Thornes Park – Run in the Sun Race Report

This race should have been rebranded to ‘Run in the Heatwave’. The morning of the race the BBC Radio 5 declared : “The UK will see the hottest July day on record, with temperatures hitting a sizzling 36.7C (98F)”. I sat in the car wondering if I was the only idiot who had decided to sign up to both the 2 mile race (starting at 7:15) and the 4 mile club race (starting at 7:45). I was pretty sure there would be other ‘fools’ and I consoled myself with this thought. And anyway I was doing the 2 mile race to support my wife Clare, who had just recently completed her 30 minute running challenge with the beginners class. It was the right thing to do and despite the heat, as well as a slight hangover from a night out in Chester, I was looking forward to it.

Clare and I arrived early to find a few other STACies laid out on the grass enjoying the sunshine. We were quickly ushered into a green Portacabin to collect our race numbers. The temperature inside would have instantly killed an Indian Elephant. Here we were greeted by an older couple who wouldn’t have been out of place in an episode of Acorn Antiques. They clearly didn’t feel the heat. I did wonder why they had not set up their registration table outside. I considered if they were human. I thought about saying something. I didn’t. I was handed my race number by the ‘Julie Walters’ character. No 69. I smirked at Clare. I thought about making a joke to ‘Julie’. I didn’t. The whole episode however did make me feel proud to be British. This would only happen in Britain. Rules are rules after all. I don’t think the thought of setting up the table up outside had even crossed their minds. Anyway, we were quickly offered a free t shirt, water and bananas. Good start.

I immediately found the other fool who signed up to the 2 mile and 4 mile race, well done Joanna Hind you’re just as stupid as me! Joanna and I agreed we would run round with Clare at her pace, supporting her in her first ever STAC race. With the bang of a gun we were off around the running track. I should point out here that the route was a lap around a track, a loop of Thornes park, finishing with another lap of the track. It then dawned on me that I would have to do this loop three times by the end of the night. Idiot! Clare started well with me and Joanna in tow. I was being the perfect husband; supporting my wife in getting fit and doing something we both enjoyed together. This deteriorated fairly quickly when we hit the first hill and I offered an encouraging tip of “move your arms a bit more”. “Richard” she said in her Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) voice just “Shut up”. This progressively got worse en route. On jogging backwards for a bit and shouting encouraging remarks I was told “that’s just putting me off”. Culminating in a “Richard, just f*ck” off” as we climbed the final hill. By the time we got back to the track I had finally got the message and left Clare with Joanna. Clare did really well and despite the trauma I was really proud. She ran her quickest ever 1 and 2 miles. Lesson learned for me: Don’t EVER run with your wife in a race. It’s like driving lessons a big no, no. How come nobody warned me, you know who you are Phil, Jude, Malcolm, etc.

I will go back to my facebook description of the 4 mile race: ‘Hot, flies, hot, laps, hot, muggy, flies, friendly, sweatbox, track laps, mainly muggy”. I will add that even Lord Herrington said: “Hardest club race so far by a long shot for me”. Well done to Richard who was only beaten by a Gazelle from Liverpool. Second STACie over the line was Ross ‘Spartacus’ Phelan, followed by Paul Ebrey in 3rd. Congratulations to Sir Chris Gill who was the first male in his age category. Over to the ladies. First lady back for STAC was Julie James, followed by Violet Gill and Sarah Waite in 3rd. Simply awesome.

Well done to Chris Bastow in his first club race since he joined STAC. And finally a massive well done to myself and Joanna for been brave and stupid enough to run both races. Big shout out to all supporters including STACies Jo-Jo Holland and Sarah Morley.

Post race mocktails and free massages offered welcome relief and a great goody bag containing a water bottle, energy bar and change for life trolley token. Boom ! And remember we got a free tech t-shirt too. Not too shabby for a fiver. Overall an enjoyable, sweaty and fun evening out in the sun with a friendly atmosphere. Well done to all who took part.

Rich Cooper

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