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Bad Cows? Mad Cows? But not Sad Cows!

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, but...

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 dammit!

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 repeating it.

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 :-(

"Beware Stalker"

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 runner.

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 pull!

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!


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