About a mile and half from the turn around point of today’s out and back along the Sussex coast, I stumbled upon a hoard of runners with race numbers ambling towards me with grins on their faces. Grins! True, they had obviously finished whatever race it was that they’d been running, and true they had the wind at their backs rather than in their faces, but it was still wet and grey and not the weather for grinning*. I dodged around them and carried on, past the finish funnel and the finish line and then past the tail end of the race, until I eventually reached my 10 mile mark and could turn around and head for home.
The race in question was the Lido-4, the second West Sussex Fun Run League race of the year. It looks like a league worth being part of for the race names alone. There’s a Hangover 5, a Downland Dash, a Roundhill Romp, a Highdown Hike and a Foxtrot 5, and with 18 races each year (one for each of the member clubs) on surfaces ranging from pancake flat seafront to hilly, chalky tracks they pack in a huge amount of variety for the bargain price of £3 per race (between 50p and £1 per mile).
The grins are beginning to make sense.
* I did, in fact, spend quite a lot of my run grinning too despite the weather, both because I love running within hearing distance of the sea and because my route took me past a number of childhood haunts, but at the time I was trying and failing to run fast into a headwind and I was grumpy as hell.
Those races are so very right up my street that I wish they were nearer to my street.