Two days ago the heatwave broke and we had a rather drizzly Wedding
It's got worse :-(
We're off to Guildford for the Apple Pi: the summer version of
December's Mince Pi, loops of 3.14 miles around Shalford Park and
the River Wey. 25,000 cyclists will also be tackling the
RideLondon-Surrey 100 bike ride today, but we are a more exclusive
club, to put it mildly.
Luckily, the road closures for the big event don't cause us much
trouble: we have to go one junction north on the A3 before we can
turn round and head south, but that's the only accommodation we need
Just before we leave, the rain seems to be stopping, but this turns
out to be no more than a momentary aberration, and it looks like
it's definitely set in for the duration. At the far end, quite a few
people seem to be just sitting in their cars as long as they can.
Although I've got all my usual camera gear with me, it stays in my
backpack in favour of a little point-and-shoot that possesses the
singular virtue of being completely waterproof!
Everybody huddles out of the rain for the pre-race briefing.
As I said, there are rather less than 25,000 here!
The first runner begins his first ascent of St Catherine's Hill. The
rain is not wholly unwelcome here, because damp sand is easier -
well, not as hard - to climb than dry.
I'm walking the lap in reverse. The boardwalk here is normally
necessary to cross a bog, but the bog has dried out and is better
for running on, as this young lad has discovered and his father
A fine flock of mixed cows. It's been too long since we had cows in
a race report.
Back at the start/finish point, people stop for water, snacks and
group photos. For some, a single lap or two is already plenty, but
our girls are made of sterner stuff. Amanda's planning a
half-marathon distance and Merilyn thinks she might go for the
maximum 13 laps, but at least a full marathon.
Each time this rather frisky lady sees me, she does a little
performance for the camera, but unfortunately it's not really up to
the job. You press the button and it has a bit of a think about it
and by the time it decides to take a picture, the moment has passed.
Back up St Catherine's Hill and Merilyn isn't looking quite so
Oh look, a ruined church. It can't hurt to pray for better weather
on the off-chance that it still works even in its rather dilapidated
state. Mind, I recall that in Italy some years back, even lighting a
candle to the patron saint completely failed to make any impression
on the elements.
First time around, I had to give Amanda a bit of a hand, but she
reckons that after everybody's done it a couple of times, they
create footholds in the sand that make it easier.
Definitely not frisky!
Still going strong, he'll be the first marathon distance finisher in
the end. We'll be long gone before then, though.
This is where you come out after climbing and descending that
hill, probably less than a hundred metres from where you started.
Ah, I think we've reached the point where pleasure and pain can no
longer be distinguished.
I'm waiting back at the finish now, because Amanda's going to be
coming in this lap. It's the fifth, which will be nearly 16 miles
(slightly more than it should be because she managed a bit extra on
her first), so well over the half. Coincidentally, Merilyn is right
beside Marathon Man (who's having a rummage for a water bottle I
believe), although I think he's a lap ahead.
And here she is, emerging from the dark forest into the murky plain.
Hey, it's not raining in here!
Nope, definitely still raining out here!
This could be medal of the year, though. Maybe not solid metal and
heavy enough to be a new murder weapon in a game of Cluedo, but
quite unlike any other in the collection.
Hmm... I have failed to include any mathematical references this
time around. Then again, I don't recall there being a huge clamour
for more after the Mince Pi. My work colleague Ulya, who is still
young enough to be idealistic despite the baleful influence of old
cynics like me, is convinced that everyone would appreciate the
beauty of mathematics if only it was presented to them properly. I
am more sceptical...
So like a contestant on Who wants to be a millionaire? I
shall ask the audience: would you like more interesting mathematical
[If you answered all fifteen questions in the original show format
at random, you would stand about one chance in a trillion of winning
a million pounds. If it cost a tenth of a penny to enter, you would
break even in the long run, but the run would be extremely
long. If it were a full-time job playing 40 one-hour shows a week,
you'd be looking at something like a quarter of a million years
before you would win on average.]
Don't be shy now!
Love to all,