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If you want to get a Head, get a Turk!

The Turks Head 10k Fun Run is named after the nearby Turk's Head pub in Twickenham, and I note that the latter uses a Turk's Head knot as its symbol. I imagine that in these more enlightened times, it's probably tactless to remind people that historically, the name dates back to the era of the Crusades, and referred to a far less Boy Scout-friendly activity. To the very best of my knowledge, no Turks were harmed in the making of this report.

I suspect this is quite possibly the only race with its own Bra Mountain. Instead of "Off with his head!" we've got "Off with her brassiere!". It's all in aid of the charity Zabra, who will ship them to Africa for women too poor to buy them. I have none of my own to deliver, but Amanda has given me some so I can pretend.

The warm-up starts with some gentle yoga/pilates stretches, but then gets a bit more vigorous. Add some sticks and bells, and this would probably qualify as Morris Dancing.

On the start line, a genuine trumpet fanfare!

After such an intro, it's a pity Caitlin only has a step-ladder and not a proper throne to ascend!

Note the chap on the right of the picture with an air-horn in his hand. Hugh Brasher, London Marathon Race Director amongst other things, is taking a bit of a busman's holiday, and as well as running, he's going to blow the horn to start the race. As it happens, he's also a client of Amanda's and lives in a nearby house she did the lawyering for! He could probably have just leant out his window and yelled 'Go!' if he wasn't taking part.

Oh dear. Seems even the great and the good sometimes struggle with technology...

I follow the pack until they head off to the left while I will cut to the right so I can get ahead of them. The route will cross Teddington Lock bridge, and I know that if I'm not there first, it'll be a nightmare trying to get across amongs the runners. Besides, I have a photographic plan!

Blimey! This guy's fast! I just manage to catch the lead bikes as they reach the bridge, and we all cross (psst! don't tell anyone!) without dismounting as we're supposed to in order to stay ahead. But in the few seconds it takes me to park my bike and get my camera bits ready, he's past me and away! And that's the last we'll see of him.

Apart from that, my photographic plan works well, and there's a really good angle for the runners coming across. Hugh has obviously overcome his technical problems and is well towards the head of the field.

Amanda's in the pack a bit more, but going well and there are still a lot more people behind her than ahead of her.

The route is mostly pretty fast and flat, but there's a little bit of an obstacle course here on the bridge. Just to help make the barriers more obvious, they've been liberally wrapped in tape, but it won't cushion the impact if you do run into one.

Along the Thames, little girls offer old men sweeties. That can't be right, can it?

Amanda is not tempted.

In the meadow beyond, Belted Galloway cattle sometimes graze, but not today, which is a pity. We have not seen these fine cows at a race since the Knacker Cracker at Box Hill on New Year's Day.

If you are not a cow fan, please excuse this digression.

When sweeties don't work, beer will never fail! Fuller's Brewery are headline sponsors for the event, and most excellent sponsors they are too!

Ah! Now that hits the spot!

As Amanda has dismally failed to engage with the sponsor's message, I know it's my duty to act in her stead before moving on.

Oh, and to pre-empt any potentially cutting remarks from Merilyn, I will point out that I do not fall off my bike this time!

Just round the corner to the finish now.

And a better time than Chessington! Unexpected and extremely pleasing!

We wait by the line to see Bernie coming in, but then somehow fail to find him a few minutes later to say goodbye. He may have gone straight to the pub for the post-race do, of course, which would be entirely sensible. We, however, have family duty, and so must return home forthwith.

And we'll finish at the start again. How profound... ish.

Love to all,


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