In the early 1980’s I, and a few others, ended up on South Georgia Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean having travelled via Dakar (Senegal), Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands. During this brief phase of my life I put an end to my smoking habit and for most of the time lived on military field rations. Upon returning to the UK we were all granted 4-weeks leave before being required to report back for duty during which I became very, very fond of drinking Baileys Irish Cream and eating Mars bars on a daily basis – not an ideal diet!
The knock-on effect of all this is that I joined my first running club (Sarum Striders) which many years later amalgamated with another club and today is known as the City of Salisbury Athletic and Running Club. They helped me train, from scratch, for my first half-marathon (New Forest) but, I was only with the club for a few months because I was rewarded, for my previously volunteering to head south, with a 3-year posting to Cyprus but they did however, kick-start my interest in running as a sporting activity.
This weekend I went back to where it all started and entered the Salisbury 10M road run for my third consecutive year. This event is one of the fixtures in the annual Hampshire Road Race League and is suitable for runners of all standards with PB potential for those so inclined. The course is a scenic route north of Salisbury following the banks of the River Avon through the gently undulating Woodford Valley with lovely views of Salisbury cathedral spire on the return leg. A couple of short hills on the return leg do come as a surprise to some but they are followed by a final gentle 2 mile downhill stretch to the finish line. Having started (at 10:30 a.m.) and finishing on the leisure centre athletics track, it once again proved to be a very friendly and enjoyable event with chip timing and nearly 600 finishers. The organisation, water stations and marshalling for this event was spot on. Car parking was plentiful and having the use of a huge sports hall with toilet facilities was an added benefit.
Prior to the start I always have a look around to see if there is anyone I know (old drinking pals/ex girl friends!) but on this occasion there was no one that I recognised. On the other hand there were at least 3 Stragglers taking part not that I knew them. Two of them were way out in front of me but one of them (around my age I would think) appeared to have dropped out at the water station just before the 6 mile marker and I can find no club reference to him in the final results. Results were:
Gun Gun Name Club Chip Chip
Pos Time Pos Time
1 0:53:05 Simon Plummer City of Salisbury A&RC 1 0:53:05
115 1:07:45 Stuart Hambling Stragglers RC 115 1:07:31
124 1:08:18 Sarah Winter Stragglers RC 125 1:08:07
461 1:29:57 Derick Wilkie 26.2 RRC 463 1:29:25
575 2:44:43 Adele Reed unattached 575 2:43:51
At my age I know that I will never win anything but I do try to set myself times to aim for in road races such as sub-60 min for a 10K, sub-1 hr 30 min for a 10M and sub-2 hr for a half marathon. After not achieving my half marathon time on the last two weekends (Barcelona and Resolution) I was pleased with my effort this morning and am hopeful for the Ranelagh Richmond half marathon in May. I know that Salisbury is some 90 miles away from Surbiton but if any of you are down that way next year I do recommend this event to you.