Random Thoughts from a Reluctant Hiker

Written by Pauline Richards.                                                                                                                                                                                    It’s September, the sun is shining into the Conservatory, I’ve just returned from another holiday abroad, it was my 4th this year and yes I know I am very lucky, I’ve also carried back the inevitable ½
stone not all of which is in bottles in my rucsac – taking elderly relatives on the Continent is not conducive to good training! (Excuse No: 1)…………

2 or 3 days pass by.

O.K. so what if it’s September, it’s still Summer though and it’s a shock to find it’s less than three weeks to the Longmynd Hike, how can that be? It has snowed on me more than once on the Hike so it’s got to be farther away than that, but no… Oh heck another year of not much training, well I have helped a few people do GOOD things this year (Excuse No: 2) and I have been off work for 16 weeks with a heel injury sustained during last years’ dismal performance (Excuse No: 3) and it would be sensible not to put my feet through that again (Excuse No: 4). So that’s settled then, I’ll give it a miss this year and just help, I’m best at that – helping – yes, that’s what I will do…………

2 or 3 days pass by.

Entry forms are lying about Phil says “where’s your entry?” Gill is very busy recceing; Keith’s ignoring the whole thing, trying to concentrate on KIMM training……………

Last years winners photo’s have just arrived in the post with a little note asking for the Trophies to be returned, gosh is that me tagging on the back end of the Winning Team (Mercia, of course), well I might just fill in an entry form, there’s nothing to lose, my time last year was very disappointing, perhaps I could do better, have I time to do some training, well, I did do two weeks high level walking a month ago…………

2 or 3 days pass by.

I just can’t help it, it must be a drug, I’ll have to have a go… I can always pull out and catch the mini-bus back at any time can’t I?

I did 16 miles in Snowdonia on Saturday, that’ll be it - my training, time to ease down for the
last two weeks, do you think Paula Radcliffe does as much training as this!!!!!!……………

2 or 3 days fly by.

We sit in the Ragleth Pub at the usual Tuesday evening rendezvous, I am listening to tales of 35 mile runs on Sunday backed up with yet more amazing feats, my resolve is weakening by the minute, how can I even try to compare with this lot, they are really working hard, oh well I’ll just have to ask Phil if I can help him at the Ragleth Summit Checkpoint, no perhaps not, perhaps I’ll just walk it nice and slow………

Time is really passing now.

The last two weeks are just rushing by in a flurry of map sorting, rucsac weighing, short recce’s and 3 mile runs – no danger of over-training here then……………

It’s Wednesday, 3 days to go and I think I’m getting a cold, Keith say’s the pain in my knee is psychosomatic – what does he know!……………

Bless him he’s bought me waterproof socks and some new batteries for my torch, I expect I’ll have to do it now he’s spent money……………

Thursday and 2 days to go - I have definitely got a cold and sore throat…………

I wonder if Shaun’s (that’s my 8 times Hike partner) ear is better yet, I didn’t actually mean to perforate his eardrum as I screamed at the phone.. ‘What do you mean Rob can’t do it, he’s supposed to be our third, I don’t care whose Birthday Party it is………

I suppose it can’t be helped that his Grandpa is 75 and wants a rave-up, we’ll just have to try and pal up with someone else who looks like they might finish in one piece. Gosh all of a sudden this Hike is important, let’s hope we get a choice before we are grouped – last year’s lad had worked out 64 different ways of killing us by the time we had bullied and cajaoled him to the finish, I am falling off to sleep now and it’s really on my mind about this grouping thing, when you’re down at our end it’s a real lottery………

Suddenly I don’t feel sleepy anymore!!!!

I am really trying to rest for tomorrow, not doing so well, oh for goodness sake anybody would think I was taking this seriously…………

O.K. I’m ready, and on my way to the Harris’s at Wall under Heywood for the night to eat carbs, watch the weather and talk tactics…………night night everybody, perhaps when I wake up it will be Monday.

OH NO – it’s the alarm clock, get in the shower Richards and stop snivelling………

I’ve eaten some porridge, waved Keith and Phil off, given Gill a good luck hug, there’s only myself to face now, so let’s get on with it, off to the School Hall. Kit’s all checked….partner Shaun is here….should I try and shove a bit more food in, go on then, let’s sneak off for a baked potato and beans, just the thing – pardon Gill, what did you say? “I’ve just poured the tea into the milk jug” oops sorry, must be nerves. Trying to lie down but there are so many good friends and annual acquaintances here it’s impossible, is this wonderful family feeling why we come back year after year.

I am on the Start Line trying to cling on to that ‘wonderful’ feeling but I can feel it slipping away………gosh everyone looks so fit and so THIN, perhaps I’ll get back a bit……perhaps I’ll get back a lot……aahh that’s better a bit more relaxed at the back here……… OH HELP WE’RE OFF, this is it, head down, don’t think, just do it ……………………………

Back at last, I’m knackered, I’ll have a cup of tea and some cereal and sneak off for a sleep, feet are better than I thought they might be. I’ll be back in a couple of hours for the prize-giving and breakfast………

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world - yawn, yawn………needn’t have worried about the grouping, Steph and Kim were lovely people, real triers -stretch, yawn…………. Shaun is as much good company as ever, yawn, perhaps now I’ve done 10 I’ll stop, yawn, we’ll see what happens tomorrow. Snooze… Snooze…. . ZZZ… ZZZ… ZZZ

MERCIA RESULTS WERE:

Team Results

1st Mercia 1: Andy Davies, Gill Harris, Joe Faulkner, Rick Robson, Pauline Richards
2nd Mercia 2: Mark Bollom, Ed Austrums, Gavin Stewart, Rachael Bollom, Dave Nichols

Individuals Winners

Overall Winner Longmynd Staff - Andy Davies
Ladies Trophy - Gill Harris
Novice Trophy - male - Mark Bollom
West Mercia Police Trophy - Rachael Bollom
The Swain Shield - Ed Austrums
The Eric Broom Staff - Pauline Richards.