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Round Norfolk Relay
Saturday 19th September 2009
Alex Downie

Report on the ROUND NORFOLY RELAY (R.N.R.) 19th/20th Sept, 2009.
Alex Downie
Despite the fact that RNR could equally well stand for Really Not Rational, C+C managed to enter both a women’s and a men’s team this year. This race is truly massive in concept, encompassing, as it does, 193 miles, both off and on road, in 17 legs over 24 hours. Organising the logistics of runners, bike/vehicle support, plus timekeeping requires a brain the size of the county; imagining the sheer enormity of the enterprise needs a brain the size of the planet. That 55 teams enter every year is mind-boggling.
C+C’s Norfolk Heroes
Well, of course, absolutely everyone involved in running and/or support in this event has to be a hero, but perhaps the following deserve singling out as sort of special super-heroes.
First off, following on from above, the organisers of the teams should have our complete admiration, adulation, adoration and alliteration (no, not that.) As you can guess, it takes weeks to put the teams together, plus all the organisers not only ran legs, but stayed to support other runners throughout the whole 24 hours.
*Tim Long for the Men’s Team
*Rachel Roberts, Helen Parfrey and Fiona Downie for the Women’s Team.
*Mary Jennings for being a really flexible friend and agreeing without hesitation to last minute changes.
*Christina Martins for dramatically being reinstated on her Leg.
*Alejandra for rescuing stage 9 at the very last minute.
*Anna Costello, Kim Masson and Andrew Shields for struggling on in the face of real adversity on their Stages.
*Glyn Smith for unfailing cheery support, even if he did want to pinch someone’s leg, whoops stage!
*John Lewy for great support through day and night, and in particular for witty banter from the bike.
*Andy Irvine and Carmel McEneiry for unstinting support of both teams and in particular for being there at the end when others were wavering.
*Simon Brightwell for not only running in the very long and tough Stage 2 of RNR, but also competing in Chariots of Fire the next morning, becoming part of the winning team in the mixed category. Awesome!
*Sarah Moon for agreeing to make this her debut race for the Club.
{If you think I’ve missed you out as a potential super hero, or conversely you feel you have been falsely elevated to such a status, please let me know at a nearby bar, and I will be pleased to fully compensate you for the deep hurt I may have inadvertently caused.}
RNR Memories
These are necessarily fragmentary, episodic and personal, and everyone who took part will have their own special moments. If you weren’t there, some of the flavour of the whole event can be gleaned from accessing the excellent photos and Andy’s real-time report on the website. Here are a few of my own memories:
• The lads in the van jumping out all over Norfolk (notably during Simon R’s night leg) with their unflagging support and joie de vivre, not to mention the ghost in the back of the van, later in the night...
• Enjoying the sunshine whilst waiting at Burnham Overy Staithe for Fiona and Simon to complete Stage 2, watching them arrive in their contrasting styles, and listening to their (remarkably similar) descriptions of their ordeal (ie *~#¬ ! that was tough!)
• Seeing Neil and Christina finishing on Wells wall, and hearing their nearly identical descriptions of Leg 3. (See above.)
• Chatting with Rachel at Cromer, and remembering the view from the handover for Stage 6, which overlooks the beach from a great height.
• Lounging at Lessingham (start of Stage 8) in the afternoon sun, prior to Robert Kreetzer storming in to hand me the baton. (The weather this year was an absolute bonus – a lovely clear sunny day, but without the plunging night temperatures of last year.)
• The field at Scole with its incredibly uneven surface, and surreal lighting.
• Car-supporting Becs (Rebecca Parsons), who ran beautifully, on Leg 13, and being part of the cavalcade of runners and support vehicles with their flashing lights which circumnavigates Norfolk.
• Driving the very scenic Leg 15, which runs through parkland on minor roads around about dawn. Incidentally, this leg was run magnificently by both Diana Braverman and Mike Smith. The procession is perhaps at its most impressive here because it’s almost impossible to overtake for a few miles.
• Maria Brightwell’s fantastic, rejuvenating coffee at Downham Market, when we were really down!
• And of course, the finish at Lynnsport, King’s Lynn, the teams being brought home in impressive manner by Dave Y and Jalanie.
Once again, WELL DONE to all participants.

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