HUNDRED HOUSE OF CARDS
You see, you take one card from the house you’ve patiently built and the whole blooming lot comes down. This time, missing Matt, our lovely Jack of Hearts, we don’t get 1st A, B or C team ! I told you we shouldn’t have twisted after Croft. Just walk from the tables when you are ahead…I’m sure Mike B could have been persuaded to make this a two race series! But what the hell is all this defeatist talk, Herington ? You’ll have Mike Link coming round to change your mind.There are two more races to go. We can win it! Believe! I entirely agree with Mr Link that Christmas has to be cancelled. Training at 10.0 am on the Blorenge 25/12/12 for everyone, no exceptions, Nigel to lead out.
Any old how, even in a losing hand, you sometimes find an ace or two and in fact I have located THREE in this one. First, another fine run from Eliot. Deprived of his Talons, which he normally keeps under his pillow but which were [possibly] purloined by a desperate rival at Croft, he had to make do with trail shoes. In the icy and slippy conditions, these were less than ideal and contributed to a painful ankle injury but the boy forged on to get second, pretty close to winner Tim Iveson on home ground. This should be enough for Eliot to secure a first League title, assuming he turns out for one of the two remaining races. Of course, the Team needs him out for both!
Our second ace is really more of a joker but he wasn’t fooling around in claiming a fantastic 8th spot [and again 1st V40] on the sort of sapping course he nightly dreams about. I’m talking, of course, about Mike Link, multilingual athletes’ agent and impresario. This was the first time he was ahead of Luke James [12th], a little below his best, but still feeling the effects of a strong run in the recent tough Snowdon Marathon.
But the ace of diamonds was, without doubt, Bev Bishop, our only female participant who took a superb 11th place, up from 23 at Croft and 2nd V40 as well. This woman is poised to medal in her debut season. What an inspiration! First female was again Clara, running a strong race on this tough course.
Back with the men, Russell ran strongly again to place 17th [and fourth scorer] in a strong field, with Dave 1st V50 in 25th, one place ahead of Neil Lewis who, [like Steve Littlewood and the absent Max and non-combatant Clive ] was a prizewinner at the previous day’s Blorenge assault. Geoff’s fitness is returning after injury but he was a bit grumpy to be beaten in the V55s [34th] by one of the toughest oxen in the field, Jack Parry of the home team. Cheer up, Geoff, you’ll be 60 soon and will only have fruit flies to bat away then. Talking of whom, Herington did just about enough to notch the category win after the previous day’s trip to the Baltic [not Balti, Kev] Essex wastes.The other Steve was 2nd V60 in 47th after his tangle with a dog, let alone the other runners on the Blorenge the day before. But it was the showers Steve enjoyed most, even if it was not so much fun for his fellow competitors in the vicinity at the same time. Incidentally, Steve apologises to the other person he may have inadvertently upset earlier in the morning.
Two ahead of Steve L was Nigel, flush from a fine sub 40 min clocking in the Brighton 10K, but still wondering what hills are for. “Flamin’ useless things, except for taking photos from.” Kev, recovered now from the Orion’s Belt virus that had laid him low at Croft, powered down the descents [to finish 51st] confessing himself satisfied with the ski-soles he had had fitted to his Mizunos precisely with such icy slopes in mind. ” But they don’t give much grip going up”, he commented, “do they, blessed things?” It was good to see the return of John Forrest to League action after a couple or more years’ out, hitting a creditable 59th and ensuring we again registered a C team result [2nd, in contrast to the B’s 3rd].
Consensus was that it was an exceptional race put on by Builth: a great course, immaculately marked, great refreshments and showers to linger in [but not that long, Mr Littlewood.] Many thanks to all concerned.
A preliminary calculation of this season’s Woodford Green Cup standings after 3 events sees Eliot leading from Mike and Russell while Bev,of course, is out on her own with a perfect score in the John Norton Trophy stakes. [For more details of these competitions, see under the Couriers Cups heading.]
Happy Blorenge Day to all our readers [8,742 at last census]