The End Of A Knackering Era!
Goodness! This is the last time that Dr Rob will be organising the Knacker Cracker. It's the end of an era. All being well, a new Chief Cracker of Knackers will be taking over, but that's all in the future for now.
Now as regular readers will know, I've been a bit remiss in the blogging department of late, and this is going to be pretty minimal. Simple fact is that I've said pretty much everything about the event in previous blogs and can't really think of anything new. I would refer you to 2015, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Blimey! That's more than I'd realised until I wrote them all down. But in view of the significance of the day, it would be wrong to allow it to pass unmarked, so here are just a few words and pictures...
The motley crew head for the start.
As last time, I won't go there, I'll take the car up to the main National Trust car park, then catch the runners at the top of the first steps.
What's this? Someone who isn't Steve Winder in the lead?
He's right behind though. Pacing himself like the veteran Knacker he is.
First lady is speedy bee Katie. She has form here too.
Steve's daughter Georgina is fast, but still not as fast as the old man!
She, Dad, and other daughter Jess are all wearing outfits of the same design, though in different colours. I said to the two girls before the start, "It's a good job your father's not dressed like he was a few years ago. Did you see the pictures? You really don't want to see your Dad like that". They said, "We don't want to see anybody like that!"
And here's Amanda dressed as Batgirl. I am dressed as Batman, of course.
Good turnout of spectators at this point.
And here's Grant and Nicky, up from the Wild West (aka "Devon") to do a bit of sweeping.
And Rob himself is going to do a bit of running now. He's looking forward to being able to turn up as just another entrant next year.
It has to be said that my own Batman costume has a lot less sophistication. Amanda tells me it was very cheap. Is that all I'm worth?
She may want to embrace me, but she can't make eye contact without risking tripping over on the rocks.
Hmm... These two have come dressed as people from Orpington. Exotic or what?! [Actually, I realise that this picture doesn't have enough resolution for you to read the "Orpington" bit on her vest, so you'll just have to take my word for it.]
The mighty god Thor (but his friends call him Peter) thunders up.
Run! Run! There are two dragons right behind you!
It wouldn't be a Stevie blog if I left out the Belted Galloways, now would it? Probably not visible to the runners unless they take their eyes off the trail at just the right moment, but I'm taking a shortcut to Broadwood's Folly.
Somehow a folly seems just the place to find these folk.
That's disappointing! The lethal rock and mud slide of previous years has been replaced by nice easy steps. I do recommend checking out some of the previous blogs for a better idea of what's supposed to be here.
Dunno where he came from, but he's actually a proper photographer!
Being serious for a moment, if you like any of his pictures, do buy a print, don't just download the digital image he's generously giving you for nothing. There is no way I would ever consider doing what I would consider a professional quality job for what photographers earn, so if you don't want your race photography to be dependent on the random whims of guys like me, support the ones doing it for a living.
He's linked from the Trionium page, of course, but his gallery is here.
And thanks to Steven McCormick for this photo of me with Amanda.
It is the Cracker himself!
The view that I doubt many of the runners are seeing.
Darth Vader was behind Amanda last time I saw them, but obviously he's now using the Dark Side of the Force. Boo! Hiss!
And let's have a shout-out for the paramedics. One guy falls quite nastily and has to be taken to hospital, but considering the potential lethality of the course, it's good that it's mostly a quiet day for them.
As Amanda comes into view at the finish, a lady shouts to her friend, "Here he is!" I say, "I hope he's not going to be so impolite as to pip my wife at the post" and she then shouts back to her friend, "Sorry, no, it's not him"; and to me: "Everyone in a black cape looks the same to me". Oops!
I am reminded of the wise words of Sir John Betjeman: "Try everything once. Except incest and Morris dancing".
The Polar Express is arriving at the station. Some friends of theirs are just behind me, saying it will be a miracle if they don't all fall over on the slippery final slope. And lo! A miracle ensues, so no entertaining train crash pictures.
And in the end, Mr W takes the win! How many times now? How many times more?!
So Happy New Year and love to all.