year index

Not a great day for vampires

It's the Denbies Halloween 10k [+2k] again. Last year was a bit disorganised but it all worked out in the end; we would hope they've learnt from that, and this year will be great.

But why won't vampires like it? All the spooky things should be out running, they'll fit right in!

Ah, but it's really sunny; and vampires have problems with that! Factor 50? No chance, factor 50 thousand maybe¹...

So it's a good job that neither Amanda nor Pat are vampires. Witches? Well, best I stop there!

But we'll start with them in mufti. There's a clue in what Amanda's holding, but unless you know in advance, you probably can't tell exactly what it is she's carrying. But I'll tell you now, it's not a skimpy little "sexy red devil" outfit!

The 2k fun run and 10k fun-but-not-fun-in-that-sense all start together, and here they come. Now you may know that witches can't cross running water, but this is just a puddle so it doesn't count.

As the bulk of the field comes through, it's a bit messy in terms of photographic composition with everybody trying to avoid the puddles, so no pics of our girls at the start but we'll skip straight to the back markers. I believe that's a real baby number 22 is carrying, not a faery changeling, though it's hard to be certain just by looking, and it would be a bit tactless to ask.

Now, where to go next? Tricky, because I don't know the route. It's not been published on the race website, but I found a track on Strava or MapMyRun or something by a person with the same name as the race director which was titled "Denbies Halloween 10k". Aha! I thought, but then we are told that due to the heavy rain (see puddle above) the route has been changed anyway.

But from the general description and a chat with a marshal or two, I reckon I'm heading in the right direction. Not on the bike, as it happens; I thought it would probably end up being more trouble than it was worth, although now I'm not so sure.

So I almost get here before the first young lad. Not sure if he's doing the 2k or the ten, but a nippy nipper either way.

I now start walking the race route in reverse, and here's Pat. Her dressing-up outfit is limited to a top with a big scary spider on it, so she's going to be put to shame by some of the costumes of the people behind her.

Ok, yes, people wearing costumes are behind her. That's probably not coincidence, I suppose...

So Amanda is wearing a sexy red devil outfit, it's just not a skimpy one. Though the horns and wings are a bit difficult to see in this shot, so you'll just have to take them on trust, I guess.

They  have his and hers bloodstains. Isn't that just so romantic?

Him I'm not so sure about...

"Look, son! Prey!"

Ooh err...

Ok, they definitely get the prize for scariest milk and cookies of the day!

I gather they roped Catweasel in as the official photographer. Slightly to my surprise, I will later find that I actually took more pictures, at least if the Facebook album is all of them.

Our leader is walking! He may perhaps have overcooked it a little, but he's pulled out enough of a lead that he gets away with it. He starts running again a few moments after I take this picture, and is easily the winner in the end. When he learns pacing, he's going to be lethal!

Pat's first lady and third overall. Good stuff!

Woof! As you may deduce from the mud on her legs, he's pulled her over a few times already.

Box Hill in the background. Ok, this is no Knacker Cracker, but there's definitely a bit of elevation nonetheless.

Do the Marshal Dance!

Do the Monster Mash!

You may recall him looking quite frisky a few pictures ago, but it seems his wife has him under control now.

Random walkers who aren't even in the race can get a bit frisky too!

Looking down at that marshal point from up on the top edge of the vineyard slope.

Amanda comes up the hill, and I was going to take some pictures of her against the glorious vineyard backdrop, but she tells me I must come with her to help her down the really muddy slope where I'd come from earlier.

Now if you've tried running with a backpack and heavy cameras hanging round your neck, you'll know that it's not easy, and if, like me, you reckon parkrun is pushing things more than a little, keeping up with Amanda is not easy either. Combine the two, and it's very fortunate that I've only got to run a few hundred metres on the more-or-less-flat-ish when she's maybe 6k into quite a tough course, so I just about manage.

And then the woman in blue leads the way between the rows of vines, missing out all the mud entirely! Just to your left is a slippery quagmire, but you can't see it in the picture and it might as well not exist.

[As I was approaching that slope from the other direction earlier, a woman told me she felt like a hippo. Ooh, err, what can I say, I mean, you're not skinny but, err... Fortunately, before I could embarrass myself, she went on to say she felt like a hippo wallowing in the mud.]

Those two again. They may not be the fastest, but you can't knock their choreography!

Probably due to the unexpected diversion, I can't quite get back to the finish in time for Pat, who's waiting now to cheer Amanda home.

And home she comes.

Marshmallows and eyes anyone?

Afterwards, in keeping with the vineyard theme, we go to Painshill Park.

The Painshill vineyard is rather smaller, but it's on a steep slope that gets the sun. I shall pose by it.

Here be dragons! Hampton Court Palace has acquired dragons of late too, but I think Painshill's are better: a bit less 'cute'.

A very fine looking mushroom. We have no caterpillar to tell us which side makes us grow and which side makes us shrink; but actually neither did Alice: she was left in the dark about sides.

Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very difficult question.

As it happens, we saw a production of 'Alice in Wonderland' at Painshill a few months back, aimed primarily (as we discovered when we arrived) at children, but fortunately, my inner child rather blurs with my inner adult.

See, I'm a ladybird!

And on this entomological note, I bid you farewell!

Love to all,


¹ In The Vampire Diaries of course, they have magic rings that let them go out in daylight. I'm not sure about Twilight 'cos I watched the first film and thought it was rubbish and have completely forgotten everything about it except that Bella was a pathetic wimp, while Elena of TVD kicks some serious butt and is much prettier too. But I'm talking about yer Bram Stoker traditional vampires here.

year index