South Downs 100 mile Relay

This is an event close to the heart of SAC (and SRC before) and we usually enter one or two teams each year. Last year we raised £650.00 in sponsorship for Cancer Research UK in memory of Dave Roots who was a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the event. This year, his family donated a trophy in his memory to be contested each year and awarded to the first Vets team. The stats for the event are hardly enticing. Get up at 4am on a Saturday morning, drive to Beachy Head, run 3 legs up and down the hills of the South Downs Way covering about 18 miles, and while you are still recovering, help to navigate to the next change over point. Oh yes, and make sure you run fast enough for the team to make it to the cut off point within time. Despite all of that, this was an event on my ‘bucket list’ and this year I found myself at Beachy Head at 6.30 am on 9th June with John Withey (another first timer) Keith Hollis, John McInnnes , Ian Richardson, Jon Ward and our team leader/navigator John Cork. Ian set off on the first of the 18 legs at 7.00am and John Ward came in at Chilcomb sports ground at 7. 52pm. Our race time was 11hrs 52mins. The prize giving took place in the finishing field and the Dave Roots trophy was presented by his widow to the winning vets team, Basingstoke and Mid Hants (time 11hrs 12mins 2 secs). The organisers spoke with much affection about Dave and by association, SAC. Amberley Over 60 teams started, and 52 finished. SAC were 7th out of 11 in the Vets category and 25th overall. We all finished our legs and John made sure we made it to each hand over point. There were a few beers and a curry after and I got home about midnight. That’s a long tiring day, but was it worth it? Yes, and I strongly suggest that every road runner/ cross country runner/endurance athlete puts this on their ‘bucket list as well. The weather helped, bright and hot all day (except for 30 mins when keith was at the top of a hill dodging lightning.) You get a chance to run in some superb surroundings with spectacular views, and the camaraderie with the other runners on route keeps you going. The organisation is fantastic, with a different club marshalling each hand over point. The logistics of organising 40 or so minibuses at each changeover is something else. The winning time this year was 10 hrs 29 mines 31 sacs run by Lewes AC. DAVE ROOTS MEMORIAL TROPHY 003 (2)