Some important lessons learned over the last few days, the most important of which is when all seems lost call Les and Dave.
At 9 am on New Year’s Eve, as I walked the riverside towpath, I was totally oblivious to the drama that was about to unfold. Tow path clear, Belvedere Lane clear, Rugby Club and Rowing Club car parks clear. Met a cheery chap driving a mini road sweeper ‘Yes we will soon clear that mess up’ he said pointing to the pile of riverside debris on the entrance to the footpath. ‘I’ve been working along the river for 20 years and I reckon it’s peaked now, you’ll be okay for tomorrow but you must be crazy to want to run in this’. Well the word of an experienced road sweeper was good enough for me so web site duly updated ‘Race On’ feet up for the rest of the day.
I started to appreciate the folly of my ways after making a few cursory checks of the river web cam link provided by Alan Lewis . A few phone conversations with Les soon settled me down again, as Les said we’ve got a plan B so were sorted. A little later after watching an Idiots Abroad DVD, yes I know how to celebrate New Years Eve, I got my first text from Dave who was attending the New Years Eve party at the Rowing Club ‘River has risen 6 steps since we’ve been here!!’ Somewhat later another text arrived ‘Blokes in waders lighting fireworks’. Already committed to collecting Kirsty from some strangely named night club in High Town at 1.30am I decided to pop around to the Rowing Club on the way back home. ‘But it’s New Years Eve Grandad’ Kirsty complained, undeterred I met with with Dave and Bousty at the Rowing Club and we proceeded to check the river level from various vantage points around the club, scaring a few courting couples in the process. They must have thought that either we were local wierdo’s or looking for a body in the river. The fact that I was wearing a red jacket didn’t help. We convinced ourselves that the river was at or near it’s peak so a few happy New Years later I was on my way back. Couldn’t resist a peek at Belvedere Lane and found it was flooded up to the top gate. Parking plan B went straight out of the window , no Rugby Club parking for us.
Approached the Rowing Club a few hours later with some trepidation. What a relief we could still get into the Rowing Club although the car park was partly under water. Les & I quickly concluded that the water level had peaked after Ian did a top step welly test. Race is still on but plan B quickly became C then D. We quickly agreed location for a new race start and finish, just knew that Duathon route plan would come in useful some day. Bill and Matt worked on a new parking plan and everything went like clockwork.. Well not exactly, it was not quite the well oiled machine of previous years a few little things going awry but in the words of Vic Tarrant ‘Considering the conditions and all the changes you’ve had to make, you couldn’t have put on the race without great teamwork’.
Many many thanks to the veritable army of volunteers that turn up to marshal for race after race sometimes in very trying circumstances. Special thanks to all our course and car parking marshals, to our race registration and results Team, to our finish line team,to our refreshments team, lead and trail bike riders and to our chairman Harry Franklin for yet again providing superb hand made trophies for our race winners.
The vast majority of runners were very pleased that we were able to put on a race despite the conditions and we would very much like to thank them and the cyclists and pedestrians on the Great Western Way cycle path for their understanding of the situation.