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The Marshal Plan

This is going to be pretty light on text, mostly just pictures, because I need to get it out quickly.

I therefore have no time to research fascinating facts for your enlightenment, nor to pose philosophical conundrums to stimulate your critical faculties, nor even to rant about some fundamental flaw in the design of the universe which would never have been allowed if I'd been in charge of Creation!

And this is a race which none of our crew are actually running...

Amanda had signed up, but decided to give in to her better judgement and save herself for the Leeds Castle Triathlon next week, and Claire was tempted but again sense prevailed, so they're both going to be marshalling instead.

Of course, that means getting there even earlier than the ridiculous hour that would otherwise be needed, so Claire's stayed the night with us and yet further sanity has prevailed, in that we've somehow managed to limit our alcohol consumption and get to bed at what sensible folk would call a sensible bedtime. We must be getting old!

Rob briefs his band of merry - inasmuch as it's possible to be merry this early - men and women.

Ah, now this has Amanda kicking herself, because she'd love to do an MM without the stepping stones!

Welcome to the jungle! The start area has been fenced off until recently for some reason, and the grass has grown a bit wild. They're also going to take the route I'd normally ride, so I'll have to wait until the entire field is through before I can move on.

No picture of the actual start, because I manage to fall into a hole which is concealed from view by thorn bushes and nettles. Ouch... Still what's a bit of blood and a few stings? Onwards and upwards. Even if it is downwards in a technical sense.

Here are the leaders coming back upĀ  from the bottom of the first hill. They will now shoot off into the distance never to be seen again by me.

What is it they say? "You know you're getting old when the pipers start looking young..."

Gaz is sweeping, and last runner is Anita who will later try to bribe me. Unfortunately she is way too miserly in her offer. Quite frankly, if you have to ask my price, you can't afford it!

By the time I get to the trig point, I've already missed the first few guys.

It's nowhere near as hot as last year, but people are still wetting themselves.

Ah, off in the distance, the Belted Galloways. Particularly fine cows, as regular readers will know, but little more than dots today, even in the telephoto lens.

Sometimes you're not sure if you have the energy to open the energy gel...

"Let's run with them! PLE-E-E-ASE!"

Yesterday, we fear that Amanda gave her sister's dog Sadie a bit of a taste for cani-cross. This is not something that is going to happen with any member of Sadie's household, who will probably not thank us for teaching a young dog a new trick.

Hot marshalling action!

Up the Eiger steps.

I will decline to try and take my bike up there! I'll stick to the road.

Halfway turnaround point: Amanda is busy being a water nymph. Claire is hiding.

Not for long, though.

The piper (and his mum!) had not realised they'd be expected to climb this slope. She's only wearing flip-flops, but it doesn't seem to put her off, because later she tells us she'll wear proper shoes next time.

Descent for some of the faster runners seems little more than a controlled fall.

Ascent is a bit harder.

Even though they've been fuelled by jelly babies!

At the top, it's all pretty much flat, totally out of keeping with the rest of the race.

Some people use poles, some get a man to pull them.

The final runners are through, so instead of me taking pictures, Amanda can take a picture of me.

She and Claire are now going to trot back along the return half themselves, doing a bit of sweeping and litter-picking as they go.

And they're off!

Once again, I'll go back by road.

Kate is now back of the field with the sweepers.

But our girls are closing fast!

I'll just wait here while they run down to the bottom and back.

We're back; and it's now time to pack up.

Rob's off on business in the morning, so he (politely!) asks if I can get a write-up and some photos to him later today, which is what I'm doing with this rather rushed report.

And it means I can get back to drinking wine sooner!

Love to all,


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