Whilst we didn't set the competition alight in terms of speed, finishing 42nd out of 54 teams, there's always so much more to this event than the finishing position and time...
Joe L got us off to a fine start in testing conditions, battling headwinds and producing a gutsy finish to hand on to Big Pete under the Hunstanton lighthouse. Before he'd had time to find his languid tempo Pete had taken a wrong turn, and was carrying a fellow (female) competitor across a surging stream to re-join the course. The support team let him down when he wanted a banana before the last few isolated miles, resulting in Pete handing over to the wife with most of the colour drained from his face.
Jen, ten weeks after giving birth, breezed around the course with a smile on her face - Kirstie and Louise take note. Joe D was back to have a crack at the same leg he took on last year. Wiser to the course and fitter, he smashed his previous time. Joe D handed over to his boss Brownie, who whilst given something of a reprieve this year from his regular long night leg, did have the dreaded shingle and cliff climbs to contend with. Some minor navigation issues aside he finished strongly to hand over to the first of the Burkes. George and Tim ran at a remarkably similar pace per mile, perhaps suggesting a few joint training runs in the build up. Such was the case for debutants Mike and Lucie, though Mike must have been a bit disappointed to have been pipped in the minute per mile stakes by the missus.
Mike ran through the setting sun and handed over to Jim in the darkness, or it would have been darkeness if the change-over point hadn't been the Vegas of Norfolk - Great Yarmouth. Jim was back after a sabatical last year and was rewarded with the longest leg of the relay. Jim was soon weaving his way through an unusual amount of road traffic and had to dig deep for the last couple of miles before handing on to the skipper. Despite dropping down in distance due to injury it wasn't a hugely enjoyable experience, and it was with some relief that he passed onto his trusty lieutenant Simmy after an interesting one-to-one changeover scenario with support having by now dried up. With Coaly dropping down in distance Simmy took up the slack and provided an exhibition in even paced running.
Next up was the Antwerp Express. With girlfirend Jente in the support car with Belgian plates Jan was clearly keen to do his country proud and he duly delivered. Jan handed over to another debutant, Sophie, who, like her husband gave a demonstration in tempo control. Chuck was up next, tearing himself away from an army of fans adoring his classis car and relishing the dawn run as always.
The penultimate leg was taken on by the ever reluctant Matt Mountain, though he looked as though he was quite enjoying himself in completing the shortest leg. So to the new sporty looking Jon Russell, who surely will be asking for a few more miles next year given the way he handled the pressures of the final leg, holding off challengers around the tartan to break the tape to a raptuous reception in an elapsed time of 27:06:50.