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The Railway Relay

2016 Event Report – The Race Director’s Perspective

By all accounts the 2016 Railway Relay was a great success. In total we had 28 team entries with 26 starts on the day, plus our solo entry Claire running by invitation as part of her 12 marathons in 12 months charity effort in aid of Motor Neuron Disease Scotland. This was a fantastic result building on the ten teams that started in 2015.  Total count seems to be 108 runners on the day plus drivers and supporters etc.

As many of you who have visited the event website will already know, I basically copied the format from a race I did in 2013 in England called The Saxon Shore Relay. This event was around 50 miles and we completed it with a team of 5. It was such a brilliant day out and I was keen to try to create a similar experience for others when I moved back to the Ellon area.

I have traversed the Ellon to Peterhead section of railway line many times before, mostly by bicycle. On Sunday however I was obviously on duty as organiser, but I thought I’d try to capture the day from my perspective.

One of the main advantages of the race format is that it makes it possible to run it basically with one person on the day (there is a planning committee behind the scenes). However, following feedback from last year we decided to put out a bunch of signage on the final leg. This took up a lot of time and even with my 7am start I only just made it to Peterhead for 0930h.

The five starting waves from 1000h to 1200h went very smoothly and I was very grateful for the attention that everyone showed during the safety briefings, and also got a good buzz from the excitement and nervous energy flowing about.

The wind was obviously a big issue for the runners on the day. It was coming from exactly the wrong direction so everyone had to work hard the whole way. On the plus side, we were spared any freak thunderstorms like the many we have had recently. Also the wind meant the flies were a non-issue this year whereas last year they were a major pain.

 

The event 'bling'.  Hopefully they will bring back some good memories whenever you crack open a bottle.

Back in Ellon at The Meadows and the first team arrived at 1346h. Ellon Mens Shed were handing out our bottle-opener medal-mementos. Hopefully in times to come many of you will crack open a bottle with them and be reminded of a good day out.  I think pretty much everyone took up the offer of a free drink from the bar, and the BBQ report that they went through over 100 burgers so clearly you guys built up a good appetite.

Fastest overall on the day were male team Fraserburgh Running Club team 1, completing the approximate 27 mile distance in 2:49. Fastest female team were Stonehaven Top Cats in 3:35, and there was a very close race for the mixed prize between the two Newburgh Dunes RC teams and the mixed Fraserburgh RC team, with Fraserburgh finishing just ahead in 3:15 and both Newburgh Dunes teams immediately behind. There was also a very close race between the two ‘cycling clubs doing running’, and Buchan CC and Ythan CC both finished in 3:06. Buchan had 4 runners though compared to Ythan's 3 giving them the edge and they managed to come in a few seconds ahead of Ythan.

 

A Newburgh Dunes runner 'helping' a team mate to get ready for the next leg.

 

At the prizegiving we heard from Ellon Mens Shed chairman Colin, who told us about the shed and how it will serve retired/unemployed/onshore or indeed any other men looking to socialise and keep busy with a variety of hands-on projects serving the local community. A great cause that all of you have contributed to with your entry fees.

I am an “Ellon loon” myself and I’m over the moon that the event seems to have gone down so well.  I’m very grateful to the planning committee members Glen Chalmers and Craig Wilson, my own dear mother Jackie Garden for preparing the ‘medals’, George Stewart for doing the photos, and to Ellon Mens Shed members for their help at the finish. I’d also like to thank Ellon Rugby Club for coming along with the BBQ and The Meadows Sports Centre for hosting us, and to our sponsors The Running Shop, Aberdeen for donating race equipment and some spot prizes.

Any feedback at all please don’t hesitate to submit it via the website or Facebook. The plan is to run and grow the event for the next ten years and all comments big or small will help us to make it as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Steven

Category Team # Team Time
Female 14 Stonehaven Top Cats 3:35
  17 Bubbly Brockers 4:29
  19 Fizzy Quines 4:29
  18 Broch Sparkly Runners 4:32
  1 Lab Team 4:41
Male 16 Fraserburgh RC1 2:49
  4 Buchan CC 3:06
  12 Ythan CC 3:06
  10 Team RTS 3:16
  13 Stonehaven Top Dogs 3:20
  21 Undertrained and Overconfident 3:27
Mixed 24 Fraserburgh RC2 3:15
  8 Newburgh Dunes A 3:15
  9 Newburgh Dunes B 3:15
  26 Fraserburgh RC4 3:20
  2 Barmy Bobbies 3:23
  22 All Bound for Mu Mu Land 3:36
  3 The Running Shop 3:42
  25 Fraserburgh RC3 3:44
  5 Da Girls 3:44
  29 Take Two 3:44
  28 Sweaty 4 Some 3:50
  6 Team Waite 4:01
  11 Team Sales/Ops 4:19
  23 Don't be shit 4:19
  27 P.A.C.E 4:27
Special 31 Claire Kelly - MND Scotland (solo) 5:20