Saturday, 17 March 2018

Hogmoor Inclosure parkrun

I've been to Hogmore Inclosure before for On The Whistle's Batty Bimble, but this morning was the first time I visited to parkrun.  This very new parkrun (second event today) had asked of a low key start, without too many inaugural chasers.  I was happy to oblige, not only because I was busy elsewhere but also because I was slightly scared by the memories of running through snow melt and sandy slurry.  As this morning approached I knew I couldn't wimp out as we had arranged to meet a friend there and I comforted myself that it hadn't snowed recently and that the route wouldn't be exactly the same.

We woke up to snow.  Great.  Too late to change plans so we threw a few extra layers of clothes in the car and off we went.  Parking at the Hogmoor Inclosure is plentiful and we arrived in good time to meet you with our friend and so many other parkrun friends, some of whom I haven't seen for ages!  Lots of hugs all round.  I hope that those new to parkrun make as many friends through their regular Saturday morning run as I have.

Being good parkrunners, we listened to the first timers' briefing and then to the run director's pre-run brief.  I admit to using my teacher voice in order to ask people to be quiet as there was quite a bit of chatter - sorry if I deafened anyone standing close to me.  I know what it is like to try to talk to a group of people who aren't listening - not fun!

The start of this parkrun is probably the muddiest start to any parkrun I have done.  It is a nice wide start though, so we got off to a speedy, if slidey, start.  The course is two laps with no tarmac at all.  Thankfully the sandy slurry from the Batty Bimble had dried to a good, solid surface, and I managed to keep my feet fairly dry by avoiding some monstrous puddles.  It is all trail, gently undulating, but I suspect that the sand will cause it to be quite challenging in the summer.

Husbando, who had taken an important 'phone call at the start line, caught me up early in the second lap and we ran together for the remainder of the run.  The cold air and the dampness, it was snowing by now, are hard on my poorly chest.  I can talk or run, but not both - so it was nice and easy on his ears today!  Sadly I can't even run that well.

At the end I was so busy admiring the new style finish tokens that I handed my son's barcode to be scanned rather than my own!  Oops!  He was safely tucked up in bed when we left home.  Hopefully the event team can sort this out.  I guess this was always going to happen as I have 7 barcodes in my pocket at anyone time.

Sadly the coffee van wasn't in attendance today, and the weather was so cold I doubt that many people would have hung around (although the marshals may well have appreciated a cup of coffee to warm their hands on), so we didn't hang around at the end.  We will be back though, if only to have a play on the fabulous play equipment.

Huge thanks to all the volunteers, especially those who stood around in the cold today.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

More mud than Bovington! And we got to do it twice!

I'm not sure whose bright idea this weekend was!  Our plans were certainly formulated before I got ill , when the idea of running 22+ miles in one day seemed like child's play.  In the past I have run the 20 mile and the marathon events at Larmer Tree Gardens.  Both these events have beautiful medals, but every time I saw someone showing off their half marathon medal I had been just a tad jealous - it is the nicest of the lot as far as I am concerned.  I'd also heard a rumour that White Star Running are revamping the Larmer medals for next year, so if I wanted to get my hands on a half marathon medal it was now or never.   

And then a Dark Larmer race was announced.  How could I say no?  We'd be down in the area already, we'd had lovely weather for the last few years, so it would be pleasant to spend an afternoon wandering around the gardens and spotting peacocks.  And it was only 8 miles..... We signed up.  

Last weekend brought snow, this weekend was supposed to be mild.  And then to forecast changed to say that it was going to rain.  Lovely.  We decided to take two cars down with us, so that we could have some flexibility.  We had one runner who definitely wanted to come home, one who was uncertain and me.  I was pretty sure I was going to stay.    As I drove down I kept thinking I could see patches of blue sky - but that was just the shading at the top of the windscreen of the car.  It was grey and ever so slightly damp.  I parked the car in a field, worrying a little about the sogginess of the grass as the car next to me slid to a stop next to me.  I collected my race numbers, did a bit of retail therapy - who can resist a bag that says 'I love willies' on it?  

I bumped into a couple of friends running the 10 mile race, saw the start of the dogs' race (you had to have a dog to run with to enter that one) and the 10 mile race, had a cup of tea, avoided the portaloos and waited for the start.  The beginning of the route is different to the marathon, but I swear that Andy has managed to fit all the hills from the marathon into the half!  Pretty soon the weather went from 'threatening to rain' to 'raining!'  The ground was soft anyway from the melting snow, the addition of rain and hundreds of runners made it into a mud bath!  Running downhill was impossible in lots of sections - mincing was the order of the day, and even then I was nearly taken out by a runner who slipped behind me and grabbed me with a flaying arm as he tumbled to the ground!    

I'm still struggling with breathing, especially when the air is cold and damp, so I knew I had to take it easy.  I also knew I had to save something for the last mile - which is all uphill but thankfully on a fairly made up section of track.  I overtook loads of people in this last mile by just plodding along and refusing to walk.  I like to think I managed a sprint finish - but although it was marginally faster than my previous pace I probably looked like a zombie!  
The finish area lacked the atmosphere of previous years.  Strangely, runners and supporters were not hanging around in the rain and wind (such a cold wind that always seemed to be blowing in our faces) to cheer other runners over the line.  I was no exception - I went straight back to the car to change into dry clothes before meeting my friends for some food.  There was no goody bag with this race we got a voucher for food instead.  I had a lovely macaroni cheese.  

In the end, two of us decided to stay for the evening's 'fun!'  We decided we needed to find somewhere we could sit in the warm, get something to eat (if we felt like it) and drink and that had proper toilets.  The nearest McDonalds seemed like the best bet as, even after changing into clean clothes, neither of us looked terribly respectable! The nearest McDs was actually quite a long drive away along Dorset's country lanes but the car was warm and driving is easier than running!

We got back to Larmer Tree Gardens in good time and were told to park on tarmac this time.  The weather seemed to be more favourable now - the Sun was going down, but we could see it at last!  Off we went, ground that had been muddy in the morning was even more muddy now!  As it got dark a mist rolled it - reflecting light off the beams of our head torches so that it looked like we were running into cotton wool.  We went up some hills, slid down some hills, laughed and joked about the madness that is a White Star event.  At the race briefing, Andy said we looked like 'A shit fetish party!'  Fairy lights, tutus and peacock feathers were everywhere!  The Love Station was much more fun in the dark than it had been in the pissing rain earlier in the day - people had a bit of a break, maybe a small beer to wash down the snacks before heading on out into the mud.  

It was just after the Love Station that I remembered why I don't wear my Salomon SpeedCross trainers very often.  I can't get them to fasten tightly enough around my ankles.  They felt as though they were going to be pulled off by the mud even when I was walking, more mincing through the mud was required to ensure I finished this section without losing a shoe, my dignity or both!

The last two miles were the same as the last two miles of the half.  With the pungent smell of wild garlic in my nostrils I caught up with, and overtook, the same couple I had caught up and overtaken at a similar point in the morning!  The finish was much more lively this time - the weather was better and fairy lights make everything nicer!  I collected my medal and a hug, followed by biscuits and a beer and headed off to the car for the journey home.  

Huge thanks to Andy and all the WSR team for another excellent event.  I hope the marathoners and twenty milers had a great time today too.   

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Batty Bimble

It has been a week of cancelations.  The Bath Half was a casualty of the 'Beast From The East' as were several local races and over 400 parkruns.  I was lucky that Basingstoke parkrun went ahead on a novel route, but I was worried that On The Whistle's Batty Bimble would fall foul of the weather.  I had no knowledge of the route, on Bordon's Hogmore Inclosure - a former tank training ground - so no real idea of how the weather would have affected the ground.  The thaw began yesterday and, by this morning, there was very little snow left.  I nearly didn't make it to the start line as our garden path was covered with a sheet of clear ice!  

Safely at the start line, we looked at the ground.  Mud!  And lots of it.  We collected our race numbers, chatted to people we knew and listened to the race briefing.  I have run a couple of 10 mile runs in the last two weeks, so I was fairly confident that a half marathon would be fine.  Four laps would be child's play.  I had no desire to do any more than that.  Of we set - a downhill start and it was slightly muddy underfoot, but we were soon on a fairly good trail path through the woods - if it was all like this it was going to be easy.  It lasted less than half a mile before reverting to sandy paths covered with a thin layer of rapidly melting snow, a thin layer of rapidly melting snow that I feel I should add was up hill in places!  Not hugely uphill - but with the sand underfoot it was energy sapping work.  

I ran the first lap with a lovely friend - I've run with him at a couple of event, but we were going a little too fast for my recovering body and sub par lungs!  Walking and talking is a huge challenge at the moment, I have to admit that I was quite shocked by how hard I was finding this route.  The Sun tried to shine on our first lap - which was pleasant and resulted in shedding of layers, something to be regretted when the sky clouded over and the wind got up a bit!  The route was 'out and back with a small loop at the end' - which was great because it meant you got to see people several times each lap.  One little lad who was spectating saw me on my 4th lap and shouted 'I've seen you a hundred times!' which made me laugh - sadly the race director wouldn't accept this as evidence of completion of a huge number of laps. 
With the passing of laps, the remaining ice melted more, feet churned up the ground and it was a little like running through a thick, cold soup!  The conditions underfoot were possibly the most challenging I have run through, there were just so many different types of shoe grabbing, slippery, slidey slurry and sand to run though that I felt I was constantly having to concentrate on what I was doing.  There were a few bits of dry sand - but that just stuck to the mud on my shoes and added a bit more mass and removed a bit of grip!    After the first lap I decided to take it easy.  Run a bit, walk a bit, stop for a chat with anyone I fancied a chat with - try and spot some bats (they live in specially constructed structures on the Inclosure) and, er, enjoy the morning!  

The aid station was well stocked and it was pleasing to see so many people bring their own water bottles and cups with them in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic that would need to be disposed of afterwards.  Less pleasing was some of the litter on the route - not from runners, unless they are drinking cans of Stella while running (and in which case it is most unsporting of them not to share) or running with invisible dogs while leaving very visible dog poo bags in the middle of the path.  I didn't see any runner related litter (gels, water bottles etc.) at all.  

I stopped after four laps.  I had plenty of time to carry on and do a few more, but 13.1 miles is my longest run this year so far, and I wanted to stop while I was still, just about, enjoying myself!  I ran up the last slope and rang the bell - almost skidding as I came to a halt. I collected my medal, put on some warm layers and chatted while I waited for my friend to finish.  
Excellent organisation - as ever - from On The Whistle, and a chance to be the first organised even in the Hogmore Inclosure!  I shall look forward to coming back when parkrun starts here (is starts next Saturday, but I won't be able to make it for the first couple of weeks).  It might be drier under foot then too!  
Play area

Saturday, 24 February 2018

There's no place like home.

The doctor, bless him, has said that to aid my recovery, I should have a gentle walk outside every day.  Yay!  So starts the long, slow road back to fitness.  I was reminded earlier in the week that today would be my 300th parkrun.  This is most definitely not an official parkrun milestone, but it seems that any opportunity for cake is worth noting, so I baked a cake and decided to head to my home parkrun.

I don't get to run there as often as I used to because there is now a closer to my house parkrun which makes life easier for the rest of the family.  But Basingstoke is where I started my parkrun journey and as such will always hold a special place in my heart.

It was bitterly cold this morning so I decided to leave the small people at home.  Selfishly I wanted to be able to go for a run without having to listen to people complain about how cold they were, could they stop after one lap? How about after two laps? And then demand attention and food while I was trying to catch up on the gossip at coffee.  I don't think they were too upset, but they missed a beautifully clear morning with stunning blue skies!

I was trying to keep a relatively low profile (not sure that the doctor would be too happy if he heard I was running rather than walking) but that was scuppered by being outed at the run briefing and the ever exuberant MrW pointing me out using a giant purple foam finger!  I chatted with friends on the way to the start, looking forward to getting going so that my toes might start to defrost.  Unfortunately one poor lady tripped soon after the start and hurt her ankle, it could have been a much worse situation but several parkrunners stopped to see if she was OK and to warn approaching runners to slow down and move around her.  I hope she is now recovering well.

We ran the winter course - three anticlockwise laps, all on the paths.  My Garmin announced my performance condition was -5!  Not a good omen, but to be honest it didn't feel too much like hard work - I suppose I am used to using only part of my normal lung capacity.  As I ran down Tennis Court Hill  I saw the sign above.  I cannot tell you how wonderful that made me feel!  I had a huge smile on my face as I ran past it - the same thing happened as I ran past a similar sign in the woods.  Thanks must go to SirM of the park for such a thoughtful gesture.  It was also lovely to see so many of my B'stoke parkrun friends.  Somewhere on the last lap I caught up with MrW, who is fast approaching his 500th parkrun.  It has been a while since I have overtaken him as I've usually been running with the small people so I very ungallantly went for it.  I then had to keep my pace up as I suspected that he would want to try to regain the lead.   I couldn't afford to look back and see what he was up to, so I just kept going and hoped for the best!  I crossed the line in 26mins 30 seconds, my best time of 2018 - although that isn't hard given the state of my lungs.

Thank you to all the volunteers who made today's run possible - standing around in the cold must have been miserable today!  Here's to the next 200 parkruns!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Do you think these signatures match?

The signature on the right is taken from a photo of my oldest son's signature from his provisional driving licence.  I am that annoying sort of mother who takes photos of passports and driving licences because she secretly believes that all the children, and quite possibly her husband too - are idiots who would lose their heads if they weren't firmly attached.

Anyway, that licence went missing back in August 2017, Josh reported it missing to the police, along with the rest of his wallet, but as it was reported lost it was not a crime so therefore no crime number.  It has been a real nuisance him not having a licence, but the inertia of a student is hard to battle at a distance of several hundred miles.

A few weeks ago a letter arrived, addressed to Josh, forwarded on from our old address.  The one that appears on the provisional licence.  It claimed that Josh had not paid a fair on a Metrolink tram and had not paid the penalty fair within the time given and that therefore he now had to pay £150 or face appearing at a magistrates court where he would be convicted of a criminal offence.

I phoned my poor son up and gave him a bollocking.  He protested that he never used the Metrolink, I asked him if he was sure, he assured me that he was.  I said I'd phone up and find out what was going on.

This is when I learned that the inspector on the tram had been given a driving licence as ID.  Apparently it was inconceivable that the inspector would accept a licence that did not match with the individual in front of them, therefore Josh must have been on that tram.  I pointed out that the licence had gone missing some months ago, and was asked to send a photocopy of his passport to support my assertion that they had given the ticket to the wrong person.  In return I asked for a copy of the 'penalty fare notice' and a description of the individual they had given the ticket to.  I asked if they had CCTV and I was told that they had CCTV for 'health and safety purposes only' (although they also told Husbando there was no CCTV).  I was told that they could not give me a description of the individual incase any of us recognised the individual and decided to 'take matters into our own hands!'

The copy of the penalty fare notice took some time to materialise.  We were about to pay up on the grounds that we could not prove that Josh was in a pub drinking his way through his student loan when it arrived.  I couldn't believe it.   (I've copied it here with surname and address blurred out).

Josh is dyslexic.  He has always signed his name 'Josh' - nothing more, nothing less.  And yet here was a penalty fare notice with him signing 'Josh Charles'  (Charles is one of his middle names, the only one that fits on his driving licence) in a remarkably fluid hand that bears no resemblance to the signature on his driving licence - which apparently was the document used to identify him, or his passport - which I had copied to send to him.

We phoned up on his behalf and pointed this out.  We were asked to supply more examples of Josh's signature - which we did.  Then we waited.  Confident that anyone could see that the two signatures did not match and that everything would be resolved.

Today we had a letter stating that 'we have reviewed the reasons why you were unable to provide a valid ticket/pass and based on the information you have provided, I can find no reason to reconsider out employee's decision to charge you with the standard fare charge.'    It also states that 'Our appeal procedures only allow for one stage of appeal, therefore we now consider this matter to be closed and would ask that you now settle the amount due on your standard fare charge.'

Hello?  Is it only me who cannot see that the two signatures do not match?  It is at times like this that I wish I had a good friend who was a solicitor who could write a suitably worded letter.  As it is we are at a little bit of a loss as to what to do next.  They maintain that the signatures match, I think that the 'signature' on the penalty fare notice shows far more similarities with the handwriting that completed the rest of the form than it does with Josh's passport and driving licence signature.  If this blog could get to someone with decent eyesight at Metrolink Manchester that would be a bonus!

Enlarged for clarity

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Did you miss me?

Did you miss me?  Or were you just glad to have a break from the mad woman blithering on about running? 

The day after the Bovington Half Marathon, which was the first day of my Christmas holiday I could not get out of bed.  It wasn't that I didn't want to get out of bed, I physically couldn't get out of bed.  I put this down to the end of a very long term and thought a day in bed would sort it out.  It didn't.  Eight weeks later I am starting to feel better.  Viral pneumonia made me feel worse than I have ever felt in my life.  Until you have woken up, several times every night, with the sensation that you are drowning you really haven't lived! 

This has obviously had an adverse effect on my running because I didn't do any training at all - but now I am back, taking it easy and hoping to regain some lost fitness.  I've missed running A LOT! 

This week has seen me start running properly again.  I am stunned by how much fitness I have lost, there is only one way to rectify this and that is to get out running again. 

For the last couple of days Husbando and I were in Cambridge for the Cambridge Book Fair, and to watch the very excellent play 'Art' - I never imagined that watching three men eating olives in silence could be so funny. I suppose it helps when those three men are Nigel Havers, Dennis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson! 

We had some debate about where we would parkrun.  Husbando has only relatively recently become a parkrun devotee - in the past when we have been in Cambridge (or other places) for book fairs he has gone to the fair and I have gone to parkrun.  This means that it is five years since I ran Cambridge parkrun as I have taken the opportunity to visit various parkruns near Cambridge.  Eventually we settled on Cambridge. 

It was really easy to get to Milton Park from our hotel and the parkrun weather fairies were bring very kind to us - beautifully clear skies if ever so slightly chilly!  The run director informed us during the brief, that we listened to quietly, that all the ice on the puddles had been broken, but that the course was quite muddy in places. 

I set off with the 30 minute runners.  Muttering about how grim it was to be chasing down a time from 5 years ago when I could barely breath properly when walking upstairs.  We barely go faster than a walking pace for the first 100 or so metres, but the ground underfoot for the first short lap seemed ok - a few puddles and lots of tight, congested turns, but one could easily avoid the puddles.  The two long laps were a different matter - twisty and turny and with plenty of mud!  I was plodding along quite happily, not worrying about time, but aware that I was steadily passing people. 

I nearly came a cropper a couple of times when trying to pass people.  The people I was trying to pass were wearing headphones and seemed totally unaware of other runners around them.  On a couple of occasions I'd run into a space that suddenly vanished as the runner (who couldn't hear me plodding up behind them) changed direction.  I don't understand why people feel the need to listen to music while a parkrun (or other races - although lots of races have banned them now).  Part of the pleasure of running with a group of people is chatting to them, or just overhearing random snatches of conversations between other runners. 

Towards the end of the second lap we found a sign that surely must have been placed in true White Star Running fashion - it seemed much more than 400m to the end.  Shortly before this sign a man caught me up and said that I had slowed down.  I puffed that I had nothing left, but did manage to pull away from him again.... only to hear him say 'You can't let me beat you!' as we got to 100m from the finish.  I was done... or so I thought until I heard what sounded like a woman closing in on me.  I pushed on a bit faster, overtaking the man who had so kindly encouraged me, only to realise as I crossed the line that it was a child I had so meanly accelerated away from!  Oops!

I finished in 27 mins 8 seconds.  Just under 2 minutes slower than my last run on the same course.  It was much muddier this time, and I am still recovering from being ill, so it was all in all an encouraging result.  Husbando was considerably faster and was waiting for me at the finish ready to buy me a cup of tea.  We got our barcodes scanned, placed our finishing tokens in the correct buckets and retired to the 'Grounds Cafe' for tea and one of us had a cheese and tomato toastie! 

Thank you to all the volunteers who made Cambridge parkrun happen this morning, and thank you to all the runners who chatted to us and made us feel so welcome. 

So that was parkrun 299 for me.  Next weekend will be 300 and, although it isn't an official milestone, I have been told by someone who should know, that cake is acceptable.  I am planning to return to my parkrun home, Basingstoke, to catch up with my parkrun family there.  I just have to factor some cake baking time into an already busy week!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The longest f*cking half marathon in the World.

I've done some silly things in my time, you've met Husbando so you know this to be true!  To be fair today's outing didn't seem like a bad idea when I started planning it.  We need to go back about a year to set this in context.  I won a raffle!  I never, ever, win raffles, so really alarm bells should have started ringing back then, but win a raffle I did.  Andy from White Star Running drew my name out of a hat (or rather his dog, Bryce, snuffled around looking for a piece of cheese in a bucket and my name was the first one to fall to the floor).  My prize was 4 race entries and various other bits and pieces that I don't recall (and haven't yet bothered to collect!)   Now this put me in something of a quandary as I had already entered most of the White Star Races I wanted to do in 2017, so I put my thinking cap on...

I knew that Bovington had not yet opened for entries and I'd thoroughly enjoyed last year's Bovington Marathon so decided that I would use all 4 tickets for the same race, and give the other three places to friends as Christmas presents.  When the race was announced the full marathon was on the Saturday and the half on the Sunday, so that meant an easy choice - Husbando was not going to take a day off work so close to Christmas, we'd all do the half.  Sorted.

In February another friend of mine, TG, started running and idly said that he needed a goal.  I said he should come and run the Bovington half with us - I'd get it for him as a Christmas present.  He seemed enthusiastic but today admitted that it was easier to commit to running a half marathon than to say no to me!   And to complete our merry little gang I decided to buy a place for SW, you'll remember him from blog posts about Tanzania, we no longer work at the same school so I don't see him as often as I'd like.

So, hardly a bad plan.  In fact, I thought, quite a nice plan.  What better way to celebrate the first weekend of the Christmas holiday?  Except that, being the first weekend of the holiday, the lurgy that had been festering away and that I had been holding at bay by sheer force of will and because I was too busy to be ill, decided to take advantage of me relaxing to develop into something more akin to actually being ill.  Having gone to bed at 8pm every night for a week and deciding that I was too ill to run parkrun yesterday I managed to convince myself that I would be fine to run a half marathon, in the mud and rain, on the Sunday.  After all, I've run marathons with the beginnings of whooping cough, a half marathon would be no problem.

The benefit of running the half was that we had a more leisurely start to the day.  We didn't have to leave until 7.30am, five of us travelling down in one car, meeting SW, his lovely fiance and Darwin the dog there.  We arrived, picked up our race numbers, had last minute wees, faffed with hats and gloves and made our way to the start.   After a brief race briefing we were off, I'd managed to get myself separated from everyone else at the start but was sure that I'd find them again soon.  I didn't.  MW, who had started slightly later than me did overtake me within the first few miles - when I was already struggling, we ran together for a while which was nice.  It was muddy and hilly but not too bad, I just couldn't breath properly, and had to stop to cough often.

At 7 miles in I texted my friends 'This was a mistake.  I feel awful.   Wait for me at the end. 7 miles in and I am dying.'  I thought that everyone was ahead of me.  I was already walking more than I was running, but at least I was half way through (WSR events often run a little long, so I'd budgeted for just over 14 miles for this race).  I plodded on, and on.  Just before 11 miles we came to a steep downhill section 'Oh lovely! The ski section!' said a cheerful voice behind me.  Soon after this I heard my name being called, I looked behind me and saw SW!  He'd been running with Husbando, TG and CW and had been behind me not in front of me - when he saw my message he decided to run on and catch me up.

It was great to 'run' with him and catch up on his news, but I could only run for very short sections by now.  We went on, and on, and on!  13.1 miles came and went.  We ran through rivers - as I picked my way carefully through one of them SW decided to act like the child he is and splashed right next to me - soaking me from waist to toe.  I called him a very rude name - the people around us seemed to think it was hilarious.  I, meanwhile, had soaking wet leggings and an uncomfortably moist gusset - SW stated that he often has that effect on the ladies!

At 14.5 miles we decided to 'dig deep' and run to the end.  Just after 15 miles we gave up on that idea.  When would this race ever end?  No time soon it seemed!  Just after 16 miles we crossed the road outside the tank museum - the end was nigh, now was the time to see what we had left and we did manage to run to the finish.  In my mind we looked like Mo Farah and Jo Pavey, but in reality we probably looked more like Richard Briars and Honor Blackman in 'Cockneys Vs Zombies.'  As we approached the finish line SW's fiance and Darwin were there to cheer us in - Darwin was very vocal - and then it was all over.  Thank god!  16.62 miles by my Garmin, 17 by some of the Strava feeds I saw.

MW had finished long before and was near the finish with warm jumpers.  I grabbed a cup of tea and made my way back to the car to wait for the others, SW et al had to go on to get to a football match.  We saw the other three as they approached the finish - but I could not shout - my voice wasn't working at all!  TG did amazingly well.  It was a very long course and, while it did rain towards the end, it wasn't as cold as yesterday - had it been he could well have been in trouble.  I apologised to him, to all of them really, for forcing them to take part in such madness.

Distance aside, I believe some last minute re-routing was required, this was another great WSR event.  And had I been hale and healthy it would have been a very enjoyable day out.  I am now off to bed for about a month to see if I can get over this silly cold.