Monday, 20 December 2010

Elves Bells!

I was looking forward to the second of this years cross country races at Middleton Park (Rothwell Harriers playing host). The return of the white stuff had me wondering whether parkrun on Saturday and indeed the race on Sunday would be cancelled.... I texted Linda and asked if she would let me know if parkrun was cancelled and planned that if it wasn't I would go be sweeper before going to work. By Friday late evening it started snowing profusely, no parkrun in the morning I thought. I got up bright and early and texted Linda again, surely it would be called off, nothing..... So I erred on the side of caution and went to work as planned. I later found out she had decided to go ahead with it and 11 hardy runners turned up or should that be mad?

There was hope for the cross country then, being off road should prove better under foot, surely? Mick texted me late on Saturday evening to say it was definitely going ahead. We met up on Sunday morning at Morrisons and Sophie and myself travelled with Shirley. We got to Middleton Park well over an hour early, went and got ourselves registered and decided to go down to the sports centre to use their loos. As we entered the building the smell of coffee drifted out, Sophie suggested we sit in the cafe and have a drink rather than go stand in the freezing, snow covered field, no contest! A while later we went back to the car to shed our winter attire, had a really good warm up and proceeded to the start. No more ladies? Slightly disappointed, we found we only had four chaps too so neither a men's or a ladies team..... None the less it was a lovely crisp morning for a run. The person trying to give instructions for the race was hardly audible, except I then heard 3, 2, 1, go! Off we set, charging like wild horses! Not very far into the race I started to struggle, felt sick, gasping, legs like lead, was it the coffee, I had no idea but considered turning back, not something I relish the thought of so soldiered on, things didn't really get much better but I heard jingling bells behind me.... Santa? Reindeer? I turned to look as careering towards me was a rather large elf! Bells a plenty jingling away, I had to smile and plodded onwards. The ground was pretty solid and it proved tough trying not to go over on the ankles. It seemed endless as I approached two young boys, one shouted, 'is this your first lap or second' - first I gasped wishing it was my second, how much further did we have to go? Through a field we lurched and were directed round a right hand bend which proved to be a furious downhill, I just went for it, overtaking about 10 people, the elf included. Each uphill proved to be an energy sapper, it wasn't long before some of those I had conquered took back their reign!

I began to settle into a rhythm until I came to another rather large hill, it was just impossible to keep going, I came upon Mrs Elf again, she was cursing the fact that a marshal had told her a while ago that she only had about a mile and half to go, she hated it when they did that she said. With a wry smile I overtook her once more, got to the top and tried hopelessly to put one foot in front of the other - a wide open field stretched before me, complete with frozen mole hills, 'jingle, jingle, jingle' - I heard once more, to my dismay there was the green and red clad figure ambling past me again, I did my utmost to keep pace as she widened the gap between us - just around the corner I read 'Finish' phew that was a relief. I was convinced I was the last runner in but although I dared not count there were a few more after me, I'll have a peek at the results but hey I've been beaten by worse things than an elf, ...I think! I even felt too sick to claim my mince pie! Oh well this time next week I will most probably have had my fill of mince pies as I try to get myself up the hills of Otley in the Chevin Chase on Boxing Day!

Merry Christmas one and all....Keep on Running.......

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