The RealRelay endurance test

Rob Gray from Wetherby Runners on his last lap of the the Real Relay into York
Rob Gray from Wetherby Runners on his last lap of the the Real Relay into York

THE president of a Wetherby running group has joined hundreds of athletes across the UK in an extreme alternative torch relay.

Rob Gray, who is president and founder of Wetherby Runners AC, took part in the alternative Olympic torch relay route from Little Ouseburn to York Minster last week.

Rob, who carried the torch on foot through the villages of Whixley, Cattal, Tockwith, Long Marston, Rufforth and Acomb, said he had decided on this route after organisers of the official torch relay had missed out on these villages.

He told the Wetherby News: “I wanted to ensure that the baton covered areas the original didn’t.

“It’s really captured the imagination of the people who just expected a little bit more of the official one and were quite disappointed when the runners hadn’t really taken the full distance.”

Rob, who founded Wetherby Runners in 2004, said he particularly enjoyed visiting the schoolchildren in the villages of Tockwith and Rufforth on his torch-bearing trip.

Detouring slightly from his planned route, Rob said the children had been delighted with the visit.

“The teachers had done a great job of briefing the kids about the event. The younger ones who didn’t see the official torch relay in York said that this more than made up for it.”

Joining Rob in the relay leg was felllow running club member Ann Dale who took part in the preceding leg from Ripon to Little Ouseburn on the same day.

The event has been organised by Endurance Life. All participants are asked to donate a minimum of £10 to charity CHICKS.

The charity provides week-long respite breaks for disadvantaged children from across the UK. For more information on the Real Relay Endurance Life project visit the website at The Real Relay, which started on May 28, is around 10 days behind the official Olympic torch route.