A view of the day from frustrated Eye Community Runner, Ben Heron, who was unable to race through injury.
Warm up time for 'The Daughter' We head down a trail toward some trees; her floating silently with beautiful form, me sulkily clumping in desert boots and jeans. Travelling here - Fineshade Woods, near Stamford - she's been quiet, admitting that she's got butterflies in her stomach in anticipation of today's 3k fun run; which is part of the Remembrance Sunday 11k race - supporting the Royal British Legion - on the cards this Autumn morning.
Out of breath she asks why no one else is running as far as us for their warm up. I may have gone a little farther, I admit, but I assure her it has nothing to do with proving that I can run with no pain in the hope that I'll be allowed to run today, albeit sporting jeans and desert boots. Nothing. She remains silent however her face betrays a knowing smile. My 9 year old daughter has seen right through me.. Why I shouldn't sulk reason #1. A quick stretch done and 'The Daughter' is lining up at the start line, alongside 67 other small people.
It's stopped raining by the time the small people are under the starter's orders - around 10:15am - and the race director lets everyone know that “they're getting more for their money” as the fun run is an extra half mile long to what was advertised. Not one complaint or worried look comes from these mini runners. I even spy one boy, who rubs his hands together and grins. Why I shouldn't sulk reason #2. The starting gun fires and off the kids go into the distance no doubt looking forward to the muddy trail which ends in a cheeky 70ft climb before reaching the finish line, set in a Forestry Commission car park. 12 and a bit minutes later and 11 year old Tom Hattee is the first to be seen cresting the hill and making a final dash for the finish line, closely followed by 10 year old Toby Cox and 15 year old Ellie Piccaver thereafter. 'The Daughter' is not too far behind, placing as 5th girl. We shortly discover that as she ran up the final climb, she saw three “older boys” in front of her. She didn't like this, kicking hard and pushing herself faster up the hill so that she felt sick and beating them to the line. I grin, wondering in awe where she's got this trait from. Must be 'The Wifey'. Why I shouldn't sulk reason #3.
On to the adults race as they start gathering at the crowded start line numbering as they do, 374. I see a few club mates and wish them luck. There's a lot of hustle and bustle at the start line with nervous chatter aplenty until it strikes 11am and instantly the mood changes. The 2 minutes of silence is deafening as we pay respects to service men and women, past and present. Somehow the atmosphere is made all the more poignant by the autumnal wooded surroundings and, alone with our thoughts each person pays their own personal respects to servicemen and women and - just as importantly - their families past and present. Why I shouldn't sulk reason #4. Under starters orders.. the gun goes bang and the runners set off. I'm quickly throttled as 'Wifey' grabs hold of my collar. No darling. Wasn't running. Promise.
The course consists of two laps. Great news for spectators, with a constant stream of runners to watch as they reach the hill's summit. At the end of the second lap it was Mr Skinner leading the way in 38:37, with Mr Hall closely behind in 39:02 - both these gents representing over 40's - with Mr Hartill following thereafter in 39:30. For the ladies, Ms Skinner took the crown in 42:36, our own Ms Overington - with her stylishly sticky out tongue - placing 2nd in 45:17 and Ms Sheridan coming in in 46:03 and third place. The organisers put larger events to shame, bashing out the results that very same day and over £3,500 was raised. Why I shouldn't sulk reason #5. I never did find those red poppy biscuits though..