Green Belt Relay 2000
GBR2000 was run in some in scorching temperatures yet this could not dampen the quality of Ranelagh's performance. They took a clean sweep of the major prizes (Mens, Ladies and Vets), with Epsom & Ewell Ladies collecting the Toilet Seat prize for the last team to complete the race.
In the Mens race Ranelagh set a new course record of 21hours 10minutes and 15 seconds, slicing 21 minutes off the previous record (Reading '99) despite the course being half a mile longer. In winning the race they won nine of the 20 individual stages (including a tie on Stage One). Their average pace for the whole event was 5min 59seconds, the first time in the event's history that the average for the whole course has dropped under 6 minute miling.
Reading put up a brave defence of their title hanging onto second place. They were consistently at the front of the race throughout the weekend yet only managed to collect a single stage win.
In third place were a new entry to the running scene 'The Sunday Night Shandies'. Billed as a bunch of drinkers from the Alexandra pub in Wimbledon they took the fight to the more recognised running clubs and took 5 individual stage wins. On closer inspection the popular Shandies turned out to be a composite team of runners from local clubs and the rumour is that they'll be making appearances at future stage races.
In the Ladies event Ranelagh led by Sonia Rowland showed their strength in depth by finishing placing high in all stages and picking up 6 individual stage wins. Their time of 27hours 4minutes 46seconds was outside Dulwich's '99 record but a very good performance in the high temperatures.
Epsom and Ewell Ladies finished as the second team and secured 4 stage wins. This was the first time they had entered a Ladies team in the GBR. The ever present Serpentines claimed the third place and 3 stage wins.
Ranelagh dominated the veterans event and finished a very good 5th overall in 23hours 25minutes and 14seconds with 3 individual stage wins (including shared win on stage 1). Their performance would have been even better if bad luck had not struck on stage nine when their runner was injured. The penalties incurred for failing to finish the leg and for using a substitute the next day added at least 45 minutes to their time which meant that they dropped back from 4th to 5th place and denied them a certain Vets record.
There were 8 new men's records set this year and 4 women's records. The very good record held by Sean Davis (the race director) for leg 4 from 1996 has survived yet again.. This year Julian Smith of Ranelagh came within a minute but Sean still reckons that it will stand for a good few years yet. Let's hope that it goes next year so that we all get some peace from him.
Arguably the best performances of the weekend were by Linda Cartwright and David Benton of Ranelagh. They each won both of their stages and smashed the previous records in the process.
Other noteworthy performances were:
GBR 2000 Prize-Giving
Here's shots of the some of the prize winners from GBR2000
Ranelagh -Ladies Team Winners 2000
Epsom & Ewell - Last Team "Winners" 2000
Ranelagh - Mens Vets Winners 2000
Here's most of the Sunday Night Shandies who made their debut in GBR2000. They were a 'pub' team and they didn't actually win a prize - but they certainly livened up proceedings. They managed to finish 3rd overall and won a quarter of the men's stages. In 2003 they returned and took the overall team prize.
Sunday Night Shandies - Post-Race Photo
left to right: Back Row: Paul McTigue, Jonathon Powell, Ian Dent, Jim Desmond
Front Row: Declan Flynn, Martin Bryson, Martin Wood, John MacFarlane
Absent: Mike Peters and Kevin Tilley