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The Wife Of Bath's Tale

It is written:

In th' olde dayes of the kyng arthour,
Of which that britons speken greet honour,
Al was this land fulfild of fayerye.
The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignye,
Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.

So, to a grene mede we hie, for it is the day of the Bath Hilly Half and my elf-queene must daunce with hir joly compaignye!

As usual, Rob's whole family are helping out.

The carrots are here! We have defeated the sans-carrotes revolutionaries!

Well there's posh! We've got the Deputy Mayor of Bath to start the race.

Here she is, joly compaignye and all, hard against the rail at the first furlong, whatever that means.

US visitors, from the Central Park Track Club. This is probably a bit different.

We have come from Surrey, which is not quite as far. But the traffic was very bad.

Aha! Me in action (behind the other guy in action). I nicked this pic from Trionium, I don't have a remote-controlled camera drone for selfies yet.

The man himself brings up the rear.

The first obstacle of many.

Over the hills and far away. Directly in front is Keston Round Hill, perhaps not the most imaginative name for a round hill in Keston.

More traffic-calming measures to spoil the chances of a PB.

A veteran of Leith Hill; this should be a doddle. But apparently it's not! Even where the slopes aren't so steep, they're really muddy and slippery. Amanda was talking to one chap who told her he didn't have proper trail shoes, so he was wearing hiking boots rather than any other sort of running shoe. Me, I have got trail shoes, but it's a bit much when you need them just to be a supporter!

Here she is, at the top of the unimaginatively named hill. Amazing views all around, this is definitely a top contender for scenic race of the year.

Further back are several members of the Chineham Park Running Club, who've been encouraged to enter by one of their fellows who possibly accidentally forgot to fully inform them quite how tough it is. But they're still smiling so far. In fact, they're still smiling even when I see them later after the race. They're not normal, these running folk.

One way of avoiding the mud! That's actually quite a jump, especially well into the second lap.

Another Trionium old lag: that's a Knacker Cracker top he's wearing, so it's a bit pathetic that he has to be carried by a girl!

Now those of you wot are more culchured than I am, like, can make intelligent comments about the great tradition of Commedia dell'Arte and all that stuff. However, his official title is "The Fool on the Hill", which as one of Lennon and McCartney's more dirge-like compositions is rather at odds with his lively whooping, hollering and racing people up the hill.

Yeah, I think it's a bit tough second time around.

Shenanigans at the kissing gate? The things you see when you have a long lens!

Amanda approaches the hill for the second time.

But no dubious goings-on for her at the gate.

Yep, the endorphins are working!

The marshalls are ready and waiting for the next onslaught of the crazy people.

Another Trionium regular, but like us, a Bath virgin. Fuzzy Mike would be on the home straight were it not for the fact that the course makes you go round in a circle at the end.

Blimey, she's still holding him up!

Amanda's feeling the cold really badly now the sky has clouded over and there's no sun to warm her. Fortunately, although we don't have yesterday's totally cloudless blue, we haven't had the biting strong winds of yesterday either.

Made it!

And still just enough energy for a celebratory jump! She's also happy because there are enough lady's small T-shirts to go round, so she won't have to mark the race down on Runner's World!

That's it, then, a Trionium full house for 2015 (although marshalling rather than running Leith Hill through illness). Good job it wasn't a Picnic year!

Somme seyde wommen loven best richesse,
Somme seyde honour, somme seyde jolynesse,
Somme riche array, somme seyden lust abedde,
And oftetyme to be wydwe and wedde.

And somme seyde wommen loven best running up and down hills in the countryside!


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