Thanks to everyone, runners, supporters, and especially marshalls, who helped to make the 2007 Relay another record-breaker. With 23 teams starting this year (and 20 finishing), I'm starting to think what might be the right ceiling on numbers, to help preserve the friendly nature of the event, and to keep logistics manageable.
With a weather forecast predicting near constant rain, we were extraordinarily lucky to escape with only the briefest of showers at about finish time. So it was good that we were able to enjoy an after-race wind-down in the pub garden. I gather the queues at the bar were disappointingly long at times, for which I probably have to bear some of the responsibility, as I think I underestimated the number of people that I told the landlord he could expect. The more the merrier - we'll try to be better prepared next year.
Thankfully the electronic timing experiment seemed to work well - in fact with the increased numbers I doubt that the manual processing would have coped. So what of the results themselves? Well, for the second year running the young men of Ampthill showed that they are not only the fastest, but the also furthest ahead of their handicap. They took a further minute and a bit of their previous record time to take another fine double. Not far behind, though, were MMKAC's "No Dan Singh, just running", who made some good handicap selections, and ended up an impressive first mixed team, second on handicap, and third on raw speed (as well as taking the "pun of the day" title). MMKAC also took back the Ladies title.
Beating the handicap is an art that I think still has the potential to be bettered. Absolute speed is useful, but it's being "good for age" that really counts. As food for thought for the future - have a look at this list of top handicap beaters this year:
Linda DewhurstW4515:17   Peter WilliamsM5007:20
Stephen HartleyM2109:01Margaret ChewW5507:12
Keith CookM6008:39Nicholas StoneM6007:04
James ElworthyM2108:37Diane FarmerW4507:01
Debs BryantW3508:24Jim MillerM5007:01
Brian DanielsM6008:14Deborah HindmarshW4507:01
Diane BaldwinW4507:34Matt LongM2106:37
Only four new age-group leg records this year. I suspect the wet weather did not help, and I suppose they are getting tougher to crack. Well done to Chris Mahon, Adrian Wadsworth, Milf Callow and James Elworthy for raising the bar a little further.
One other point worthy of note was that all teams dutifully "dibbed" at the Stone Jug. So having the extra checkpoint seems to have been successful in ensuring people paid attention to taking the whole route.
I hope you enjoy perusing the results. Do try the interactive chart, it's a great way of getting a visual feel for how the race went. You can experiment with the various settings, but I suggest setting the first drop-down box to "Race Graph", which shows how teams crossed over from start to finish.
So, all the best till next year...
Richard.