We’re from Yorkshire, we are. So when we give goody bags to gnarly runners, we give proper prizes, not your namby pamby fancy fru fru cereal bars. No, we give beer. We give beans. We give mushy peas. We give technical tee-shirts so fluorescent, the astronauts at the International Space Station put in a call to the race organisers asking them to tone it down a bit, they evidently can’t see a damned thing across the whole of northern Europe for the glow.
There were just a select few of the 400 who took part in the Stadium Runners’ 10k Woodland Challenge Trail chosen to receive a Special Goody Bag. I was already flush with pride after picking up my race number, number 2. I suspected it was more to do with my surname being well up the alphabet than any performance expectation, particularly as I followed Andy Aardvark. Though there was some childish giggling about number twos, and runners’ tummy, but we’ll skip over that. I did.
The trail was described as undulating. Personally, I’d call it bloomin’ hilly, but in a good way. We took in woods, suburbia, rural lanes, an industrial estate, canal towpath and finished with a one-mile uphill drag along a main road, with the cheerful marshals assuring us it ‘wasn’t far’, before letting momentum propel us down the final half mile.
In the absence of Noel as my running mate, he’s still nursing a poorly leg, Andy led the way, some distance ahead, I might add. Noel did the photo honours – and ended up helping the marshals shift a bit of kit.
Maybe it was Noel who slipped a bottle of beer into my goody bag. It was certainly a welcome addition, along with the cans of beans and mushy peas. All runners also got a bacon buttie with brown or red sauce and a mug of tea. How Yorkshire are we, eh? And as for the technical tee-shirt. Well, see for yourself – but don’t look too long, you could damage your eyes!