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The Apple of my Pi

Two days ago the heatwave broke and we had a rather drizzly Wedding Day 7k.

It's got worse :-(

We're off to Guildford for the Apple Pi: the summer version of December's Mince Pi, loops of 3.14 miles around Shalford Park and the River Wey. 25,000 cyclists will also be tackling the RideLondon-Surrey 100 bike ride today, but we are a more exclusive club, to put it mildly.

Luckily, the road closures for the big event don't cause us much trouble: we have to go one junction north on the A3 before we can turn round and head south, but that's the only accommodation we need to make.

Just before we leave, the rain seems to be stopping, but this turns out to be no more than a momentary aberration, and it looks like it's definitely set in for the duration. At the far end, quite a few people seem to be just sitting in their cars as long as they can. Although I've got all my usual camera gear with me, it stays in my backpack in favour of a little point-and-shoot that possesses the singular virtue of being completely waterproof!

Everybody huddles out of the rain for the pre-race briefing.

As I said, there are rather less than 25,000 here!

The first runner begins his first ascent of St Catherine's Hill. The rain is not wholly unwelcome here, because damp sand is easier - well, not as hard - to climb than dry.

I'm walking the lap in reverse. The boardwalk here is normally necessary to cross a bog, but the bog has dried out and is better for running on, as this young lad has discovered and his father hasn't.

A fine flock of mixed cows. It's been too long since we had cows in a race report.

Back at the start/finish point, people stop for water, snacks and group photos. For some, a single lap or two is already plenty, but our girls are made of sterner stuff. Amanda's planning a half-marathon distance and Merilyn thinks she might go for the maximum 13 laps, but at least a full marathon.

Each time this rather frisky lady sees me, she does a little performance for the camera, but unfortunately it's not really up to the job. You press the button and it has a bit of a think about it and by the time it decides to take a picture, the moment has passed.

Back up St Catherine's Hill and Merilyn isn't looking quite so frisky!

Oh look, a ruined church. It can't hurt to pray for better weather on the off-chance that it still works even in its rather dilapidated state. Mind, I recall that in Italy some years back, even lighting a candle to the patron saint completely failed to make any impression on the elements.

First time around, I had to give Amanda a bit of a hand, but she reckons that after everybody's done it a couple of times, they create footholds in the sand that make it easier.

Definitely not frisky!

Still going strong, he'll be the first marathon distance finisher in the end. We'll be long gone before then, though.

This is where you come out after climbing and descending that hill, probably less than a hundred metres from where you started.

Ah, I think we've reached the point where pleasure and pain can no longer be distinguished.

Well, maybe...

I'm waiting back at the finish now, because Amanda's going to be coming in this lap. It's the fifth, which will be nearly 16 miles (slightly more than it should be because she managed a bit extra on her first), so well over the half. Coincidentally, Merilyn is right beside Marathon Man (who's having a rummage for a water bottle I believe), although I think he's a lap ahead.

And here she is, emerging from the dark forest into the murky plain.

Hey, it's not raining in here!

Nope, definitely still raining out here!

This could be medal of the year, though. Maybe not solid metal and heavy enough to be a new murder weapon in a game of Cluedo, but quite unlike any other in the collection.

Hmm... I have failed to include any mathematical references this time around. Then again, I don't recall there being a huge clamour for more after the Mince Pi. My work colleague Ulya, who is still young enough to be idealistic despite the baleful influence of old cynics like me, is convinced that everyone would appreciate the beauty of mathematics if only it was presented to them properly. I am more sceptical...

So like a contestant on Who wants to be a millionaire? I shall ask the audience: would you like more interesting mathematical facts?

[If you answered all fifteen questions in the original show format at random, you would stand about one chance in a trillion of winning a million pounds. If it cost a tenth of a penny to enter, you would break even in the long run, but the run would be extremely long. If it were a full-time job playing 40 one-hour shows a week, you'd be looking at something like a quarter of a million years before you would win on average.]

Don't be shy now!

Love to all,


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