In an alternate universe, today is the day of the Midsummer Munro.
In this universe, however, virus stops play: we will have to
So we're meeting up with Claire - whom we first met at the 2013
Midsummer Munro - and Phil, who's both run and marshalled it and
must therefore have crossed paths with us many times before Amanda
joined Stragglers and got to know him as club captain.
We reckon Box Hill itself will be absolutely heaving, so we won't
even try to run the genuine MM route, we'll start at Denbies and
climb up to Ranmore Common, then down past Tanner's Hatch and the
youth hostel and see what happens when we get to Polesden Lacey.
The Munro is so named because of its 3000 ft height gain, equivalent
to a Scottish Munro. This won't be anything like that, but as it's a
route that's attractive and certainly not flat, I think I shall
call it the Midsummer Marilyn.
[Later: I have been informed that a 'Marilyn' is already a thing,
and that while Ranmore is not one, nearby Leith Hill is!]
Amanda gives the pre-race briefing: "Err, well, we sort of run up
this way, then go sort of that way, and Steve's got the GPS on his
bike so we shouldn't get lost."
Our intrepid three commence the initial ascent.
Yay! I'm faster than them on the bike! It's the only way, though.
Last week's DIY parkrun clearly demonstrated I don't stand a chance
in a fair fight.
Box Hill in the background. From here, you can't actually see any
people, but we have deduced that it must be absolutely crawling
based on such circumstantial evidence as the number of cars parked
along the roadside verge because they couldn't get into the Stepping
Stones car park.
The weather was horrible first thing, but it's clearing now and
there are definitely increasing amounts of blue amongst the grey.
And now the sun is blazing down.
Shady in the woods, which is good if you're running because it's
baking in the direct sun even though the air temperature isn't that
The grounds of Polesden Lacey are open, but it's not too busy even
so. Strictly speaking I shouldn't be on my bike, but nobody tells me
off, so I don't have to pretend I didn't know and am very sorry.
However, although it's easy to get in from the common land, the only
official exit is via the gift shop, which could be a bit awkward, so
we sneakily climb over a fence instead.
Breakout successfully accomplished, it's back down the road under
the footbridge before returning to the bridleways.
Moo! Later we will also see some Belted Galloways, but they're too
much in amongst the trees for a good picture.
And in the distance, Leith Hill Tower, scene of a different not-race
a few weeks back.
And while we're stopping to admire the view, Amanda gets out her
phone to take a picture that includes me.
Finally back at Denbies.
And that's the Midsummer Marilyn done. Now, how far was it?
We all consult our various distance-measuring devices. Most
surprisingly, both Amanda and Claire's Garmin watches have the exact
same value: 8.77 miles. My own bigger unit, which is usually more
accurate, reckons 14.2km (miles? miles? - ok, that's 8.82
miles), and although I stayed with them almost all the way, I did
take a short cut near the end just because it's great fun on the
bike hurtling down the rough track instead of taking the proper
road, so my equivalent distance would be a bit higher.
Phil, however, has a Garmin that reads a bit differently again, and
the Strava app on his phone which is way out! "No wonder
it's free" is his comment.
Oh well, "Not quite 9m/15k" is close enough by Trionium standards!
Now for a picnic lunch in the vineyard. All really rather jolly!
Love to all,