CAUTION : very slippery

 

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Icworth House, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and the venue for the first Hoohaah 10k of the year. Beautiful setting and a lovely trail course (in the main) BUT VERY MUDDY.

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In fact there were hundreds and hundreds of metres of mud and easily qualified as the most muddy race I have ever taken part in. To enter the restaurant/cafe, shopping emporium and second hand bookshop, one had to don these blue plastic over bootees! One didn’t look very cool.

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Fair enough. I wasn’t impressed by their bookshop, however. Not a patch on Wimpole Hall’s and I didn’t buy anything. Highly unusual, highly irregular but a memorable experience thanks to the blue bootees.

Still, the race was very enjoyable and later we had coffee at an outside cafe with our chums.

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I found myself inadvertently sitting on the orange side and consequently ruined the symmetry.

Tuesday was running club and we did a “country fartlek” from the University of Cambridge Athletics Club to Grantchester Meadows, along the Cam.

Today, we ran Cambridge parkrun. Cold but a great deal dryer than last week. I couldn’t catch any rivals. I’ll have to choose new and slower rivals.

Tomorrow, it’s the London Marathon. Spectating, not running. It’s not easy devising a training regime for marathon spectating. I’ll know tomorrow when it’s all over.

 

 

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Muddiest ever Cambridge parkrun

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The entire Cambridge parkrun course was replicated in this short section. I took this pic on my warm up route and met a runner who warned me I would need a boat to proceed further. Many of the puddles occupied the entire width of the path so avoidance wasn’t an option. The rain held off but temperatures were low (for me) at around 2-4c. Despite the weather, 359 splashed their way round and it really was good fun.

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Here’s a good picture of Lorna (in the middle) with running (and chatting) chums. Looks completely normal.

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Here’s Lorna at the end of the race and about to receive her number token. Something has happened in the time these two pics were taken and I’ve yet to receive an adequate explanation. How long was she running while munching her glove. This certainly isn’t normal!

Tomorrow I’m doing a 10k race at the Icworth Estate, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. This promises to be another mud bath which raises the possibility that we mud splattered runners won’t be admitted to their very nice cafe/restaurant. or even worse, I’ll be turned away from their second hand bookshop.

Me : Do you realise I’m a National Trust member and therefore entitled to benefit from the full panoply of facilities and privileges which are accorded to my subscription?

National Trust official : On your bike, sunshine, and come back when you’ve had a bath and smell a lot sweeter!

Thanks to Stoke Gifford Parish Council, parkrun is national news following their decision to charge parkrun or parkrunners for using the open spaces of Little Stoke park as a course. They’ve been roundly condemned for this move because it contradicts the founding principles of parkrun and constitutes a degradation the philosophy of a free, inclusive, volunteer organised, run for all. There are nearly 400 UK parkruns and around 850 worldwide. Additionally there are about 90 Junior UK parkruns. Stoke Gifford Parish Council are very naughty, very foolish, very short sighted and probably Tory dominated.

 

It’s all about me, again!

Cambourne 10k, a few miles out of Cambridge. Grass, soft paths, some hard surfaces but not much. Several long, gentle inclines and descents. Mainly countryside. I didn’t do it last year. Did do it in the previous two years. Today was 5 seconds slower than 2014 and 38 seconds slower than 2014. So I’m a failure and in bits? Hardly, it was a good run for me. The weather was sunny, temperature around 10c and warm enough for me not to have to wear a jacket and long tracksters. I enjoyed this race.

About 850 ran it and there were an awful lot of faces I knew or recognised from the club, parkrun and other races over the years.

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Here’s me munching on a post race goody bag snack and holding on to Lorna to make sure she doesn’t run away. Good friend Mike looks straight at the camera. He came in approximately 5 minutes faster than me! Surely he must be taking a performance enhancing drug? There were actually officials wearing hi viz bibs bearing the word ADJUDICATOR running in the race and one cruised effortlessly past me. What’s all that about? To pull over people running too fast, that’s what.

Watched a recorded BBC programme, How to Stay Young tonight. The second part is broadcast on BBC1 on Thursday, April 11th. Well worth watching despite being a little scary. There are now a number of tests and research findings which give a more accurate indication of future health and longevity. One was very simple. Crossing your legs and then sitting down on the floor without the use of your hands and then rising to your feet, again without the aid of your hands. You scored 10 if you could successfully do this as described and lost points if you used an elbow, hand or even wobbled excessively. I couldn’t do it. Not only did I go down with a thump and nearly injured my coccyx but I was nowhere near to getting up unaided. Oh dear! I wonder if performance enhancing drugs would help.

 

 

 

A Tale Of Two Parkruns

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Here is a pic of Milton Country Park which hosts Cambridge parkrun. 341 runners turned out despite the rain and giant puddles of unknown depths. I’m sure we would be regarded as heroes or stars by people whose love of exaggeration knows no bounds. The truth is we were just ordinary guys (now regarded as a universal term referring to all sexes) doing our duty and taking no regard of personal danger.

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Here is a pic of Yeovil Montacute parkrun in South West England, hosted by the National Trust in the grounds of Montacute House, where 258 ran, including Lorna, who stayed near Glastonbury. Note the difference in the weather. Blue skies, unbroken sunshine and undoubtedly warm. They are simply runners, not heroes!

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Here’s another picture to underline the intrinsic unfairness. These are very little puddles compared with deep troughs of water straddling the narrow trail paths and the deadly swamps which edge them. Boy, did we get super muddy unlike runners at other mollycoddling parkruns.

Still, it was a good run albeit on the sticky side. My new arch rival Eric beat me by 8 seconds but I’m catching up. Neither of us are as fast as last year although we are both slowly improving. Ex arch rivals Mike and Kerry have moved well beyond me (unless I seek out those popular illegal performance enhancing drugs. I’ll have a word with the Tesco pharmacist next time I do my shopping).

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Photo by John Wilderspin

Here’s me, pursued by rabid dog, on the finishing straight. My mind is already on reading a copy of The Oracle that Lorna was bringing home from her sun drenched parkrun at Montacute.

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Can’t wait to go back to Glastonbury with Lorna and climb the Tor again.

Tomorrow, I’m running the Cambourne 10k and, unlike today, the weather looks good.

 

Cute butterflies and pollinating insects most welcome : rabbits and deer, remember you are edible!

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Green Minds, the therapeutic gardening project, continues to develop slowly but will need to speed up considerably now the growing season has arrived. The rabbit proof fence is almost fully intact and I am hoping other wildlife will not be a problem. I went out in the field with Rupert the dalmatian and surprised two roe deer. Rupert gave chase to one and I saw the deer leap over a 1.3m fence with ease so if they see something really delicious in my little compound it won’t be difficult for them to get in. I’m thinking about venison at the moment.,

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Since this pic was taken I’ve acquired several more tables and planted a lot of seeds. I’ve got a lot of digging to do both inside and outside the polytunnel. I’ll also need to install sliding doors at the entrance where you can currently see green netting. We had some very strong gales last week and the net openings could not cope with it.

Wimpole estate parkrun last weekend.Blue skies, sunshine and warm enough for me to wear shorts and long sleeved top. It’s one loop over park land and includes a short, steep hill, a run along the lake side and a route which takes you to the front of the big Hall and down the main drive. Trail shoes needed. I usually walk up the hill, striding as strongly as I can. This time I jogged up which wasn’t any quicker, really, and took me longer to recover at the top. This is followed by a flat 400 metes before a descent to lake level and a view of the folly on the far side. Sometimes you need to run close to large cows with dismayingly sharp curved horns. This requires a degree of bravery. Other runners refer to us as possessing “Wimpole courage” and I accept the compliment. One can gradually acquire this unique form of courage by acclimatising to danger by running past sheep which are also thick on the ground at Wimpole. This stage is known as  Wooly Thinking.

I met an old running club friend whom I hadn’t seen for some time while I waited  for Lorna to come in.  After a fine coffee with running chums, I took myself off to the pre-loved book shop where crazy people actually donate their unwanted books, an oxymoron if ever I heard one. I limited myself to two essential purchases.

Today, I went for a short 2 mile run and tomorrow, if I get back from East Londinium in time, I’ll go road running with the club.