TRC’s 40th Birthday Relay & Party

You know the feeling. You throw a party and then wonder if anyone will turn up.

On Sunday afternoon, a small group had set up the club tent and flags in the middle of Tring Park, the birthday cake was on its way and the drone camera was flying but…where were the Tring Running Club members

And then, like the cavalry coming over the hill, they started to appear, at first a trickle and then a torrent of zebra-striped runners pouring into the valley. New faces, old faces, families, supporters.

After the limitations of the pandemic, it was a joy to see so many happy folks all together to celebrate the club’s 40th birthday.

The first aim was to make a new club photo. Rachel Wray deployed all her teaching skills to assemble more than 80 club members on the side of the valley and, with expert drone piloting by Dan Newton, we were all soon squinting into the sun and waving our jazz hands. Then a swift sideways move and we joined up to spell out “TRC” for more overhead shots. Watch out for the clever editing of the dispersal footage!

The celebration had been planned and designed way back in February when we were still in deep lockdown. The thinking then had been to arrange a relay event to minimise contact. But as restrictions eased, the plan changed to each pace group running its own out and back route but with all groups aiming to arrive back in the Tring Park at roughly the same time.

And so the groups were waved off by Celine at rigorously-timed staggered starts. The tension on the start line was palpable. Would the plan work? Would the run leaders be able to interpret the detailed but acronym-heavy route descriptions they had been given? Would anyone get lost?

An hour or so later, the cavalry once more crested the hill and happy but hot groups descended back to the TRC hub.

After a few words from TRC Chair Adrian, the final official business was the cutting of the birthday cake. Many thanks to Jane, Brian, Chris and Celine for the delicious and festive fare.

As the shadows lengthened on a sunny and warm late September day, people exchanged stories of their runs, caught up with friends, entertained their children and looked forward to events to come. Bedecked with their memento car sticker “Tring Running Club – Running the Chiltern Trails since 1981”, soon it was time for the club members to strike camp and wend a way home.

A big thank you to the Birthday Celebrations group – Tony, Liz, Hugh, Helen, Celine, Nigel and yours truly – for all the events in this 40th year. Next stop, 2031 and our 50th birthday!

John Manning