What possesses a woman of mature years, heading towards her dotage, to spring out of bed at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, squeeze herself into the best anti-bounce sports bra money can buy, slip on a multi-coloured tutu and pin a number to her vest? Bling is the answer, bling.
Granted, the tutu was optional and was in honour of a very good – though somewhat tutu-obsessed friend – but the rest of the gear got this girl ready for a return to racing. At last.
I don’t usually enter road races, they have two things going against them, they are races and they are on the road. There’s no real scenery, unless you count street furniture, little chance of mud and no al fresco toilets, just those wobbly green Tardis-like structures that smell of disinfectant, warm plastic and worse.
But trail and fell races don’t tend to offer bling. Sometimes there’s a tee-shirt, but more often than not, it’s pie and peas and cake, usually on the same plate. Can’t beat it, but when you’re coming back to racing after a year of physical and mental limping around, only bling will do.
The Abbey Dash is a fast, furious, flat PB course. It’s a popular feature on the local racing calendar, though people do come from as far afield as Lancashire to run it. The out-and-back course from Leeds city centre to Kirkstall Abbey has even been voted a top 10k by the readers of Women’s Running. We know they are a discerning lot, because they also voted Woodhouse Moor parkrun as their favourite!
Most of the local clubs enter, and those who aren’t running tend to be dotted along the route, cheering and waving pompoms. The road is well-known to anyone who lives in the city, usually clogged up with traffic moving even slower than I run. It’s official, on a busy Saturday near Christmas, I can run into the city faster than I can drive.
So there I was, along with 7000 other runners, ready for the 34th Abbey Dash, and as far as I could see, only four were in tutus and we were running together, Jaz, Pritti, me and Pete. Yes, Pete, pretty in his pink tutu!
I’d not raced since last year, so wanted my return to be marked with a bit of bling. We have a collection of medals, which dangle from the knob of the cellar door. With doubling up by Noel and me on many races, there’s a lot of medals and they make a lovely jangling noise every time we open the door. The cats also love to play with them, though are very sorry when they pull one off and it bounces onto their head, it usually means opening another bag of Dreamies, or Bribes as we know them.
Noel wasn’t racing, the Bastard Cancer has postponed his PB bids for a little while. Not that he’s bothered about bling, he just likes to run like the wind, whereas I run as if I have wind. I suspect his return to racing following recovery from forthcoming surgery, will involve mountains and tartiflette, plus a belly full of beer.
But in the meantime, I was back Abbey Dashing at a very slow pace, enjoying the freedom of traffic-free running, but as a friend pointed out, it was a season’s best. Season’s best and bling? I’ll take that.