The day started early, meeting at Doncaster train station for the trip south.
After much deliberation on the train we decided to ‘wing it’ and get tube tickets at Kings Cross as we reckoned it would be cheaper than buying the ‘zone’ ticket on the train. It paid off, more for some than others with the introduction of ‘contactless’ payment cards being used as ‘oyster cards’ at half the price of standard ticket rate !!!!!! Result …….
A short walk from Belsize Park Tube station (Northern Line for Fez Fans) took us to Hampstead Heath and the famous Parliament Hill cross country course. This is where the day turned bad……..it was a ‘ploughed field’ of a venue. It was also notable that the young girls and boys who had finished were covered head to toe in mud.
We need to consider this for a moment………young boys and girls weighing nothing were showing signs of knee deep mud and splashes head high. Consider the average weight of ADRC, multiply it by the viscosity factor, divide by umpteen races before ours and add Leyland’s 18 stone, this would be a challenge.
Duncan ‘Flag’ Marlow, managed an almost ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ erection a la Iwo Jima, bringing a tear to the ADRC contingent who realised once it was up, we had to run and couldn’t sneak away. The flag quickly became a symbol of the ADRC spirit, it wasn’t as big, as bold, as flappy, as loud, as noble, as other flags on display, but it was ours and it stood proud and represented our own little piece of Askern on the hill adjacent to the start ascent….it was home for a few hours, bugger, we wished we had brought a tent too……..
Christine ‘Nerves’ Peacock and Amber ‘smiler’ Torrington were representing the ladies over the 8km (1 medium/1 long lap) course. This is in itself was a moment of pride considering the membership base and catchment of our little club and the lack of other larger clubs not represented. Off they went at 1420hrs, Christine in the woolliest gloves I have ever seen worn by a runner, minus a base layer it was a skin fest, ‘Ber opted for base layer…..Our two ‘ladies’ went to the start. The gun went and the battle commenced. Now, I accept I have only been at club few years, but in that time I have never known Amber respond with words to the support and encouragement given by team mates and friends, so it was with open mouth and bemused look on face that me and Andy ‘4 Cans’ Goodair gave each other when petite little Amber gave a ‘this is *&^%&* awful’ just halfway into the first medium lap. Christine promptly followed and her look did nothing to close our mouth or remove our bemusement. A nearby spectator turned to us and said ‘you’ve got some to come from them when they’re finished and it’s your turn’. We agreed. It did nothing to encourage us this course was anything but brutal.
On they battled to the finish. By which time us men were lining up. Glenys, Eddie and Judy P provided bag guarding and cheering support also supervising the flag area.
The men’s team was made up of Paul ‘Ex’ Captain, Captain Collo, Andy ‘4 Cans’ Goodair, Dean ‘as cold as’ Winter, Dave ‘Vic Reeves’ Pearce, Mickey ‘Brickey’ Pearce, Mark ‘My Joe’ Hinchcliffe, Duncan ‘Fecking’ Marlow and lastly, Steve ‘Lastly’ Leyland. A 2 lap 12km course beckoned………2 laps was Leyland’s best opportunity at not getting lapped (like he did at Yorkshires and Northerns….)
The usual impressive, mental, start ensued seeing 2000 men get stuck into the climb at the start. The course was very heavy under foot, literally ploughed field in parts, slippy mud in others, adverse cambers, a couple of short trail/path sections provided little relief to the lack of footing, energy sapping heaviness of the ground. It was a beast of a course. Even after completion, there were few words spoken of enjoyment, only heavy legs and sense of ‘praise the lord it’s over, let’s get out of here’.
We left the venue via ice cold showers and headed back towards Kings Cross, a quick isotonic beer and protein burger before getting on the train back home.
Winter, with Shakespeare esque tongue summed it up best ‘Sheer Lunacy’.