On a balmy evening, with the orchards as dry as the Mojave, which couldn’t have been more different from last year when we splashed through mud in the rain, Couriers presented themselves in a somewhat weakened form, with Eliot, Luke, Mike and our two departees missing. But, on a positive note, we had three women in our ranks and managed to finish two teams [of 4, each with at least one woman]. Unsurprisingly in the circumstances, the first team only registered 4th, but with the big guns back, we trust, in the final 2 races, we should be able to haul ourselves up a place or 2 overall.

Matt again ran superbly, given his limited preparations, for 4th, with the flying Russ less than 2 minutes down in 12th. Dave consolidated his leading V50 status with a fine 18th and Ali once more completed the team in 89th.

Geoff began rather sluggishly but, towards the end of the first lap, began moving through the gears, his loping stride and aquiline profile scattering the low-flying buzzards while taking him effortlessly past the straining Herring, to finish 31st, 6 places to the good of the latter. Irritatingly, this was not good enough for 1st V60 as Mike Warrick, a top notch ultra man from Rhayader, had decided to make his summer league debut on the night and found the speed to take 8th overall! [See Chairperson’s letter to AW]. Nestling between the 2 V60 Couriers was to be found a stranger in the shape of Neil Lewis who has been on sabbatical for a time. He started briskly, flagged a bit on the 2nd lap but, when passed by Fishface, felt an adrenalin rush which carried him past his neighbour for 32nd. A liitle further back in 41st came another warrior from the past, Pete Cawardine, yet one more Courier trying his luck at the triathlon. As in the last race, Kev placed one position ahead of Ali. No, Kev, you will not count as 1st woman. Only a little way back in 95th was Jayne, maintaining her dominance in the F55s while Sheryl made her Summer League debut with a creditable 114 out of 133. Watch out, Clara, Mum’s coming!

And so on to Westhope with the Heringbone long range forecasting service predicting searing temperatures and a no-show from Mr Kay.

Finally, many thanks to Mike Blenk for all the work he put in getting the course ready. Saboteurs [no, they were not Couriers attempting to tamper with arrangements to their own advantage] had decided to prune the apple trees just before the race, leaving a mass of branches strewn across the paths. Come to think of it, that might have been just the sort of course to suit Mike Link. And could that have been him I saw driving out of Kinnersley just before the race and after the clearing had been effected? Surely not.