Alternative torch relay gathers momentum

A non-stop alternative to the Olympic Torch relay is making its way across the UK.

The alternative Olympic torch relay
The alternative Olympic torch relay

Organiser Andrew Barker is a director of sporting events company Endurancelife. When he and his team turned out to watch the real torch make its way through their village in the south west of England, they were shocked to find that when it reached the end of its stage it travelled to the next one on a bus.

They decided their Endurancelife Real Relay would follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous journey, running every step of the way.  

The relay began at Land’s End on 28 May, ten days behind the official Olympic Torch. Hundreds of people are running day and night to reach London in time for the Olympics opening ceremony.

The 8,000-mile route is broken down into hundreds of stages. Most are ten miles but the route includes several stages that are up to 100 miles in distance. More than 170 runners have taken part so far.

Runners are required to navigate their own way between the start and finish of their stage. There is no support crew leading the way or following behind. The only condition, according to organisers, is that they must go via the communities visited by the official Olympic Torch relay.

Barker told Event that his team were inspired by the Olympic Torch relay to do it in the "true Olympic spirit".

"The official torch relay was a great occasion for our village and brought the community together, but with the budget that Locog had we felt they could have done a non-stop relay. We didn't think too hard about it; we just contacted all our Facebook fans and got people running."

There are still slots left to join the Real Relay as it makes its way through Ireland and Scotland this month.  

"We’re calling on runners from all over the British Isles to join the relay by signing up to run one or more of the stages and help achieve one of the greatest Olympic endeavours of all time," said Barker. All the money raised from the event is going to children's charity CHICKS.

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