Those of you who studied Latin at school will, of course, remember
that the Romans wrote their poetry mostly in dactylic hexameter.
Obviously this is not a common metre in English, but not completely
unheard of, and there was an example which we were given to help us
remember the form:
Down in a deep dark hole,
Sat an old cow munching a bootlace.
If there is more to the poem than that, I have forgotten it; or
perhaps we were never taught it; and since Google seems never to
have heard of it, I can offer nothing further... But I digress.
So here we are in darkest Dorset, on the trail of the aforementioned
bovines: the inaugural running of the White Star Bad Cow Marathon.
Here is our first cow, complete with cowgirl. I'd never realised
Poole was quite so far West.
It's Kev the Kilted Kowboy! I'd say that now I've seen everything,
Eek! Now I have!
So here's my own fine pair of ruminants ruminating.
And they're on the moo-ve. That will be the only cow pun, I promise.
I only put that one in because it's traditional and we're British
The Wareham Channel in the background. There's a sign telling them
to stop and admire the view, but nobody does.
Into the second of eight laps. The terrain and scenery vary a lot,
so although the lap is quite short, it doesn't actually get boring
Out of the woods; still in the same group.
It's over there!
As they complete another lap, I cry out, "My cows, you seem to have
acquired a bull!"
"Err, Merilyn, you're running the wrong way!" But she's suddenly
remembered she meant to stop for some water, she just got distracted
by all these people running straight on.
From some angles, you would never know that there's another hundred
equally mad cows all around.
This is the leader, who's so far ahead it's not true. I think he's
on his final lap before most people have finished their first (that
might be an exaggeration).
He's coming up to lap Amanda and Merilyn, though.
One down, one to go...
I believe Merilyn is pointing out the gin palace of her dreams that
she's just seen down in the water. I'm not so sure... She'd probably
spend about thirty seconds sipping her G&T in her bikini on the
foredeck before she noticed all these running folk up on the hill
and had to join them! Amanda is even worse. She wouldn't be sipping
her G&T in her bikini on the foredeck in the first place,
because hangover and sunburn is a really bad combination.
Me, of course, I think it's a great idea, I'm just mixing in the
wrong company :-(
Damn! I've been rumbled!
What more can I say? What more can anyone say?
As Merilyn (distant dot - she's more visible in the hi-res original)
comes round to start her fifth lap, this lady is finishing. Now, I
thought I remembered her being announced as third lady, but Merilyn
thinks I'm mistaken and she was actually the sole half-marathon
Sub two-and-a-half for a trail marathon? Maybe that is too good to
be true. Mind, she looks like she ought to be able to do a better
half than that, but the results haven't been published yet, so she
remains an enigma for now.
At the LoveStation, Merilyn appreciates the rocket fuel! (aka
cranberry vodka, I believe.)
Amanda needs water more. (I drink her vodka for her: it is indeed
very nice, and I'd happily sit back with a bottle of it and a fit
bird or two, except that said fit birds seem otherwise engaged.)
Coo, they have their own mini-Stonehenge!
Gotcha! You can't fool me!
After a good many miles in the heat and humidity, almost everyone is
starting to flag. Amanda has decided to deliberately cut back as her
lungs won't thank her for pushing too hard. Finishing in less than a
PB has to be better than finishing in an ambulance!
Now I've seen these two together quite a few times, chatting away
not so much ten to the dozen as a hundred to the gross! I tell them
that if we could only bottle their chat-power, it would solve the
energy crisis and fortunately they see the funny side.
Ella (on cow-bell) prepares to signal Amanda's final lap. She's only
about eight or something (just guessing - sorry if I'm badly wrong),
but she's done a couple of laps of the course, and when I first saw
her she looked like she could give her accompanying adult a bit of a
And here she is, one lap to go!
Merilyn finishes a little past the four-hour mark. I'd've had a
better picture, but I had to drop my camera and frantically yell at
her because she wasn't quite sure which way to finish. The problem
was that the finish gantry and the timing mat didn't line up
properly, and if there's anything that annoys a runner more than
duff timing, I've yet to hear of it.
Those two I mentioned earlier? At the finish, any sisterhood
nonsense is dead and buried, it's every woman for herself!
Amanda finishes on a high, although she's slowed down considerably
from her earlier pace. After many years she's learnt to be sensible
and recognise when the conditions just aren't the best for her.
With the heat, and more importantly the humidity, that's a time
she's happy with. Truth is, there's plenty of people behind her
who'd love to get that time in absolutely ideal conditions.
Like I say, bad cows or mad cows, they're certainly not sad cows!
Yay! Cake! Washed down with coffee allegedly containing some
mysterious Chinese herb... Sorry to say that the collective opinion
of all three of us is, "ok coffee, but nothing special".
And I need a sit-down after walking for four and a half hours!