Green Belt Relay 2006
City of Bath AC
The 2006 race saw a new team challenging for the overall title – BPTT.net – a group of runners who met at the Bushy Park Time, now more commonly known as the Bushy Parkrun, under the patronage of Paul Sinton-Hewitt and organised by the ultimate fixer of winning Green Belt Relay teams, Jim Desmond.
They were up against strong teams from both Serpentine and the Stock Exchange, and the result was a race that was desperately close until very late – the BPTT winning margin may have been 20 minutes or so, but at one point in the pouring rain at the end of stage 18 the lead was down to barely more than 2 minutes. Some logistical problems from Serpentine on the Saturday prevented this margin from being much smaller. BPTT suffered some logistical challenges too, notably at the start of Stage 3 where Jimmy Goulis had to pin on a number and grab a map with ten seconds to go after another runner failed to show, but he went on to win the stage by some distance, while Tom Kingsnorth needed some emergency taxi-ing to Walton Bridge to be able to finish the race.
The race was also the biggest ever change to the GBR course, with the addition of 2 new stages and several new handover points – see the “history” link for a bit more information about this. The course worked well, aside from some challenges on stage 11 when the runners encountered crops well over head-height where the footpath was supposed to be. Mark Caldecourt of BPTT reacted quickest by just ploughing on through to take the stage win.
25 teams challenged for the race, with Ranelagh winning the Veterans, the Ladies and the Queens of the Mountains titles. Elmbridge picked up the Mixed prize, British Airways the corporate title, and Serpentine Ladies B team picked up the Toilet Seat.
Hugh Jones won the “Tony Hopkins” age-grade award with a big win on the brutal stage 5, in what was his ninth and (to date) last stage win in the GBR.