Run Report 1516 – The Seahorse, Shalford

By your correspondent: Occasionally Odd aka Billy Graham
Hash Headline Easter Funday

Having volunteered to write the Run Report in the post-run alcoholic haze of the Seahorse – ok everyone else showed even less enthusiasm at the prospect than usual – I was wondering what topic, or theme, I could use for this week’s run – but then as it was Easter Sunday and chocolate figures high on most people’s list of likes it seemed a relatively easy decision to make. So this year’s Easter competition is to spot how many different types of chocolate bar you can find hidden away in the run report – and I will give a prize, or bounty, of an Easter egg to the hasher who is able to deduce the correct number.

This was the debut run of Nat the Hat, ably assisted and abetted by Sparkly and they both looked cool, calm, relaxed and immaculately attired in the car park before the off – none of this appearing with seconds to go covered in sawdust, sweat soaked and mud spattered like so many of our Hares. Those old faithful’s who had forsaken their beds an hour early this Sunday to take on this marathon were Postman Pat, DVD, El Caudello, Remington (running to and from the pub as part of her training for the London Marathon), Scooby Doo, TIFM, Baby Ruth & NZ niece in tow; could it be a mirage, no, it really was the Man Mountain in Black opting to run, not walk, this week, Heavenly Blonde, El Caudello (he asked to be mentioned twice because he had been airbrushed from the account of last week’s run!), Paul Newman, yours truly and finally putting in his first appearance the (nationally ranked) star-tennis player from Shalford Tennis Club, New Ashley, or perhaps to be called (Easter) Bunny Austin?

There was an uncharacteristic yellow gleam in the sky, could it be Mars, or another distant planet from the Milky Way? …no, it was the sun from our own galaxy putting in a rare appearance and although cold it was distinctly spring-like. We asked if there was to be any briefing from our debutant, but all she said was that it was about 6 miles (sub-text I don’t give briefings!) and Sparkly added there was less mud than usual, and so we might not get the opportunity to play happy hippos this week. As it was after 8 and maybe a teeny bit before 11 we set off from the back of the Seahorse. Straightaway, there was a circle on the footpath and several routes disappearing to different parts of the compass. Those of us who had chosen to cycle to the pub along the self-same cycle/footpath had hit a veritable payday and were able to negotiate the first 3 circles and get to the bridge by the Parrot without difficulty, whereas Babe had climbed the stile and descended the hill towards Shalford Weir and the water-meadows….ooh, er missus!

However the boost given to the bicyclist amongst us & his companions, was about to be undone, big time! There were several trails leading from the bridge by the Parrot and so the leading 3, or 4, musketeers set out alongside the riverbank towards Godalming. Unaccountably after one large and gleaming blob on a little hillock, the trail petered out/disappeared completely. Was it vandalism we wondered, as we ran backwards and forwards like headless chickens? Even on the 2nd time of running this section of trail, or non-trail, there was no sign of a cross. Could it be that NTH had gone over to the dark side already and laid a falsie without a cross? (She confessed afterwards that she had been put up to it by the Incredible Falsifying Man). If you were to take a view of proceedings from an aero-plane at his moment – you would have seen the white knights, Scooby Doo & Paul Newman at the front heading north along the river whilst the rest of the pack were strung out over several hundred yards of river bank. There was going to be no opportunity for the back markers to take five as they were already well behind the action.

Fortunately there was a sublime – and very long falsie – from the footpath at Peasmarsh along the old railway which caught out all the front runners and so the lead changed hands completely again as the trail swung west across the Portsmouth Road and into the Loseley Estate. El Caudello suffered mechanical breakdown at some point as one of his honed and toned leg muscles gave way – but this is an ever present danger for finely-tuned athletes, no snickers please at these remarks – and had to limp back to the pub. Bunny Austin, clutching a litre bottle of water (was he expecting to become dehydrated in England in March?) had realised that hashing was no picnic after all and was trying to get through the pain barrier and maintain touch with the leaders.
We ran past the front of Loseley House and turned north into the woodlands and on reaching the eastern end of these Sparkly’s comment that the run was 6 miles meant that the inbound trail had to head back towards Littleton (although not everyone tumbled to this fact) and so the leaders legged it downhill. The crunch point came for the leading duo, when after passing by Mount Browne the trail reached the main road and Scooby Doo fatally decided to turn right instead of left towards the dog kennels and Artington Lock. From here it was back across the water meadows and up the steep hill and deviously in to Seahorse by the outbound trail, and not as some of thought, by the lesser-used track alongside one of the branches of the river.

VERDICT: Perfecto. We were all back within a few minutes either side of 12. Clearly NTH is going to be an absolute maestro at trail setting. Whisper it quietly (or is that what I am alleged to do when I shout “Circle”?) but for a debut attempt this was a run of unparalleled excellence. It may be that the blobs of sawdust were a bit on the chunky side for some purists, but they were well-spaced and placed and the twists and turns kept the frb’s guessing and it was difficult for anyone to breakaway…at least until the latter stages. Well done Tally.

IN THE PUB: Not everyone stayed for the post-run debrief, the little buckets of chips and PP’s tales of unbelievable happenings…he was at pains to point out that his nipples hadn’t chafed this week! The beer drinkers amongst us were quaffing Doom Bar, or Broadside, whereas some of the healthy types were drinking OJ and Bunny Austin seemed to be drinking a cherry cocktail. DVD offered to write the run report but then clearly thought better of it and vanished without anyone realising she had gone. Remington had mentioned before she ran off that she is hoping we will sponsor her chosen charity (Chase) for doing the London – and so that makes it a tricky decision – how do you choose between Remington, Uphill Gill and Paul Newman? Answers on a postcard please to BG ..together with the answer for the correct number of chocolate bars hidden away in the text!

GARMIN LINK: 1516

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