9 questions to discover a race: Wessex Ridgeway relay

04 Mar 2010 08:23
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Interview Focus on a race

Chris Cussen started running some 22 years ago. He took over the running of the Wessex Ridgeway relay in 2002 as he had competed on it twice and really enjoyed a full days running with his clubmates in a competitive but friendly atmosphere.

He has run 17 marathons (including the Medoc twice) and done 13 mountain marathons. He really enjoys events that are challenging and different from the normal type event.

Hello, on May 23rd 2010, you’ll be organizing the Wessex Ridgeway Relay. Can you tell us where it is located?

The Wessex Ridgeway takes place by running diagonally across Dorset, one of the counties in South West England. The area has good routes to mainland Europe via ferries to Portsmouth and Weymouth.

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How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

I think the first race was in 2000. I took over running the event in 2002. It was created so that the running clubs in Dorset could get together and have a whole day running across some of the best scenery in the area.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The route is mostly on footpaths (trails) with a few short road sections joining the off road parts. It is usually muddy underfoot. The route goes across some of the biggest hills in Dorset and has numerous hard climbs.

The route itself is not marshalled and the competitors are expected to do their own navigation. The organisers provide written notes and maps. Most of the route has waymarks, but in the heat of the event it is easy to miss one and get lost.

Wessex Ridgeway Relay runners
Credit : Wessex Ridgeway Relay

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

Generally speaking I expect to have 20 teams of between 4 and 6 runners in each team. There are some very serious runner who are trying to win the race, but we have several teams of friends who just want to spend the whole day running in glorious countryside and making new acquaintances.

Note that there is no marshalling except at the start and finish. The competitors are expected to provide their own support crews.

Do you organize other races during the Week-End? If so, on what distances?

No.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

It is in May. We can hope for a nice sunny day, but being England there have been times when its been cold and pouring with rain all day.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

No.

The marathon finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Tollard Royal before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

The finish is in Lyme Regis, which is 100km away from the start. There is a wholesome meal at the finish in a local pub, the cost of which is covered in the entry fee.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Wessex Ridgeway Relay?

A hard 100km of running through some of the best countryside in South England.

Thank you Chris