Those of you with the stamina and fortitude to make it to the end of the regular monthly updates will often have come across an appeal for information, news reports, photos and stories to liven up what might otherwise just be a list of times and positions - interesting no doubt to the more statistically inclined but less so to those with a life to lead.
True to form, Chris “The Travelling Harrier” Copus has heeded the clarion call and put metaphoric pen to paper to kick off what we hope will be an occasional if not regular feature.
or... “A funny thing happened on the way to the Finish”
It has been said that the best way to improve your golf is to lie. If I failed to tell the whole truth my 10 mile PB would be 49.10.
Let me explain.
Rewind to 1988 and I had a mate called Dave (who hasn't?). An accomplished footballer at local level his Mutley like interest in medals was greatly aided by the 'running boom' in those heady days of my youth, ok 30's.
The inaugural Forest Row 10 promised 'an award to all finishers'. Has to be a medal reasoned Dave. With his footballers knees the 1/2 marathon was his upper limit so a 10 miler was just the job. I duly joined him on the start line on a warm Sussex Sunday morning.
One mile gone, 5.56, not bad. 2 miles in 11.51 and I'm clinging on at the back of the leading group of 19. 18 minutes gone, must have missed the 3 mile marker, never mind. Suddenly there's the 5 mile marker, 19.17 on the watch! I knew I was doing ok but that was ridiculous. Give or take a couple of seconds 6 minute miles along the disused railway track saw me back in Forest Row in 12th with a spectacular new PB.
30 minutes later and there's no sign of the 20th placed runner. I'm starting to worry - Dave's my lift home. Suddenly we see a Horsham Blue Star vest just ahead of the familiar green of Worthing. They're coming from the wrong direction! Another 20 minutes or so and Dave finally makes it home. This is not a happy man!
It seems that a marshalling error just past 2 miles shortened the course for the leaders. Sadly, on realising their error they over compensated and opted for a different wrong option at the crossroads. We don't know just how far everyone else ran - Dave reckoned 15 miles, I'm not so sure. What I do know is that the 'award' looked like a cheap plastic turtle.
Dave's is probably still in the hedge.
Now it should be pointed out that Chris submitted this the day before this year’s Wrexham Half Marathon –known to some of us as the Stingray, seeing as “anything can happen in the next 13 miles or however many you want to call it”. In light of what happened there the following day one can only assume that Chris had an unerring premonition. Anyone wishing to know next week’s lottery numbers should make an application through the committee at least 48 hours prior to the draw to enable Chris to get in the ”zone”.
If anyone else wishes to share with us their stories of heroism, horror or humour (or preferably all three) then please get in touch with Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org