Following the relay route without the huge convoy

Pauline Aitchison and team crossing the border into England and Northumberland.
Pauline Aitchison and team crossing the border into England and Northumberland.

An alternative torch relay passed through north Northumberland over the weekend, two weeks after the Olympic Torch lit up the region.

The Endurancelife Real Relay is an attempt to follow the entire route of the official Torch running every step of the way, 24-hours-a-day.

It was the brainchild of Andrew Barker, director of Endurancelife, based in Devon.

The employees watched the Olympic Torch pass through on the second day of the relay but were underwhelmed when it was transported in the convoy.

Organiser Kate Treleaven said: “It was a great occasion but we were left feeling slightly deflated when we saw the Torch didn’t run all the way and was bundled into the back of a van to travel from community to community.”

And so the Real Relay was born, setting off ten days after the official relay. On Saturday, it crossed the border into England and made its way to Holy Island carried by Wooler’s Pauline Aitchison, with the next leg taking it down the coast to Bamburgh, where the castle stayed open late specially to welcome runner Jamie Williams, of Hexham. The Torch was then handed over at Embleton, Alnmouth, Widdrington and then Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.

Catching the torch

The expectation is that the Real Relay will overtake the Olympic Torch Relay just before it ends, as the Real Relay is running 24-hours-a-day.

Organiser Kate Treleaven thinks that they will arrive at the Olympic Park on about July 25, two days before the official Torch on July 27.


The Real Relay is raising funds for CHICKS, which offers free week-long respite breaks for underprivileged children from across the UK.

All the runners must pay a minimum of £10 to run the legs and there were also epic legs, such as up Snowdon and Scafell Pike, which were auctioned off. To make a donation, visit


For details, including a list of the legs and runners, visit