Sunday morning 11th March 2007 at 9am and the runners were
gathering in the glorious sunshine at Wimbledon Rugby Club's
SW20 Grounds. Though family and friends had arranged to meet
fellow runner Chris and I for breakfast in Wimbledon Village
after the race, I was tempted by the toasted bacon butty aroma
that was drifting around the Rugby Club bbq, but resisted.
I was running as part of the Donhead school team whose efforts supported
the Sacred Heart Parish Capital Appeal and we had a team photo in the sun.
wearing specially designed team tee shirts generously provided by a parent.
At the "off" siren about 500 of us started down Barham Road. By the turn into
Coombe Lane, I began to wonder if this would be a difficult run
- maybe a toasted bacon bun would have provided more much needed energy.
A girl runner took a painful tumble at that point and a fall by a
man a couple of minutes later reminded me to keep a sharp eye out
for kerbs and other street architecture designed for cars rather than for
runners or pedestrians. By the foot of Edge Hill SW19, energy from a pre race banana
kicked in and I began to motor. Wimbledon Hill Road is an obstacle
familiar to local joggers and my way of dealing with it by repeating
the mantra "what hill?" worked as usual. The Common was delightful
almost a walk in the park as they say.
Particularly bearing in mind that the race was run early on a Sunday morning one feature
which became noticeable upon re-entering the sideroads from the Common,
is how impatient car drivers can be. The race was extremely well
stewarded but at a couple of key road crossing points, stewards who
halted traffic to allow runners to pass, were met by a cacophony
of car horns. Their response was a jovial "keep on running" to
the runners and a riposte that the longer the blasts on the horns
the longer the car waiting times would be. Modern man and woman, are
surely now far too enslaved to the internal combustion motor, for their own good.
Then the steep roads down to Coombe Lane - someone's comment "it is
harder sometimes to race down hill than to run up" I felt was so true.
The risk of stumbling while running down is great and I was begining to flag
by then but was pleased to surprise a local friend - David - on his way to
buy the Sunday newspapers.
Next the turn back up towards Barham Road and the finish - 51 minutes was my time
not too bad. Eight of us including16 year old nephew Leo perhaps
the youngest runner in the race, enjoyed a really hearty
breakfast afterwards in the Wimbledon Village "Giraffe" cafe.
A great time was had by everyone and if all sponsors remember
to send in their promised donations, more than
£2,000 raised for the Sacred Heart Church appeal.
Thank you to all who provided sponsorship for me and a particular
thank you to Malcolm Stacey
and others over on Sharecrazy for their support.