Southern Road Relays 25th March 2019 by Tom Irving

"It's a strong field, we'll be one of the slowest teams there". We had all heard Cap'n Santry's words in advance, but there's always a little bit of you that doesn't quite believe it. 

Until you see the GBR jackets. And they weren't merchandise from the Green Belt Relay.


So Operation Don't Be Last kicked off in an infeasibly sunny track in Milton Keynes, the thinking man's Stevenage. At least for the men, as ever our women had higher hopes than the men. The format was quite simple, alternating laps of 5.05km and 7.66km around a twisty, deceptively slow course around a park, with a start and finish on the track.

One of the club's best runners, John "Foxall" Llaxof, kicked things off for the gents with a brilliant first leg... finishing 48th of the 53 teams. Ah. The winner of that stage has a 5,000m PB of 13.49 and Paul Martelletti could only finish fourth. We are probably not going to win this.

Jenny Bushell went first for the women, an hour later. The field was equally fast, including Tracey Barlow, the UK's 25th quickest marathon runner ever. Commonwealth Games finalist Iona Lake could "only" finish 3rd in her leg!

You get the picture.

We may not have been the quickest team there, but no one left a single second out on the course. I'm not going to pick out a single performance, but the agony on Kieran's face summed it up. Overall the women were an amazing 17th out of 27 teams, and the men were 41st out of 43 teams that finished. Operation Don't Be Last was a success!

I'm proud to be an Eagle for many reasons; but today I was proud to be part of a club that could put out a team for one of the toughest events in the country, not afraid to be last, and have total commitment from everyone.

And you know what? We had a bloody good time.