It appears that we had an undercover reporter present at Chedworth for the Roman Trail race on Sunday.
This summary of the day appeared in the inbox today. It probably won't take too long for many of you to take an educated guess at just who the mystery man or woman is...........
CHEDWORTH 2022 - BEHIND THE SCENES. WHAT REALLY HAPPENED!
Well. it started to unravel when the Thomases announced that they were going to be away for another Welsh cousin’s wedding. How many do they have?
Step forward Tommy Payne (never volunteer boy!) to take on the mantle. Now Tommy is one of those modern hi-tech whizz kids for whom IT is second nature, unlike certain ‘more mature’ Club members who are more familiar with paper, pens and even telephone calls. Come the day, cometh the man, Tommy was armed with his badge (box) of office, containing the megaphone, safety pins and the Race Director’s waistcoat.
Sunday loomed misty, so much so that you couldn’t even see across the parking field. Would the runners even see the arrows on the course? Last minute tweaks of the route included omitting a woodland section used for a chainsaw massacre and a mob of miscreant sheep, more later.
The marshals reported for duty to be given modern (IT) instructions including the dreaded 3-words listing for their positions. Panic!!! Old fashioned maps were resurrected, I think I know where I’m going muttered a few, and even one, was found producing his OS map and scanning desperately for his 3 words in the parish of Yanworth. Somehow they all disappeared into the mist, fingers were being crossed.
Tommy’s speech/race briefing, the minutes silence, and then off went the runners. First problem, no marshal on the road as they exited the field… Fortunately a car parking marshal, leaping out from a bramble bush (having a pee or picking blackberries?) was the man of the moment and they headed off in the right direction, phew!
Out on the course it all happened like a well oiled machine, runners trotted round at various speeds, marshals waved their arms at them and they all returned safely, but what really stressed the system?
None of Tommy’s IT briefing could deal with: Questions from passers-by, Where can I get a cream tea? Which way to the Roman Villa? (asked when stopped under the sign), and more. The amazing herding skills of the marshal at point 19 dealing with those troublesome sheep might have been better utilized trying to move the villagers exiting the Church and standing on the race route for their weekly gossip.
The course marking team took full advantage of the end of the Dave Edelsten-era. The soft option river crossing was replaced with a deeper (2ft) and wider (6ft) option. This was not a babbling brook to jump across this was a muddy channel to plough through but runners attacked the River Coln with gusto, and many resorted to their knees to haul themselves out. There were several full length swims, plenty of wet garments and happy spectators. One runner, determined to appreciate the experience even went back in for a second time for yet another photo opportunity, it takes all sorts to be a trail runner.
The main reason for (some) running is the post exercise cake eating experience, and true to their skills the catering team excelled. However… what happened to the chocolate brownie eat off between two Club competitive bakers? And why was that poor little girl made to sit all morning looking at her plate of cakes for her siblings, what a torture.
Club performances were mixed. Is it true that one member mumbled that his pace was slow as he was tired after sitting on a chair at registration giving out numbers for an hour, oh precious!
However…….. that IT bug really hit two Club members, those dreaded 3 words to indicate their marshalling positions. It’s rumoured they misread their words and were last seen in Newcastle directing runners on some low-level half marathon up there.
Well, it’s all over for another year, the new man i/c performed admirably, although we hope the Thomases won’t have another special weekend in Wales again next year, bring on 2023.
Who on earth could have penned that? Answers on a postcard please.......