Brown Is The Colour written by John Chapman
Not quite the Chelsea song, but appropriate for last Saturday’s Bath Skyline parkrun, where the mud and puddles were occasionally interrupted by a short section of pathway. In keeping with he brown theme, the Kelloggs product that I chose to promote via my T Shirt was Coco Pops. I’m sure none of you really care about that, so let’s move on to the turnout, a very impressive 313 participants. Numbers were slightly reduced as many regular participants, wisely in my opinion, decided that a parkrun and a Half Marathon in the same weekend were too much. On the other side of the coin, we had some visiting keener-beaners, in Bath for the Half Marathon, and fitting in a parkrun. Deviating slightly, should that now be Half Snickers following the Mars re-branding many years ago?
A few of the runners were clearly a bit bemused by our wonderful course, clearly used to more conventional parks. One runner bemoaned that trail shoes might have been better, I suggested wellies might have been the best bet! Not sure that my attempt at humour was fully appreciated. Or maybe it was the fear of wearing the wrong shoes. I never even knew that there were different types of running shoes, but why would I? Nobody could possibly describe me as a serious runner.
I’m getting like Ronnie Corbett for going off at tangents, so back to the Bath Skyline course. An early challenge is the downward slope, and yet again this week, no falls. I’m sure the Marshalls secretly film that section, in the hope of a slip, and the opportunity to get £50 from You’ve Been Framed. Then we get to the part with stunning views of Bath, and they really are stunning. This week a large group stopped for photos. Great move ladies, and it gave me a rare opportunity to overtake a large number of runners. In fact, this was more overtaking in 10 seconds than I have managed in my previous 20 odd runs. A rare feeling of achievement as I powered through the field.... Then 100 yards later a feeling of despair as I once again puffed my way up the steps. Then the uphill muddy bit to the path... It's a day for positivity so it is a personal challenge with a sense of achievement on completing this part. Relief is maybe a more accurate, but less positive word.
I’ll skip over the paths section, metaphorically of course, there is definitely no skipping in my actual running. Some cynics might even suggest that there is not much running in my actual running.
Now the big question. Why is the Potato Field so called? Closest to a potato that I have ever seen is an empty crisp packet in the hedge. To my mind, in the rainy season it is more like a re-creation of the Somme battlefield, minus trenches of course. This week it was heavy going, as they say in horse racing. Or gert muddy as we say in Somerset. Deviating again, is anybody able to enlighten me on the name ‘Potato Field’.
The final obstacle is the rabbit field, pretty obvious how that got it's name, as that provides less mud, but rabbitty 'trenches'. By the time I get there, the rabbits are in hiding, as a howitzer style barrage of 300 parkrunners have sent them hoppity hopping into hiding. What about the rabbit holes? Well, just a natural obstacle, with a need to take a little care, after all, we'd hate to disturb the bunnies. Sorry wrong priority, apparently we'd hate a runner to be injured/ fall over. Rabbits, I'm suddenly getting visions of Chas and Dave....
So back to Saturday, it was great to be back after a football and wind enforced absence. It really is such a fantastic course, varied, interesting, scenic, and challenging, and for non-serious runners like me, a real sense of achievement at the finish. Well done to all 313 participants, and for those also doing the Half Snickers, I hope that went well. And yet again, a massive thanks to the organisers, marshals and many other wonderful volunteers, without whom this could not happen.
And if you're thinking of trying Bath Skyline parkrun, be assured that most of the runners/ organisers are not as strange as me, it really is great, and I never thought that I would be saying that running a 5K on a Saturday morning has really made my life a lot better. As Bradley Walsh nearly said "Come and have a go, if you think you're runny enough". Now there's a thought, maybe the tail walker could be re-branded as The Chaser.
Helen delivers to Sermon on the mound to the first timers
The participants line up at the start, am I allowed to say a view of the rear end of the starting line up, or will that get censored????