AS Melton got back to business as usual and the Olympic Torch Relay moved on towards London, another relay slipped quietly through town in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Endurancelife Real Relay is an attempt to follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous non-stop journey, running every step of the way.
The Real Relay set off from Land’s End at midnight on Monday, 28 May, 10 days behind the official torch. Hundreds of runners from all around the Britain will have run through day and night by the time the alternative baton completes its 8,000-mile mission and reaches London in time for the Olympic opening ceremony.
A group of Stilton Striders signed up to keep the baton going on an 11-mile leg from Melton to Oakham. Originally scheduled for a 4.45am start, the torrential rain on Friday meant the baton was running more than an hour late, but with each runner aiming to make up time to get things back on track.
Andy Nicholls, Gary Christmas, Mike Brighty and Richard Gray set off up Burton Road through the early morning mist carrying the baton which includes a GPS tracking device. Fellow Strider Wayne Hackett had also intended to run but with commitments back in Melton and his car already parked at the finish in Oakham, he ran the course an hour ahead of his clubmates.
The route followed the quieter roads through Whissendine and Langham before arriving at a sunny Oakham Castle for the handover to the next runner who was headed past Rutland Water and beyond.
The baton has covered around 5,000 miles so far and is scheduled to overtake the official Olympic Torch near Dover. The Real Relay receiving has also received donations of more than £5,000 for charity.
Richard said: “This event is just one great example of what can be achieved with a good idea and a bit of that Olympic inspiration.”
* To track where the Real Relay is now, visit the event website www.endurancelife.com/realrelay