Thames Hare and Hounds 5 mile – 16.12.17

Race report by Dave Phillips.

65th Thames Hare and Hounds Annual Alumni 5 m Cross Country Race, Wimbledon Common, 16.12.17

This annual event takes place near Kingston on Thames on the edge of the common but is largely in woodlands not heathland. It is for ex school pupils to form teams or run individually and open now to ladies and men. The Old Coventrians (King Henry VIII School, Coventry) had a mixed team-much to the chagrin of the old boys of Eton, Harrow, Westminster, Uppingham and all that lot! Bablake old pupils usually turn out but not yesterday but my Old Warwickian team had 10 of us there.

The HQ of TH and H is at the grounds of London Cornish rugby club where a real fierce battle was taking place as we started at 14:30 hrs.

285 lined up at the start and within minutes we were in very dense woodland following white markers over tracks, trails, paths, scrubland, open tracks, round the edge of a golf course but no common/heath land at all.

This made it very hard as it was non-stop black mud and many inclines and still we followed the white signs stuck in the ground.

Then at 3 miles one runner came back towards us saying he was lost and was going to find somewhere to pull out and call the organisers!

From that point on we realised that there were no marshals (gone home) and no markers. This was serious as the final 2 miles are in dense muddy woods with no houses, people or anything except multi paths and cross path junctions so we had not a clue where to go. I do it every year but in such dense woodland where it was getting dark things looked serious for the 6 or so of us at the end of the pack. We all went off course many times then we saw the last runner wobbling towards us who thought he knew which tracks to take.

So we plodded off (I did then recognise some of it) then at 4.5 miles we saw a marshal in front of us collecting the white signs!!! Yes in front of us heading towards the finish.

You can imagine what I said to him (he was probably an Old Etonian and didn’t know the know the F word) and his reply was “ I didn’t realise there was anyone else out there”.

Anyway we all finished to cakes, drinks, tea, coffee all outside their HQ on the rugby ground.

Then bus back to Putney Bridge, underground to Marylebone (with loads of Chelsea fans-glad they won), and back at Warwick Parkway at 1930 hrs.

So to round off a different day, as I walked to my car in the car park a car ran into me on its way out. Shoulder hurts a bit but OK. Driver said “Sorry mate didn’t see you”. “Not surprised I said your windscreen is completely frozen over you can’t see out of it you ****”.

What an end to a different day but OK now.

Massey/Old Warwickian time:

5 mile 65 minutes.

So that’s 61 races this year-1 to go on 25/12.

Make sure you all turn up on 25/12 for the annual Christmas Day 3.6 m in St. Nicholas’s Park, Warwick at 10:30 hrs. Register in New Bowling Green Tavern by the Park. Food, drinks, coffee etc. all provided.