Bright sunshine and a crisp wind greeted the 73 entrants in
Balcombe's first Bull Run - a circular, 7.3km cross-country run
over the fields, lanes, styles and footpaths of our beautiful
village. We even had a bit of hail thrown in to give it that
Dave Jones (an ex-pupil of the school and successful triathete) and I had laid out the course the night before with reflective signs. The day started early with the PTA cooking up bacon sandwiches and refreshments for the gathering runners and supporters. Then we briefed the 18 marshals, who had offered to keep a watchful eye over the runners, and gave the runners a race briefing. Harriet Record got everyone in the mood with a warm-up before I called the runners to the start line.
Looking over to it I could see a wonderful mix of runners - from the young (12) to the older (60+), from the experienced to the fun runner. There was fancy running kit on show and one competitor who I'm sure was wearing surf shorts! It is so rewarding to see people raring to go and getting stuck in. Jackie Stone blew the air horn to start and the race was off. It's amazing that even before they reached the top of Westup Lane the runners were strung out - from the gazelles to the steam engines....
They continued along Rowhill Lane, passed Spicers Farm (where David Vickerstaff had set up a water table) before going onto Postman's Walk and across the fields to Westup Farm and back home. This was a muddy, hilly and tough course - not to mention the added hail. I was astounded at the pace of Rob Watts (mens winner in 28m 14sec), Rachel Baker (ladies winner 36.14), Eleanor Stoner (girls winner 37.15) and James Greetham (boys winner 44.28). Well done to you all.
A big crowd had assembled at the finish and the noise was awesome. Everyone was given a cow bell medal, bananas and water. And the winners got some lovely hats. The cakes and bacon "sardines" (as my Facebook entry said - damn autocorrect!) were laid on by the PTA - perfect recovery food after a race.
My thanks to everyone who ran, helped and supported on the day. We made over £500 for the school and also secured a regular event in Balcombe's diary. Bring on Balcombe Bull Run 2015!