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De Campo Brassicae[*]

[*] With apologies to those who remember their O-Level Latin better than I do; and for those who don't, that kind of means "Concerning the Field of Cabbage". You see how important a classical education is?!

But I digress. The cabbages and kings (ok, queens) await:

Cunningly standing on a step above the melêe.

Hi Claire! We'd probably have missed you at ground level.

Ground level: this is the best shot I have of Amanda at the start, and I don't think I've got Claire at all.

Just past the half-way mark, this is the leader. He's pretty much on his own and stays that way until the end. Mind, last year, he came fifth, in an utterly pathetic time of 50:24. This year he obviously had to live down the shame.

First lady. Hmmm... She's not one of the usual suspects, Sport Systems have no other results for her whatsoever. But she has a Wikipedia page! Unfortunately, that seems to imply that although she's only 25, her best days are already behind her. Still a fit bird, though.

First banana! Few are wearing fancy dress for this race, even at the back, but perhaps his middle name is Cavendish.

Aha! Amand is spotted in the distance!

I'm standing there waving my big lens about (and you all know how I wave my big lens about), but it's only at the last minute Amanda realises I'm there!

Claire spots me much sooner. Is it my irresistable charm, or is it that she's still slightly injured and not able to give the race absolutely 100%? (It will, I'm sure, come as no surprise to anyone that I am utterly contemptuous of pundits who demand that somebody give "110 per cent".)

The final corner!

Gun time, of course, which is only meaningful if you're Kenyan or Ethiopian. It's a bit unfortunate that this race has chip finish times but not start times. Amanda's notional chip time is the best part of a minute faster.

The spoils!

Claire with her mum. She'd made all these noises about how she might have to walk part of the distance, and she was about 2.5 minutes behind Amanda at the halfway mark, so I thought I'd catch her at the finish despite taking time to congratulate Amanda. No way! Looks like she did a split negative. I trust you're proud of her, Mum!

Amanda's cousin Hugo was intending to run but had to drop out because of injury. He nevertheless came to support his running chum Lucy (his wife, we understand, had more sensible things to do). We'd not seen him in yonks, but fortunately managed to avoid standing beside him for hours without realising it!

The local environs have a certain je ne sais quoi...

And this is defintely in that category: it's a chap taking his ferret for a walk! On a lead and everything! We used to have some neighbours who would take their cats for a walk of an evening, which said cats seemed to enjoy, though we were quite sure that ours would have looked at us with that pitying expression that cats are so good at that says, "you simple-minded fool"... But Mrs Ferret (or was it Ms Ferret) was on a mission!

And finally, what could be more appropriate to the Cabbage Patch race than a cabbage patch?! Hampton Court's new vegetable garden as it happens.

Love to all,


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