After the massive turnout to watch the Olympic flame carried through the Midhurst and Petworth area, few saw the ‘real relay’ team pass along the same route .
Much of the Olympic flame’s journey is on a coach with rests at night, but the Real Relay flame being carried in its footsteps is travelling 24 hours a day without any transport backing it up.
The idea was fuelled by a sense of Olympic Spirit when Andrew Barker took up a flame and intended just to cover the Land’s End to Devon border section ‘properly’.
But his run inspired many others, and soon volunteers were putting their names forward to run anything up to 16 miles each.
Those taking part are covering the 7377 mile route mapped out by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, but they are running 24 hours a day without recourse to any motorised transport.
Although the ‘Real Relay’ started ten days later than the Olympic Torch, by the time the relay had reached Midhurst, they were less than 24 hours behind, and will reach the Olympic stadium ahead of the Olympic Flame. A petition is on line to ask Lord Coe to allow this flame into the arena as well.
The runners in the Midhurst and Petworth area included Ian Norfield, 11 miles from Petersfield to Midhurst at 35 minutes past midnight. He handed over the torch to Stuart Holloway who ran 11 miles to Duncton, Ian Moore took the torch 12.5 miles to Chichester at 4am where David Thomas ran it 8.5 miles to Bognor where at 6.05am two runners Lisa Mortimer and Lisa Hennen took it 12 miles to Arundel.
“Few watched, few knew about it,” said a ‘Real Relay’ spokesman, “but it is raising thousands of pound for Chicks, a charity which provides respite breaks for children from disadvantaged homes.
Readers who Google ‘Real Relay’ can read all about it and support the sense of achievement.