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Eat Your Greens(and)!

After a slightly iffy forecast earlier in the week, it's a beautiful sunny autumn day. Perfect for that little gentle stroll in the hills known as the Greensand Marathon...

Looking down on the field as they assemble for the start. I'm heading up to the bandstand, where I've not taken photos before, and I need a good solid lead to stand a chance of getting there first!

Hmm... It's less... bandstandy... than I was expecting. Still, a new perspective on the start of the race.

Right, first hill done, off they go. I suspect they'll be a bit less frisky when they come back through here on the return leg. Me, I'm jumping in the car and off to Leith Hill Tower.

The steps up from Windy Gap car park to the tower are really steep; it's somewhat surprising Rob hasn't managed to incorporate them into the race!

See, it's a nice flat bit for the runners.

Sarah enters a lot of the same races as Amanda and is consistently a bit faster but not hugely so. That means I often see her several times during the race as I scuttle around from point to point using shortcuts, bicycle and/or car to get ahead of Amanda again.

Amanda runs past the tower. As this is the highest point in the whole of Southeast England, there is a sense it which it's all downhill from here. That sense is not one that's very helpful to the runners, of course.

"We can go on meeting like this..."

There's some kind of classic car rally taking place, and many of the car parks I'm using are obviously checkpoints as I keep seeing them drive in, examine the noticeboard and drive out again. I've seen this car before on the road, and I'll see it again at my next car park; obviously it's a meander in the hills rather than an A-to-B event.

And here's Amanda coming out of the woods.

Not all the cars are so cute.

A minute before, there had been a rather shiny British Racing Green MG here; if it had still been, Amanda would have been very torn between the need to run and the need to go 'coo' at it.

As usual, Nicky has bagsied the turnaround point. One of the runners says she gets the prize for the marshall station with the best view, probably because it's one of the few places where the runners can actually look at the view for a few seconds without tripping over tree roots and rocks.

Back up the hill!

See, it's her again.

And her.

More view that the runners don't really have time to look at much.

I know, let's try for an arty-farty silhouette effect...

Back at the finish, has romance blossomed on the course?

This guy is already tasting Rob's post-race fry-up!

Never hit a man when he's down.

Singing 'Jerusalem' at the top of his voice as he comes in! Obviously the strain affects different people differently.

Ed takes first prize. No pesky Olympians this year, phew!

The first lady (who but for Julia Bleasdale last year would have smashed the female record by twenty minutes!) is a bit late for prize-giving. Despite successfully negotiating a course where many went astray and added some bonus miles to their day, she had been waiting in completely the wrong place wondering why nobody else was around. Whoops! But she's still smiling.

Amanda does her now-traditional celebratory jump.

And finally... In the school staff and visitors' toilet, they proudly proclaim the 'twinning' of their loo with this fine establishment in Uganda. You really do learn something new every day...

Until the next race, then,


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