It's the Denbies Halloween 10k [+2k] again. Last year was a bit
disorganised but it all worked out in the end; we would hope they've
learnt from that, and this year will be great.
But why won't vampires like it? All the spooky things should be out
running, they'll fit right in!
Ah, but it's really sunny; and vampires have problems with that!
Factor 50? No chance, factor 50 thousand maybe¹...
So it's a good job that neither Amanda nor Pat are vampires.
Witches? Well, best I stop there!
But we'll start with them in mufti. There's a clue in what Amanda's
holding, but unless you know in advance, you probably can't tell
exactly what it is she's carrying. But I'll tell you now, it's not a
skimpy little "sexy red devil" outfit!
The 2k fun run and 10k fun-but-not-fun-in-that-sense all
start together, and here they come. Now you may know that witches
can't cross running water, but this is just a puddle so it doesn't
As the bulk of the field comes through, it's a bit messy in terms of
photographic composition with everybody trying to avoid the puddles,
so no pics of our girls at the start but we'll skip straight to the
back markers. I believe that's a real baby number 22 is carrying,
not a faery changeling, though it's hard to be certain just by
looking, and it would be a bit tactless to ask.
Now, where to go next? Tricky, because I don't know the route. It's
not been published on the race website, but I found a track on
Strava or MapMyRun or something by a person with the same name as
the race director which was titled "Denbies Halloween 10k". Aha! I
thought, but then we are told that due to the heavy rain (see puddle
above) the route has been changed anyway.
But from the general description and a chat with a marshal or two, I
reckon I'm heading in the right direction. Not on the bike, as it
happens; I thought it would probably end up being more trouble than
it was worth, although now I'm not so sure.
So I almost get here before the first young lad. Not sure if
he's doing the 2k or the ten, but a nippy nipper either way.
I now start walking the race route in reverse, and here's Pat. Her
dressing-up outfit is limited to a top with a big scary spider on
it, so she's going to be put to shame by some of the costumes of the
people behind her.
Ok, yes, people wearing costumes are behind her. That's probably not
coincidence, I suppose...
So Amanda is wearing a sexy red devil outfit, it's just not
a skimpy one. Though the horns and wings are a bit difficult to see
in this shot, so you'll just have to take them on trust, I guess.
They have his and hers bloodstains. Isn't that just so romantic?
Him I'm not so sure about...
"Look, son! Prey!"
Ok, they definitely get the prize for scariest milk and cookies of
I gather they roped Catweasel in as the official photographer.
Slightly to my surprise, I will later find that I actually took more
pictures, at least if the Facebook album is all of them.
Our leader is walking! He may perhaps have overcooked it a little,
but he's pulled out enough of a lead that he gets away with it. He
starts running again a few moments after I take this picture, and is
easily the winner in the end. When he learns pacing, he's going to
Pat's first lady and third overall. Good stuff!
Woof! As you may deduce from the mud on her legs, he's pulled her
over a few times already.
Box Hill in the background. Ok, this is no Knacker Cracker, but
there's definitely a bit of elevation nonetheless.
Do the Marshal Dance!
Do the Monster Mash!
You may recall him looking quite frisky a few pictures ago, but it
seems his wife has him under control now.
Random walkers who aren't even in the race can get a bit frisky too!
Looking down at that marshal point from up on the top edge of the
Amanda comes up the hill, and I was going to take some pictures of
her against the glorious vineyard backdrop, but she tells me I must
come with her to help her down the really muddy slope where I'd come
Now if you've tried running with a backpack and heavy cameras
hanging round your neck, you'll know that it's not easy, and if,
like me, you reckon parkrun is pushing things more than a little,
keeping up with Amanda is not easy either. Combine the two, and it's
very fortunate that I've only got to run a few hundred metres on the
more-or-less-flat-ish when she's maybe 6k into quite a tough course,
so I just about manage.
And then the woman in blue leads the way between the rows of vines,
missing out all the mud entirely! Just to your left is a slippery
quagmire, but you can't see it in the picture and it might as well
[As I was approaching that slope from the other direction earlier, a
woman told me she felt like a hippo. Ooh, err, what can I say, I
mean, you're not skinny but, err... Fortunately, before I
could embarrass myself, she went on to say she felt like a hippo
wallowing in the mud.]
Those two again. They may not be the fastest, but you can't knock
Probably due to the unexpected diversion, I can't quite get back to
the finish in time for Pat, who's waiting now to cheer Amanda home.
And home she comes.
Marshmallows and eyes anyone?
Afterwards, in keeping with the vineyard theme, we go to Painshill
The Painshill vineyard is rather smaller, but it's on a steep slope
that gets the sun. I shall pose by it.
Here be dragons! Hampton Court Palace has acquired dragons of late
too, but I think Painshill's are better: a bit less 'cute'.
A very fine looking mushroom. We have no caterpillar to tell us
which side makes us grow and which side makes us shrink; but
actually neither did Alice: she was left in the dark about sides.
Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom
for a minute, trying to make out which
were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she
found this a very difficult question.
As it happens, we saw a production of 'Alice in Wonderland' at
Painshill a few months back, aimed primarily (as we discovered when
we arrived) at children, but fortunately, my inner child rather
blurs with my inner adult.
See, I'm a ladybird!
And on this entomological note, I bid you farewell!
Love to all,
¹ In The Vampire Diaries of course, they have magic rings
that let them go out in daylight. I'm not sure about Twilight
'cos I watched the first film and thought it was rubbish and have
completely forgotten everything about it except that Bella was a
pathetic wimp, while Elena of TVD kicks some serious butt
and is much prettier too. But I'm talking about yer Bram Stoker traditional