07 April 2013

Top of the Hill

It took a long time, but eventually I conceded that my foot injury precluded running the Compton Downland Challenge this year - even the 20 miler. I had to agree the other week when Kerry offered the opinion that 20 miles was not the right distance for a first run after a few months off, and 40 was an even worse idea. So I offered to marshal instead.

The first problem I knew about: I had already agreed to marshal at the White Horse Half the following day (tomorrow, now). That was when I abstained from entering the WHHM because I expected to be running 20 or 40 today ... The second problem became apparent later: the Compton race wasn't going to be the usual figure-of-eight (which would have allowed me to stroll down the road from home and look after a road crossing for three hours or so) but two laps of the first loop of the usual course, so marshaling became a six-hour-plus job.

I was posted to the car park above Streatley - far above Streatley, as I have observed before (when I actually took part in this race). In the course of my lengthy stint minding the road crossing there, and making sure runners followed the correct route (strange how often they took the left-hand path even after I had impressed on them the need to traverse the car park) I was pleased to see John, erstwile running mate, but he only came past once - whereas Colin, whom I had met when I ran this event in '06, came past twice. The first time I recognised him and said hello to him, by name: the second time round, several hours later, he spared a little time to chat, which was nice.

As for John, all became clear the following day, when he lined up at the White Horse Half - a 20 the day before is impressive, a 40 would have been verging on lunacy.


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