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Gerry and the Pacemakers – The Cross-Country Tour – 23rd May 2010


Jon Braund reports.


When Phil originally put together a team and volunteered me for captain (i.e. dogsbody) it seemed relatively plain sailing. Roll forward a few weeks and we had lost one person to injury, one to work commitments, and one to being snaffled by the ‘A’ team. Ian Kennedy and John Hutchings stepped into the breach but we were still a man short with a few days to go, for which the plan was Ian and me doing three legs each. To my enormous relief, Gerry Hutchings then stepped forward to pick up the baton, volunteering for leg 2 as he could combine that with his car-driving duties for another team.


The day was scorchingly hot, although I don't think it affected our running much as we drank plenty and the runs weren't long enough to get really dehydrated. Andy Porter got us off to a great start on the long first leg, battling against some real speed merchants. He handed over to Gerry who put in a really gutsy run on a leg he hadn't had a chance to recce and with a couple of really fierce hills (Hambledon Hill and Okeford Beacon). I took over for one of the easier legs (perks of captaincy!) and handed on to John who has been improving fast and ran an excellent section. Then to Ian, running the first of three legs and to Daryl ‘Lizard man’ Davies, clearly invigorated by the heat. By now we had settled into about sixth place, as far as we could tell, which we maintained through the second half to the end, rarely seeing other runners.


More important than the result is that all six runners can feel really proud of the way they ran their legs and supported their team members. The atmosphere in the car was unfailingly enthusiastic, if a little sweaty. However, it did get a little frantic when we got slightly lost, passing one cyclist (Mary McClancy) three times on our way to Batcombe, fortunately, only turning up 40 seconds late for the handover.  Well done to Daryl for leaping from the car straight into racing mode.  Also for remembering to throw his extra t-shirt off after running only a hundred yards. He still had time to pass someone and then take a break behind a bush so he could pass them again. 


Many thanks to Ian for heroically running three legs (he needed the distance, he says) and for driving. The Ridgeway is always one of the favourite running days of my year, and this year's was right up there with the best. And I haven't even mentioned the beautiful route with wonderful views of Dorset, and the pub meal to finish it off.


Put me down for next year Phil!



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