Runners take on testing marathon relay across the Harborough district and beyond - from sunrise to sunset

Harborough Social Runners were among those taking part in the challenge

Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 5:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th August 2020, 5:20 pm
Market Harborough social runners cross the finish line in Welland Park during their marathon relay on Saturday. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Keen as mustard runners tackled a testing multi-terrain marathon relay across South Leicestershire and over the Northanptonshire border.

Harborough Social Runners ran the special 26.2-mile relay on Saturday August 22 as groups of no more than six athletes each completed a 3.1 mile (5km) leg.

The challenging, undulating route was plotted to take 36 runners exploring local footpaths and trails from Market Harborough’s Welland Park at 7am.

Market Harborough social runners heading to the finish line in Welland Park during their marathon relay on Saturday. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

They ate up the miles to East Farndon, Foxton, Great Bowden, Sutton Bassett, Dingley, Braybrooke, Great Oxendon and Brampton Valley Way before heading back to Welland Park for 12.30pm.

The online running community has been kept busy during the Covid-19 lockdown by founder Leanne Shrive backed up by a small team of helpers.

They have been setting runners themed challenges every week to take part in while out on their runs.

Enthusiasts have been out and about hunting postboxes, clocks, wild flowers and train-related items over the last few months.

30 members of Market Harborough social runners completed a marathon relay on Saturday leaving at 7am and arriving back at Welland Park at 12.30pm. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The group also set up a Sunrise to Sunset relay where runners were allocated a 30-minute slot to run as far as they could.

Setting off at the crack of dawn at 4.55am and finishing at 9.30pm, runners clocked up a stunning 105 miles throughout the day.

“It’s been brilliant organising challenges for our runners to take part in.

“I’ve loved giving people a purpose or reason to run in a time when we’ve not had any races or official events,” said Leanne.

“And seeing everyone take part makes all the hard work behind the scenes worth it.”

The group will next tackle the Leicester Marathon Run the World challenge in September.

Competitors will notch up as many miles as they can in an effort to travel ‘around the world’ on the virtual route.

“I have a few more cunning plans up my sleeve for the coming weeks and months, too, for keeping the runners running too,” smiled Leanne.

If you would like to find out more you can check out the group on Facebook Groups (Harborough Social Runners), Instagram (@harboroughsocialrunners) and Strava and they welcome runners of all abilities.