Gerry and the Pacemakers – The Cross-Country Tour – 23rd
Jon Braund reports.
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
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.
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!