With TR24 looming ever closer (just 7 weeks today – eek) and this being my 1st proper week of my new marathon training plan, I thought it wise to a) see if I can actually run for an hour and b) do some trail practice.
It’s actually quite hard to find trails to run around here – there are lots of pretty country lanes and lots of fields, but following a rather hairy experience at the aged of 16 I don’t like running on fields. Actually, let me tell you about that – it will make a more interesting blog than my boring out and back 5 miles along the only trail I could find.
Like most of the countrys teenagers in the late 80s we had to do the Duke of Edinburgh Award thingy at the age of 15 and because mine was a sporty and fairly affluent school they pretty much made it compulsory. In hindsight, I think it’s a great thing to encourage kids to do and I’m sad they don’t make them do it anymore, as I think it would do my little sister the world of good (she’s 16 and like yeh whateva dude). I don’t remember what else we had to do – maybe help old people cross the road and write a report about something worthy, but I do know it culminated in a 2 day expedition in the Brecon Beacons. As a group of 4 we were dropped off at a starting point with a map, a compass and various supplies, and we had to hike 10 miles to the campsite.
Let me give you some background info. At 15 I was still a real square, I played Basketball every day including at lunchtimes, was in the top set for everything, didn’t drink or smoke and other than being a bit precocious I was a model student. I was also quite good at orienteering, and quite good at being bossy, so my teachers put me in charge of a group of reprobates. You know the ones – at 15 they were already drinking, and smoking and didn’t do any sports and were doing S E X and things. I was petrified, these people were such an anathema to me, I didn’t know how to relate to them at all, and I suppose they felt the same way about me.
Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, I was too scared of them to tell them what to do, and they had all snuck some drink and fags into their bags and thought 8 hours of being left to their own devices was the best thing ever. After an hour or so of wandering around and gradually warming to each other, we found a spot to sit down and eat our lunch (at 10am – you know what kids are like) and plan the shortest possible route to the campsite. We were told to stick to marked footpaths but of course we decided not to, and after an hour staring at the map and drinking Thunderbird blue label we set off across a field with high spirits and a plan to cut 2 hours hiking off our day. 15 minutes after entering the field, we heard shouting and barking, turning around we saw a bloke WITH A BIG GUN barreling towards us. We immediately thought the worst and started legging it across the field. Well, I did – I was in good shape due to the basketball but the other 3 were just so slooow. I crossed what must have been in a mile in about 6 minutes, looked back and the others were still miles away with the farmer rapidly gaining ground. I started screaming and shouting at them to RUN BLOODY QUICKER YOU IDIOTS which did the trick and they sped up. After a quick puke, we cut through a hedge onto a lane and carried on running until we came to a village shop which we went into and mooched around for 15 minutes, checking intermittently that we weren’t being followed. The rest of the hike passed with no more incidents, but I do think of that weekend as the time that I loosened up a bit and starting turning into a proper teenager – it was all downhill after that as far as doing things I shouldn’t was concerned!
So, there you have it. The reason I don’t like running across fields is that I’m scared I’m going to be chased by a man with a gun. Looking back, I’m sure that he was completely harmless and was just trying to catch us to perhaps warn us about some danger, but then again he was Welsh.
And he is the reason I would rather run through this and risk getting murdered in the shrubbery:
Than run across this:
Gym: 40 mins