Well I’ve finally got round to getting my take on the Hawkesbury Festival of Running into print. This is attempt No 4 and to be honest each time I’ve written my account I haven’t been happy with it because basically the haven’t done justice to the weekend and this one probably won’t either for that I apologise but its time it hit the streets.
My adventure to Hawkesbury started on the Friday. We were in Bristol for the day visiting the University with my daughter. Jim had generously offered to put me up on the Friday night as well as the Saturday to save on the travelling. Must admit I was a bit nervous about the whole weekend. But those nerves were soon dispelled when I saw the Chairman waiting at the station but it soon became apparent that he was struggling with his glute. I could sense his disappointment and frustration that this may have an adverse impact on the whole on the weekend.
After a short drive we were soon into the heart of the ‘Shire and you could sense Jim’s pride as he enthusiastically gave me a brief History and Geography lesson of the area with of course plenty of references to the Cotswold Way. It was now that I began to understand about the challenge that our Hawkesbury Hero’s are going to smash. I was expecting rolling hills gentle downs with long shallow climbs. Wrong. Parts of it were looking pretty brutal and this was just the view from the car. On our arrival in the village it was plain to see the attraction of the village Perfect just Perfect. Plenty of chat, and a catch up before heading down to the local School to help set up the Great HU5K. Of course we had to go via the infamous Beaufort what a great traditional pub and it only seemed fair that we popped back in there on the way home. Very nice indeed. Then it was home and the first chance to sample Jim’s catering delights well we all know how delicious his food always sounds suffice to say it doesn’t do it justice it was gorgeous and something that was repeated through out the weekend.
Up bright and early on the Saturday morning to find Jim preparing coffee and bacon sandwiches to the park run and good news his glute had calmed down overnight. What a relief he was going to be able enjoy the runs his efforts so richly deserved. Then we were off to Chipping Sodbury to meet up with the Dave’s, HD, RD and HOBS (hopefully). Again the nerves were soon banished as soon RD and HD turned warm smiles and warm handshakes all around. Before enjoying the for mentioned coffee and sandwiches very British and very civilised and then as if by magic HOBS arrived. Again the warmth of the welcome was genuine as were the smiles. Then just as we thought Nick wasn’t going to make it he made his long awaited appearance, quick hellos before he set off for what looked a very intense warm up. I looked around what at the Real Buzz legends what esteemed company I was in and what a way to pop my Park Run cherry. Wasn’t really sure what to expect with the run decided to take it lap by lap and see how it went. Towards the end of the first lap I managed to spot DCW hidden behind his camera and his son with a Go Buzzers sign brilliant. The second lap and myself, RD and HOBS managed to organise ourselves 3 a breast for great picture which DCW capture. I did try to stick with the 2 Dave’s for the final lap to no avail. Came home in 21.26 pretty happy with that. A quick turn around to give Jim and HD a big cheer into the finish that their efforts richly deserved. Then it was coffee’s all round and time for a decent catch up with Nick who had absolutely flown round the course, nice to meet somebody who wasn’t called Dave and a true legend of the Real Buzz pages. But all too soon we were heading out of Chipping Sodbury and back towards Hawkesbury for round two.
We met up with John before being caught out by the sudden appearance of Marc as well who was proudly showing of his tattoo’s from his mountain bike accident and still looked pretty sore. Once again a real pleasure to catch up with the guys who’d both travelled fair distances. Then we were off to the school were the fair was in full flow for the start of run number 2. Now if I was a little bit unsure about the first run then the second held even more uncertainty. Big excitement at the start of the run before we were off tried to stick to my own plan and not follow the lead of the kids i.e. run 200 metres as fast as you can before stopping with a stitch and repeat over and over. Seriously there were some very impressive kids running out there and something I hope they continue with great for the school and great for the whole community. As I hit the Bath road and my first experience of the Cotswold way, must confess to thinking this is what the majority of the way would be, how wrong was I. Before long I found myself once again trailing the Dave’s but this time in the company of Marc. We were certainly graced with some fantastic views across to the Severn and beyond it Wales. Then it was time to head for home managed to gradually pick up the pace in the final K, thanks for pushing me on Marc, but I didn’t manage to get any closer to the 2 Dave’s and finished spot on in 22 mins. Again a quick regroup and a chance to cheer the hero’s home. Great effort round guys and a great displace of true real buzz spirit out there. Then there was time to wander round the fair, how good were those burgers, before the prize giving. Pretty soon afterwards Marc had to shoot off for some more intensive training; I hope the bike ride and swim were manageable on Sunday. Meanwhile we headed off to the BeerGarden at the local. To me this is what summer Saturday afternoons are designed for chilling, chatting, and the odd half dozen pints of the local brew (Superb effort John to stick on the softies) in great company. Ideal. Eventually we dragged ourselves away and headed back to Jim’s. Giving that RD had run two great races including a brilliant pb he had a new found spring in his step, couldn’t imagine why. Jenny arrived early in the evening and was quick to join in the merry making that went on well into the night. As you would imagine the whole evening was first class from the exquisite hospitality of the whole O’Brien posse to the warmth and friendship of the gathering. Thank you one and all. Judging by the size of those steaks Jim I reckon you had your revenge on that com that freaked you out on that previous morning. Funny how we never saw him on our run.
We were all up bright and early on the Sunday to get some decent miles in and get me to the train station on time. Thanks for everyone’s understanding in this I know it wasn’t easy after the previous nights exploits. We set off just after 7 with the plan to run for about 1 hour and 10 mins before heading for home. Well people I’ve got to say it was a lot tougher than I was imagining the hills were steeper, the terrain was tougher, the long grass seemed to drag you backwards, the gates just broke up your rhythm and as for the stiles I thought I was cramp up every time I climbed one. But what about the assault on the senses the smells, the ever changing views and the peace and tranquillity all made that more special by the company that I was in. Before long it was time to turn around and head for home. It was soon evident why Jim had allowed us a extra 10 minutes for the return leg, it was just that little bit tougher, that little bit warmer and the over indulgence of the previous night were coming back to add to the occasion. Back into the village and the welcome down hill section back to Jim’s battered, tired, marked and a whole lot wiser. A quick stretch, drink and change of clothes, with the obligatory submariners shower i.e. empty the contents of one can of deodorant liberally over ones body, and we were bidding our farewells.
To everybody who made this weekend such a fantastic experience thank you so much. To South West Trains if I knew your trains were going to be 18 minutes late we would have got our half in and thank you for robbing me blind. To Jim and HOBS boys you always had my utmost respect for undertaking your challenge to actually experience only a very small part of it takes it to a whole new level. You’ll do it of that there is no doubt and you’ll do it style.
If anyone’s still reading thanks for sticking with it and sorry it’s gone on a bit. I must post more regularly, I must post more regularly, I must ………………………
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