Run Report - SHAEF Shifters Ambitiously enter 3 teams !!!
When Captain Fullen asked if I would mind helping organise put a team in for the River Relay, I of course did not hesitate. Conversations were had, Strava comms engaged and a good overdose of WhatsApp messages sent that would test the attention span of your average millennial! What could go wrong? Did we mention that teams had to include at least one woman and at least one vet (A veteran NOT a professional who treats disease, disorder and injury in animals – yes, there some people who will query! “An ACTUAL vet?!”)
Yes, British Airways suffered a security breach that got national coverage but really that was nothing compared with our BA star Will Rawling have to put in a family shift and Ciaran Murphy suffering from a hamstring injury that required blue insulation tape just to keep them altogether!
But in reality these minor issues which just shows how strong the bond has, within what is still an infantile club, become. Charlie, Ben and myself in a slightly worse for wear state (having drank 2 pints of London Pride in Soho the night before in the midst of a train strike) stepped up to ensure we managed to enter 3 super teams.
With plans, and last minute plans, securely in place it was then a matter of scattering cars to different points all over the Middlesex countryside in what can only be regarded as Special Ops and henceforth the logistics department are all tooled up.
“Special Ops – yeah, we know what we’re doing!”
As the first three runners Ian Fullen, Julian Diamonte & yours truly disembarked, Special Ops Vehicle #1 at the start, it made its way to the finish of the stage and the start of Stage 2 where the most incredible scenes unfolded. Literally 2 minutes before the first runners from Stage 1 were due to hand their batons over to Stage 2, a horsebox appeared and plonked itself right on the crossover point leaving a narrow path to its side.
“Haway man, who ordered the Tesco burger van?! “
Despite the equine intervention all three Stage 2 runners Gary Neville, John Stone & Dan Dom hurtled off towards the site of the Magna Carta as if their civil liberties were at stake! Once they got to Stage 3 we witnessed textbook handoffs to Ollie, Rob Eveson and Rodney. (No photographic evidence of the handoff to Rodney as Special Ops #1 never made it to the stage in time and just witnessed him bombing off whilst queuing for a parking ticket!). Amazingly, our three runners on stage 2 recorded the three fastest times of all runners to climb from 5th, 9th and 26th to 2nd 4th and 7th. Great work team!
“Greatest handovers since the European Championships a few weeks back in Berlin.”
Stage 3 runners then passed off to Ben Aird, Hampton Wick’s best bass guitarist Charlie and Aaron Chai for stage 4. Ben got the shock of his life having stood in as a late replacement to discover he was taking the baton in first place, with Rob having climbed from 6th and recorded the fastest time on the stage. Nice one Rob!
Special Ops by this stage had gone on to the Start of Stage 5 to make sure the ladies on the glory leg were briefed on what had preceded them and were all mentally prepared and raring to go.
All the ladies put in tremendous shifts. Harriette ignored ankle pain and a pain in the backside in the form of her husband insisting that was a competitor behind her when in fact it was just a member of the public going about his Sunday run. Then Louise brought the baton home for the second team thanks in the main to her new ON Runners. (Which she can give you good prices on!)
Then K Pow - having recently broken her elbow and her nerves acting like “puppy dogs” (in her own words!!) - reminded herself to “ENJOY” the leg and did just that.
Final results saw the three teams placing 7th, 8th and 19th out of 77 teams that took part. Great work with our first finishing team coming in 12 seconds outside of 3 hours, which for a distance just above marathon across trails, through gates, over fences and under railings is mighty impressive!
As the incredible SHAEF results were digested – thoughts began to wonder about another form of digestion with team members eager to celebrate the day’s festivities. With that in mind a healthy crew headed to Ribs & Burgers where Rodney decided to do his best Adam Richman impression and order the biggest burger on the menu. (True story - reconstruction below)
HIS BURGER (TO SCALE)
That though was after he decided to have a fight with a Capri Sun packet where he emptied the contents all over the table. For future reference Rodney – see YouTube for:
Thanks again to all involved in another incredible event and one which generated even more interest in the club and should become a regular fixture in future years. Stay SHAEF.
Full race and stage results are here:
Ravi (and Ioan)