News

23 December 2020
2020, A Running Commentary
 
It’s January, a brand New Year,
The weather’s cold and crisp and clear
And MRC’s pleased to be back
To run on road and trail and track.
With Monday runs and Wednesday too,
Events to plan, there’s lots to do.
 
(There is a rumour, have you heard? A Chinese virus?
How absurd.)
 
But rumours spread and worries grew.
Some said it’s just like mild flu.
But gradually the facts emerged
And hospital admissions surged.
We’re washing hands, we’re making space
With masks to cover up our face.
 
Along comes March, the evenings lighten
But Boris says we need to tighten.
Lockdown’s now a dreaded word -
A halt to running? - that’s absurd!
 
Member of the Month is out,
The Championship falls into doubt.
Fartlek’s lost and track-time scrapped.
Just as well, I’m always lapped!
 
Reduced to running on our own,
Forbidden to stray far from home,
We’re “staying safe” but this is crap
Until along it comes…
 
…WhatsApp!
 
Hey! WhatsApp’s great, we keep in touch;
Who’s running loads, who’s not done much?
Why not take photos on your run -
“Where am I?” was a source of fun.
 
The WhatsApp page is well alive,
Awash with questions: “Can I drive
To Marlborough and then run back?”
“Are we allowed to use the track?”
“Which watch is best?” “I’m in a lather –
Is anyone here good with Strava?”
 
And Strava has a leaderboard,
You bet that it won’t be ignored.
Oh no, soon competition swirls,
A battle between boys and girls!
There’s subterfuge and ploys and plots.
Result? We all keep running, lots!
 
But darker news comes into view
As London’s scrapped, Downs Challenge too.
The Ridgeway Relay’s next to go
And Avebury8? Too soon to know…
 
So “virtual” challenges appear -
Run “London” anywhere this year.
Try 2.6, you choose your way -
Some run, some walk, one opts to play
The violin! That’s tough, but maybe
Try doing sit-ups, holding baby!
 
I’ve got this far without a mention
Of someone who deserves attention.
Just for starters thought he’d run
100 miles or so, for fun
Around his back yard. Get this, chaps,
Young Neil - eight hundred ‘n’ seventy laps!
 
Our two big races both came back
Not as before, but with no lack
Of runners. Thanks to Alan’s brain
Technology took all the strain
And 40 teams ran hill and vale -
No prizes, no post-racing ale -
As, on the Ridgeway, joy of joys
The Marlborough Girls beat Marlborough Boys!
 
On into June and still restricted,
The AGM. Who’d have predicted
That twice as many joined by Zoom
As met last year in Horseshoe’s room!
 
A new committee, new club year
And optimistic sounds we hear.
It seems if good behaviour sticks
We’ll be allowed in “pods” of six.
 
So in July we have a sheet
That tells us where and when to meet.
You book a place, turn up and run
Just don’t get close to anyone.
If you feel bad don’t take your place,
And save us all from Track and Trace!
 
The pods they thrive, we run for fun
Enjoying Wiltshire summer sun.
From Marlborough, Ogbourne, here and there
There’s one in Swindon if you dare!
 
A relay, based on MDC
Enthuses us and so we see
Real competition, cut and thrust.
Come on Team 4, you know we must
Retain our lead, t’would be a blast.
Oh – curses – beaten at the last!
 
We run with smiles in summer heat,
Some storms around but we’re not beat.
We’re tracking runners on the Spine
Our pods are thriving, all is fine.
WhatsApp is keeping us in touch -
“I need a Garmin but how much?”
The nights draw in, who’s got the right
Reflective to be seen at night?
 
There’s optimism in the air.
We’re hoping that we can prepare
For parkrun – what will be its fate?
And how about the Avebury 8?
 
And meanwhile, back at MRC
Our thoughts are turning to the sea.
Real challenge here – can your team boast
The swiftest run around the coast?
The South West Path, one thousand k,
Record your mileage every day.
Three teams, determined, push the pace,
A map with arrows paints the race.
One team, (not mine!) the ones in red
Makes early strides and stays ahead.
There’s slightly controversial talk –
“What happens if I have to walk?”
That’s quite ok says everyone
As long as you were trying to run!
 
So, lots of fun and many smiles.
Karina’s team romped home, by miles!
 
Sad news - parkrun’s return is off.
The Terminator’s scrapped as well.
But Virtual London goes ahead
Although in weather that is hell!
Well run to Wendy and Pete too;
And Kirsty – that was brave of you!
 
The Avebury8 is on – but no!
We’re locked down with one day to go.
Our pods are off, alas alack,
A bad assault in Savernake.
It feels, as I am writing here,
A bad end to a crappy year.
 
This wretched year has been a mess
A time of worry and distress.
Our running should be social fun
Not “distanced” running one-by-one.
We ought to race, but it’s a farce
If distancing won’t let us pass.
And is it just too much to ask
To see a smile and not a mask?
 
We miss the jokes, on start line stood
We wait the gun. “This pace is good!”
We miss the rushing, sweaty heat,
The sound of pounding, racing feet
We miss the pain around the track.
We pray our running soon comes back.
 
December brings some better news.
The pods return, dispel the blues.
Our Christmas party, planned for Zoom
Is off…
 
…but shining through the gloom
Is Twenty One. A brand New Year,
Perhaps restrictions disappear?
We’ll have a party, quite a thing,
A Christmas knees-up in the Spring.
We’ll keep on running with our mates
Look forward to some racing dates.
We’ll plod up hills and have a laugh
(Don’t tweak a hamstring or a calf.)
You’re at the finish, we all cheer!
Come on, let’s go and have a beer.
 
Keep fit, keep active, running free
That’s MRC for you and me.

Phil
Early December 2020
 
***************
 
PS
 
Christmas cancelled?
Bloody Hell.
January looks bleak as well.
Please…
Just stay safe.
Go for a run?
We’ll meet again in 21.
 
 
02 July 2016
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