‘What’s this loop like then?’ I asked my wife, Alison, as we were driving towards the Alex Moore Relay on Sunday. 

‘It’s got a couple of long drags in it,’ she replied. ‘But there’s a nice downhill section... and it’s always hot...’ 

She wasn’t wrong, although it was breezy enough this year for the heat not to be a factor. 

I’ve been looking forward to making my Alex Moore debut for a while and it was something I targeted coming back from injury earlier this year. 

In an ideal world I would have left enough time to warm up with a gentle lap to familiarise myself with the loop. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world and turning up for an event with ample snacks for the kids along with enough time to go to the toilet before the start counts as a win. 

I was in a team of fellow Wymondham AC runners, including Matt Webster and David Powles.  

It was decided that Dave would lead us off (2.2 miles) before passing the baton to me for two laps (4.4 miles). I would then hand over to Matt for two laps (4.4 miles) before all three of us run the last lap together (2.2 miles), adding up to a half marathon in total. 

I have to admit there wasn’t a great deal of negotiation over who would run the third leg, or ‘death leg’ as I have heard it described. Matt is considerably faster than Dave and I, so a gentle massage of his ego over WhatsApp the day before saw him acquiesce. 

We were never going to be in contention for any prizes so the general plan was to run hard and have fun (that pretty much sums up my whole attitude to running). 

After Dave led us off, I set out on what turned out to be a paltry warm-up involving a few shuttle runs of the campsite where the race HQ is. 

After almost rolling my ankle (I know...), I joined the other cohort of runners waiting at the handover point for their team-mates to return. The nervous excitement really kicked in as I eagerly listened out for our number to be called and I could get in position. 


That was my signal to bustle my way to the handover point after Dave had run a really strong leg (he looked like he had plenty left in the tank and latterly revealed he thought each leg was 3.1 miles...) 

I went out a little hard and got a bit over excited overtaking a few runners on the first drag. It was as we turned left on to the next hill that I started to think I might have overcooked it, considering I had a second lap to negotiate.  

(Image: Norfolk Gazelles)

I tried to settle and thankfully after the second drag there is a lovely downhill stretch to complete the loop. My breathing started to level out and as I embarked on the second lap there was a throng of supporters cheering runners on, which gave me a boost. 

I ran the second lap a lot more consistently. Knowing what to expect, I kept it at an honest effort on the uphill sections before trying to push harder on the descents. 

I caught a Norwich Road Runner at one point on the final downhill and I said ‘let’s work together’...  

He then proceeded to burn off ahead of me. Perhaps he’s not a fan of the column... 

I handed over to Matt before calculating that I had roughly 25 minutes to recover enough to run the last lap together. 

By the time I’d had some Voom bar and a couple of cups of water I felt okay again. 

It went without saying among any of us that neither myself nor Dave would be able to keep up the pace Matt had set on his leg. However, we settled into a nice groove running as a three, checking in on each other to ensure no-one was going too far into the red zone too early. 

(Image: Norfolk Gazelles)

There was initially talk about chasing down another team of male runners but this soon dissipated... 

We crossed the line as a three, finishing in a time of 1:21:00, enough to take 16th place out of the 151 teams that competed.  

Afterwards, I got the chance to take in what a lovely atmosphere this event has. Norfolk Gazelles do an excellent job to honour one of their former members, who sadly lost his life in a parachute accident. Alex would use that loop as part of his training during his time as a Gazelle and I’ve no doubt it would certainly get you fit doing a few sessions there. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience; running as part of a team is something I think I thrive on and any event that finishes in the pub afterwards gets a big thumbs up from me.  

I’ll definitely be back in other years, if another team will have me...