Hyde Park Relays 2005

The week after BUSA featured the Hyde Park Relays -- "Europe's Largest Student Relay Races." Teams from universities around the country and Europe were competing. Cambridge, beset by injuries and a strange flu-like virus, sent two mens teams and no womens teams. An advance party (those ready to get on the planned train) set off for Imperial College to register the teams and then walk to the course start, while the stragglers performed the equally important task of waiting at Cambridge station for an unexpected but much appreciated delivery of sustenance from Emma Pooley. With last minute retirements, our army contained only nine able-bodied men, so a certain amount of doubling up to cover all the legs of the relay was required.

Each leg of the relay was a 5km loop around the serpentine with an extra dog leg at the end. Weather conditions throughout the race changed continually between rain/hail and sun but the chilling wind was a constant factor. Paolo Natali led off the A team with the overall third fastest leg of the day, coming in fourth (don't ask me how that works...), and Will George followed up with another superb leg to put us in second place (behind a guest team). After Si Rutherford and Captain Hope had seen off an Oxford challenge to leave us still in second, Trinity College Dublin overtook on the fifth leg (Rich Hewitt) and we're just able to stay ahead at the finish despite the noble efforts of Nic Casini. This left us the third finishing team but the second scorers, an improvement of one on last years position, and well ahead of Oxford who were the next team home.

Meanwhile the B team got off to a good start with a strong lap from Alex McIntosh, followed by Andy Bell and Roman Roth, before The A-team were called in to help (after Will had sorted out the dilemma of a 'chewy bar between his legs?') with the first three runners each repeating the course, to bring the team home in 11th place, and the first B team.

In the womens race, credit must go to the Oxford ladies who had the first and third university teams. If only...

After the race, Emmas brownies were gratefully consumed before we headed back to Imperial for more free food and (after a long wait) the presentations, following which we tiredly made our way back to Cambridge. Thanks to all the dedicated Cambridge supporters; Rowan, Corin, Theo and Clare and to Emma for the cakes. Overall, a very enjoyable day out; not an opportunity to be missed out on.

--Richard Hewitt

Click here for full results from the relays