Relay Races Taking Off

I always associate relays with a GB team failing to get the baton all the way round. Harsh, but it does make for great entertainment (and GB usually did ok when they did get it round). Running is an individual sport, so apart from the track why do you need relays?

 GB Team drops baton at 2015 World Championchips

GB Team drops baton at 2015 World Championchips

Team prizes have always been there at major events - especially cross-country. Placings are added up for each club runner and then North Belfast declared the winner, not always but enough! In addition, many mountain and adventure races (e.g. Castlewellan Christmas Cracker) insist people run in pairs or groups.

So why are relays taking off:

  1. People who train together often want to run as a team, relays provide that
  2. Dividing a race into smaller parts allows more people to run it. Usually these runners would not otherwise enter the race (e.g. Belfast Marathon)
  3. Crucially the shorter distances allow runners to go faster and aim for goals (eg 3hr marathon) that would be out of their reach individually. This also has the benefit of allowing groups of runners to rub shoulders with faster runners
  4. More people involved in the race attracts greater (and more diverse) audience and more revenue. It costs little to add relay element to existing race, so there is an obvious appeal to race organisers
  5. If nothing else it’s another opportunity to run and compete


With that in mind there are number of relays coming up in 2016:


LARNE Half-Marathon(Sat 19th March)

  • 3 person teams
  • 5mile, 3 mile, 5 mile split
  • £40 per team – Sold Out
  • Need own transport to changeover


LISBURN – Wallace Park Relays (Sun 24th April)

  • Junior (U13, U15, U17), Womens and Mens
  • 4 person teams, no mixed teams
  • 2 x 1 mile laps each, 8 miles total
  • Champion Chip Timing
  • £20 per team (£24 unaffiliated)
  • Online registration closes 17th April
  • Can enter on the day


BELFAST Marathon Relay (Mon 2nd May)

  • 5 person teams, Male, Female & Mixed
  • 6.2miles, 3.3miles, 7.2miles, 4.5miles, 5miles
  • Champion Chip Timing
  • Cost is £90 per team
  • Online entry closes Friday 15th April
  • No entry on the day
  • NB Limited Lifts to Changovers


CARRICKMORE (Fri 17th June)

  • 1-mile relays
  • 7pm start, Patrician Hall, Carrickmore
  • More info: Ciaran Collins 07866264434



ENERGIA (Sat 25th – Sun 26th June)

  • 4 person teams (must include one female)
  • 3 x 2hr sessions, one session every 8 hrs
  • 5:45pm start, 1.7km reps of Victora Park
  • £100 per team


RGU (Downpatrick) – Wed 27th July

  • 2 person teams, 2 x 5k, part of 10k race
  • Pending Permit, Time TBC
  • No further information at this time


ANTRIM FORUM (Sat 27th August)

  • Track – Team Trophy & Senior Relay Championships
  • 10am, More Info: 028 90602707



ARMAGH Marathon (Sun 28th August)

  • Marathon Relay – No information available to date  


Plus there's the NI Road Relay Championships that normally take place in Victoria Park, and well organised by Orangegrove AC. They're not up on the Athletics NI fixture list but we'll update this article when details become available.

If you know of any more relays let us know…. and don’t worry about dropping the baton, most of these races are chipped or have a band. So why not grab a couple of mates and give it a go!