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The Essex Way Relay Race 2022

So, each year Pitsea RC gets involved with the Essex Way Relay and has done so for many, many years.

For those that don’t know, the Essex Way is essentially a footpath that runs just over 80 miles between Epping and Harwich and has been part of the Essex landscape for 50 years.

The relay race itself has been going for just over 30 years and has gradually grown in popularity between the local Essex clubs.

The route has been divided into 10 legs ranging from 5 miles to just over 11 miles with most legs starting and/or ending near a church so that runners can hone in on the spire. Each club will put forward one or more teams of 10 runners who will then compete across each leg and points are scored based on your finish position (not time) with the aim to get the least number of points across each of the 10 legs.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, Pitsea has the pleasure of hosting leg 3 for a while now which covers Good Easter to Little Leighs. The main responsibilities of hosting a leg are to ensure that the path is as clear as possible in the run up to the main race day, checking runners in at the start and then collating finish positions at the end. Ensuring the route is clear usually involves one or more recce runs of the route where members of the club walk/run the narrative route and remove potential hazards, e.g. chopping off low hanging branches, etc.

In addition to the poppy way markers guiding the runners along the way, this year the leg 3 runners were in for a treat as Nigel laboured for many hours to make replacement way markers to fill in the gaps where official way markers were missing or had fallen down to help everyone get round without getting lost.

As you can see, these aren’t just lengths of 1” dowel that have been cut and dipped in red paint, this is precision woodworking.

This year Pitsea managed to enter three full teams, which was fantastic for the club and ensured there were plenty of black and white tops out there flying the Pitsea flag! This year thanks largely to Nigel’s organising skills, this included a ‘competitive’ team which saw the fastest runner on each leg put on the same team, which as you’ll see from the results below, saw the Pitsea ‘C’ team feature high up the finishers table!

Our Essex Way runners

And as you can see from the picture at the start of this report, at the end it's all smiles!

To summarise, the Essex Way relay wouldn’t be what it is without the fantastic teamwork and support that members of the club put in for one another either supporting, helping out with the recce runs, the car sharing and the ferrying back and forth to the various start and end positions.

Overall results:

Pitsea C (team ‘44’) – 277 points (13th in category and 19th overall)

Pitsea A (team ‘42’) – 489 points (41st in category and 55th overall)

Pitsea B (team ‘43’) – 540 points (44th in category and 58th overall)

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, or whether you can even run, there’s a place for everyone at the Essex Way and we look forward to being a force to be reckoned with once again next year!

Mike Woodward

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