From rallies to relays in Hyde Park
More than 400 students reported for lessons in team work in the historic Hyde Park Relays held for the 71st year in the largest Royal Park in London on Saturday (8 February).
Hyde Park has been the site of public gatherings since 1637 and Speakers Corner was established as a point of free speech and debate in 1872. Formerly a hunting ground owned by Henry VIII from 1536, Hyde Park covers an area of 350 acres, makes a superb venue for running and was the iconic venue for the London 2012 Olympic Triathlon.
Hyde Park Relay is UK's largest annual student relay, held on a 5k lap passing Serpentine Lake, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner on the broad parkland paths. The format has changed over the years and now embraces three races: men's 5x5K; women's 4x5K and a mixed 5x5K.
Former alumni who have graced the Imperial College Cross Country and Athletics Club event include world record breakers David Moorcroft OBE and Lord Sebastian Coe KBE. Moorcroft moved the world 5000m record close to 13 minutes with his stunning solo 13:00.41 at the Bislett Games in Oslo in 1982, while Lord Coe set nine world records and is the only athlete to have won successive Olympic 1500m gold medals (Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984).
It could be argued that Hyde Park Relays are taken less seriously these days judging by the fun team names, the newly introduced Team Costume Prize and the emphasis on the after-party!
The winners of the legendary engraved relay baton trophies were St Mary's Go Home Devastated (1:19:38) men's team; FemAles (1:15:58) women's team and Martin's Favourite Runners (1:25:33) mixed team.
The awesome Imperial College Union Cup was awarded to St Mary's Go Home Devastated after Henry Hart, Mihaly Ormay, Thomas Bayley, Joe Pomfret and Niki Faulkner had averaged less than 16:00 for each of their 5K legs.
Among the more amusing team names were Iain Davies' Deep Hyde Mars Bars; Sex, Drugs and Running Goals; Hyde and Prejudice; Scrambled Legs and Teletubathoners!
Full results are available via runABC South comprehensive race listing here
Images courtesy Imperial College Cross Country and Athletics Club on Facebook