Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Johnny Kipps - 2008

11th May, as suffered by your correspondent Dave C.

A gloriously sunny and hot day resulted in what could almost be described as a mass turn out for the annual running of this event. The thirteen runners comprised of a section of seasoned MNR stalwarts (always ready to stall and one at least quite warty), a couple of unwitting first timers (no doubt lured by some dubious promise of glory or such like) and a small contingent of renowned Yeovil runners who bravely joined in, probably being too embarrassed to admit they’d got lost looking for a ‘real’ event when they inadvertently stumbled across our little gathering.

The warm and clement conditions had clearly influenced the choice of racing apparel, with shorts and vests seemingly being the order of the day. As the only foolhardy individual to be wearing tracksters, I tried to explain my foolishness as being down to the habit of avoiding the effects of chance encounters with nettles and brambles, admittedly not normally a problem on Dorset’s roads, but it was better than confessing a current lack of shorts that were either sufficiently clean (ie would stay still long enough to be captured) or that would actually fit.

This lack of preparation should of course be taken in context with a cut back in pre-race training due to a selection of injuries, together with an over indulgence of fermented red grape juice the night before, unsurprisingly resulting in a distinct lack of sleep.

Due to the inexplicable absence of our traditional noble starter, Dave Webb (last year’s controversial winner) adopted a lordly demeanour and officiated at the start.

Keen not to disappoint club colleagues with the fun of a chase, I set off at my usual unsustainably enthusiastic pace, hoping to provide my more practised and sensible colleagues with the traditional fox and hounds experience, at least up to the first serious climb, where I expected to watch a good few of them toddle on by.

As I sweated my way up to the top of the long climb, getting slower and slower I started to conjecture where the chasing pack had gone – were they lost, had they been abducted by aliens or was I hallucinating due to the heat? Whatever the reasons, I was oh so grateful to see the welcome oasis of the water station being (wo)manned by the ever understanding wife of our illustrious Chairman.

Having taken on board a gulp or two of water, heartened and refreshed, I set off again with a little more vigour up the final gentle climb, to the high point and halfway point of the circuit. Reaching this whilst still in front was a rare and most unexpected hallelujah moment.

I didn’t look back to see who must surely have been closing in on me, but knowing it was all downhill from here, I was content that I could now at least put on a bit of a show when a challenger came past. Indeed such a show was needed when I spotted Dave Webb, now spectating from the roadside and brandishing the unique and coveted winner’s trophy for this event.

The final two mile run in then became a tooth grinding epic as the tantalising thought, that I might actually have half a chance of a win, started to dance around in my head (probably an effect of the heat more than the logic of seeing Dave W, one of our top runners, spectating rather than chasing).

I was hugely relieved when I reached the last hurdle of the steep drop down into Wynford Eagle. Still expecting to be caught, I zigzagged my way down this fearsome incline (even the temptation of a win couldn’t override the trepidation of this decent) to the finishing straight, where I managed a last little sprint for the benefit of the waiting throng.

At this point I feel I should unselfishly say a few words about the prowess of my fellow competitors as they gallantly crossed the finishing line, but in honesty I was too shagged to be paying much attention, being more concerned that my earlier breakfast stayed where it was supposed to and didn’t make an encore appearance.

It was great to actually win my first ever running trophy and for it to be for the Johnnie Kipps ……………….. - words fail me here, I’m overcome with emotion. Nonetheless, a final thank you must be said to Dave W, for ensuring that a good selection of biscuits was in the tin and for not doing the run this year!

And here are some pictures:

The Wynford Eagle hovers over Andy's head at the home of the "Johnny Kipps"

The Massed start, well into double figures this year.

The coveted biscuit tin is presented to this year's winner by last year's.

The Martins cool down in the stream that marks the start and finish.

The Biscuit Tasting.