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It's a numbers game!

Don't worry, no maths lessons this time, just a few numerological snippets for you...

Amanda starts her 100th parkrun!

It's getting on for three years now since our fire. For a few weeks we were in temporary accommodation directly opposite the entrance to Bushy Park, and on May 14, 2016, we crossed the road and Amanda did her first ever parkrun. As you can deduce, she decided she liked it.

That's it then, the first century done!

Pre-run, as you know, they always ask if anybody has any significant milestones to celebrate. I ask Amanda if she'd put her hand up and am not at all surprised to hear that she hadn't. No cakes, no balloons, no fuss, just a star-jump to mark the big occasion.

Meanwhile, not too far away, Merilyn is also celebrating a big occasion: her entry to V60! We'll see her tomorrow at the Chessington Valentine's 10k. That's got another numerical significance for Amanda: in 2008, it was the first race she ever entered!

...And through the miracle of technology, it's tomorrow!

Blue skies and sunshine, and unlike some recent clear mornings, it's not actually that cold. February's a slightly tricky month for weather: over the years of the Valentine's 10k, we've had just about everything possible at least once. Only Pat thinks it's warm enough to run without multiple layers and a long-sleeved top, though! [And TTBOMK, she has no meaningful numbers happening today.]

Let the race commence. My money would probably be on the truck.

Fortunately, there's not too much traffic around, as there's no pavement a bit further down the road. Pat's in the lead.

Merilyn's suffering from heel pain - suspected plantar fasciitis - but she's ok running mainly on her toes. Though not quite ballet-style en pointe I guess.

Amanda's problem is being barely recovered from flu. She's struggling with the need to be sensible and not push too hard. "Sensible" is not her natural approach to running, but then what runner's is?

There's always some random stranger who thinks that I'm an official photographer and puts on a show. But arguably she's not quite a random stranger, as looking more closely, I realise I've seen her before. This same race last year, the exact same pose, photobombing a shot of Amanda!

And if I hadn't been distracted by her, I'd've realised it's Sara Allen in the pink top right behind her! If you zoom in on the original, it seems pretty clear that she's seen me, but I have no idea at the time.

Now in the past, I've generally cut across-country to intercept the race route in just one or two places, but this time I'm playing hare and tortoise, following the runners around. There's more non-suburban stuff than I'd realised.

This roundabout is obviously a bit tricky, and there are at least half a dozen marshals all working together. They seem to be doing a good job, and this small build-up of traffic is the only instance I see in the several minutes I spend there.

Back in suburbia now, Pat's well on her way to victory in our group.

And finally I see Sara and say hello to her!

Apparently she did her usual trick of starting behind Amanda and overtaking.

Right, now back to the finish. Although the route I'm taking is shorter, it's not that much shorter, and it has a bit of a bike-unfriendly climb, so I'm not sure if I'll get back before Pat and Merilyn do.

As it happens, I'm just pushing my bike round the back of the finish funnel as Sara comes in having just overtaken Merilyn.

I don't quite have my camera ready as Merilyn crosses the line, but then she virtually collapses a few seconds later so I put it down again and go to help her.

At least I'm ready for Amanda!

The 'small' T-shirts have plenty of room for growth!

I have made some mini coffee and walnut cakes for the occasion, with amaretto cream. I here demonstrate the technique for eating the assembly without the cream going everywhere, which isn't easy.

And finally, one more numerical surprise.

The results show that Amanda's race number, 214, is also her finishing position! And 2/14 is American-speak for Valentine's Day itself. I think this must prove that the universe is run by a secret cabal of lizard people, just like David Icke always said.

Or maybe not.

Love to all,


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