top of page

Green Belt Relay 2024- Luc Dinh

As a first-time Green Belt Relay-er, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I hiked the Green Belt during lockdown and was curious to see how it would look as a race. What I can say now is that it is not your usual racing experience! It is high pace for two full days: when you’re not running you’re either busy cheering, driving, dropping or picking up your teammates along the different stages of the course. Efficient logistics are key - you want to make sure that nobody misses their start. Massive kudos to Harriet and Tim who spent hours planning this complicated race jigsaw, even through the early hours of Saturday morning!

For the GBR, target pace, to some extent, matters less than usual due to the unconventional length/terrains of each stage. What is really important is to optimise your paces throughout the leg to get the best possible time. As a result, it is recommended that you study your route in detail ahead of the race. On each leg there is typically a wide range of running abilities, so you almost always find runners with a similar pace to yours.

On Saturday I ran a 13-miler in the Amersham area that reminded me a lot of the hilly Watford half. The only twist was that half of it was through farm fields, countryside and forest trails. I really enjoyed it, especially in the last few hilly miles, where I overtook several runners much faster than me who were clearly very uncomfortable running muddy paths and asked me to take the lead. I have the few cross-country races I did last fall to thank for that!

A footpath  over a crop-filled field in the hills

On Sunday, following a last-minute reshuffle within the team, I ended up again doing a 13-miler, this time with 400m of elevation… Since I didn't have time to study the stage, I asked Tim, who has run it several times, to describe me the route. He presented it to me like my hiking holidays in the Bavarian Alps and said I would really enjoy it. For a few seconds, I thought he was using British humour to tease me but then I realised he was Californian and really meant what he was saying... It was hot and most of the hills were at the very end of the stage so I ran conservatively for the first 10K. The last miles were hard and I really started to regret my post-spring marathon unhealthy diet mainly composed of beers and pizzas. I ended up asking at the last five different marshalling points if the finish was near. What a relief when I finally saw some hoopsters waving at me near the finish line. I could finally enjoy a fresh drink!

Overall, it was a lovely weekend with a race format where solidarity and good chemistry between teammates is very important to make it a success. I’m already looking forward to next year’s race!

Luc crossing the finish line with a QPH flag in-hand


bottom of page