Stickless (right) with BB
Another year, another sunny one, and I am on the wrong side of the railings
Do not misunderstand me. The pleasures of Mudchute are considerable. First
there is the anticipation. We look at our watches, the clear road, the
orderly tables of opened water bottles, and hope to be the first to spy the
vehicles that will clear the way for our Paula.
It was a thrill to watch her two years ago, and every bit a thrill this
year, already on her own, well clear and flying.
The elite ladies we were able to pay due attention to, cheering each by name
and number, so that we were all hoarse even before the wheelchairs began to
come through. That is a hard pull for the wheelchairs. Further down their
pack the effort was almost painful to watch as they crested the rise.
The elite men then arrive, making it all look easy. From then the
composition of the pack gradually changes. Eventually there are those who
even walk to drink their water. A youngster scampering by the side of the
road collects and clears the used bottles. He will not long succeed in this
At the height of the crush it is hardly possible to scan the crowd for
familiar faces. We know their times, and worry when one is late, rejoice to
see another bang on target, read their faces to try and gauge how their race
Then gradually it becomes worthwhile leaning over the railings, reaching as
far as possible to offer bananas and jelly babies, a companionable form of
fishing, whereing the "catch" is supposed to escape with the bait unhooked.
Familiar faces stop, and hugs all round share the sweat between runners and
The moving carpet of people continues. Would I be in this part of the pack,
amongst the slower rhinoceri? Or even slower?
My people are yet to come. The ones who walk more than they run, with slow
Next year. I must get brave. Hang the ballot. I must Just Do It.
Time though, and I must just go, before "My people" make it to mile 17. I
have promises to keep, a runner to meet, and miles to go before either of us
Roll on 2006. I shall try the view from the other side. Promise