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…
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.

Early December 2020
Christmas cancelled?
Bloody Hell.
January looks bleak as well.
Just stay safe.
Go for a run?
We’ll meet again in 21.
And what did 2021 bring..?

We’d just had Christmas cancelled
So we hoped there would be fun
In the brand new year that’s coming.
Yes - it’s Twenty Twenty One.
So, one or two highlights from the year….
So here we go, we’ll start the year
We look good in new running gear,
So let’s take on a challenge grand…
And run the whole length of our land!
We start at Lands End, down south west
(The county Hen will say is best)
And battle north, it’s quite a trip
To Scotland’s very northern tip.
So, teams are formed and leaders picked.
A spreadsheet has the boxes ticked.
Now, get outside, record your run
Build up the miles, it’s all for…. fun?
…. but we are runners, we compete.
We’re desperate, we won’t be beat
And friendly as this great club seems
It gets quite vicious when in teams!
To give the race a little edge
Go find a pasty, meat or veg
Or vegan, we don’t really care
Just post a pic to show it’s there.
And Lilli did just that, you know
An action photo, in the snow.
You know that running’s never real
Unless there’s something mad from Neil!
Accumulator is the word
He offered, and then we all heard
His plan to run. And run. And run.
Each day from one to thirty one.  (493 miles in January, that is. Blimey!)
And, in the end it was Team 3
The first to reach the northern sea.
Team 2 were mighty close, you know
Team 1 were third, but never slow.
Great running all, so many miles,
Some grimaces? But far more smiles.
When is parkrun back?  (To the tune of Rocket Man)
I packed my bag last night, just right.
Zero hour’s nine a.m.
And I’m going to pa-a-arkrun once again.
I’ve missed the run so much
The core team too
It’s lonely on the trails
On such a long and dreary solo run……
And I hope that it won’t be a long long time
Till parkrun’s back, and that will be just fine.
I’m not the runner that I used to be
Oh no, no, no…won’t get a new PB.
Parkrunner, sprinting to the lovely finish line.
Parkrunner, thanking all the marshals, there’re so fine.
Parkrunner, ………whatever you do don’t forget your barcode!
MRC Pulling Power (a musical diversion, eavesdropping on a Minal discussion…)
You really must run.
But Jamie, it’s cold outside.
You know it’s such fun
Oh Jamie it’s cold outside.
Your club says to run five miles tonight.
There’s champ points to gain.
No Jamie, it’s peeing down!
It’s cooling, that rain.
It’s so hard I’m bound to drown!
Your club says to do more hills this week.
You really must fly
Jamie I’ll just get lost
To keep mileage high
There’s really bad roads to cross
Your club says tonight you’re on the track.
I’m going to run, I know that it’s cold out there.
We do this for fun, we’re really quite bold out there.
We slip and we slide, it’s really nice
Who’s bothered by a sheet of ice?!
We’re covered in mud, and sometimes there’s blood.
But mad as it seems, we love that it’s
Cold! Out!There!
Club Chatter
WhatsApp is a wonder, we found this through last year
And this year most discussion seemed to be about our gear.
We runners like to stress and worry, mainly about shoes
And if your IT band is dodgy, what heel drop to use.
There’s always watches chat you know, it can be quite alarmin’
When you are told that you don’t have the current type of Garmin.
And sometimes out in nature you can be in a fix
So get yourself the latest multicoloured tool for ticks.
Pods are a good thing, pods are just great.
Ogbourne at 7, please don’t be late.
Old Eagle, West Woods, Reservoir too
There’s a pod out there somewhere waiting for you.
Everyone’s welcome, join us today
New faces, old faces, blimey – it’s Jay!
Running people
Karina and John, who you know
Ran together through rain, hail and snow.
Each Wednesday they froze
On the route that they chose:
The Pig Farm – nine weeks in a row!
Amanda ran the Serpent’s Trail
Russell ran to The King
A gang of us ran Chippenham
On the Longest Day in spring.
Jess was first at Chippenham
And Westonbirt she won
Simon ran more marathons than almost anyone.
We’re back now running as a club
Fartlek and 10k
Mondays, Wednesdays, bring ‘em on
Sometimes Saturday.
We lost the MDC this year
And the Ridgeway shared that fate.
But glory be! We had a race.
We managed the A8.
The runners flocked to fill the race.
“Am I too late? Is there a place?”
Late runners, pleading from the heart,
All hoping to be at the start.
And on the day the sky was blue
Around the route the runners flew
Then to the hall for cake and tea –
Donations please for charity!
And (nearly) the last Wednesday run
The shoppers in Marlborough looked boggle eyed
As the runners came past them again.
“I saw that lot up by Ducks Meadow just now
And now they’re off down Figgins Lane.
It looks like post boxes are part of their quest
As each time they see one they stop for a rest!”
“Well, they came down our street in their strange coloured tights
All gazing in awe at the Christmassy lights.
I think I might join them next year, just for fun,
Cos the pace they were doing was hardly a run!”
Big thanks to Debs for a really fun run to finish off the year
And on to…
Twenty Two is on its way. Who knows what it will bring.
We’re hoping for a Terminator, MDC in Spring.
We’re hoping for good company, no lockdowns, no restrictions
But who among us feels quite brave enough to make predictions?
Ah, what the heck, let’s go and run, there’s not much we can do
About that pesky Omicron.
Right - fresh air’s good for you,
So run with mates and clock up miles,
Help as a marshal, be all smiles!
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
Get out and run your blues away!

And of course it was all about you guys…
I’m going to drop some names here, could be a big mistake;
So if I miss you out I’m sorry, just give me a break.
There’s Abbie who’s fab, and there’s Alan who’s clever.
(By the way all our mugs are hand-crafted by Trevor)
Amanda is witty, with photos and jokes
And we now have three Andys – confusing, eh, folks?
There’s Angus and Ben, he looks after our quids,
And Catherine and Cat, and Dan with his kids.
We have Darren who runs quite astonishing miles
While Debs sorts out socials to keep us in smiles.
In Dom and in Hen we have runners we like
And Janet does miles both on foot and on bike.
One chap I must mention, a Saturday star -
Jay, how is it every hill is too far?
Jess is a winner, the medals attract her
John B is our secretary and a fine actor!
Karina’s our Chair, and a super one too
While Keith ran more often than both me or you.
Kev is quite new and remarkably quick
Neil is a one-off, and then there is Nick
Who’s clever with I.T., a really strong guy.
We don’t see Paul C much, but boy can he fly!
Pete’s a good runner, he’s gliding along
And Rene is Dutch, and no doubt feeling strong!
Richard and Roger and Ross are all ace
While Russell makes sure all our names are in place.
Sara plans Mondays to get us all fitter
And Sian’s so determined, she’s never a quitter.
Simon’s renowned for his strides a mile long
While Toby and Will are athletic and strong.
I’ve missed out a number of people you’ll see
So I plead for forgiveness. But one of them’s me.
I’m going to stop rambling, let’s call it a day.
Just enjoy the New Year in the MRC way!
Phil, December 2021, feeling grateful for MRC
02 July 2016
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