“You’re always going to give it your all, but sometimes you can give it that little bit extra. And that only happens a few times per year. The relays – when you’re running for the team as well as yourself – that’s one of those times where you can find that bit extra.”
The National 12 and 6 Stage Relays are special. They call upon amateur clubs to pull together teams of 12 men and six women to race over stages alternating between 5km and 8.5km around Sutton Coldfield’s beautiful, if hilly, Sutton Park.
Just getting to Sutton Park is a test. To make the grade your team must first qualify in a regional competition – the Southern, Midland or Northern Road Relays. No team gets to line up at the National Relays as a fluke.
This year two SOAR-supported clubs made it to Sutton Park – London’s Highgate Harriers and Kent’s Tonbridge AC. With access to the SOAR Elite range, the teams sported the new Elite Race Vest 3.0, and a combination of Speed Shorts and the Race Shorts 3.0.
After 50 miles and over four hours of racing, less than a minute separated the two teams, Highgate edging Tonbridge for fourth place overall, with the Kent team in fifth.
These are the events where the Elite Range truly shines. Where personal ambition combines with club loyalty to produce performances that are at once exceptional and almost unquantifiable. Like many of the events that make up the core British club calendar, these races are idiosyncratic, historic, and bring out the best in everyone who has the privilege of racing them. They are icons of the sport that act as a bridge between the average club runner, and the elite. Just like the SOAR Elite range.
Photo story by Juan Trujillo Andrades