The weekend of 28th October represents one of the club’s favourite, ‘away trips’ with the annual decamp to Jedburgh for their running festival. There really is something for everyone here from Cani-cross and 10 kms to the ultramarathon and an ‘ultra-relay’. Formidable performances from last year fired up a huge club entry across both days and all events, with some members opting to make a full weekend of it, and entering events on both days, with a ‘getting-in-the-zone’ training camp in between (also known as, ‘getting-in-the-wines’). Saturday’s ultramarathon saw a mix of relay teams for both the men and the women, suitably attired in what can only be described as, ‘sartorially elegant fancy dress’ and both solo men and women entering the full 38-miler. It’s often said that Jedburgh represents a good introduction to the world of ultra-running, being only 38 miles long and reasonably flat, but anyone who’s done it will tell you that’s a bare-faced lie spread by either the uninitiated, or evil ultra-runners looking to trap you into their world. The name should provide some indication of what you can expect as, ‘The Three Peaks Ultra’ is a tautology. It has three hills in it, which you have to get over, and they’re not speed bumps. Word. Newbies will realise fairly quickly they’ve entered something a little special as they donned their race wristband and read, “ Ultra rule #1 – Don’t be a dick” and then joined in the pre race warm up dancing to YMCA…….The irreverence of the whole thing is part of the magic, and you can expect to be scared witless by people in fancy dress jumping out of the bushes at you, flattened by a stuffed squirrel as you near the finish line (who fortunately identified him as a team-mate in disguise, a split second before my lightning quick reflexes ended him), and expected to take on the mighty ‘assault course’ (you need to see the pictures) as you approach checkpoint three, after you’ve nearly been broken by the hills. The pictures say it all, and ‘fun’ is the name of the game. Where else do you get to see elite ultra-runners skelping down a children’s slide or age group runners going ‘arse-over’tit’ on the scrambling bridge ?
That said, the weekend served as an excellent reminder about what makes this club of ours so very special. If you need reminding take a look at the plethora of messages of support on social media before and during the event. You needed to hear the vocal support out on the course, at the most unexpected places and sometimes your lowest moments, that help you push through. There’s the concerned team mate offering to run with you for a bit to keep you going when you were busy giving it some serious ‘Exorcist’ impersonations.
Or indeed felt the ‘one team’ vibe at the start, or at the end. For that indeed, is us.
We are Harmeny, we are one, we are legion.
But next year that flaming squirrel better be wearing a flak jacket, as I know I can drop him from the bottom of the hill, even after 38 miles…. ;-)
Note – The photographs were taken and published by the utterly fabulous Kirsten Cowling. Her awesomeness is clearly unbounded and we are deeply indebted to her for immortalising our moments of…..well, whatever…….