Right, it's Remembrance Day, so remembering we go...
We are told that this is not a running event with a two-minute
silence within it, it's a two-minute silence with a running event
around it. Deep!
Here are the three we're going to concentrate on today, although not
to the exclusion of all others, as you shall see. They have all
signed up for the full marathon, but Amanda was planning to take the
second half as a run/walk and Merilyn was pretty much going to walk
the whole way, only now they're changing their minds. They're going
to go for a decent half rather than a crap full, although Matthew is
going to stick with his original plan.
"O Come All Ye Faithful"
Whoops, no, I'm getting confused by Christmas in all the shops.
So we all trek on down to the official start, where amongst other
things they have the official cake.
Wow! That's some cake! A picture doesn't really do it justice.
"OVER THE TOP, MEN!"
That's not to suggest anything about bottoms and women, of course.
Rik is blowing a whistle to give a bit of a Somme trenches vibe. I'm
not sure it's quite that muddy today, but we shall see.
Look closely, it's Lindsay!
She's busy with her phone or something so doesn't see me, and it's
only afterwards when I go through the pictures I realise it's her.
No way this bunch are missing me or me them!
Bringing up the rear!
Now I'm going to get on my bike and take the road route to Molesey
Lock, where they turn around. It might be possible to share the
towpath later, but right now the number of people I'd have to
somehow push past is just silly.
But consider: turnaround is 5k away; I've let all of the field go
past; I'm taking more than 5k by road... Will I get there in time?
Not quite: about three front-runners beat me there!
Turnaround alongside the local war memorial, to the "Men of East and
West Molesey", erected after WWI with the small dark plaque added
On the radio this morning, somebody was talking about the fact there
are a tiny number of villages up and down the land which have no war
memorial, and they're known as the "thankful" villages. That didn't
sound very thankful of them, not erecting a memorial, but what they
are actually thankful for is that they didn't need a
memorial because none of their inhabitants died fighting in the
Great War. An even tinier number are "doubly thankful", having lost
nobody in WWII either.
Back to the running...
Ah, Lindsay and I have spotted each other this time!
"I've found Lindsay!" I cry. But they are not going to see her just
yet, because while they run past, she's in the toilet behind me!
And she's gone before Amanda and Merilyn are back again. (Apparently
Merilyn has been making sure she gets her money's worth at
turnaround on the jelly bean front!)
Just vaguely in the distance, you can see Hampton Court Bridge with
the palace behind it.
So as they head off on the return leg of their first lap, I'll just
follow on slowly taking some pictures as I go, until I meet them
again coming back on lap two. I'm sure I can find some interesting
folks on the way.
Ok, I have studied this woman's vest intensively, and even zoomed in
at high res I can't figure out what it is meant to be! Still, it
seems to have cheered up the chap behind her, although if that's his
wife behind him, she's looking a bit less pleased.
Not everyone is going all-out for a PB. Plenty of time for a little
photo-op on the way.
Ah, it's a member of the world-famous Polish Marathon Dance Company!
These two don't just pose for a quick snap, we have almost a full
studio session before they can be persuaded to start running again.
Some people are definitely running, though, and the half-marathon
leader (and eventual winner) is well on his way here.
Here's Lindsay again, and a smile for the camera but no larking
At exactly 11:00, the air-horns blow and everybody stops for the two
Amanda and crew run past Garrick's Temple to Shakespeare on the far
bank. Now we've only lived in Esher since 1995, but somehow we have
never visited it! It's only normally open to the public for a
few hours on Sunday afternoons, but even so, it's more than a bit
remiss of us.
Nearing the end of the second lap (and therefore the half-marathon
distance), Merilyn leaps into the air, but regrettably fails to warn
me in advance so I don't actually have her at her peak.
That's it, then, half-marathon over.
Matthew's a few moments behind, but he's not done: he's carrying on
for the full marathon. We'll leave you to it now, best of luck,
They have chocolate, gels, sausage rolls, all sorts of restorative
provender for the weary runner, but Amanda is particularly impressed
by the Scotch eggs and insists I take a picture!
You can't tell just by looking, but those medals are heavy!
This is a big serious chunk of metal weighing just a tad under a
kilogram! Normally Amanda's medals are hung around the neck of her
stuffed toy camel, but poor Camel will definitely think this is
beyond a mere last straw!
My bike is going to need a good wash when we get home.
And so are my trousers! The bystanders are all most amused as Amanda
takes this picture.
This is easily the most impressive muddy patch I've achieved to
date, because traditionally, my bikes have had a rear bag mounting
rack which acts as a mudguard. The rack won't fit on this bike until
I've done a bit of metalwork to the mounting bracket, so my back
wheel is presently free to act as a kind of mud-flinging catapult!
Somme-level mud? Maybe not, but close!
Love to all,