2012 Race Report


See here for full results.

The 2012 Green Belt Relay was the 17th running of the event, and in many respects the smoothest one to date, with perhaps the only complaint being unseasonally chilly grey weather for much of the race.

The smoothness was despite some pretty severe disruption to parts of the course, caused in part by the Jubilee and in part by the preparations for the Olympics - on Stage 2 we had to stay by the river rather than head for the Long Walk through Windsor Great Park, and couldn't use the Thames path near Boveney either.  We ended Stage 2 at Thames Valley leisure centre, a move which proved popular with the timekeepers and which we may look at keeping.  Stage 3 then followed much of the length of the Jubilee River before rejoining the Thames path towards Maidenhead and back to the usual GBR course.

The race saw some technology changes, with Twitter being used fairly extensively throughout the race to provide race and traffic updates, although the old results boards, provided heroically by Frontrunners when it seemed we might not be able to have them this year, were popular as ever.

The course seems to see more pubs shut each year, with the tragic loss this time of the one right by the Day 1 finish line in Blackmore - we hope that one is only a temporary loss as it could hardly be better situated for the race.  Runners seemed to nevertheless find sufficient refreshments.

We invested quite heavily in a large team of markers to prepare much of the course the day before the start this year ("volunteers" who work for one of the organising team) and also in a revised set of race maps.  As a result we had few major navigational mishaps, although there were still one or two - it's hard to imagine what more we can do here.  Marshalling was quite successful, with additional postcode information and maps ensuring that most teams were able to fulfil all of their duties, and with enough extras to plug any gaps.

We had one new participating team - the Hampton Wick Wanderers - and lots of familiar old ones taking part, with the 36 teams being our second highest ever.  The race was dominated by Serpentine RC, who won the overall title by over an hour, and the ladies title and "Queens Of The Mountains", getting 15 men's and women's stage wins.  The Stock Exchange came second and won the Kings Of The Mountains.  Sandhurst Joggers won the Veterans, Frontrunners won the mixed team race, British Airways kept their grip on the Corporate prize, and The Monkey And The Pussycats won the "Toilet Seat" for the slowest team for a third successive year.

This race also saw the close of a friendly but quite serious rivalry between Tim Wood and Alan Pemberton, both of the Stragglers, who before this race were the only two people to have competed in every Green Belt Relay to date.  Alan has now bowed out of that contest to leave Tim as the only one.

See also

- Kirsty Bangham of Ranelagh Harriers' take on the2012 race,

- Rob Jones of Dulwich Park Runners with a photo blog from 2012 -day 1,day 2.

Well done to Sean Davis and Lynda Pile (race directing and marking), James and Sue Long (timekeeping), Pat and Alan Short (all sorts of logistical support), Alan Pemberton (marshalling), Andrew Lane (course marking), Clare Nicholson (results), and all sorts of other people without whom the race would not be possible, some of whom are listed in the Credits.

Photo here is some colleagues who kindly helped me mark the course on the Friday in exchange for a nice lunch and continuing employment: