On my way home from working near Inverness (home is in Devon) I decided to stop off at Dunfermline and run a stage of the Real Relay. At 17:25 on a Friday afternoon I found myself standing about outside Dunfermline Abbey between showers and wondering where the baton was. Welcome to the Real Relay! To find out more about The Real Relay and what it is about click here to read my first article. To support it in it’s bid to get into the Olympic Stadium when it finishes click here to be taken to the petition. Or to simply read about this stage and find out how I got on click the next link to read on.
I had been phoned a while earlier by a previous runner to be told that the baton was running thirty minutes or so late. No problem thought I. I am capable of making up that time in my leg with a bit of luck and a tailwind. The delay had been caused by a strong headwind, thunder and lighting across the Kincardine bridge, as well as a lot of foot traffic through some earlier towns when the schools kicked out. I was due to collect the baton at 17:25, so I made the most of my extra thirty minutes by exploring the grounds of Dunfermline Church and Abbey. There was a spectacular view across to the Forth bridge, and the weather looked like it was picking up. Thirty minutes came and went before a friendly lady arrived and told me that she was John’s wife and he was still a few minutes away. She had been spending the time shopping in Dunfermline, so it looks like the Real Relay has helped increase some local commerce too!
We both stared expectantly up the road for John, but it remained resolutely devoid of any runners carrying a white baton. John eventually arrived at about 18:20, but then vanished again to find his brother who had the camera. He did leave the baton, but I didn’t want to dash off with it until he had got his pictures. Five minutes later his brother turned up, but John hadn’t come back. It was a bit like a Carry-On sketch. Finally we all assembled for the pictures in front of the church, before John announced that he wanted another picture with a Saltire that was in the car. By this time I was itching to leave, but again I wanted to be polite and this was a once in a life time event. We got a few pics with the Saltire and finally I was off, a mere 70 minutes late…
The run was pretty much uneventful. I headed down to Rosyth on small roads before heading across to the Forth Bridge. The views on the bridge were spectacular, but I was cracking on at quite a good pace trying to claw some time back. I found my way off of the end of the bridge, down a couple of footpaths and onto the road to Hopetoun House and started to wind the pace up a bit for the last couple of miles. This leg was also very nice as it followed along the side of the estuary. I also bumped into James, the next runner, who was driving up and down taking a couple of pictures of me as I ran. I handed the baton over to him having clawed back a good 30 minutes of the lost time and having averaged a much higher pace than I had originally intended. James seemed like a nice guy and a few minutes later he was off. It was the last time that I would see the baton, after having completed three stages of the route and loving every minute of it.
Please support the Real Relay in its bid to finish in the Olympic Stadium. You can find out more here.