After enjoying the camaraderie of running with the St Francis Running Club last weekend, it was great to receive an email from Andy last week announcing a Bank Holiday Monday run. Not least since it also saved Karen & Cleo, down from London for the first half of the weekend, from seeing me drag myself sweatily back into the house after a long run.
It was like one of the eye-to-eye groups, with Andy, Cliff, Pete, Nikki, Kevin, Lydia and myself, whilst the start at Falmer could easily have been one of the checkpoints. In fact it was for Pete, since he ran from Brighton to get warmed up!
There were varying agendas, but Cliff helpfully set a clear initial direction by saying that he wanted to take a closer look at the windmill at Kingston, as it looked from the road like they had at least one sail on.
And we were off… initially up the hill out of Falmer. When I was doing more hill running I would deliberately race ahead up this to test my staying power, but today I took it more cautiously, mindful of the distance I might have to cover afterwards. Happily I can report that it wasn’t too bad, though I could hear Cliff’s steps right behind me the whole way, which kept me going!
We then ran across to Newmarket copse, after which there is a steep hill to the top. Although I was initially dubious, I have to agree with Cliff that either someone has flattened it off or we must be generally fitter now than we used to be.
Across he top and down into Kingston was at an easy conversational pace and we quickly reached the windmill, which did indeed now have a sail on.
Actually, I can see from the Sussex Mills Group website that it’s a reconstruction of the Ashcombe windmill… and that unusually, as far as I’m concerned, there are going to be not two pairs of sails but rather three pairs of sweeps (the correct technical term).
From there we ran down into Lewes, with the added excitement of a near-miss when I turned left across the front of Pete… luckily he was awake and has good brakes!
After passing the prison we ran up to Lewes Racecourse… in fact, Kevin nigh-on sprinted up there with Pete in hot pursuit… and then on up to the next gate. Here I met a couple of runners who I recognised, though after a little to and fro (which involved a quizzical look when I said I was running with Martlet Kayak Club) we realised it was because he generally shops in Waitrose at the same time as me on a Friday evening! Nice to finally put a name to a face, Mark & Rosie!
Next stop Blackcap and both Andy and I were were uncharacteristically restrained in our rivalry, arriving slowly and at the same time!
Here the group decided to split. Pete would head for home, joined for a while by Cliff, Andy & Nicky who were going to run back via Ditchling Beacon. Discretion being the better part of valour (we were already 1:25 into the run), I decided to join Kevin & Lydia in the more direct return to Falmer via Waterpit Hill… which just happens to be downhill all the way!
We three arrived back in 1:57 having covered 10.9 miles… about 5.6mph average.
If there is a point to keeping up my occasional running, other that staying fit enough to keep any cognitive lethargy at bay, it is to be able to join a bunch of good friends on a day like today! Thanks guys!