Yesterday the Dorset Coast Path Relay was blessed with the first sunshine for weeks. The route runs from Lyme Regis along to the ferry terminal at the end of Studland Bay. I was down for a leg from Lulworth Cove to Kimmeridge Bay. My pre-race preparation wasn’t ideal: Christine fed me my lunch as we were driving down; the combination of the team being 25 minutes ahead of schedule at this point and fighting our way through the sun seeking traffic meant I had just half an hour for my legs to unwind; and I was still watering the bushes when Matt Whipple was spotted sprinting down the hill towards us!
Fortunately I’d read the final details the night before and consequently followed the path straight up on to the ridge rather than taking the longer route round the coast. My current lack of training soon showed though as I slowed to a walk up the steep incline. Only the last leg of the relay is defined in the rules so the three teams ahead of us had the benefit of a separate runner doing just this uphill stretch (as well as another runner just to sprint across the car park!). My descending technique at Arish Mell wasn’t much better either. From there it’s up and over the hill before a more gentle third climb alongside Gad Cliff. The sight of a crack team of Forster children to sprint across the car park at Kimmeridge was certainly a welcome one. It had taken me some 57 minutes to do just under 7 miles (but with some 500+ metres of climb).
We then drove on to Studland Bay where Jon caught everyone by surprise by appearing around the foot of the cliffs, splashing through the sea, whereas the previous teams had all come over the cliff path. A team of six then set off on the last leg along the beach (at least three runners need to do this part). The results show we finished in a respectable fourth place, just over an hour down on the winners but two hours faster than last year. It remains to be seen how we fare once the handicapping is applied. Today, I’m not sure what hurts more – my quads or the sunburn! More photos over on Flickr.