Eglinton mountain runner Allan Bogle missed the Olympic flame as the relay passed through the North West, but the 31-year-old made up for it by taking part in an alternative ‘non-stop’ torch relay at the weekend.
Dubbed “the real relay”, orgnisers say: “The Endurancelife Real Relay is an exciting 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”.
Last week, 10 days after the official torch relay began, the non-stop relay set off from Land’s End in Cornwall. A baton is used in the alternative event, with a tracking device allowing its progress to be followed online.
On Sunday evening, Allan left Downhill with the baton at 8.10pm and, 17 miles later, passing through Magilligan and Limavady, he arrived in Ballykelly at 10.20pm. He said the event was organised due to disappointment with the official Olympic version, where the flame went on show through towns and cities all around Britain. After each stage, however, the torch was packed away and driven to its next stop.
Allan was among hundreds of runners who signed up to event, and are hoping to help complete the 8,000-mile route to London.
“When I heard about it, I was fascinated by it,” Allan told the ‘Journal’. “I didn’t get to see the torch when it was here as I was working. This was a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it really is the real relay because it’s human power the whole way. It’s going 24 hours, non stop. ”
Allan, who competed in the Commonwealth Mountain Running Championships last year, thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“To begin with I was running quite relaxed because it was supposed to be 13 miles, but then it turned out to be 17 miles,” he said. “It was tiring, but it was a good experience and to know I was in some way involved with the Olynpics.”
After Ballykelly, the baton was taken on to Derry, following the route of the official Olympic Torch relay. At the time of writing, the baton was in Enniskillen, and organisers hope it will reach London before the official torch.
Each runner donates £10 to run a stage and the proceeds of which will be passed on to CHICKS, a charity supporting disadvantaged children.
For information check out ww.endurancelife.com/realrelay/