It feels a little more autumnal this week, but still plenty warm enough. The cats have certainly decided the weather’s turned – especially Ninja, who transformed overnight from feral outdoor cat who I occasionally see when he’s hungry back into a cuddly purring lap monster. Unexpected additional consequence of global warming: seeing less of your pets.
Wednesday should have been Run for Beer day, but it was cancelled because of an apocalyptic weather forecast. Having skipped Run for Coffee in the morning because my legs hadn’t recovered sufficiently from RNR for a double run day, I pigheadedly went out on my own anyway, and ended up suffering no more than some light drizzle. I did meet a toad on the pavement, who I relocated to the grass to hopefully avoid him being stepped on (or run over if he ventured further out).
On Thursday I very nearly got Wordle in one guess. My usual starter word had four of the five letters in the correct place, and I got the fifth one on the second try. So close! I could start varying the starter word, but then the one I’ve been using since day one might come up and that would be annoying … oh, no, have I (apart from never playing the lottery) turned into one of those people who always play the same lottery numbers?
Apparently I’ve been using Duolingo for ten years this week, but you’d never know it from my very shaky grasp of Spanish. To be fair, I’ve probably only been using it regularly for the last three of those years (which puts it firmly in the “lockdown hobbies” basket).
Sunday was the Langham 5k & 10k, and I decided to repeat last year’s decision to enter both (starting at 9 and 10am respectively). I was about half a minute slower than last year in the 5k, and a minute slower in the 10k, but happy enough with that a week after a tough 20 mile race.
I binged through all of Brooklyn Nine Nine during lockdown, when I temporarily had access to Netflix, but never saw the final se(ason|ries). By now my aged brain has pretty much also forgotten the ones I did see, so I found a cheap second-hand DVD box set and have restarted from the beginning (confirming that yes, most of it failed to make it to long-term memory). Still funny this time round, and in nice short 22-minute episodes that make handy watching while eating lunch etc.
On Monday morning I happened to see a Facebook ad (possibly the first useful one ever) from the New Wolsey theatre, saying that Mark Simmons was there that evening with his ‘Quip off the the Mark’ show (a fact I’d somehow completely missed). There were a few tickets left, and even a cheap one all on its own in row D, so I went along and had an enjoyable (if antisocial) evening. I’ve been listening to his podcast about jokes that don’t work for a while, so it was good to see the ones that do (and one that has clearly been fixed), and to finally hear the punchline to a bit he’s mentioned a few times!
On Tuesday I left work just too late to avoid cycling home through one of the heaviest rainstorms I can remember, with puddles several inches deep competing with the stuff continuing to drop from the sky to see which could get me wetter (a pointless contest, given that it was physically impossible for me to be any wetter than I already was). The next morning, working at home, I took my laptop out of my (rather damp) rucksack, and was mildly concerned when its screen kept flickering, then it began to emit an unfamiliar beep every few seconds. Fortunately those issues went away after a while, presumably as it warmed up, but the power supply was refusing to work and took longer to dry out, and annoyingly all the old ones I had lying around were either too low wattage or for older models, so once the battery was flat I had to cycle into the office again (fortunately in better weather) to pick up a spare.
This weekend was the Round Norfolk Relay, which is basically what it sounds like. There were 59 clubs taking part, with the circumference of the county split into 17 stages, ranging from around 5½ to just under 20 miles in length. I’d foolishly told the people organising our team to put me down for anything, which meant I was landed with the longest one – 19.67 miles from Scole to Thetford. This was stage 12, which made for an odd Saturday: by the time I woke up our first runner was already underway, but I still had the whole day to fill, before being picked up by Steve at around 11.45pm to head up to my changeover point. Because it was a night stage, we each had to have a support car behind us with a flashing orange light, which must have looked quite strange to anyone driving up the A1066 in the early hours.
I set off at a reasonable pace, and the first half dozen or so miles went past quite pleasantly, but then it started getting progressively tougher as various bits of my legs began to protest. By the end I was running about a minute a mile slower (there were some long hills too!), but managed to drag myself to Thetford in 2:42:40 (compared to my very optimistic estimate/target of 2:35). I handed the baton over to Steve, swapping it for his car keys so I could get myself to the end of his stage for him to drive us home. There was a bit of chaos happening at the end of stage 13, with the stage afterward being cancelled at the last minute because the police had closed the road after a ram raid – it all seemed to be handled smoothly, but must have been a big disappointment for everyone who’d driven a long way in the early hours of the morning only to find they couldn’t run. I eventually got home at 7am, but my befuddled body clock only let me sleep until around 11.
The medals for the event were excellent, and each one was literally unique, as they had the stage details on one side and the team number and club logo on the other.
Monday got off to a good start, with a message from my customer in EE while I was eating my breakfast letting me know that the /var partition on the production server was full, and the app was only partially working. It turned out that the logs for the past few days had been filling up with error messages about a failure to connect to the relay server to send emails. We initially thought it was a connectivity issue, but it also looked like the Bamboo email library (or almost certainly my use of it) was raising exceptions because of a failure to gracefully handle the inability to send emails. Normally this kind of exception would have triggered an email letting me know something was up, but those emails never arrived because … well, you know.
After clearing some disk space to allow everything (apart from emails, but fortunately they aren’t a huge part of the application – a few people will have failed to get alerts, and I had to send a couple of password reset links manually) to start working again, I decided to treat it as an opportunity to switch from Bamboo to Swoosh. I didn’t have any reason to think it would better, but the Phoenix framework switched to Swoosh as its default for new apps a while ago, and presumably they had their reasons. The migration was pretty painless – both libraries use gen_smtp under the covers, and the APIs are very similar – so it was mostly some changes to how tests worked, plus a bonus improvement of extracting the email bodies to separate template files using phoenix_swoosh. With that change deployed, everything started working again. I’m still not 100% sure what the root cause was, but I think it started failing when I upgraded to Erlang 26 and Elixir 1.15, so I suspect some incompatibility there (the tests, of course, don’t use the smtp adapter, allowing this kind of thing to fall through the cracks – I guess we should probably test actual emails as part of a post-deploy checklist).
Embarrassingly, it was several hours into the day before I twigged that the reason there were so many logs was that each exception triggered a notification email, which then failed, caused an exception, and triggered another notification email …
On Thursday stage five of the Tour of Britain started and finished in Felixstowe, coming within half a mile of my house en route, and I felt like a day off anyway so thought I’d go and watch them zip past. I decided to go slightly further afield, so incorporated my spectating in a trail run out to a narrow country road three or four miles away.
After getting home, showering and having some lunch, Robin let me know that a few people were cycling out to Felixstowe to watch the finish and have a couple of beers, so I ended up riding out to meet them there and watch the riders come flying down Sea Road at a ridiculous speed. Then after some refreshment in the Felsto Arms (and a quick stop at the Walton Half Moon on the way home) I tried – and mostly failed – to keep up with everyone at what felt like an only slightly less ridiculous speed back to Ipswich. Hot off the press, it turns out that the three second gap that we watched Wout van Aert open up with his sprint finish was the deciding factor in his victory in the overall event (about which I just accidentally sent a spoiler to Robin, not realising he was waiting to watch the highlights. Oops).
Saturday was Ipswich parkrun’s 500th event, which I ran very slowly because …
Sunday was FRR’s big race of the year, the Felixstowe Coastal 10. It seems that the weather always adds some kind of extra challenge to this one, whether it’s rain, wind or (this year) unseasonably roasting temperatures. Even before race day this made life a bit harder by attracting hordes of people to the seaside when we were trying to drive round putting up signage on the Saturday afternoon, but also meant the race itself was horribly tough (not sure whether it was warmer than the Newmarket 10k back in June, but it felt like it). My time was five minutes slower than last year, but at least there was some convenient sea to get in at the finish to cool off (possibly the only time I’ve swum at Felixstowe when it wasn’t new year’s eve!)
I did at least manage to pretend I was enjoying it when I spotted Liz with her camera, before reverting to the grimace that I suspect accompanied the rest of the ten miles.
Apparently it’s September now, which seems frankly unlikely.
Monday was of course a bank holiday (and a real one, not one of those Scotland or NI ones that pop up in the calendar to give false hope). Justin organised another of his handicap races from his house based on the parkrun substitutes he was doing during semi-lockdown, this time expanding the distance to seven miles. Having missed the chance of a Sunday long run thanks to the beer and bicycle shenanigans described last week, I decided to run there (four miles), potter gently round the seven, then after coffee and biscuits take a scenic route back through the countryside for a total of 17.
I got an email from my electricity and gas supplier, Ecotricity [side note: they do seem to be genuinely as environmentally-friendly as a power company can be, and their founder has an interesting back story, which I recently heard about on James OBrien’s podcast], plugging their mobile phone provider, Ecotalk. The prices seemed pretty good, and they use the same EE network that I’m already on, but I wasn’t sure whether it would be cheaper than the employee discount prices I was paying (EE of course being owned by BT, for complicated reasons involving deciding we didn’t want a mobile network, then oh wait, maybe we did). Turns out BT Mobile been ratcheting the price up over the years and (including a 15GB upgrade that I never use) I was now paying an outrageous £32/month. I’ve now foregone that “discount” and switched, and am now paying £12 a month. Go, as they say, figure.
Incidentally, I love the way sim cards are basically a history of shrinking phone sizes. Although annoyingly at some point phones all started getting bigger again, even if the sims didn’t.
Having reently put myself through rewatching the Star Wars prequels, I went to move on to the original trilogy, only to be unable to find the DVDs (I guess Jane took those and I hadn’t figured out which was the least bad version to repurchase). Having recently read about the “despecialised” versions, I did some digging and ended up downloading the Project 4k77 edition (plus 80 and 83 for Empire and Jedi). I wouldn’t steal a car or a handbag, but I reckon I’ve bought those movies enough times on various media over the years not to feel too bad about it. I’ve watched the first two so far, and it’s nice to finally get to see Han shooting first in HD at last (even if the odd scene is slightly grainy).
The racing season kicked off again on Sunday, with the Framlingham 10k. After a poor performance last year, and a worse one the year before, I managed to scrape a course PB of 44:13 today (my 2018, 2019 and 2023 times are all within five seconds of each other).
I’ve put my wildlife camera back out a few times after it started working again. No return of the badgers yet, but plenty of foxes, including this one who wandered onto the patio one morning after it had got light, apparently to investigate the camera.
Wednesday was another dual Run for Coffee/Run for Beer day, with the latter being in Holbrook for Alec’s birthday (and a slightly lazy four miles). We went to the Swan, which doesn’t do food but was happy for us to bring our own pizza.
On Friday I went to a bonfire party in Anders’s field. There were a few people from work there, plus loads of people I don’t know. In my usual style, I didn’t speak to many strangers, but made friends with the neighbours’ cat.
On Sunday I got dragged out for another long bike ride, this time to the beer festival at the Lindsey Rose (plus brief visits to smaller beer festivals at the White Horse in Edwardstone and the Duke of Marlborough in Somersham. Slightly shorter than last week, at 40 miles, and lots of fun including sumo wrestling and some impromptu racing round a cycle speedway track.
Along with a few friends I’d got tickets a few weeks ago for a double bill of Terminator and Robocop at the local independent cinema on Friday (despite having watched both of them at home quite recently). Unfortunately I’d failed to register that it was no longer a few weeks ago, or in fact any weeks ago, and only twigged that I’d forgotten to go at around the time the first film was finishing. I did at least manage to leap on my bike and get into town in time for the start of Robocop (actually in plenty of time for the interminable adverts for mobile phones, broadband and joining the army). It’s still an entertaining film, and I’m increasingly of the opinion that it should correctly be classified as a comedy.
After a slow parkrun on Saturday we had the return of the friendly FRR vs Framlingham Flyers track challenge. It was split into three races based on estimated time, and I opted for the sub-21-minute race, despite not having actually run 5k inside 21 minutes for a while. Sadly the expected benefit of a running track didn’t materialise, and I felt pretty awful for most of it, coming in at around 21:30 – barely any quicker than last week’s parkrun. Still, most of us decamped to the pub afterwards, which was much more enjoyable. It turned out that we’d tied on points, but they gave it to us on the basis of having won all three races.
On Sunday I’d somehow been talked into a 50 mile bike ride, starting with a large breakfast and a pint (!) at the Cricketers, then out to the pub in Laxfield that we’d been to on the Camra pub crawl, via the Railway in Framlingham. It was a nice day and actually didn’t feel too strenuous, despite me being on my fixed-gear gravel bike and everyone else on their fancy road machines.
Funnily enough, as I braked to a stop outside my garage I looked down at my watch and saw it tick over from 49.99 to 50.00 miles (although Strava decided to trim it back down to 49.99, which will at least annoy the rounder-uppers). That might be my longest ride since that time in 1990 when I decided to ride my mountain bike home from Birmingham to Totton (132 miles), straight down the A34.
I can’t remember much of interest happening in the early part of the week, but this weekend I actually went away for the first time in quite a while – back home to Totton (between Southampton and the New Forest) for Tim’s 50th birthday hog roast. The weekend itself was excellent, but the journey there not so much.
I’d decided to drive rather than getting the train, and set off after filling up with petrol at around 11am, hoping to miss the rush hour traffic. Things didn’t start too well, with a queue just to get off the A14 onto the A12 at Copdock, then there were a couple of sections of roadworks on the A12. Then more hold-ups on the M25 (no surprise there) and M3. That’s where it started to go seriously wrong though, with messages about part of the M27 being closed starting to appear on the matrix signs (it turned out later that there had been a serious accident). Google Maps offered to take me on a couple of alternative routes that it said would save three or four minutes, but for that small a difference it didn’t seem worth it, especially as there were big queues to turn off. Eventually I did leave the motorway somewhere around Eastleigh, and followed the satnav directions towards Romsey. This ended up with me sitting in completely gridlocked traffic for about an hour and a half to get into the town (the kind of jam where you switch your engine off, wait a few minutes, switch it back on and move a couple of car lengths, then repeat). I did vaguely consider parking and walking to the train station, but there were warnings of strike disruption and the train didn’t really go where I wanted to be anyway (the fact that I had time to look this stuff up during stationary periods says a lot). Eventually I made it out the other side, where things started moving again, but with about five miles to go, and for some reason best known to itself, Google told me to turn off onto a B road, which narrowed to almost single track just in time for me to encounter more stationary traffic. After waiting quite a while with no movement (and briefly abandoning the car to nip into a hedgerow as I hadn’t stopped at the services and at this point I’d been in the car for nearly seven hours!) someone who’d walked up the queue a bit said they’d spoken to a driver who’d been there for two hours. By then if there had been anywhere to leave the car I’d have happily abandoned it and run the last bit. By a stroke of luck I was stopped just in front of a field entrance, and was able to reverse in, turn round and squeeze past the queue, with two wheels bashing along on the verge, desperately trying to avoid them falling into the ditch. Once back on the main road again it turned out there was only a short delay at the roundabout, then I was pretty much there, arriving at Phil’s at around 6.30.
After a coffee and a walk to the chip shop for some tea, we cycled over to Tim & Michelle’s for a few Friday beers, then got up early on Saturday to walk to Bartley Park parkrun, which is handily only about a mile from Phil’s place. Phil had agreed to join me, despite only running about once a year (mostly when I’ve dragged him along to events when one of us has visited the other). Jeremy and another Phil, who are both more frequent runners, also came along, and we enjoyed a blast round quite a nice two lap route making good use of a fairly small park. The only downside was a couple of out-and-back hairpins round cones that you obviously have to do twice each, but while not exactly flat it’s definitely flatter than Ipswich, and I managed to finish in 10th place with 21:38.
The rest of the day was spent pottering around helping Simon collect some second-hand scaffold poles and Phil dismantle his Land Rover carb to confirm that it was flooding because of a leak in the float, then it was back to Tim & Michelle’s for an evening of Ringwood beer, roast hog and chatting with lots of people I’ve known for 30 or 40 years and see far too rarely. I successfully avoided crashing Phil’s fancy gravel bike as we wended our way back along the wiggly cycle path afterwards (through the same park we’d run round earlier)./
On Sunday I stopped off in Southampton to take my dad (who I also don’t see often enough) out for a pub lunch, before embarking on the journey home. That started poorly, taking two hours to cover the first 40 miles to Fleet services thanks to accidents on the M3. There were a few delays on the M25 too, plus on the A12 which was closed for roadworks at Marks Tey, and it ended up taking over five hours to get home (which didn’t seem so bad after Friday). It’s no wonder I never go anywhere!
At least the car mostly behaved itself on its longest journey yet. The only issue was that the fancy electric panoramic sunroof started making ominous stripped gear type noises, then refusing to fully close (it seems like it’s sensing imaginary obstructions and backing off for safety reasons). I’ve managed to get it as far as both panels being slightly ajar in tilt mode – I think if I can somehow cajole it the rest of the way I might have to just take the fuse out and put up with only opening the windows. They seem to be mildly notorious for failing, even in relatively new cars.
Into August now, but no-one seems to have told the weather, although to be fair today’s been OK. I’m happy with the cooler temperatures, but could do without the torrential rain. Even Ninja cat, who normally lives in the garden in the summer, has taken to staying indoors for extended periods.
On Wednesday we had the annual-ish club “Run-Bike-Run” event, which thanks to a combination of bad timing and a pandemic break I’ve never actually done before. It basically involves a 6.2 mile bike ride sandwiched between two runs of around 1.5 and 2.4 miles, followed by some food and drink. The twist is that there’s a set finish time, and the “winner” is the last person to set off and still make it back before the cut-off. I decided to ride to Felixstowe, which added 11 or so miles beforehand, and arrived soaked to the skin. Fortunately the rain eased off for the event itself, and despite thinking I’d started a bit too late I was a couple of minutes inside the cutoff (but so were plenty of people who’d started later!)
At some point I managed to pick up a slow puncture, and after finishing the run realised that my back tyre was flat. I couldn’t locate either the puncture or anything sticking through the tyre, so fitted a spare tube and attempted to pump it up, only to realise that the brand new tube had a hole in it ?. Fortunately I managed to scrounge a lift home with my bike in the back of Nicola’s car.
On Friday night a few of us went to see Band of Mold, a local covers band, based on Robin and Jo vaguely knowing the guitarist. They were entertaining enough, although there was hardly anyone there, and we had enough beer to make getting up for parkrun more of a chore than usual.
No racing this weekend, so a chance for a proper long slow run (well, not that long) on Sunday. This time I met up with Holly, which made it much less boring than running alone for a couple of hours. I ended up giving myself the short straw by planning a route that came back into her side of town, leaving me around three miles to plod home on my own, for a total of 15 miles.
I had this week off work, with no particular plans other than various bits of long-overdue gardening, tidying etc (most of which remain undone). I did do a small amount of work in the garden on Monday, namely cutting back the wisteria that was making its annual bid for dominion over the back of the house and the chimney. This entailed the use of three of my five ladders (step, extension and roof), and I survived another year without a Rod Hull/Tony Hayers incident, and I now have light entering my bedroom again. I was, however, bitten on the foot by a grasshopper, which fell into my shoe. It was surprisingly (but briefly) painful. It also seems that the ivy which has established itself in various bits of the garden is now making a play for control of the south wall of the house.
Then on Sunday, feeling slightly guilty for not having ticked off more chores, I thought I’d have a go at dismantling the chicken run that’s been sitting empty for about five years. As it turned out, that was optimistic, but after an hour I had at least cleared enough brambles and other weeds to be able to get close enough to think about the actual dismantling.
On Monday I went to give my 61st “nearly armful” of blood, having timed the appointment to coincide with the beginning of a gap in the racing season. I was pleasantly amused, in this age of stranger danger paranoia, by a woman who was there with a small toddler in tow, and when summoned to the cubicles at the back of the hall for the interrogation and Hb test just said “I’ll leave her here. She’ll be fine – she’s got her colouring to do”.
I got a car insurance reminder for the Roadster, which I still haven’t got rid of, and discovered that OneCall (do not recommend) automatically set up a recurring payment, and don’t allow you to cancel via their website once they’ve sent the reminder. After about 45 minutes queuing for a web chat, I finally got through and persuaded them to cancel the policy.
On Wednesday evening we had our annual club “Two Rivers” race/social, which involves starting at handicapped intervals from Landguard Fort (at the edge of the Stour/Orwell estuary), and choosing our own route to run to Felixstowe Ferry (near the mouth of the Deben), before retiring to the pub. Still tired and a bit short of red blood cells, I was definitely overtaken by more people than I passed, but at least I didn’t come last.
On Thursday afternoon we had a work trip to Avid climbing wall for some bouldering. I used to do a fair bit of climbing in my youth, but got out of the habit after moving to East Anglia, apart from a couple of pre-lockdown visits to the same place. I don’t seem to be much more incompetent than I used to be, but it quickly took its toll on my arms! Then home for a quick shower before heading to the beer festival, in St Clement’s church, which is in the process of being converted into an arts venue. They had a decent range of beers, and the ones I tried were all good, although annoyingly I dropped my glass while transporting it home on my bike.
I finally got round to raising an issue against a dependency that was failing to compile under Elixir 1.15 on OEL7, then realised that the error was actually when compiling a dependency of that dependency, then finally worked out that it was just that the 1.15 compiler fails on that OS (it tries to hash source file contents using an algorithm that isn’t available), and it just happened that I was seeing errors based on the first file it decided to compile when building the dependency tree. After asking on a forum, someone pointed out that this should be fixed in the next release, so if I’d just kept up the “wait for an upgrade and see whether it goes away” approach for a little longer I could have saved myself some effort.
I bought some bifocal running glasses, so next time I go orienteering or on a trail run where I need to read directions I’ll only have myself to blame for getting lost.
Badger cat brought a mouse into the house on Saturday. I tried to get it off him, but he hid behind the settee and it looked dead, so I decided to finish my breakfast before sorting it out. When I went back to see what was left he (the cat, not the mouse) was pawing at a box of bits, and it turned out the mouse was very much alive and had taken refuge in there. I managed to catch it and release it outside, apparently unharmed. I don’t think the cats spotted me, because they were still sniffing around in the lounge.
On Saturday I did parkrun as usual (staggering round in a mediocre 22:19 with no racing excuses this week), then quickly back out again for a 10k to the pub for Merv’s 70th birthday (it was a half marathon for his 65th, so I’m looking forward to a 5k in five years’ time).
I finally got round to ordering a new wildlife camera after my old one stopped working a while ago. Then, in a classic case of “things a sensible person would have done in the opposite order”, I tried taking the old one apart to see if I could fix it. The most likely culprit was the cable from the battery box to the main board, and predictably there was no voltage on the circuit board side. More surprisingly, there was no voltage on the battery side either. I popped some new batteries in (which I 100% definitely tried when it first stopped working), and hey presto, it fired up perfectly. Fortunately I was able to cancel the order for the new camera in in time!
I finished the weekend with a somewhat damp run to get my July “clock tower of the month” photo. This was entirely my fault for: (a) deciding to set myself this pointless task, rather than just calling it a day after last year’s hollow trees; (b) leaving it until nearly the end of the month; and (c) having added the complication of requiring the clocks to be showing the time corresponding to thee month number (ie 7, and unsurprisingly I wasn’t up in time to catch 7am). I also ran over the new, not yet officially open, and seemingly over-engineered foot/cycle bridge that replaces the pedestrian level crossing where they’re busy ruining the Fonnereau Way with hundreds of new houses.
On Wednesday I went to the Three Wise Monkeys in Colchester again, this time to see recent number-one-album-having Lottery Winners, who I’ve previously seen supporting Frank Turner. They were supported by Ben Brown (who I’ve previously seen supporting Pet Needs) and Wilswood Buoys (who were on the same Frank Turner bill with Lottery Winners). Johnny and George from Pet Needs were in the crowd, and Frank Turner made a surprise guest appearance on stage. A lot of entertainment for £20! Fortunately I checked the train times and realised I needed to drive or get stuck in Colchester, and it seems I missed a lot of rain while I was in there.
Friday was DevCon16, the 16th (obviously) incarnation of the internal developer conference I kicked off at work in 2009. I maintained my streak of speaking at all of them, with a rambling look behind the scenes of the app I made for a recent community event, covering the actor pattern in Elixir, why you probably don’t need separate front- and back-end apps when you could use something like LiveView, and the importance of not leaving things to the last minute (a point I added to a slide while writing the talk on Thursday).
Also on Friday, but in the evening, was the Brantham 5. Nominally a “fun run”, and not part of the Friday 5 series, it’s always a good event, despite having some significant hills which make it hard work. I struggled home in 35:18, which surprisingly earned me 22nd place. Weirdly there was a whole minute between 21st and 23rd.
After a short rest, punctuated with a gentle parkrun (and a pub quiz, where I was very little use) on Saturday, Sunday saw the Ekiden Relay in its new venue at Woolverstone school. For unknown reasons this is the only Ekiden in the UK (apparently it’s big in Japan), and it’s basically a relay marathon, split into legs of 7.2, 5, 10, 5, 10 and 5km. It’s always a big social event, with loads of clubs cheering their runners on from gazebos pitched round the circuit (we entered ten teams). I was in the “supervets” (50+) team, and we managed to take second place in that category, as well as beating our vets (40+) team. I say “we”, but I was the slowest in the team, managing to just about break under 21 minutes for my 5k leg. A glutton for punishment, I then ran another 5k leg for the coffee runners’ social team, with increasingly tired legs somehow still managing to get round in around 22 minutes.