Sunday, 24 June 2012

Endurance Life Real Realy of Great Britain

'''The Endurancelife Real Relay is an exciting attempt to follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous non-stop journey, running every step of the way.  Starting out from Land’s End at midnight on Monday 28 May, ten days behind the official Olympic Torch, the Real Relay will involve hundreds of runners from across the British Isles running through the day and night on an 8000 mile mission to reach London in time for the Olympic Games opening ceremony.'''

Saturday 23rd June.  Stage 308 Foulden to Lindisfarne via Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Luckily my stage was due to start middle of the afternoon with Les Turnbull (Norham)  doing an earlier stage and a former Wooler man, Brian Singleton, a later leg.  Word came through from Brian early on Saturday morning that the baton was running approximately an hour behind time overnight but a message a bit later from Les showed that it was making up good time. 

There was a certain buzz during the morning with text messages coming to and fro from previous runners to those running later in the day, and I couldn't help but feel really excited about being part of something so big.  I know quite a few runners who have secured stages further down the country and I enjoyed that I was bringing the baton into England and sending it on the way to them 

Jane Holmes arrived at Foulden 4 minutes early piped in by her husband and accompanied by Les Turnbull and another couple of runners.  There was something very emotional about Jane approaching with the sound of the pipes traveling over the open countryside.  Shishi Mason had kindly offered to run the 15 miles to Lindisfarne with me and Caroline Tyser and Hannah Humpries from Norham were joining me to Goswick.

A chance for photos of the change over from Jane to myself before heading off East towards the Border.

Jane Holmes, Pauline Aitchison at Foulden

The baton is fitted with a tracking device so its journey can be tracked live on the internet.  Someone up in Scotland had added the Scottish flag so my parents were sent ahead to purchase an England one to join it!

A quick stop at the Border for a photoshoot.

We took the road from Foulden, crossed the A1 and down Castle Drive before picking up the riverside just north of the Royal Border Bridge. 

 Under that and the Royal Tweed Bridge before crossing the river via the Old Bridge.  We'd had lots of toots from cars along the way and encouragement from walkers.  A very enthusiatic lady stopped us on the Old Bridge and was so pleased to have seen the baton after reading a lot about it.  Another photoshoot!!

Through Tweedmouth and Spittal where we met Claire and Jane and a chance to add the England flag to the baton

From here we headed off road down the coastal path with the North Sea on the left and the Railway line on the right.  This was beautiful.  The stong wind of the morning had died to a warm breeze and the sun was out as we headed along the rugged coastline towards Holy Island.  We had the paths to ourselves apart from the odd walker and occasional train passed us.  Caroline and Hannah peeled off here after 10 miles and it was left to the Wooler posse to make sure the baton arrived safely in the hands of the next runner, Jamie Williams. 

As the miles past the ground underfoot got much wetter and although we'd made good time on the road section I was getting slightly anxious that I wouldn't arrive at the change over point on time.  Time to push on but as I approached 14 miles I knew I was still a fair way off the causeway.  Through mud and sea water and almost a mile later it came in sight.  

I spotted the group waiting for the baton and the emotions I felt earlier in the day came back and I had to flight the urge to cry!  It was such a great feeling to pass the baton on and watch it head away on its journey to London.  I hope the England flag makes it!

 Pauline Aitchison, Jamie Williams at Lindisfarne Causeway

A big thank you to Caroline and Hannah and a huge thank you to my fellow Wooler runners, Claire, Jane and Shishi for helping make this day so memorable.  A great way for me to spend my birthday!