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Round Rotherham Relay

18/10/2014

Last Saturday saw 5 Dumfries Running Club members travel to Yorkshire to take part in one of the friendliest events on the running calendar, the Round Rotherham relay...

This 50 mile event sees walkers and runners navigate their way along canal banks, through the South Yorkshire forest, across ploughed fields, on trail and road with only a minimal number of checkpoints and an absence of marshals. It takes place in an evolving landscape of former coal mines, and rapid changes mean that it is so easy to go off route, even for those who are familiar with the terrain, with only pictorial maps as navigational aids.

The Dumfries Runners have taken part in this event for over a decade now and are welcomed as old friends and are by far the furthest travelled relay team pitting their wits against the best from South Yorkshire.

Les Hill decided to tackle the race as a solo effort, confident that having done the route 8 times before he would be on familiar terrain. Doing things the hard way, the relay team of Sandy Shankland, Stephen Mohan and Peter Hill decided to tackle the eight stages between them which put them at a disadvantage compared to the other 27 local teams who were aiming for local bragging rights.

Les started conservatively at 7am and used his usual excellent pace judgement to get to the end of stage 4 at the 30 mile mark in the very warm conditions but struggled as the race went on and crossed the line in 20th place in 8 hours 45 minutes. Sandy ran leg one for the relay team at 8am and was in 8th place after 10 miles and accompanied Stephen on Leg 2 before completing a solo run on the third stage. After several less than Olympic standard changeovers Peter handed over to Stephen on leg six with the two of them running together for the final stages to cross the line in 7 hours 23 minutes in 15th place.

Many thanks are due to David Burns, who was unable to take part due to injury but performed a vital role as driver, chief supporter and navigator.

Steve Mohan.

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