Sunday, September 08, 2013

View from the Back of the Pack - August

by Dave Webb

For some reason the sunny evenings seem to bring out more runners than the cold dark nights of winter. Our Monday night runs have seen as many as 16 people turn out for a run and a chat. Some runners are more talkative than others, with Dan Cantrell being our foremost chatterbox, although Charlie Spencer is never normally short of a word. Not everyone is so loquacious, so this month’s running question asks whether you should talk while running. For me, the key is not to talk when you are out of breath, which at times can call for stealthy tactics. A well-timed question at the bottom of a hill can keep your co-runner talking while you climb. My co-panellist, Mr Les Knott-Bother, believes that talking requires your full attention, and he doesn’t like talking at a moving target, which is why he prefers not to run.
Our chief talker, Dan, tackled his first marathon on a hot Saturday at Sydling, in late June. As his clubmates we decided to run sections with him for 2 reasons. First, we wanted to give him some support, and second, in the name of science, we wanted to find out how many miles he needs to run before he stops talking. The chatter was fading as he approached halfway, but after a reviving cake stop, he picked up the conversational pace until he fell silent around the 23 mile mark.
Earlier in that race, runners were startled by the unexpected sight of a local farmer sitting naked in an old bath in the middle of a field, enjoying a bottle of beer. Running in the heat is hard work, so a bath and a beer are tempting prospects. It’s probably best, though, not to go naked, unless you are competing in the naturists’ annual ‘Bare If You Dare’ 5K. So far as I know none of my clubmates took part in this year’s race; if they did do so, then they kept it hidden, which would not be in the spirit of the event. Back at the Sydling Marathon, I am told that the farmer stood up to greet the last runner, which had the desired effect of making them run faster.
Some members of Maiden Newton Runners have been branching out into multi-discipline events. Dave ‘Wiggo’ Butt is a demon on the bike, averaging about 25 miles an hour in his weekly 25-mile time trials. Phil England has put us all to shame with his triathlon exploits. As I write this he is tackling his 3rd ‘Ironman’ : a 2.4 mile swim, then 112 miles on the bike, and a 26.2 mile run to finish off. His goal is to break the 12-hour mark, though the hot weather may slow him down.
I have had some questions as to whether the fastest hairdresser in the west is speedier at hairdressing or running. I must stress that she takes her time on the hairdressing, though she has recently tried a new multi-discipline event, ‘hair-running’. Martin Lascelles started running, while Charlie cut Lin’s hair before they both rushed off in their trainers to catch him up. The key for these multi-discipline events is a speedy transition. Charlie had her running kit on so that she only needed to whip off her apron, drop the scissors, and set off. In triathlons there are strict rules about no nudity and no swearing during the transition phases, which is a problem for those of us who find it hard to get out of a wetsuit without exposing ourselves and cursing loudly. I am sure that Phil has no such problems, and I look forward to reporting his Ironman exploits next month.