The 19th Green Belt Relay
Saturday/Sunday 16/17th May 2015
Starts Hampton Court, Saturday 8.30am
Ends in the Hawker Centre, Ham, Sunday at about 6pm
Introducing the Green Belt Relay
The Green Belt Relay is a 22-stage running relay race around 220 miles of the Green Belt around the outside of London over a single weekend. The course mainly follow footpaths, towpaths or minor roads.
It is organised by The Stragglers running club, has been going since 1995, and involves around 35-40 teams. Runners form teams of 11 people, and each runner runs one stage each day.
Although the race is a relay, each stage starts at a fixed time. This allows each stage to be a competitive race in its own right, and also allows teams of all different standards to stay roughly together as they advance along the route.
When is it?
The next race will take place on the weekend of 16/17 May 2015. The race starts at 8:30 on Saturday morning, going on to stop at around 7:30pm at the end of stage 11 in the charming village of Blackmore in Essex. It resumes at 8am Sunday, and finishes at around 6:30pm Sunday. Exact start times for each stage are listed on the course details page.
Where does it go?
The course weaves its way around the villages, rivers and paths of London's green belt, starting at Hampton Court Palace and ending with a barbecue and prizegiving nearby at our club headquarters in Kingston. The course details page gives you everything you need to know about the course and stages - timings, maps, changeover details. Each stage averages about 10 miles, but difficulty levels and distances vary.
The route largely follows the Green Belt Way, a related long distance walking route. You'll find a wealth of background detail here - the race founder Sean Davis has walked every inch of the 220 miles and visited every church, castle, windmill, lockkeeper's cottage and perhaps even pub along the way, and you can enjoy his unique take on each stage as you go.
This is an unforgettable experience. Have a look at some of the testimonials, photos and reports from previous races to get a sense of what it's like.
Various prizes are also on offer, and there is quite intense competition for the honour of winning stages, setting stage records, and competing for the team events, ranging from the "Green Belt" (fastest team) to the much-coveted "Toilet Seat" awarded to the slowest team to compete the full course.
The race also raises money for various charities, both from individual teams and from surplus funds. The chosen charity for the 2014 race is the Princess Alice Hospice, in memory of the Stragglers' Louise Neville.
The race is open to anyone who can get 11 runners together to form a team, and is open to all standards of runner. We have a loyal following of running clubs, corporate teams, and charity teams, but one-off pub teams are just as welcome (one of whom, "The Sunday Night Shandies", won the event in 2003).
Last year's race
The 18th Green Belt Relay finished successfully. It consisted of 33 teams, and took place in gloriously warm, sunny conditions.
Please see here for a PDF of each stage, and how the leaderboard changed as the race progressed:
Serpentine took the overall win, with Frontrunners in second place taking the Mixed team prize and Serpentine therefore also taking the second place prize. Dulwich Runners won the ladies, with Sandhurst winning the vets prize. British Airways took the corporate shield. Serpies and Dulwich also took the "King and Queen of the Mountains" prizes.
Havering 90 were initially awarded the "toilet seat" but subsequent corrections suggest that it may have been won by Burgess Hill. Will confirm shortly, and we're still on the hunt for the trophy itself.
We awarded the "Broken Record" trophy to Hugh Torry for a typically blistering run on stage 11. The "Wissahickon Trophy" for the most supportive club was shared between Golden Joggers and Hampton Wick Wanderers for stopping to help a distressed runner on stage 8 - thanks again.
Thanks to all team captains, teams, drivers, marshals, course markers, timekeepers, first-aiders and everyone else who help make this event happen. Thanks also to all the pubs, village halls, cricket clubs, National Trusts and so on who put up with us each year.