Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan'l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Ah, that's the one! Yes, it's the Harry Hawkes Ten Mile race! About
as local as it's possible to get for us, half a mile up the
Portsmouth Road and turn left.
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all!
Err, yes? What's that? Don't give up the day job?
Well I can't say about Old Uncle Tom Cobley, but the toilet
queue appears to include everyone else! And this is only the half of
it, it stretches round the corner in a way that doesn't show from
this angle. Should I be offering the people near the back use of our
toilet at home for a modest fee? That's only half silly - I strongly
suspect that anyone capable of a reasonable time in this race could
jog down to our house and back before they got to the front of the
The "It ain't half hot, Mum" concert party gets everyone
It begins! Either enough people decide they'll give up queuing for
the portaloos and just run cross-legged, or they have been very
quick, but everybody somehow gets to the start on time.
Apparently she didn't see me at the start. I suppose it's inevitable
when you're the shy and retiring type like me.
Whoops, maybe not everyone got out of the loo in time! Or maybe he
just wasn't paying attention and looked up from contemplating his
Garmin to suddenly realise he was all alone. Oh well, I'm sure he
can catch some of them up if he doesn't hang about.
This is mostly a road race, but the part nearest to our home runs
through wooded common land, giving a completely false impression!
This is a bit more typical. Were it not for the fact that I'd have
to stand in the middle of the road and risk being killed, I could
taken this shot about fifty yards earlier, in which case the central
shop in the background would have been Bachmann's, award-winning
chocolaterie and patisserie. Obviously I would rip out my own liver
sooner than commit the sin of gender stereotyping, but were one to
be the sort of woman who wears a shirt saying "I run because I love
cake", it would definitely be a place to run to. But today we're
running past it, so let's move on.
A few minutes ago, the official race photographer was sitting on the
bench I'm now standing on. Then a family came down to spectate and
asked me if I knew roughly how many runners had come through, so we
chatted for a few moments. When I looked again, Mr Man was gone
without a trace! I presume he'd gone back to get the first finishers
across the line.
Let's have another song:
Pushing through the market square
So many runners sighing
News had just come over,
We had six miles left of trying
Onto the Thames towpath, with Richmond Bridge in the background.
And past the golden gates of Hampton Court Palace.
Looking down from the anti-terrorist concrete blocks on Hampton
We end with a loop around the junior cricket match, so it's another
of those amusing little course designs where you run right past the
finish and still have another half mile to go.
Now there's a thing. Somebody's been busy, because this gantry said
"START" earlier! Usually they just cheat by having it say different
things on either side, but clearly we're having none of that
And what do we have the other side of Kingston Bridge? Dragon Boat
According to the British Dragon Boat Racing Association, it began in
China two thousand years ago when villagers raced to honour the
water dragons and ensure the rains would come. In that sense, it's
probably the ancient Chinese equivalent of cricket.
I suppose then that our final song must be "Puff, the Magic
Dragon" unless somebody can think of a better one.
Love to all,