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Marathon efforts by runners

PUBLISHED: 11:00 27 June 2008 | UPDATED: 07:29 01 August 2010

BUNGAY Black Dog Running Club on Sunday had an attempt at the world marathon record for males and females.

There are some good runners in the club, but none that could manage this challenge without a little help.

BUNGAY Black Dog Running Club on Sunday had an attempt at the world marathon record for males and females.

There are some good runners in the club, but none that could manage this challenge without a little help. The club decided to do it with a relay team. This, as far as the club can find out, was an unique challenge. Other clubs have done it on the track, but not on an officially measured road marathon course.

The male world record is held by Haile Gebrselassie with a time of 2hr 4min 26sec, the female one is held by Paula Radcliffe in a time of 2-15:25.

A new course was officially measured, largely on the main Black Dog Marathon course that is used in the spring. This new course is exactly a quarter marathon, so for the relay marathon it was four laps of the course which included the rather testing Watch House Hill.

There was a male and female team. Each team had 16 runners, each taking 200m. The teams were divided into four squads, each squad with a car and driver.

As each squad completed its four legs they then jump in the car and leapfrog the other three squads to get into position to do their next section of four legs.

There were only seven minutes from the time the fourth runner finished his leg until the first runner had to start the next one. This made for a very exciting event.

There was no standing about, everybody was on the go the whole time. With the course divided into 13 sections everybody did different legs each time they ran.

A baton was used and had to be got round. With eight drivers, 32 runners, four mobile marshals, two timekeepers, course director and a sign erector it involved most of the active club members.

In the two week run-up to the event, relay hand-overs were practiced, which paid off as only one baton was dropped - the male one on the very last hand-over.

At the end of each lap the male team was only seconds outside the split record time, but on the last lap they were unable to pull back the time required. They finished in a time of 2-07:44. So near but so far.

What it really did highlight was how phenomenal these world record holders are. Those who saw these Bungay runners sprinting their legs on Sunday would never comprehend that one man could do a speed faster than that for 26 miles.

The ladies also had a valiant effort, but could not get near Paula Ratcliff's record. Their finish time was 2-43:51.

Both teams had a very enjoyable time at the event and many are already talking about how they can improve next year.

It was probably the best-enjoyed event the club has ever had. All the runners are very grateful to the drivers and mobile marshals who gave up their time to allow the event to happen.

After the attempt, 70 members of the club retired to the Maltings Meadow sports complex to enjoy the club's annual barbecue which was provided by Steve, manager at the complex. Although the strong wind was a nuisance, with buns, potatoes and lettuce taking off and flying great distances, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

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