Great Bentley Half Marathon
I’ll have a P please Dave
What P is the administrative centre of Lancashire and was first Harrier home at the windy Great Bentley half marathon in an excellent time of 1.22:26 for 25th place?
What PB was achieved by many Harriers?
What P means to be defeated when success seems certain?
What P is an ode, and/or an action of fluidity, style and grace?
Whilst the main attraction was at Abbey Fields, with the focus on the Essex Cross Country League, Harriers still pulled a few rabbits from the hat at the Great Bentley half this weekend. The forecast was for high winds and we weren’t disappointed! That said it was also sunny, puddle free and superbly marshalled.
The usual busy, narrow start soon strung out as the head wind fluctuated between friend and foe, resisting those at the front or anyone unable to draft in packs of 4 or 5. Paul Preston was a lone figure pushing hardest at the front to come home in an excellent time. Behind him, there was excitement as two foxes hunted down their prey; glancing over his shoulder at 12 miles Clarke spotted green. Was it Trotters from Thrift Green or erratic, wild bushes, uprooted in the gale? Over the bridge, then left into the wind again for the last mile, Clarke was floundering, flapping and sweating. The grass ahead meant safety, surely; then at the corner a grey green fox pounced, cackling as he made his move. It was Richard ‘the Stealth’ Boden, and he wasn’t hanging about for his Personal Best (PB).
Panicked, Clarke immediately spotted another ‘fox’ in the corner of his eye; this time a swirl of colours beneath more green; determination etched on her face, poetry in motion, gliding past; it was Laura ‘the Whisper’ Shewbridge, and she wasn’t waiting either. Another brilliant PB for the 3rd lady home.
Four seconds separated the three of us: 1.27:44, 1.27:47 and 1.27:48.
Pipped. Feigning happiness and delight at the efforts of his fellow runners, Clarke was inwardly simmering, already plotting their downfall as the Whisper departed to get changed and he suffered Boden’s chubby smile that wouldn’t go away.
There were more rabbits: we watched Adrian Frost come home in a fantastic 9 minute PB (1.30:15). Richard Millward another PB (1.34:56) ripping his number Tarzan like from his chest in realisation. Dan Wilkinson a 6 minute PB (1.38:04) lunged across the line causing the St John Ambulance to look up in hope for the first time that day. A little later Fiona Wattam ran a PB (1.48:05) and John Cooke was also spotted coming home in 1.55:32.
Back at the clubhouse we chatted politely about how funny bananas are and childhood collections. Celebrating our efforts over tea and cake and thinking about simply doing your best:
An Ode to Boden:
We will be what we could be. Do not say,
“It might have been, had not this, or that, or this.”
No fate can keep us from the chosen way;
He only might who is.
We will do what we could do. Do not dream
Chance leaves a hero, all uncrowned to grieve.
I hold, all men are greatly what they seem;
He does, who could achieve.
We will climb where we could climb. Tell me not
Of adverse storms that kept thee from the height.
What eagle ever missed the peak he sought?
He always climbs who might.
I do not like the phrase “It might have been!”
It lacks force, and life’s best truths perverts:
For I believe we have, and reach, and win,
Whatever we deserve.