South Downs Way Relay
Harriers have been involved with this relay from its earliest beginnings. Harrier Alumnus Ian Cooper was one of the race’s founding fathers and although the A teams compete for a famous “Truncheon”, Ian donated a cup which is competed for on an “age and gender adjusted” basis.
The race started in the 1980s when the South Downs Way was just 80 miles and was run “West to East”. When the SDW was formally extended to Winchester, where Chilcomb sports ground is located, the race settled into its current “East to West“ format of six runners each completing three legs over the 100 mile route. At the same time a driver/navigator team tries to get runners in the right place at the right time throughout the day.
Most Harriers who have taken part have described it as one of the most demanding yet satisfying days of their running year. It creates a unique blend of camaraderie, effort and humour.
The seventeen change-over points are marshalled by clubs who regularly compete in the event and Harriers have for many years managed the one at Houghton.
Some historical and individual team performance data can be found here. There is always much talk about “club records”; however, many legs have seen multiple changes over the years (never mind vagaries of sun, wind, rain that can occur on the day) which means that this is really not a race for “records”. It is a race for memories.
Harriers have entered between two and four teams (Men, Women, Vets & Mixed) over the years and in 2014 our A team came second. If you are interested look at the race website www.southdownsrelay.co.uk.