When I was at school, if anyone had suggested that I would ever do a cross-country run voluntarily, I would have considered them stark raving mad! Yet here I am. In those heady days of the 1970s, as well as avoiding cross-country, I enjoyed the TV series, the Dukes of Hazard, where the “good ol’ boys” were constantly harassed by the county sheriff Rosco P Coltraine. I always thought the way he said his name, emphasising the “P” sounded like “Rosco Peco’train” and it’s funny because today’s race was part of the “Peco” league and with steep rooty woodland paths, “Hazard” is definitely the word.
And yet, it was great fun. Helen, my wife, said that the atmosphere of the pre-race build up, including the fact that each running club has its own tent and flag, reminded her of the Harry Potter film where everyone was gathering for the Quidditch World Championship. Magic this may not be but it’s a pretty special thing to be involved in!
The point is that no one ever told me that this sort of thing could be fun. I rather hope things aren’t like this anymore but in my childhood, if you didn’t like doing sport, they simply made you do it. You can’t ever make someone like anything and forcing them to do it is going to cause them to dislike it even more!
Running a cross-country or running around a field in a race of any description is pretty horrible and why we find it fun is unlikely to become apparent again any time soon, but strangely we do like it. However, if anyone reading this has children, please don’t make them do it!
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
1 Corinthians 13:11 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
When asked what politicians most feared, the late Prime Minister, Harold McMillan famously said “Events dear boy, events” and I think this ought to apply to runners as well.
Im doing the Awesome Running Events 100 mile challenge in December and I have set myself the additional challenge of doing 100 miles before Christmas day (#100byChristmas). Although I have now reached 74 for the month (which ought to make the 100 by Christmas a “slam dunk”), it’s going to be close to the wire.
I have a Peco Cross Country race (around 4 miles) to run on Sunday, so I’m resting on Saturday and Wakefield Distance League (3 miles) on Tuesday so I’m resting on Monday. I have to get up to travel for work at an obscenely early time on Wednesday so that gives me Thursday, Friday and Saturday to finish the job. All still doable but like I say, it’s going to be close.
Boxing Day brings on the Chevin Chase, which last year was a) under water and b) the subject of my very first Marathon Mann blog so another milestone!
“I have seen something else under the sun:
In the James Bond film GoldenEye, there is a character called Boris Grishenko, a computer genius who’s favorite expression is “I am inveeeencable” after he escapes from various scrapes. In the closing sequence Boris says this just before he finally meets his end! I felt a bit like him today.
There is a local off-road race in Januay that I did last year called the Temple Newsam Ten which is famous for its muddy bits and hilly bits in roughly equal measure. When running friend Jess suggested a group do a course recci after parkrun, a “jog” round it seemed like a great idea, especially since that due to a family get-together, I can’t do a long run tomorrow.
I thought “Of course I can do this thing” It’s only a half marathon distance with a break after 3 miles. With my current form I am invincible! What I forgot was the “challenging” nature of Temple Newsam parkrun and my propensity to give it all and certainly chase down anyone with the audacity to try and finish before me. To be fair though, Jess’s running friends were, to be frank, rather speedy and by about 1/2 way round I was wishing I had volunteered at parkrun (“it’s only a run, not a race” yeah, right)!
So to conclude, however fit I feel, I am not invincible and there are limits to what I can do. Onwards though, because I’ve plenty of goals to acheive and today’s run, although tough, was brilliant!
“for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
Proverbs 24:16 NIVUK