The Real Relay is attempting to follow the entire route of the Olympic torch around the UK, but without the media hype, the support or jumping on a bus every 10 minutes. Instead it is running on foot the entire 8,000 mile route. The legs are all around 10 miles, some a bit longer and some a bit shorter with some “epic” legs thrown in as well. Think up Ben Nevis at 3.45 in the morning! Mark signed up for leg 300 and had Chris, Ngeme and myself along for a bit of company.
Our leg was meant to start at 12.35, but I think due to the very heavy rain and thunder and lightening today they were running behind schedule by about an hour, so it was about 1.30 in the morning we met Colin who had run from Duddingston through Musselburgh and Dalkeith at the Laird and Dog in Lasswade. We took over the baton (which has been referred to as a light sabre and I can see why!) and headed out. Our leg was taking us from Lasswade through Loanhead, Bilston, Milton Bridge, Penicuik finishing at Leadburn.
The rain that had thundered down all day had stopped and the sky was clear. With it being so close the longest day, even though the sun had long since gone down the sky was not completely dark. As we headed along the quiet roads the only thing that passed us was the odd boy racer and a few police cars and vans, (not sure whether word of the mad runners had got out). It was a good feeling having the roads and pavments to ourselves as we ran through the deserted streets, running in the early hours is definitely the way to go. As we ran through Penicuik at quarter to three there were only a couple of old men sitting at a bus stop to see us pass. As we took the road out of Penicuik to Leadburn the headtorches came out, but soon were not really needed as the sun was beginning to come up and we could see a faint red glow in the sky. Passing Wellington School opening we were running 4 abreast in the road with the Leadburn in sight, it did not seem that we had been out for long and our part in the real relay was nearly over. We met the next relay runner Chris in the Leadburn carpark for the handover and off he went with the baton – next stop Peebles.
I feel quite honoured to have been part of this amazing feat that has been publicised only by word of mouth and social networking sites and is running the olympic torch route the way it should have been!
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