Taunton 10k: All Bridport Runners get a PB … somehow

Chris, Sam, Vicky, Tony and Hagen represented Bridport Runners yesterday in the “Taunton 10k” – and somehow they all managed to come back with, well, some sort of a PB … Here are Sam’s “Tall tales from Taunton” and a full report about how they did it:

“We all know about Somerset … strange dark stories, tales to scare the children with before bedtime about beasts from the flatlands… flatulence inducing scrumpy cider… and … blood-red caped carnival queens giving prizes at the Taunton 10k run! (but more of that later). It was with some trepidation that the Bridport Five (as we shall call them) set off from the civilised lands of Dorsetshire towards bandit country. In truth it was four as we had to pick up Lord Hagen of Gerle from Forde Abbey.  He insists that it is not his pad, nor is he the gardener, but lawns do not lie, they are cut to such precision that knocks Vorsprung durch Technik into a cocked hat. Anyhow, enough of such trivialities, the Five sauntered into Somerset and Taunton of Tauntonshire, home of at least 50 running clubs! After a quick and instructive diversion through an industrial park (ask Hagen J), we arrived with time, energy and bananas to spare. The event was way beyond the scale of us mere village dwellers and we were awed by the tannoy, and wowed by the shiny cars … in fact, it was huge! 700, mainly club runners, almost no fancy dress – never a good sign – and they all looked pretty fit and raring to go.

After the prerequisite toilet stops and the entertaining warm-up (well entertaining for Chris and I watching), we lined up for the race.  As so often in these match reports, only history will relate the detailed stories of those who didn’t run with me, but with not a care for those with Cider-hangovers, the air-horn sounded and we were off.

The serious bit

For those, like me, who thought it was flat, the course had a few surprises. Yes, in comparison with what we do on a Sunday morning around Bridport, it was pancake-like, but for those of us after a PB, dang it, there were hills! The start was quite a crush, but soon thinned out and it headed off through the town for about 3km, after which we hit the country lanes. Every other runner was from Taunton so there were no probs with people knowing where to go and it was very well marshalled. One water stop at 5km seemed a little cheap, but a lead car and motorbike marshals with flashing lights was better! The course came back into town over the motorway at about 9km, and it was a run downhill to the finish from there.

I was aiming, rather hopefully, for a sub 40min time, but kms 7 and 9 did for that, as well as a swallowed fly! It was good to know that Chris was on my tail the whole way, and we came in at (me) 40m 26s (37th overall and 4th in age cat) and (Chris) 40min 32s (39th overall and 10th in age cat). Hagen stormed in at 52m 46s (29th in his age cat) closely followed by Vicky in 53m 17s (an awesome12th in her age cat). Tony came in strongly up the rear in a creditable 56m 49s (35th in his cat), and all the Five where in within the top half of the field – a good day for Bridport and its runners.

How we (almost all) managed to get a PB

It was PBs all round – Vicky’s was a PPPB (post pregnancy PB), Chris did a UPPB (Un-Planned PB), Hagen did a LFTLPB (Looking Forward to Lunch PB), Tony did a PMPMLCPB (Pre Menopausal Post Mid Life Crisis PB) and even Sam got a NQAFAIWPB (not quite as fast as I wanted PB). Sadly none of these led to a prize, although my friend Carol won the ladies 55+ class and received her award from a bizarre fixed-grin tableau of lady-mayoress, red riding hood carnival princess and unnamed other female … clearly a nod to the 1970s, but, as I said at the start, this is Somerset.”