8 October 2016
Last week Commando made a park run comeback. This week it was the turn of another Spitfire, Sarah, to return to running, this time after major surgery had kept her on the sidelines for some time, marshalling, token collecting and generally cheering everyone else on. Of course Commando would be running again too so I went along to cheer them both on.
It was a chilly morning, especially standing around waiting for the run to start. Goodness knows how the runners manage in their thin shorts and shirts. I was wrapped up in dozens of layers and I was still freezing. It was something of a relief when everyone started making for the start line and I knew I would soon be marching off across the Common.
Then they were off. I hung around long enough to take a few dozen photos of the crowd hoping to capture Commando and Sarah as they set off. Sadly, shooting blind into a crowd of stampeding runners wasn’t quite as successful as I’d hoped. There were lots of photos, most of them surprisingly clear. The problem was none had Sarah in them and only one had Commando or part of his head in the background behind a mass of other runners.
Once they’d all thundered past I marched off across the grass towards the boating lake. With a little more time I might have wandered off to Cutthorn Mound for a bit of extra boundary stone hunting but, at the speed Commando runs, even coming back from an injury, there wouldn’t be enough time. What there was enough time for, was a little look at the swan family. They we out in the middle of the lake but I could clearly see four cygnets, now almost the same size as their parents. My how they’ve grown since I first saw them back in May.
The swan family might not have been cooperating but at least the walking was warming me up. A quick look at my watch told me I might just have time to visit the Beyond Graffiti Tunnel before I had to turn back so I put on a turn of speed to get across the crossroads before the runners appeared.
One of the good things about the Beyond Graffiti Tunnel is that it’s always changing and there’s almost always something new to see. Sadly, the constant over painting means there are times when some of my favourite pieces disappear. As soon as I reached the tunnel today I could see the Japanese lady I’ve admired for many moths now has been half painted over. Perhaps I wouldn’t have minded quite so much if the new piece was more to my taste. Still, what do I know?
There was a new piece further on that I didn’t really understand but seemed quite well executed, all pink flames, or maybe they were waves, it was hard to tell. At the far end of the tunnel I found a tribute to the Walking Dead but, as I have never watched the show I’m not sure I really understood that either. Maybe I’m just getting old?
One piece that was still intact was the flower power painting that made me smile last time I came this way. Anything with flowers always has my vote. There were a couple of other new works with enough colour to make me smile too and two cartoon dogs that put a grin on my face as I headed back towards the runners.
Runners were coming from both directions when I reached the crossroads so I knew I couldn’t hang around. There was just time for one more quick look at the swan family before I made my way back to the finish line.
I made it just in time to see Sarah, running with Rachel, heading for her final loop. It was good to see a big smile on both their faces.
Fairly soon Commando, shadowed by Lee, was running across the finish line for the second week in a row. He was on his way through the funnel when I got ever so slightly distracted by the sight of two swans flying high over head. Swans don’t fly all that often and, when they do, they usually stay low over the water. These two circled the finish line several times, almost as if they were watching the runners.
Luckily, I did mange to tear my eyes away from the swans just long enough to see Sarah crossing the finish line. Then it was time to go off to the Hawthorns for a well deserved hot chocolate breakfast.
It may not be everyone’s idea of a fun Saturday morning but it sure beats staying in bed.
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