A new type of run for Croft Ambrey Running club took place on Tuesday evening thanks to Mike Hayward.
Unfortunately Mike has been injured for a while and is gradually getting back to running but in the meantime this relative new comer to the club, having joined last summer, is definitely showing that you don’t have to be running to be an active member. He has helped out at most, if not all of our time trials and took on the task of organising a Narrative Trial Run around Stoke Prior.
I am fairly sure that this was a new type of run to all of us that took part and that we all headed to Stoke Prior not really knowing what was in store.
What we found though was a really well organised event. Mike and his wife Jane handed out instruction sheets to us and we studied them for a bit – tried to remember some of the abbreviations to help us work out where we had to go and then we headed off up the road. Most of us went in either pairs or threes with I think just Tim and Kelly heading off on their own.
The idea is to have staggard start times so you are only relying on yourself not just following the runners ahead who could be going the wrong way.
I think Mike was being kind to us this first time and his instructions were pretty clear – we had to TL out of the farm, SA at the crossroads, TR thru hedge, XST, SA on TK! (Turn left, Straight Ahead, Turn right, Trak)
I headed off in my little group of three with Sue and Tory and I don’t know about everyone else but we all read the instructions and there was quite a bit of ‘what does LHFE mean? and ‘what number are we on again?’. But we worked well as a team and managed to stay on course.
Start of the run – as you can see, some of us were more perplexed than others!
We all headed off down the road and to the cross roads and followed Mikes instructions around the footpaths of Stoke Prior. What a lovely route it was and what a lovely run! The sun shone on us and we got some loveley views as we headed along field margins and accross meadows and looked for metal and wooden gates, footbridges and stiles, sticking to the instructions.
I don’t know about the other groups but in ours we were more than happy to have the little pauses to check we were in the right place in the descriptions and work out where to go next. Being able to catch glimpses of the runners ahead and trying to catch up and pass them lead to a competitive edge. It was quite amusing to see Gary and Huw head off in the wrong direction at what they thought was a shortcut then to see them at a standstill trying to figure out the right way to go!
Tim caught up with us at a stile, despite us having set off before he even arrived and with his long legs was able to vault over the gate next door so we didn’t hold him up. We were able to see him for a very short time before he headed out of sight in a field.
The final stretch seemed to take us back into the village as we passed houses along a road for approximately half a mile, but then there was a slight right onto an EP(BWS) (? – needed to check the abbreviation key for that one!). This was a green lane that was very shady and dark – and a bit soggy underfoot – a nice change of surface for the final pull before getting back on the road and back to the farm to finish.
It was really good fun and due to the staggard starts there was no way to know who had won until everyone was back and Mike and Jane were able to announce the winners – Tim first man, Kelly first lady and there was a booby prize for the person who got the most lost, but as no one really did apart from the odd wrong turn, this was awarded to Tom and Bryan for taking the longest.
A huge thanks to Mike and Jane for all their hard work and laying on refreshments at the end, to Sue and Tim, friends and neighbours of Mike and Jane who were the tail runners and to Ben for lending us his farm drive for the start and finish.
A very sucessfull evening – if a little low on numbers which often happens in the summer months. Fingers crossed we can persuade Mike and Jane to organise another sometime soon.