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Round Norfolk Relay
Saturday 18th September 2021
Alex Downie

Lines written on the running of the ROUND NORFOLK RELAY
18th/19 th September 2021
With apologies to Sir William Topaz McGonagall

‘Twas in the year of Twenty Twenty-One
That the RNR did actually run,
Having missed the last year, which you may recall was 2020
When cases of disease and worse were even more a-plenty.

This is a race of epic scale.
Of heroic deeds, there’s many a tale.
Yes, there may be some who say the whole thing is misbegotten,
But the experience of it is never forgotten…………..

Hurtling along the path from Burnham, crazy as a loon,
Hurling yourself off the great Dune of Doom,
{You’ve done this rhyme before – and quite recently too! -Ed.}
And on to the beach to seek out sand that’s not too loose.
Ah, which bit is best, which part to choose?.........

Speeding on from Wells, at first along The Bank,
Slimy baton in hand, it’s already quite rank.
Coastal path next, trying for acceleration,
But forever frustrated by unending undulation…………

And who can forget the exquisite tingle
Of setting off from Cley on the wonderful shingle?
There’s a Bump in your path, a mountain to climb.
The gradient’s against you, but you’re still on time!.........
{Hey - now you’re plagiarising ‘From a Railway Carriage” by RL Stevenson – watch it! -Ed}

Night time running has its adherents, and I wouldn’t nay-say,
As illuminated monsters pursue their tiny human prey.
{Right, that’s it; this is directly lifted from A Irvine, RNR 2013!}
Who mercifully escape to the welcome rays of dawn,
Tingeing low-lying fenny mist with the promise of morn.

Coordinating all this takes a brain that’s comprehensive,
Together with a temperament calm and quite pensive.
To appreciate this, consider first the statistics
And then work back from that to the horrible logistics……….

A runner, plus support by bike or by car
Must be found for every leg, both short and far.
Times must be estimated well in advance
So no competitor is just wandering about somewhere in a trance.
Run done, but you can’t just leave your runner there!
Each one has got to be moved on to somewhere.
And all this must be done for seventeen stages.
You can see why the planning and angst go on for ages!

So take a few bows, both Rachael and Kris
Who sourced seventeen souls x 2 for all the stages – none missed.
The car/bike supporters will be remembered with gratitude,
For their relentless backing and uplifting attitude.
I haven’t mentioned manning Wissington, as yet – so thank you, Nev.
Last, but not least, there were trophy wins for Emily, Andrew and Stef.
Kudos to the Ladies Team, who romped in clear first.
The Open Lot did good too – they certainly weren’t worst.

I’ve only been able to describe a very small sample
Of the joys on offer - just the odd example.
But surely I can’t be the only one
Who’s got special memories of RNR ‘21
And can they possibly be topped in 2022?


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