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Round Norfolk Relay
Saturday 17th September 2011
Alex Downie

Lines on the 25th running of the Round Norfolk Relay
17th/18th September, 2011
(with apologies to the Great McGonagall.........again!)

‘Twas in the year of Twenty Eleven
A race was held, with teams numb’ring fifty-seven.
It happened in Norfolk, not around here,
And it had managed to reach its twenty-fifth year.
I refer, of course, to the Round Norfolk Relay,
Which, in total, takes teams about a night and a day.
They have to run a hundred and ninety-five miles and a bit.
Yes, I know, it’s hard to even contemplate it.
They do it in seventeen separate stages.
As you can imagine, the plotting and planning takes ages!

Ah...to work out all the possible comings and goings!
To compute all the intricate to-ings and fro-ings!
This called for leaders both clever and strong.........
Step forward,..... Rachel Roberts and Timothy Long!
They put their heads together to try and crack the logistics,
(For which they may have welcomed magicians and mystics.)
As it was, they got by with support meetings in the Tivoli,
Where ale and wine helped greatly with this magnificent folly.

I need hardly tell you, the terrain is various.
It changes a lot; it’s quite multifarious.
It switches from high roads to the coastal path and back,
To beach and shingle, rural country track.
It’s not at all flat; Norfolk is quite hilly!
Whoever told you different is, well,...... a bit silly.
And when dusk falls, and the runners head off into the night,
They must be followed by a car with a flashing light.

I would like to report that it all went without a hitch,
But with so many variables, there’s bound to be a glitch.
There were drop-outs in legs seven, twelve and fourteen.
(There are always circumstances that can’t be foreseen.)
In at the last moment stepped Martin, Christof and Paul.
So raise a cheer for them, one and all!
To fall ill on the day is a problem quite serious.
With the help of many pills, Fiona felt less delirious!
Some runners went astray, when there was no arrow,
And had to consult directions for which way to go.
One of the team found only a sign to the seals.
You can very well imagine how that made her feel!
And once happened, that which we all dread...
No runner to take over at the end of a leg!
But it was only a matter of minutes until he came,
And the team was up and running once again.
Then there were the problems of what to do with stuff.
Mandy’s pannier was thrust at a confused John Uff!
Difficulties with kit, not to mention Simon’s gel,
On the whole were coped with quite well.
But did the Great Running God have it in for poor Tim?
The Heavens opened, and it just poured on him.
‘Tis said ‘twas the first rain in its twenty-five year history!
Why now? Why on Tim? It’s a great mystery!

Out of fifty-seven teams, we came in seventeenth place
And all concerned had a really good race.
Fergie says that he wants , as an ultimate aim
To run all the legs, a different one each time.
But for now, it is Noel Carroll and Katie we can name.
They won their stages, and everlasting fame!
Alex Downie

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