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The Green Belt Relay (GBR)
The Green Belt Relay is a team relay event with around 36 teams of 11 runners of all standards. It is organised by the Stragglers Running Club and it takes place every year in May and, starting from Hampton Court, circumnavigates London around the outskirts of the M25 on towpaths, footpaths and quiet country lanes, before returning to Ham near Richmond. The course also passes through spectacular scenery and interesting sites of history. There are 22 stages in all with each team member running two stages, one on each day. The stages averages about 10 miles each but the terrain and gradients vary considerably.
The mass start of each team’s first runner leaves Hampton Court on Saturday at 08.30. The second and subsequent stages also have mass starts with the time of each start based on the expected time for the fastest finisher on the previous stage. This means that each stage can be seen as its own race and with runners from all teams in sight of each other, at least for the first few miles. Each runners’ finish time is recorded and times are accumulated to work out the team results. In most cases each stage finish line is within sight of the start line of the next stage although typically the start will be the other side of a major road to avoid having to run across it. Each course is well signed and there are marshals provided at key points, but the onus is on each runner to ensure that they follow the course correctly – though excellent detailed maps are provided on the website http://www.greenbeltrelay.org.uk/index.htm .
Organisationally the event is a challenge in its own right. As well as 11 runners and one or more reserves the club also provides other volunteers to man allocated marshalling points over the two days. Typically the BAAC team will have three cars, two provided by runners and one by a non-running volunteer. A schedule is produced to get each runner to their start, collect them from their finish point, ensure that the club meets its marshalling obligations and ensure that no one or no car gets left behind. Usually the schedule runs like clockwork but on the odd occasion when it doesn’t….well that is when the fun really starts!
After the first day most of the BAAC team are driven to a Motel, arriving around 21:15 in time for a shower and a pre-ordered meal and a night’s recovery. We are up early the next day as at 08:00 the 12th stage starts where the previous night’s final stage finished. Once again the stages pass through lovely countryside, forest, rivers and streams, until the final stage finishes at the Sports Centre at Ham, where all teams gather for a get together and the event’s awards presentations.
BAAC Awards and Winners 2004 to 2017
Mike Hutchins Award
Brian Bennett 2007
John Coffey 2011
Mark Taylor 2009 Stage 2
Dave Dixon 2014 Stage 10
Dave Dixon 2015 Stage 10
Also see: Team Records
Corporate Course Record
*This is probably held by British Airways but for which year may depend on how they reclassify the course each year. The results for 2011 suggest that the Corporate Record was then held by us with our 2008 time.