August began with nothing much on the calendar other than Colour the Coast for St Michael’s hospice, but it ended in the most emotional run I’ve ever been a part of.
Colour The Coast
4km around the park, with my best friends, having paint powder thrown at us, to raise money for a good cause, what’s not to like?
This year they moved the run from the seafront to the park, but the format was the same. Turn up in your official, pristine white t-shirts, and then get pelted with different colour paint at ever kilometre. We had an absolute blast, mostly walking, taking our time, being silly which is what we do best, and covering each other in paint from the paint packets that came in our race packs, as well as getting a good coating at the colour stations, we giggled our way around the course and then joined in the the paint throwing colour clouds at the end. The only negative from it being moved seemed to be that people didn’t really hang around afterwards which was a shame since they had a band playing, and it had the potential to be a good after party, more was needed around the start/end zone to make people stick around I think. A fab morning out with my friends though, and we will, of course, be back again next year!
The 2nd 10k in The Rye Summer Classic Series
Picked up again by Ashley and Kev and taken to rye harbour for the second 10k of a three part race series, it was hot hot hot, and I’d been having real trouble with knee pain, so I was resigned to the fact before the start that I wouldn’t be able to equal what I had managed the last time or have any hope of a new PB.
We set off from the harbour along for the out and back run by the sea along Rye’s nature reserve, I didn’t bother checking my pace on my watch, just plodded along as quickly as my damaged knee would allow. When I finished I was shocked to find that I had actually only run 9.5 seconds slower than I had the previous month, and was really delighted to have a second 10k under my belt at less than 50mins. I’ll be back next month for the final race, a 5km run, to complete the set.
Phil bought me entry to only my third OCR of the year as a birthday present, since the race fell 4 days prior to my birthday and I was heading up to Essex to do the 18km race with some of the RPCC guys. Sadly a few days before the race, our trainer and friend Rich Pringle’s young son passed away, devastating all of us who knew him, and causing our whole town to come together in support in amazing way, as well as the wider community, particulalry the in the OCR world where Rich is extremely well known, liked and respected. People were asked to wear red the day of the race, whatever they were doing and when we arrived at dirty dozen this request had been followed on a massive scale. It was a sea of red shirts, shorts and vests as far as the eye could see, and it was moving in a way that can’t really be described, you needed to be there.
The group of 9 of us who would be going and representing RPCC at this race decided that we would wear our black RPCC kit, with red armbands, or shorts, or tops underneath, and we stood, arm in arm, at the front of the first wave, with a mass of red behind us, as we had a minute of silence for Hughie, followed by a minute of applause. Tears fell as we held each other, but the moment was beautiful.
After the warm up, that I actually had to join in as we were foolishly still at the front, it was time to get going. We wished Dean luck as he was off to race properly, and the remaining 8 of us set off at a more leisurely pace, choosing to do this one together as a team. We were enjoying ourselves despite the fact that we seemed to be picking up injuries one by one by one, myself turning my ankle painfully at around the 5km point, leaving me 13 painful km still to hobble through. We happily clambered over the well built obstacles, helping each other and having the kind of fun I had been missing from racing lately. We stopped to pose for some great group shots every time we saw a photographer and enjoyed watching the ribbon of red tops spread along the course.
Despite our myriad of injuries we managed to make it around the course, and after a cooling dip in the lake we could see the finish line in sight, just a clamber over a trailer with a very ungraceful dismount, a thin ladder climb and a big wall and we would be there. Sadly I was unable to complete the last two obstacles, my ankle finally getting the better of me, I was beginning to struggle to hold up my own weight, but together the 8 of us crossed the line and into the waiting arms of Doug Spence. We took a moment there at the finish, with Doug, and a few more tears spilled down our cheeks. It had been an emotional day and we didn’t need words, just some time together arm in arm again before we headed back into the event village for some warm clothes and a well deserved drink.
Dirty Dozen had laid on an amazing race, and an amazing tribute to a wonderful little boy and it was a privilege to have been able to be a small part of it, and I’m so glad I had decided to go along.
For the rest of the month though, I fear, it will be rest and Ice packs for me as I try to get my ankle back into shape so I can start training and running again, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
(If you have read this and would like to donate to a fund to build a play park in Hughie’s memory, please click on this link: https://www.gofundme.com/2k42bhvt )