|06 Oct 2013||Mike||Jeremy|
This was a day when most of the runners were notable for their absence, leaving just Sam, Andrea, Caroline and myself participating. Luckily for Mike our hare, we had the usual excellent turn out of walkers, amongst whom were some new faces, whose names unfortunately I didn’t get to find out.
Now, usually when I write the mag, it is purely from the running perspective. We often get little insight into what happens on the short trail, but as we will see, that wasn’t entirely true this time.
Mike called us together, waited patiently for his dearly beloved to take notice – then announced he was taking us all to Paradise – much twittering – and that when traversing ploughed fields we needed to look out for telegraph poles and weird shaped bushes (my mind wandered slightly at this point).
With the assurance that there were no hazards on the hash (which in Mike-speak means no cattle) we all immediately set off with the walkers leading the way, each hoping to reach Paradise after what would probably involve many trials and tribulations. In fact, there were neither trials, trails nor tribulations, just the need to walk round the corner from the car park onto Paradise Path. No slough of despond, but also no 20 virgins awaiting us; Paradise just isn’t up to scratch nowadays.
Despite this, we all continued happily down onto the hotch-potch of fields and footpaths spread out below Highworth. Sam, being a keen marathon runner, was soon proceeding flat out, although perhaps not quite in the way she intended. If she’d tripped over a cow, Mike would have classified that as a hazard and would have warned us about it, but tree roots …. definitely not a hazard!
With Sam laid temporarily slow, I soon found myself in the lead and came to a check at the entrance to a field. “A ha” – I thought, “ploughed field with telegraph pole – should I proceed towards said telegraph pole?” But was it the correct ploughed field? Seeing that there was a farmer ploughing it at that precise moment, it probably wouldn’t have been a ploughed field two hours earlier when Mike was laying the trail. So, ignoring said tempting telegraph pole, and possible irate farmer, I instead proceeded onwards, soon finding the long short divide and turned right – On On.
The remainder of the run was relatively uneventful – yes, two ploughed fields, one with a telegraph pole and the other with that weird bush. Caroline was in the lead as we entered Highworth and then it was soon On Inn, and a long wait in the pub garden for the walkers to return, during which time Sam was anointing her wounds with bags of ice.
Mike arrived to announce that the walkers had been delayed. A farmer had apparently erased his carefully laid trail, and then demanded that the walkers get of his land. Luckily Annie was there to save the day, leading them to safety, although this did require that they then follow much of the runner’s route, hence their delayed return. But return they did.
Once all were settled Mike as hare got up to apologise for any slight problems with the walker’s trail. That done, he next put on his temporary GOM hat and declared the trail to be the very best ever laid, so hadn’t he done well. Very clever that!
But thanks Mike, we did enjoy it, and it was a lovely sunny October day.
Postscript: Last year we had five runners entered for the Swindon Half Marathon, all of whom dropped out beforehand due to injury. This year we have four entered, so hopefully they’ll do themselves proud, current injuries notwithstanding. Good luck!