Virtual relay reignites inter-island athletics rivalry

Former marathon star Lee Merrien says a virtual road relay between runners from Guernsey and Jersey has reignited athletics' inter-island rivalry.

Around 70 runners from across the islands competed at the weekend, posting times remotely over one and five mile distances, with the top 10 counting towards the overall total.

"The Guernsey-Jersey thing had sort of died off a little bit", the 2012 Olympian told ITV News.

"This has been a way of recreating that rivalry using modern technology and evolving current circumstances".

With times for women adjusted down, Guernsey's Jenny James and Chris Bain led the way as the Sarnians took victory by a margin of just under six minutes.

Times for the event were recorded with GPS devices and smartphones and submitted to organisers over a three-day period.

While Guernsey's athletes are used to competing as a team, Merrien said the event might help Jersey to develop a similar club cohesion.

"Maybe this is something that could help them in a positive way in terms of bringing people together for a competitive team element", he said.

"There's lots of different ways this has been really good - ultimately we'd all love to get back to seeing people race well in proper races, but at least we're seeing people put in some race performances and some very good ones at that."

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