Wessex Ridgeway Relay 2012

On what was to turn out to be an enjoyable, fun and eventful day a team from the Harriers journeyed to Wiltshire and the start of the 2012 Wessex 100KM Ridgeway Relay.
The start saw 4 legged Harrier Rufus dragging Mike Hirst up the road and into the distance, and arrive at the changeover point in second position after Rufus stopped for a drink en route.

Rufus handed the Baton on to Alfie, waiting for the off like a greyhound in the slips, and his owner Ian who headed for the next changeover at Breech Wood Barn.
Ian and Alfie gave the Baton in to the safe custody of Mike Fleck who had made a last minute decision to do an extra leg and accompany the ever elegant Carol on her journey toward Breech wood Barn and the next changeover point.

The Baton was duly passed on to Kevin, who despite having recce’d the route the previous day, decided to take the route notes, and to wrap them around the Baton. Somewhere on the way to Alton Pancras Kevin and the route notes parted company with the Baton, probably at a gate or stile. The story that his late arrival at the changeover were due to his going back to look for the Baton is just a cruel rumour.

At Alton Pancras Mike Hughes and Becky Collins ( AKA the Auburn Wonder ) took the route notes on the next leg of the journey toward Batcombe while Mike Fleck and Ian fashioned a replacement Baton from a stick and a roll of Gaffer tape, at the Breakheart Hill change over Mike was reluctant to entrust the rustic hand crafted designer Baton into the care of “ Butterfingers Dwyer ” , but at this stage in the relay the departing runner is issued with a new baton, and with the chorus of “ Don’t lose this one “ Kevin made his way towards the next changeover point at Rampisham Masts. His eventual arrival at Rampisham, complete with Baton was met with sighs of relief, and Rufus and Mike Hirst sped off toward Minterns Hill.

Rufus must have sensed that the schedule was slipping so he decided to forgo the toilet stop and puddle drinking of his earlier leg and delivered his owner and the Baton to Martin waiting at Minterns Hill in record time.

Martin had a strong run and must have found the descent of Lewesdon Hill enjoyable, so enjoyable that on reaching the bottom he turned round and ran all the way back to the top before running down a second time to hand over the Baton to the waiting Mike Hughes.

Mikes second leg found him shooing a very large bull out of the way before being delayed by a herd of cows on their way to the milking parlour. Fortunately they were not sheep and Mike ran strongly to pull back the time and hand over to Ian and Alfie at Venn Chapel for the penultimate leg at Coney’s Castle.

The backup crew and remaining runners headed to the finish at Uplyme to await the arrival of Mike Fleck who had taken the Baton from Ian and Alfie, We all cheered Mikes arrival at the end of the “Glory Leg” before adjourning to the Talbot Arms in Uplyme, a great pub with friendly staff, real ales and excellent food. It was a wonderful atmosphere as runners, friends and helpers from the different teams chatted and exchanged stories over a pint or several.

Many thanks to all who supported and joined us on the day, Ros, Helen, Juliet, Corrine, and Bob Hughes, and to the team, Mike Hirst, Ian Edwards, Carol Baker, Kevin Dwyer, Becky Collins, Mike Fleck, Alfie, Rufus and Poppy.