6 Jul

Relay Good

Relay running can be a great way to ease the pressure and add some real team spirit to your running says Chris Broadbent

99% of the time running is an individual sport. Your PB, your finishing position, your race. I think it is part of the appeal for me.

I’ve always liked the fact that what you put in, you get out. So when I have trained well and I get a good result and a good time, it’s really satisfying.

Conversely, when it doesn’t go well and I can privately admit to myself that I have skimped a bit on training; well even that is strangely reassuring. ‘Fair do’s, I deserved that.’ I accept.

But that’s not to say running is an isolating experience, it’s a sport where the camaraderie is huge. Runners empathise with their fellow runners like no other sport I have experienced. We’ve all been in the pens pre-race when ‘Good luck mate,’ is being dispensed generously among friends and strangers. Or an encouraging ‘Well done!’ from a fellow runner mid-race and eventually the handshakes and endorphin-fuelled conversations with complete strangers at the race finish.

This weekend I am taking part in the type of event where the balance is tipped even further towards camaraderie. It’s a relay event with my club. Despite having a good 15 years running experience behind me, I have never taken part in a relay before and I have to say, I am really, really looking forward to it.

I suppose there is a little pressure, I don’t want to let people down on my 2.5-mile leg. But there’s no time pressure at all. There is an even more supportive environment with the team element and with the Friday night race time, we have extra reason to really enjoy ourselves afterwards.

Endurance relays are rising in popularity, particularly in triathlon which lends itself to teams of three taking on one discipline each. There are dozens of other relays taking place throughout the years, so why not gather some buddies and take up the baton?