Team Building – Road Relay Style

The National Road Relays in Almondvale, Livingston were held this year on Easter Saturday & there was much excitement beforehand amongst EAC’s women, knowing that we had a good team with a great chance of a medal this time…

Despite forecasts of dire weather, it was a gorgeous still, sunny morning as we boarded the train at Haymarket. This meant I’d was able to persuade my husband Euan to come along to be on marshalling duty for the second year running. Meeting up with James Ruskin as we alighted at Livingston North, we had a relaxed stroll along to St Margarets Academy & were able to enjoy the views of the snowy Pentland hills.

After declarations, checking the newer team members knew how the race worked & a pre-race hot cross bun (it was 2 ½ hours before I was expecting to race), Nathalie & I wandered down the steps to watch the mass start & settled ourselves on a sheltered wall in the sunshine to chat with some fellow competitors until after the first leg runners had successfully handed over to the second leg runners for the first of the long legs. At this point, I headed inside to calm down & complete my preparations whilst sitting on a sunny bench in a quiet courtyard with just a fishpond for company.

Due to a bridge at the end of the normal route being shut for maintenance, all the runners had instead to run a loop around the Almondvale Stadium car park before approaching the changeover point from behind, so I checked this out on my warmup, with the benefit of being able to yell the second leg runners (Niamh in particular of course) in towards the finish. Glamourous & scenic the diversion was not, but it did at least give us a downhill run in to the finishing straight!

Before I knew it, Nathalie, our third leg runner returned and handed over to me in third place. Knowing 2nd place was a good couple of minutes ahead & 1st a fair amount more than that (4mins 25 I later found out), I took off to run as fast as I could to see if I could chase them down & run a good time into the bargain. Although there aren’t any ‘proper’ hills on the route, there are lots of twists, turn, undulations on the course, coupled with a fair number of large puddles, all of which add up to make it fairly challenging.

The 5.85 mile long leg can be quite lonely at times, so I was delighted when less than half way round I spotted Catriona Buchanan from Central in the distance to give me a new target (other than the random men I’d been chasing down) to work towards. Constantly repeating “you’re gaining on her” to myself, I made up the ground rapidly to move decisively into silver medal position with about a mile & a half to go. Never looking back, I continued working as hard as I could all the way to the line & was greatly lifted by the EAC team yelling encouragement from the road bridge as I went underneath to start my lap of the car park with 800m to go. The downhill kick into the finishing straight lifted me into a decent sprint for the line to give me the fastest female long leg of the day & the EAC womens ‘A’ team a well earned silver medal – fantastic!!!

Our men’s teams were a bit low on numbers this year – comprising only 1 1/2 teams, so an 8th place finish by the ‘A’ team was great, but to all those who’d made their excuses this time round – “must make more effort” next year! The relays are a great, ultra sociable event where you get to do some team bonding, meet up with friends & competitors from other clubs & have an exciting & challenging run into the bargain. I can highly recommend it to anyone who’s not participated before.

Women’s Results (4 legs):

1st Kilbarchan – 1:45:28

2nd Edinburgh AC (Issy Menzies, Niamh Devlin, Nathalie Christie & Jennifer MacLean) – 1:47:41

3rd Central AC – 1:48:10

11th Edinburgh AC ‘B’ (Katja Eravisto, Elaine Davies, Sharyn Ramage, Vik Lomax) – 2:04:36

Men’s Results (6 legs):

1st Shettleson – 2:14:29

2nd Central AC – 2:14:56

3rd Inverclyde – 2:16:16

8th Edinburgh AC (Neil Calder, Adam Chmieloski, Andrew Crichton, Richard Meade, Robert Riddell, James Ruskin) – 2:32:04

2 thoughts on ““Team Building – Road Relay Style”

  • James Ruskin

    Worth pointing out that Jenny’s split was faster than two of the three men in the EAC ‘A’ team – myself included! Either we need to be training harder or you’ll have to dress up as a man for us next year Jenny 😉 Also well done to Andrew Crichton whose superb run pulled us about a dozen places up the leaderboard. Date for the diary – Sat 2nd April 2011…

  • alex macewen

    Wearing my sports development hat, I have to thank all EAC stewards and those from neighbouring clubs: we put out about 30 volunteers to cover both legs. It can be along day so my sincere thanks.

    Wearing my EAC hat, thanks to both “team managers” and athletes who competed. I know some chaps had an unfamiliar distance to cover but great club spirit . Well observed comments on young chrichtons perforamnce and jenny posting a time that the club men have to take notice of. Over the years , it is always tricky as teams fade away due to call offs for any number of good reasons . Thank goodness it is only distance running team and not a track and field team. Still club gained a team medal .

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