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Live at Knebworth!

Depending on your age and inclination, this might mean Robbie Williams' 2003 live album, which Wikipedia tells us is the largest-selling live album in UK history. Or possibly the 1990 event modestly billed as "THE BEST BRITISH ROCK CONCERT OF ALL TIME", with a somewhat... eclectic... lineup. Or Led Zeppelin's fall from grace in 1979. Or rather a lot of things when you start counting:

Or it could mean Amanda and Pat running the Hertfordshire Half Marathon: now that's what I call rock'n'roll!

As befits their status, they are swiftly conveyed in luxury to the venue.

The sound and light crew busily ensure everything is perfect for the headline act.

This is the warm-up act, quite literally.

And our girls are boogieing on down!

The second stage isn't actually a stage in the literal sense.

You can tell by the lead biker's expression that the roadies have scored him some good weed.

Hmm... Nik Kershaw has never played Knebworth, so I can't work in a reference to Human Racing, which is a pity, 'cos I like the song and it's obviously appropriate.

Ah, wait, of course... Pink Floyd and On the Run, which you almost certainly won't remember, because even though it was on the Dark [I've done this rant before so I won't do it again] Side of the Moon album, it was just an instrumental track between a couple of better known songs.

Ah, see this guy in front? He stays there. The Doobies' Ramblin' Man he ain't!

A look back at the house with the last starters and the spectators who are too lazy to get on their bikes. Me, I've got to Ride Like the Wind (obviously, the Saxon cover version, not the Christopher Cross original for Knebworth).

It's That Man Again.

Oops, my cultural references are slipping. Truth is, even I'm not old enough for ITMA, which was a BBC radio comedy running from 1939 to 1949. Maybe I should ease off for a bit...

Some considerable way behind, the rest of the field advance.

And here's Pat coming up the hill. How she loves hills!

Amanda's up the hill and heading back towards the house, to complete the loop inside the park before they head out onto the roads.

Then we're all heading into the unknown, because the pre-race information has been a bit sparse, and while Google Maps shows a park road that would be perfect for getting ahead of the action, when you look more closely with Street View, there's a gate which may or may not be passable for non-cars, but it's impossible to be sure.

When I get there, it turns out that without being really silly, and climbing a barbed-wire fence, there's no way out. So I stick my camera through the fence and watch the road.

"Hi, Pat!", I cry, "I'm trapped inside!".

I don't know if the chap sticking out his tongue is a Patrick, or quite what he's trying to imply whether he is or not. I'm not even using my big lens at this point, so it's unlikely he has a big lens fetish and wants to lick it.

No such dubious characters near Amanda.

Off they go. The race route will stick by the park perimeter for a bit, so I'll see if there are any other possible exit points, though I'm not too hopeful.

Well there aren't any other gates, but I'm glad I tried because otherwise I'd never have seen this! (T. Rex never played Knebworth.)

Right, if I can't get out anywhere here, I have two choices. Go back to the race village and just hang around, or ride about four miles to get to the other side of the fence four yards away.

Oh well, if I went back I'd only get dragged into some drug-crazed orgy with underage groupies, so best I ride.

And here I am on the other side of that fence.

I've actually passed a few of the back markers who are walking rather than running, but the faster runners are now coming back in the other direction.

Onwards: I'm a Highway Star (a Deep Purple classic, of course. From the same album as the admittedly even more classic Smoke on the Water, but that's got nothing to do with running so I won't mention it.)

Oh look. Pat's running up another hill. (Damn! Kate Bush is out too.)

Now normally, I tend to edit photos to remove haze, but I've left this because the weather is sadly dull after what looked like a definite possibility of clearing, and you ought to know how it was in reality, not some idealised fiction.

But after this, we'll get back to the idealised fiction, because, well, it's just nicer.

On this narrow lane, it's hard to get ahead of the sometimes tightly packed runners. Amanda says I should go on and try to find Pat, but I quickly realise that just isn't going to work. I decide to reverse and aim for a later part of the route where it loops back.

On the way, there are some other cyclists also trying to get through the oncoming hordes, but they are on road bikes. I can casually take to the muddy verges where no sensible runner or road-biker dare venture, though I will pay for it later in washing-machine loads.

And indeed,  I do head Pat off at the pass; I certainly wouldn't have stood a chance if I'd tried to follow instead.

Here's more Street Life. And blimey, the Crusaders weren't actually one-hit-wonders, they made about ten thousand records that nobody's every heard of! But then apart from that one venture into pop-funk, it seems they were a jazz band. So on that basis, a single single that people might recognise is actually something of a triumph.

What can I say?

One for the Queen fans? I'm in love with my car?

Pat's too far ahead for me to get her at the finish, but I'm in good time for Amanda.

I can't immediately think of a good song reference, but then the Church of St Mary and St Thomas in the background suggests the Manic Street Preachers, don't you think?

How about the Red Hot Chilli Peppers: Under the Bridge? The tempo's probably more of a jog than a run, though.

D'yer Mak'er? No, she ran of her own accord.

Boom, as they say, boom.

This is more Genesis: I can't dance.

And finally I leave you with rather less of a muddy wet bottom than Phoenix Remembrance the other day, but I really must do something about my bike.

Then again, what would a music festival be without a bit of mud?!

Love to all,


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