The long and unwinding road to Ashtead...
Now that's a new toy! Medical cover is from a new company
this year, and as well as the conventional ambulance in the
background, they have this really cool 4x4 buggy too. It makes
brilliant sense for a trail race where most of the course has no
road access. It's almost worth taking a dive just to get a ride on
the rear stretcher carrier!
Rob gets everybody ready. Slightly surprisingly, I can't hear the
National Anthem being sung. I could hear Jerusalem from
further away at the Leith Hill Half earlier in the year, but
obviously the accoustics of Dorking are better.
He's fast! He's pulled out a noticeable lead before they've even
reached the end of the field!
They're probably not going to go powersliding through the
mud in full-on rally mode, but it must surely be tempting...
Blink and you'll miss him - he's very fast!
Ok, the sign is for the return leg, he's not turned back in disgust
at the lack of hornets! (They still buzz in the Ashtead old lags'
folk memory, but TTBOMK, they've not been seen since their 2010
Oops - he'd better not stand next to Dr Rob wearing his Union Jack
shorts or I don't even want to speculate on the possible
Amanda runs past one of the posts which we had always thought were
some kind of milestone or similar. Later this very day, thanks to an
information board in Claygate, we will discover that these are Coal
and Wine Tax Posts, dating back to 1861 when duty on imported
coal and wine was paid to the City of London. YLSNED!
Ah, that's where Nigel had got to. Not running but
It's funny, but nobody ever seems to stop to read the
Corporation of London Byelaws for Ashtead Common on the board
behind. Don't they care or something?
At the finish, this guy is clearly struggling...
...badly! But he's >this< close to the finish
...by hook or by crook, Rob's not going to let him DNF! And the two
who would otherwise have passed him do the decent thing and hold
back. Next we see of him, he's on the ground being attended to by
the medical team. We trust he's ok now.
The previous chap may be given drugs by the medics; this guy has
obviously already taken them and they've just kicked in!
Amanda crosses the line with no such excitements, I'm glad to say.
She's made a new friend! He's thanking her for being his pacemaker,
and apparently they swapped positions several times through the
race. I never knew Amanda was that kind of girl! (Actually, well, we
won't go into that...)
The race T-shirt is a vest. Rob said that he thought it would make a
bit of a change, as he'd never seen an event where they gave out
vests before. In all honesty, the sun will need to explode before it
gets warm enough for Amanda to wear it on its own, but over a red
sweatshirt it looks very fetching.
Still plenty more action! She may not be first but she's going to
enjoy the moment anyway.
Back at the Scout Hut, our winner seems a very nice and unassuming
chap. He's not actually broken the course record, but considering
the mud in places, that probably wasn't on the cards today (barring
another Julia Bleasdale moment). Still managed to be in a race of
his own, though.
This is what everyone's really come for, the raffle! Given
that Rob isn't actually drawing random numbers from a hat, but just
calling them out as the whim takes him, the lack of furious
accusations of favouritism and bias is surprising.
The star prize - a keg of Hobgoblin beer ("The Unofficial Beer of
Halloween", it says). She looks like she's going to enjoy it.
As always, Rob's entire family are keen to help out.
And today's closing animal (why have I taken to closing race reports
with completely irrelevant pictures, frequently of wholly irrelevant
animals? Oh well, if you're zoophobic, I'll refund your subscription
in full) - as we cycle back through Prince's Coverts, this fox is
showing no signs of concern that we are about to run head-on into
each other. She (I think it's a she, but could be wrong: I will
defer to more expert foxologists) will accept our force majeure and
detour to one side, but ultimately gives little indication of
respecting us as the dominant species... You never know, she may be
Well, Ashtead's an eco-race, so I guess a bit of eco-stuff fits the
bill after all. And we started with a photo from Prince's Coverts,
so finishing with one is closing the circle. Kind of deep really?
No, ok, just the third glass of the evening :-)
Love to all,