I love summer. Doesn’t everyone? Long sunny days, warm evenings (OK…warm-er) and everyone just seems just a little bit happier. Amazing what a bit of vitamin D will do.
For me, there’s nothing better than throwing on my trainers for a post-work run in the sunshine, the sun is out but it’s not too hot, you can wear shorts and you don’t feel like the kind of crazy person you feel like when you’re training through the bitter winter. It reminds me why I love this hobby of mine.
The summer months also bring a flurry of mid-week races. They tend to be fairly low key, informal affairs but it’s a great opportunity to get people together for an early evening run and a late evening vodka. The Chasers love a mid-week race almost as much as they love a mid-week pub session.
About a month ago we took a record number of Chasers to the annual Thames Hare & Hounds Parkland Relays in Richmond Park. Parklands was my first ever race for the Chasers in 2013 so I think of it as my anniversary run. It takes place on a Wednesday evening in May and attracts a lot of local clubs for a lung burning 2.8 mile off-road loop near the south end of the park.
It’s a tough run and it’s hilly but, hey, it’s Richy P and it’s pretty damn good looking so you just have to suck it up. We’ve been lucky with the weather for the last 3 years so it’s always been a fabulous evening with friendly people, and we even won both the girls and the boys races this year!
Last night 50 Chasers, in a field of 600, represented at the London Business Houses Bridges Relay. Organised by Stock Exchange AC, teams of 4 for men or mixed, and 3 women, raced a 2.3 mile loop along the Embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament, over Vauxhall Bridge and back along the river to Lambeth Bridge before coming back on the home stretch. Short, sharp and over quick right? Pleasant easy peasy run right? Errrr, no.
Me, I was in a team with this fabulous bunch. Diana who is making a sterling return from a lengthy injury, Hannah who slaves away around the track with me and Phil, Phil loves being a Chaser and we absolutely love him for his infectious excitable energy! Team of little runner dreams.
Everyone congregated outside St Thomas’s Hospital for the start. It was very busy and I wasn’t convinced it wouldn’t be complete chaos. Looking around it looked like the standard would be high, and that was before I clocked the international team. I decided my race strategy would have to be run-as-fast-as-you-bloody-can-and-hold-on-as-long-as-you-can. A necessary approach.
The leg A runners set off and it wasn’t as much chaos as I thought, however, I was on the 2nd leg so had to hang around in a big crowd and hope I would spot Phil as he came in. Luckily the Chasers t-shirt is fairly easy to spot so as soon as I saw him I shoved my way to the front and pegged it.
I was running too fast and it hurt, probably not helped by my track session the night before, but something happened I’m not sure has ever happened before. I started overtaking lots of other runners! Spurred on, I just kept running as fast as I could, hugely appreciated the support from 3 Chaser marshals en route, and hoped I wouldn’t start to slow just as I ran past the crowds on the way back.
This is me, errr, pegging it. Many thanks to Liz Milsom for the photo!
I waved at Hannah to make sure she saw me and she headed out on the 3rd leg whilst I tried not to die, I finished in 17:34 so was quite pleased. Once I was sure I’d survive, I found Phil and the other Chasers and waited for the team to finish. Hannah put in a strong effort, also off the back of track the night before, and Diana brought us home with a sprint finish so fast the picture was blurry! I think she’s back from injury 🙂
I have to say this wasn’t the most friendly bunch, Clare was snubbed for simply asking a question and Phil got told off for cheering too loud, maybe that’s the difference between corporate running clubs and ‘ordinary running clubs’ as we were referred to. As if there’s anything ordinary about the Chasers!
Everyone home, we headed to the pub where Phil treated his team to a post race drink. Thanks Phil!