda a lot for me!


3. Thunder Run

In July a group of us headed to Derbyshire to run in a continual 10k loop for 24 solid hours.  In my team of 6, we took turns to run around in circles through mud, trees and woods, all day and all night. That’s 26 laps in 24 hours…  Why?  I don’t bloody know why but we had a great time!

Learnings: F**k it, who needs sleep?  Teamwork is everything.  As much as it hurts to admit, I cannot put up my tent without a boy’s help.


4. 3 Peaks Challenge

Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon climbed and conquered in just over 24 hours.  3 mountains, 3 countries, 26 miles, 9,800 feet of ascent and 880 miles on the road, bloody awesome experience!

Learnings: I am really, really bad at climbing down mountains. Up? That appears to be no problem at all..


5. Green Belt Relay

The Green Belt Relay is a 220 mile, 2 day running event around London’s Green Belt.  It involves early mornings, very little sleep, a brief stay in the hottest hotel in Essex, an obscene amount of time in a minibus on the M25, cider, banter and, of course, some running.  Having done it for the 2nd time in May, it’s become one of my favourite weekends of the year!

Learnings: Running the glory leg is as rewarding as it is nerve-racking.  Alex makes the best superhero ever.  I cannot drive minibuses


6. I learned a little something

Recently I’ve learned it’s OK to take a little break from running, it’s OK to do something else and it’s even OK to even sit on the sofa all day.  Who knew?!  I’ve been running for about 15 years, a few weeks off doesn’t make me any less of a runner, in fact it’ll probably make me a better one.

Learning: When you need a break, take a break!

So that’s 2015!  I guess it’s time to start thinking about my goals for next year…

Green Belt Relay: The one where we ran round the M25

When you’re in the pub on a Friday night, how exactly do you explain to your colleagues you have to go home because you’re getting up at 5am to spend the weekend in a 220 mile running relay round the M25, spending most of the time in a sweaty minibus, before spending the night in a classy Essex hotel called the Miami, then getting up at 6am on Sunday to do it all over again….and you’re just soooooo excited?

My colleagues think I’M WEIRD

Luckily for me I know a fair few other weird people, 46 to be exact, so at 6.45am last Saturday morning we all met in Clapham Junction to head over to Hampton Court to start our 220 mile journey around London’s Green Belt…


The Green Belt Relay is a fantastic event and is made even more fantastic by the fact it’s the Chasers annual weekend away, we’ve all been embarrassingly excited about this for weeks!  In short, it’s an 11 person relay ran across 22 legs over 2 days around 220 miles of London’s green belt.  There’s lots of river running, greenery, a fair few hills and brambles to negotiate and you need to be familiar with the route to avoid getting lost but the course is pretty and scenic.

Last year we entered 3 teams but word spread about how much fun it was so there was enough demand for 4 teams this year, that’s a lot of Chasers on tour!  Rather than putting all our fast runners in one team and competing for the outright win, we were mixed into teams of weighted ability to create a bit of banter between ourselves (much more fun!).  We had Blue, Simply Red, Deep Purple and Green Day…

The banter started early, which was mostly Alex demonstrating he clearly has too much free time at work during the day…but it succeed in getting everyone even more excited!


The race starts at 8.30 from Hampton Court (although not actually within the grounds because they wanted to charge a shameful amount of money) so we all headed over to cheer off the leg 1 runners, there were 30 teams in total.

Everyone runs 1 leg on Saturday and 1 on Sunday of various lengths from 6.6 miles to 13.5 miles.  Each leg is given a difficulty level of 1 to 10 which combines distance, course profile and navigation so a 10 means there’s a fairly high probability of getting lost if you haven’t done your homework!

Organising an event like this is hugely challenging both for the Stragglers, who run the event, and for the clubs that participate (in our case Bryn, who does an outstanding job of ensuring everything runs smoothly which we are all massively grateful for).  We had 4 minibuses, each with a clear schedule for the day and list of people who needed to be on it at different times.  You get dropped off at the start of your leg by one minibus and picked up at the end by another before heading off to the next location.  If that wasn’t enough to plan, the event is also self-marshaled so each team has several marshaling duties to make sure other runners get round safely.  It’s a logistical nightmare, and that’s if everything goes to plan!

Can you spot Ingrid…?


The course is marked with sawdust and orange stickers but locals find it hilarious to tamper with them so, if you haven’t studied the route, or foolishly follow someone else, you could be in trouble.  Naively, I failed miserably to memorise my route last year, relying on on-the-go navigation so this year I spent some time learning my legs and writing myself step by step instructions!

Although Green Belt is a relay, it wouldn’t be practical to run the event in the traditional sense and wait for your runner to come in (the first day is already quite lengthy) so each leg starts at the time of the previous leg’s course record.  This means, unless someone breaks the course record, you will start before the runners arrive.  Each runner is still timed individually for a cumulative team time.


I was on the 2nd leg on Saturday, a 9.64 mile stretch from Staines to Boveney through Windsor, I also ran this leg last year so I was already vaguely familiar with it (plus it only had a difficulty level of 3!).  My minibus headed over to Staines to drop Ruth, Natalie, Hannah and myself off for our 9.42am start and pick up the leg 1 runners who would be finishing around the same time.

After injuring my hamstring I hadn’t actually run for 10 days and was really worried I wouldn’t be able to do it, it definitely felt dodgy.  We had quite a few people pull out due to injury and had struggled to fill the places at short notice so I knew I had to run, plus there was no way I was missing this weekend! I just had to hope I wouldn’t be limping my way round.

Green Belt Relay Leg 2

We headed across Staines Bridge and along the river on the towpath but within the first mile my hamstring was getting tighter, I’d only just started!  Trying not to panic, I made a conscious effort to slow down and hoped it would ease off…if I could at least make it to 7 miles it would be fine right?  Luckily, I think a combination of slowing down and warming up worked and I actually started to enjoy the route at my slower pace.

I even sort of knew where I was going…right at the fork…across the bridge…away from the river…so I didn’t need to follow anyone else.  I was a bit confused at the end but, relying on memory from last year, and asking the odd random if they had seen runners, I made it to the finish.  I saw Adam and Alex a few metres from the end and tried to give Alex a high-5 (I missed and it was more of a high-1 but encouraging all the same!)

It feels a bit odd finishing the leg.  Unlike other races, because there’s only 30 of you, you’re likely to be running on your own and finishing on your own with a crowd of people waiting for you. Everyone cheers and claps (and no one makes a noise like the Chasers!) but it’s hard not to feel a bit self-conscious.


Our bus had a bit of spare time before we needed to drop anyone off for their leg so we headed to Great Kingshill to cheer on the leg 4 runners coming in and leg 5 heading off.  Leg 4 is one of the hardest at 12.2 miles and rated a 10 so it was pretty awesome to see Cat come in on a head-to-head sprint finish against a man, she totally nailed it!  Sorry mate, you’re chicked.

We then headed off to St Albans to send off James, Steve, Dan and Louise and pick up those running leg 6.  We were really lucky with the weather considering how much wind and rain we’d had so we got to enjoy some sunshine while we waited.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we ended up staying in St Albans a little longer than planned, we’ll call  this ‘nameless blameless incident’ to protect the identity of those involved…but eventually we were on our way to drop some people off for marshaling duties.


Finally it was time to drop off Rob, Simon, Ellie & James for the final leg of the day (which didn’t even start until 6.58!) before heading over to the finish to meet everyone else and cheer everyone home.  There were some very drunk Chasers to be met (case in point, see above…)

It had been a looooong day and was time to head to the grand Miami hotel for dinner, drinks and a couple of hours sleep.  Perhaps the best part of the evening was an appearance from a VERY special guest.  Yep, we only had Spiderman (ACTUAL Spiderman) pop along to present some fetching gold spoon awards for various achievements throughout the day such as Drama Queen, Loose Women, LAD!, Least Likely to be a Getaway Driver… around midnight, it was time to sleeeeppp.

Welcome to Miami…


Not for long though, the alarm went off at 6, we were out the door by 7 and leg 13 was off at 8!  Sunday saw much of the same with each bus heading to various legs to drop people off, pick up those coming in and completing our marshaling duties.

For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to sign up for the very last leg, aka the glory leg, but this would mean I wouldn’t be running until 5pm and I was starting to get nervous about finishing in front of absolutely everybody.  The finish is at the Hawker Centre in Ham and is also where the end of event BBQ is held and everyone meets back up again, there were going to be a lot if people!

My hamstring was tight, and my legs ached in general, so I was glad of the maximum recovery period, but as the day wore on I was getting more and more nervous.  Instead I focused on helping Gemma navigate our way around for most of the day (Gemma was also on the last leg so we tried not to think about it).

Eventually, after travelling round a lot of narrow country lanes, it was time to head to Walton Bridge for the start of leg 22.  Our leg was 9.15 miles and was apparently the easiest route to navigate, but I was worried about my leg giving out, worried about being too slow, and worried about finishing in front of 300 odd people when I knew I was likely to be running alone.  Stupid glory leg.


I was running with Gemma, Hannah and Nikki and we had a bit of a team huddle pep talk before we started.  Alex had also been trying to tell us calming stories (inbetween singing Oasis and rapping Fresh Prince) about how everything would be just wonderful but all I remembered was something about seaweed.

Then we were off running along the river.  We’d only got up the road before Gemma was chatting away about how she was going to shove me in the river and I started to doubt how genuine her pep talk was… Anyway, my hamstring didn’t feel too bad and after a couple of miles I picked up the pace and caught the girl ahead that I had been chasing.  All I could think as I passed was ‘yes, my seaweed is greener than yours!’, but then she offered me some encouragement and I felt bad about my greener seaweed.

The route was lovely and there was another girl not far in front that I was trying to keep up with so I had a reason to keep pushing.  As the miles ticked by I started to feel nervous again about coming into the finish so I slowed down a bit to conserve some energy for a sprint finish, I had to finish strong!

At 9 miles I could see the big yellow finish line and see everyone up ahead, stomach churning I just ran as fast as I could and didn’t make eye contact with anyone, I don’t even think I smiled (sorry!)

Finishing on the glory leg was amazing, although I was nervous having all those people cheer me home was the most fabulous end to the weekend I could have asked for.

And that was that, my 2nd Green Belt relay done! When everyone was across the line we headed back to Clapham for a well earned drink, everyone was shattered!

So….in summary

  • 46 Chasers (2 of which couldn’t run due to injury but didn’t want to miss out!)
  • 880 miles run
  • 6 leg wins
  • 1 course record smashed by our leader (Bryn, if you weren’t sure)
  • Several sprint finishes
  • 1 furious Alice after Marcus sent her the wrong way then casually ran the right way himself…
  • 1 sweaty Adam insistent that he had no moral responsibility to call back a runner who had taken a wrong turning a couple of metres ahead of him (we all thought Adam was a nice guy)
  • Several surprised guests at the Miami hotel who had smelly Chasers walk in on them after being given the wrong key
  • 1 surprise visit from the best superhero ever
  • 1 ever so slightly dented minibus (nameless blameless)
  • 46 completely exhausted people

Once again, Green Belt weekend was bloody ace!  Thanks to the Stragglers, thanks to Bryn, thanks to all our drivers, and thanks to everyone who made it such a great weekend. See you next year!


So this is Christmas…what have you done?

I’ve been mostly unimpressed with my running performance this year.  2014 was not the year of PB’s that I was hoping for and it’s been frustrating, challenging and exhausting trying to make it so.  But, hey, life is full of ups and downs and you just have to roll with it right?

The one thing I’ve learned is that the Chasers won’t let me give up on myself even if I do and if it wasn’t for them I probably would have hung up my trainers by now, succumbing to a life of excessive chocolate and cheese, drowning my sorrows and wondering how I got so fat…


With that in mind, one of my New Years Resolutions is to offer the strength people have given me this year to others, because that’s what being a Chaser is all about.

But…2014 hasn’t been all bad and there have definitely been some highlights!

1. Representing at the South of England Road Relay Championships

That’s right, me, the girl who came last in cross country at school represented her club in the SEAA Road Relay Championships…and I did not come last!


2. Rome Marathon

OK, so the Romans couldn’t organise a p**s up in a brewery (literally, when Ruth and I asked for a ‘nice glass of red’ they brought us some kind of shot, then when we asked for a glass of wine they simply poured said shot into a wine glass…) but they sure as hell can build a City.

Rome is quite simply stunning and possibly the most beautiful city I’ve ever been to and I got to soak up two and a half thousands of years worth of history in the best way possible – by running round it.


3. A Running First

Flying high on post marathon endorphins and frustrated with my Rome performance I immediately entered the Manchester Marathon and ran it 2 weeks later.  I still didn’t get the time I was after but I did run it 10 minutes quicker and realised that I was capable of more than I ever thought possible.

I swore I’d never run 2 marathons in 2 weeks ever again but I’m already gearing up for another double this Spring…


4. Green Belt Relay

Most people actively avoid the M25 at the best of times but some of my favourite memories this year are from one sunny weekend where 33 of us spent a solid 2 days driving/running around it.

Teams of 11 running 220 miles over 22 stages, navigational challenges, burning sun, a night in Essex still in sweaty running gear and a broken minibus (somewhat) affectionately named Phoenix.  Yep, Green Belt was bloody brilliant!


5. Amsterdam Marathon

This was the most difficult and challenging run of my life but I crossed that finish line.  Amsterdam was my 4th marathon in a 12 month period and I think I finally understood that running 26.2 miles is quite hard work and a pretty big achievement.  Yes, it was my slowest marathon by a long way but that does not make me a bad runner, a bad runner is one who gives up when the going gets tough.


6. Trail running in Gower 

Thanks to Cat I finally had the courage to enter my first event in the Coastal Trail Series.  Gower saw me scramble my way round 13/14 tough, hilly and beautiful offroad miles in the Welsh countryside and I (think) I loved it.

Trail running is quite new to me but it’s definitely something I plan to do more of next year, especially if it involves a weekend away with the Chasers (and wine…there’ll be wine right?!)


2014 has challenged me in new ways and I’ve pushed boundaries that I wouldn’t have even considered before.  I hope you have as many awesome running memories as me!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight x

Green Belt Relay

Sunshine, map reading, cider, a bus called Phoenix, and running round the M25 – what more could you want from a weekend?!

The Green Belt Relay is a 22-stage race around 220 miles of the Green Belt round the outside of London over a weekend.  Each team has 11 people and the Chasers had 3 teams participating with around 30 others – it looked like it was going to be a scorcher.


My alarm went off at 5am on Saturday morning, which seemed slightly outrageous, but I tried to remember it was supposed to be a fun weekend and dragged myself out of bed.  I met Frankie and we walked to Clapham Junction to meet the rest of the group where our 3 minibuses were waiting.  

As the most important factor of the weekend was to simply enjoy ourselves, Bryn had done an amazing job organising us into teams with a good mix of runners so we could all have a bit of banter and compete amongst ourselves.  This also meant the strongest runners opted for the tougher legs (chose/forced/blackmailed….) which I was eternally grateful for  – I think some of the legs would have almost killed me!

This isn’t your usual kind of race, as there were only 30 odd runners on each leg chances are you would be by yourself for at least some of the race.  One of the race rules is that you carry a copy of the stage map with you, however, for the navigationally challenged (me…Ruth…Hayley…) a map doesn’t always have the answer so I was worried!

Bryn and Hayley had created packs for everyone that included maps of our selected legs, our race number, and details of which minibus we would start and finish the day on so we knew where to put our ‘pre-run bag’ and ‘post-run bag’.  It was quite a logistical challenge to organise 33 people over the course of the weekend and Bryn had clearly put a lot of time into a very complicated spreadsheet outlining timings and locations.  He  really couldn’t have made it any easier for us – which obviously meant we were all confused…turns out we’re not that bright (sorry Bryn!)

We all headed to the start at Hampton Court to collect some race bits and see our first stage runners, Pete, Luke and Marcus, off at 8.30am, before going our separate ways.  We had a group WhatsApp which allowed us to all stay in touch (particularly useful when people still ended up on the wrong bus…Cat, Chris…) and have some banter.  We came up with some team names – Team 1 – Luther Van Lost, Team 2 – No Direction and Team 3 – Marooned 11…

Pre race briefing at Hampton Court


I was in Team 1 and on the second leg with Ruth and Kim which was 9.6 miles from Staines (aaaiiiiii) to Boveney Church.  The route went through Runnymede, Datchet and Windsor, mostly along the river, and had a difficulty rating of 3 out of 10 (with 10 defined as bloody hard!).

All the stages start at a fixed time, rather than when your runner reaches the finish, to make the event run smoothly.  Clutching our maps, the stage was set off at 9.42 and we had a fair few Chasers cheering us over the start line.  It was hot, very hot considering how early it was, so my energy started draining at some point running through a field, getting stung by nettles, that I desperately hoped was the right way after losing sight of the guy in front of me…  Maybe it was time to check the map?

I heard someone shouting my name and realised Kim was just behind me – never been so happy to see her!  We finished the rest of the course together which was helpful as she was a brilliant navigator (having studied the map much better than I had seemed to).  A fair amount of the route was off road, which slowed us down, but it was pretty with a good view of Windsor Castle and there were several marshal points offering water which was gratefully received in the heat!


There were people waiting for us at the finish, cheering us on, and I was done, hot, hot, too hot.  Laying on the grass in a heap Chris said, ‘sorry to rush you but we really need to get going – one of the other buses has broken down’  Uh oh…

Back on the bus I found out that Pete, who ran the first stage for our team, had won it outright!  I wasn’t surprised, he’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him kind of runner, but I had very much not won my stage so I felt sad about knocking us some way down the leaderboard after we had such a strong start (goal for next year – learn how to run).

The 2 functional buses made their way to the broken bus (later to be named Phoenix after it was resurrected) so we could rearrange people and get runners to stage 5 at Great Kingshill.  Unfortunately, this meant we were delayed and Mike, Frankie and Cat started 25 minutes late – not ideal for a 13.5 mile leg rated 10…aka bloody hard.

A broken down Phoenix…


We collected the stage 4 runners from Great Kingshill (having also ran a 10/10 leg) and headed to stage 7 in St Albans to be reunited with Phoenix (which was now working) so some of us could marshal and welcome the stage 6 runners, Chris, Clare and Sophie, home.  

Phoenix had turned everything into a bit of a logistical nightmare with some runners not getting their bags at the end of their runs, people in different places than planned, more drivers needed (Pete ended up spending most of the day driving) and people having to swap legs, but we wouldn’t let it ruin the day! 


A group of us on Phoenix went to marshal stage 10, somewhere in Essex, and we found out Hayley had also had a fantastic run to win her stage, not only for the ladies and Chasers (and Team 1) but outright – she’s pretty phenomenal! 

During my marshaling responsibilities I accidentally sent a Serpie the wrong way – I genuinely didn’t mean to but it put Chris in second place who was conveniently a Chaser!  After we sent the final 2 runners in the right direction (who ignored the map and got completely lost) it was time to head to the end of the last stage of the day to welcome the Chasers home.  

We also discovered that bloody Phoenix also didn’t lock very easily – you wouldn’t have though it was a brand new vehicle…maybe Phoenix is an ex Serpie bus?

Chris and I trying to be helpful


As it was now about 8pm, and we had a table at Strada booked for 9, we needed to go straight to the restaurant without a post run shower, lovely!  The Saturday night Chelmsford clientele were clearly unimpressed with our efforts, and we got more than one  funny look – Steve still had mud on his face!  

I suppose it might be the first time they’ve seen a group of sweaty, smelly runners, possibly ever, but definitely traipsing through their town whilst they were ready for a night of twerking in 5 inch heels, 2 inches of make-up and an orange tan – there was definitely twerking, we witnessed some (poor) twerking.

After some food and much deserved wine we headed to the Miami Hotel (Essex’s finest) and got to bed sometime around 1am.  And how did the teams stand?  We were in 9th, 10th & 11th overall (pretty good considering the 25 minute penalty) – Chasers 3, 1 and 2 respectively – with very little in it there was all to play for in day two!


Sunday’s 6am alarm was delightful and we were off again.  I was on the second leg on Sunday, a shorter 6.6 mile stage from Thorndon Park to Cranham, with Clare and Sophie.  It was only rated 2 out of 10 but it warned it was a complex, twisty course with a mixture of fiddly urban turns, woods and fields – what could go wrong?  Our minibus headed straight to Thorndon Park  and we sat in the sun studying the map – I was determined to be more prepared today, it felt a bit like revising for an exam.

As we set off I was pretty confident I knew the map – but that didn’t mean it would make sense in real life (for example, does coming off of a dirt track onto grass mean the end of a path?? Apparently not…).  I enjoyed the run a lot more than Saturday even though it was still hot – the course went through some wooded areas and there was a fair amount of downhill.  It went well until around 5 miles where I came across the is it/isn’t it the end of the path bit but eventually I came out of the woods and down the home straight.


Sunday went a lot more smoothly with all buses in order, although I think Sophie would say her stint behind the wheel through very narrow country lanes was tougher than her running stages, I didn’t envy her!  There were some more tough legs today, including a hilly 13.3 miler, which the boys nailed, and a technical route along the North Downs Way finishing at the top of Box Hill, everyone ran really well.

Our bus (Phoenix, obviously) didn’t have marshaling duties today so we concentrated on dropping off and picking up runners before finding a spare half an hour later in the day for a vodka and diet coke in a can – cheers!

Yep, we took a selfie..


The final leg finished at Hawker Leisure Centre in Kingston where there was a lot of support for the final runners, Juan, Natalie (first lady!) and Ruth, and there were drinks and a BBQ.  It was time to celebrate!

The final results put the Chasers teams in 8th, 9th and 10th overall with Team 1 in the lead clocking a total time of 27 hurs 56 mins – job done!  After some drinks in Battersea, Frankie, Sham and I couldn’t resist last orders in the pub on the way home…



The Green Belt Relay was an awesome weekend with awesome people – thanks to everyone who came, especially Bryn, for being an organisational genius, and all the drivers who became experts at maneuvering minibuses everywhere from country lanes to car parks to motorways.  

I genuinely can’t think of a better way to spend my weekend than running round the M25 in the sun!  It seems the only people who believe me are the ones I was with…

Can’t wait for next year, but Phoenix is most definitely not allowed to come!