The Teddy Hall Relays
Ready Teddy Go…
Report – Phil Marshall
The Teddy Hall Relays (THR) have been an Oxford University tradition for over 60 years. University teams, faculty teams, the RAF, other universities, groups of friends with names such as “A Running joke” and “Legs Miserables”, along with local and invited Athletic clubs all make their way to the world famous Iffley Road track on a sunny Wednesday afternoon in March each year.
Iffley Road has it’s place in history as the scene of a momentous event, not only in Athletics but in the world of sport, the achievement of something that commentators and runners alike regarded as beyond human endurance, on 6th of May 1954 Roger Bannister clocked 3mins 59.4s to achieve the first sub-4 minute mile!
The race is very simple, each team runs 4 legs of 4.35 miles each. The route starts with 200mts around the famous track, then goes South down a lane to Donnington Bridge where the runners cross the river and run North up the gravel tow path alongside the River Thames, past the College Boat houses and back into the centre of Oxford. A flight of steps leads up to Christ Church meadow, with a wonderful view of Christ Church College on the left (if you had time to look) A full circuit of Christ Church Meadow is then completed before exiting onto High Street, to make the return back to Iffley road to complete the leg on the other half of the track.
SAC has sent teams down to race in the THR every year since 2006. Sometimes just 2 teams, but this year a record 6 SAC teams competed, a number only equalled by the RAF.
Our runners were divided into 1 Men’s, 1 Open and 4 Ladies team but as on the day we had 22 runners, 2 rather quick gentleman (Seth Turner & Richard Dobedoe) were asked if they minded demonstrating their athletic prowess twice to make up full teams.
Quickest leg of the day went to Seth Turner in 27m15s, closely followed by Max Ross in 27m37s, Richard Dobedoe in 28m18s and Rachel Pearce in 28m30s, all outstanding times on a course comprising gravel tow path, streets full of pedestrians and many sharp bends.
The Men’s race was won by Oxford City, with 2 members of the team completing the 4.35 miles in a touch over 5 minutes per mile, which even a fast club runner might consider inconceivable. The RAF came in second, but the fastest time of the day went to a Rhodes scholar in just 0.8 seconds/mile over 5 minute miling!
The SAC Mens team achieved an outstanding result finishing 22nd out of the 49 teams entered, with an improbable tie between Seth on his 2nd run and Richard Dobedoe in 28:18 each!
The SAC Open team were represented by Mike Barrie, Allan Coldicott , Rosie Slocombe and with a second run from Richard Dobedoe came in a creditable 47th team.
A total of 16 Ladies made up SAC’s 4 Ladies teams, who achieved 6th, 12th, 14th and 15th in the Ladies’ team event.
Fastest time of the day went to Rachel Pearce in 28m30s, with Sophie Dobedoe second in 33m01s and excellent results from the other team members.
The Teddy Hall relays as usual provided a fun filled afternoon of running, team spirit and general merriment, aided by Birthday celebrations for Emily Adams and Kate Sergeant!
The full results are at https://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=754&EId=1 and the Team lists are below
Report – Jan Turner
First of all, I am not reporting on all the results at the Teddy Hall Relays. I just want to give you a ‘snails eye view’
Phil Marshall kindly and cheerfully organised for 22 members of the club to go to these relays in Oxford.
There is a little Wednesday evening social run group who communicate via a ‘snails’ WhatsApp. We are the ones many of you overtake in various part of Stratford, often giving encouraging words as you fly by. We are not quick but we really enjoy our Wednesday runs.
So eight of us decided to go to the Teddy Halls alongside the other SAC members who are more experienced and faster runners.
Well, we didn’t win and certainly didn’t expect to but we had a whale (or a snail!) of a time.
Just imagine the thrill of being cheered as you ran out of the stadium where Roger Bannister ran the first 4-minute mile. Then an absolutely beautiful 4 mile (and a bit) run through Oxford, along the river and into the college grounds AND as a bonus you are cheered back in as well!
There was a lovely friendly day out/picnic atmosphere. This was particularly enhanced by Emily’s birthday celebrations. Thank you so much to Emily and Cindy. The chocolate cake and cup of tea at the end was wonderful. I really appreciated everyone waiting for me, the last snail and runner by a mile (literally). We were all scared at the beginning and buzzing by the end. A definite repeat performance for next year.
PS: the snails are most definitely not an exclusive group, do join us on Wednesdays for social slithering.
The full results are at :https://www.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16418&RId=754&EId=1
The Team lists are shown below