Runners' Tales


Copus Christie …or how one Harrier renowned for his endurance got his skates on.
He might have been better advised to have worn spikes.


Here’s our indomitable, try-anything, John Noakes of Newtown to tell the tale.

Copus Christie


“It was at Deeside that officiating an event meant that I missed out on my usual Cheshire League 3000m. I opted to do the 800m instead. Hard (very) though it may have been, it was actually a strangely enjoyable experience. Fun I think it's called. A few weeks later and the Cheshire League moved on to Crewe. Before I knew it I'd put my name down for the long jump. Not surprisingly I wasn't all that good at it. It was fun though. A bit later, having emptied the sand from my shoes, I was back on more familiar territory. The 3000m.

Having run the Barbecue 5k two days previously I was still a bit 'leggy'. When you're not going all that well a distance race on the track can feel very much like the Labour of Sisyphus. This one fell firmly into that category. On lap 4 or 5 I had a Damascene moment. 'Chris, you don't have to run the 3k every time'. 'Try something else'.

Next up was Macclesfield. Would I carry out my threat, or would I stick to the tried and tested? Last time we came here we had the infamous Martin to Reece baton change in the 4x400. Maldwyn's return to the leafy Cheshire stockbroker belt must have been anticipated with relish by all. With Martin sidelined by yet another cricket injury (a dangerous sport it would seem), it fell to dad to be the one to make a *** of himself this time round. Ok, 100m it is then!

Obviously the sprinters' warm up area, patrolled by a posse of fit, powerful young men, is not my natural milieu. So what? Do what everyone else does and you'll be fine. Except that doesn't half look energetic. It'll kill me before I start! Maybe a degree of circumspection is required. I decided to stick to my normal warm up, plus a few practice starts. After all, this is an explosive event and I'm not looking to pull anything if I can help it. If, amongst this phalanx of fancy spikes, my road shoes didn't mark me out as an imposter, my start certainly would. 'Never try anything new in a race'. Sage advice handed down through the generations. Blocks? Crouch start? Best not, I might not get up from down there! Toe the line and lean forward a bit, that'll do. Oh yes, don't look at the starter. Look straight down the track and listen for the gun.

I'm in the 4th race. Inside me are Reece and Owen. I've got more chance of being hit by space debris than I have of hanging on to them. No expectation = no pressure. As we're called to our marks it occurs to me that I've never raced this distance before. Last time I did this it would have been 100 yards. Don't fall over and it's a guaranteed PB then.

The gun goes and I reckon I'm off to a decent start. By about 20 metres I'm right up and going for it. All I can see is the backs of the rest of the field pulling away. Don't panic, run your own race. It won't last long. Depending on your point of view, it didn't. 15.9 seconds to be precise. Reece only finished 4.1 seconds ahead. That's nothing, right? By the time everyone else had finished I still had about 10 to 12 metres to go. I treated it like a lap of honour! Considering that was less than 16 seconds of effort it wasn't half tiring.

Will I do it again? Well I have acquired some spikes”



- Chris "The Travelling Harrier" Copus


Read further Runners Tales :-


"The Cheshire Half (mile, not marathon)"


"Chip Timing"


"Three Amigos on Tour"


"The Adoring Public"


"I've got to be honest, I'm not a dog person"


"A funny thing happened on the way to the Finish"