One under the eight…..
Scribed by Hawkeye
It takes a special kind of person to set out and run in the weather; prevailing and forecast last Sunday. It takes an even more special kind of person to set out and set the run in the weather; prevailing and forecast last Sunday. That man was Tom Tom. What’s more this was his debut trail, a trail by which he will always be remembered and perhaps even judged by the PH3 jury.
Given recent turn outs I’m less inclined to push for new runners as to push for compulsory car sharing. But given the ever rising cost of motoring it seems likely that more of us are likely to take to two wheels to attend the run, like Wot No Brains. But warmly cocooned in four wheeled (some drive) machines were Jonno Groans, Prince Charming, Cinderella, TIFM, Virgil, Venus, Sparkly, Dusty, Pis’t’man Pat, Moondance, Robic, Silver, Mary Poppins, DVD, Scooby Doo, Uphill Gill, Paul Newman, Sorry John, Tea Cosy, ‘New Ben’, El Caudello and Tally.
Mary Poppins (and DVD) chose suitable ‘umbrella weather’ to return to running but what about our hare who was nowhere to be seen? Now, I once attended a black tie dinner, where the guest speaker was absent and rumours started to circulate that he was drunk, naked and in a hotel room upstairs. I’m also sure he started those rumours, but they certainly added to the sense of anticipation of what was to come. So was this Tom Tom’s tactic? Well Sparkly surely the avant garde if not advanced guard of the PH3 relayed the news that she had actually spoken to the hare at circa 10:30am as he was setting off to set the front half of the run(!) to join up with the already distributed sawdust that was to make up ‘the back nine’. So we had a live hare to pursue! Not that the pack showed any visible likeness or comparable enthusiasm to a pack of baying dogs. The body language was distinctly Sunday saunter. But saunter quickly became slip then sweat then swear as we rapidly, almost directly ascended to Barnett Hill and beyond.
Circles were as scarce as investors in Findus shares as a hare in a hurry went off at one hell of a scurry or at least that’s how it looked to the pursuing detectives. Heath land has been the undoing of many; hare and hound alike but front runners Silver (being towed by a dog), Ben, Tea Cosy and the like were not deterred or disturbed by venue or vandalism. This was not a morning for walkers (as maybe some back markers were finding out 🙂 ). But heath land wasn’t to be the undoing of our hare either, and he even found some time to throw in a circle to test us out.
Being a pack of 23 could have been a gregarious gad about, but with no circles we were distinctly linear with a few clumps of people regrouping where they lost the trail or had to cede passage to a horse. Or Chateaubriand a la hoof as it’s currently known. We galloped down toward Chilworth before the hare reined in his enthusiasm and we cantered back up to Blackheath and a calf scraping trot through the gorse. By now the odd circle had come and gone, but by and large three blob turns served to route us in our diversity.
The on in was thankfully the descent to equal our initial ascent, but with a sting in the tale in the shape of an unavoidable mud bath. On this descent I’m led to believe that there was again equine interference and those unlucky enough to be at the rear of the horse guards ended up being the rump of the pack. Line honours featured some variation on Jonno Groans, Dusty and TC, closely pursued by Silver. The rest were glad to make it back into the dry and warm.
VERDICT: They say first impressions count…..and as a first run goes, this will live long in the memory. Both PP and I ventured that this was an Olympic run….only five bloody circles! But in truth, if any of us were honest (and could remember) we’d recall that it does take a run or two to find your setting style and Tom Tom took the constructive feedback with good humour. Many thanks Tom, more practice needed and of course I’m always welcoming to volunteer hares!
AT THE PUB: There had been some minor kerfuffle with the landlord before the start, it might have been something to do with the 20 cars in his car park, unannounced, but after we despatched the lycra ladies to pacify him and also gain access to the facilities – he couldn’t have been nicer. The ales on offer were numerous; Surrey Pilgrim, something Lancaster and others I forgot to record. Tom Tom bought the chips and took his feedback whilst we speculated on the whereabouts of Tally, SJ and El Caudello. They all arrived in due course but not before Cinderella returned to find that she had been abandoned by her fiancé and chauffeur for the day. A quick phone call rectified the situation though I’d venture that some valentines’ follow up will be in order this week. In due course all 23 were back although El Caudello witnessed SJ’s dog refuse to jump up into the back of his car. I think we all knew how he felt!
Note to self: ‘New Ben’ can’t attend for another week without earning a hash name……
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