A race for the soul

Updated: 2010-07-27
Sometimes we get so caught up with times, finishing places, personal bests and beating people that we can easily forget why we run in the first place!

The Arran relay is a race / weekend that can reverse all that and remind you of some of the best bits about running and running clubs, if you let it. I’ve just come back from this year’s event where I experienced all of the above.

The race takes place on a Saturday and our club travel down that morning catching the 9:45AM ferry to the island. We normally stop for a communal breakfast and this year was no different to any other. The race starts around 12 noon and is finished by 3. The rest of the weekend is yours to do as you please but being the club we are, most people take the advantage of spending some quality time together to either catch up with old friends or/and make new ones.

This year’s race went much like any other for me, travel in the team van to the ferry, arrive in Brodick an hour later and very soon after that start racing. Although it’s a relay it’s more like six individual races, so you focus on your own race and do your best against the other 23 participants. There are six legs and you can keep to a favourite or try to race all six over a number of years. Once finished, many of us camp together in a small campsite next to the sea and we all meet for dinner that evening in a local bar to exchange stories. Everyone seemed to enjoy their race and the tales later relayed in the pub were focused on the picturesque scenery, wildlife, personal battles and the hills!

So everything was going as normal and I was having a great time, all until later that evening when the ladies team pointed out that they had beaten the men’s. For some reason this distracted my mind for several hours whilst my brain tried to analyze where we went wrong and how the hell did we lose to the girls! Likewise for the rest of the men’s team, we went to bed a bit perplexed.

Well I never did find the reason; in fact I stopped thinking about after about an hour, I possibly never started thinking hard about it as I didn’t really care. Winning, times, places, personal bests, they weren’t important to me or my team mates, they never had been.

What is important about the Arran relay is simply enjoying one of the best weekends away in the year with friends from our club. Plus reminding yourself why putting one foot in front of the other in quick session is so great! Happy days 🙂

p.s Anyone thinking of doing Arran next year needs to join my boot camp, it lasts 12 months, you need to train lots and focus 100% on winning 😉

Kenton Jones

Lothian Running Club