It has been, from a running point of view at least, a disastrous summer. My carefully planned race season, designed to give me lots of hills, trails and company, has been completely written off. I didn’t run the Jim Braben Memorial 10k, or the Surrey Badger Half Marathon. I missed the Cheddar Gorge Half Marathon and the Arundel 10k. And then on Sunday, I also missed the Bacchus Marathon.
But, whereas my numbers for the first four races languished unloved and unwanted, and never even crossed the starting line, my race number for the Bacchus Marathon crossed the line in 12th place in an impressive (chip) time of 3:27:20 after taking full advantage of the red, white, rose and sparkling wines at the aid stations. I had resigned myself to another complete write off, but a chance conversation at parkrun on Saturday (“mutter, mutter, mutter, missed races, mutter, mutter, Bacchus marathon, mutter, mutter, transfers allowed but who wants to run a marathon tomorrow?”) linked me up with a runner who had been planning to run a marathon this weekend but who had been frustrated by a vanishing boarding pass and an intransigent airline.
A few text messages to sort out the details, a simple exchange of information at the Bacchus marathon registration desk, and he walked away with a race number while I walked away with a rather posh box of chocolates.
And my race number got the ride of its life.