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Midsummer Marilyn

In an alternate universe, today is the day of the Midsummer Munro. In this universe, however, virus stops play: we will have to improvise.

So we're meeting up with Claire - whom we first met at the 2013 Midsummer Munro - and Phil, who's both run and marshalled it and must therefore have crossed paths with us many times before Amanda joined Stragglers and got to know him as club captain.

We reckon Box Hill itself will be absolutely heaving, so we won't even try to run the genuine MM route, we'll start at Denbies and climb up to Ranmore Common, then down past Tanner's Hatch and the youth hostel and see what happens when we get to Polesden Lacey.

The Munro is so named because of its 3000 ft height gain, equivalent to a Scottish Munro. This won't be anything like that, but as it's a route that's attractive and certainly not flat, I think I shall call it the Midsummer Marilyn.

[Later: I have been informed that a 'Marilyn' is already a thing, and that while Ranmore is not one, nearby Leith Hill is!]

Amanda gives the pre-race briefing: "Err, well, we sort of run up this way, then go sort of that way, and Steve's got the GPS on his bike so we shouldn't get lost."

Our intrepid three commence the initial ascent.

Yay! I'm faster than them on the bike! It's the only way, though. Last week's DIY parkrun clearly demonstrated I don't stand a chance in a fair fight.

Box Hill in the background. From here, you can't actually see any people, but we have deduced that it must be absolutely crawling based on such circumstantial evidence as the number of cars parked along the roadside verge because they couldn't get into the Stepping Stones car park.

The weather was horrible first thing, but it's clearing now and there are definitely increasing amounts of blue amongst the grey.

And now the sun is blazing down.

Shady in the woods, which is good if you're running because it's baking in the direct sun even though the air temperature isn't that high.

The grounds of Polesden Lacey are open, but it's not too busy even so. Strictly speaking I shouldn't be on my bike, but nobody tells me off, so I don't have to pretend I didn't know and am very sorry. However, although it's easy to get in from the common land, the only official exit is via the gift shop, which could be a bit awkward, so we sneakily climb over a fence instead.

Breakout successfully accomplished, it's back down the road under the footbridge before returning to the bridleways.

Moo! Later we will also see some Belted Galloways, but they're too much in amongst the trees for a good picture.

And in the distance, Leith Hill Tower, scene of a different not-race a few weeks back.

And while we're stopping to admire the view, Amanda gets out her phone to take a picture that includes me.

Finally back at Denbies.

And that's the Midsummer Marilyn done. Now, how far was it?

We all consult our various distance-measuring devices. Most surprisingly, both Amanda and Claire's Garmin watches have the exact same value: 8.77 miles. My own bigger unit, which is usually more accurate, reckons 14.2km (miles? miles? - ok, that's 8.82 miles), and although I stayed with them almost all the way, I did take a short cut near the end just because it's great fun on the bike hurtling down the rough track instead of taking the proper road, so my equivalent distance would be a bit higher.

Phil, however, has a Garmin that reads a bit differently again, and the Strava app on his phone which is way out! "No wonder it's free" is his comment.

Oh well, "Not quite 9m/15k" is close enough by Trionium standards!

Now for a picnic lunch in the vineyard. All really rather jolly!

Love to all,


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