Ah transport. How much more fun races are when you add logistics, rain, and Sundays into the mix.
I have no idea why but only part of the railway route to Reading was operating, the most likely reasons are: flooding, landslip, weekendiness; but anyway it wasn’t. My plan, to avoid the fact that I hadn’t booked parking, was to drive far enough along the route to get a train (rather than bus replacement and train) to Reading, take a bike and park bike at race.
1. Drove to Ash (miles away), realised I hadn’t got my bike lock, decided I would fake it with velcro and compression straps (worked once in the past).
2. Got onto platform realised I had to wait an HOUR for a train (I had got the impression they were a lot more regular…)and that this would get me into Reading well past 9am instead of just past 8am. Stood still on the platform for about 5 minutes with my bike, looking at the train route and weighing the options. Decided to drive to Wokingham and see if I could get there to catch up with the earlier train.
3. Mid-way through the drive, decided this was stupid and drove to Reading. Sneaked past the pre-booked parking and abandoned car in a housing estate (quite a posh one).
4. Sneaked into the pre-booked area and got the shuttle bus to the stadium where the start was.
Realised en route that I hadn’t quite taken into account that it was a very big run (16k I think), so I wouldn’t just be able to look for the Write This Run team and say good luck. Wandered around the race village for an hour or so like a sad little peasant as I only had a pound, which was not enough for a cup of coffee (sniffle). Following the tannoy advice commenced the rather long walk to the orange start (right at the back) and listened to the most irritating ‘jolly’ commentary for 30 minutes. I can only tolerate someone saying ‘Come ON’ about once, so I was tested to the limit. I think the problem stemmed from the fact that she was at the start cheering people on, and as there were 5 staggered starts this got a little bit lame if you were the 5th. Having her audible at the start and just playing music to the rest would have been a little less annoying.
Race was enlivened by best support team ever – consisting of my friends and my godson Edward who was spectating at his first race. He was very good at waving.
Also there were red kites!
While Reading isn’t pretty the course was quite interesting and the support from bystanders was great, considering the weather was dire. I felt bad though because I think I infected a couple of ladies with my tripping over (I didn’t go over and probably deserved to because of my bird watching). One went over on my right with sufficient force to rip the knee off her tights (which is quite hard to do), and one poor lady tripped over the back of my shoe.
And thank you to whoever put the Mars bar in the goody bag, I needed it!