By Paul Cowan
As some of you already know, my family and I are moving to Devon. 4 December 2020 will be our last day here. We have lived in Tring and Marsworth for twenty years, and even though we are excited about our move, it will be a real wrench. It has been a strange time for the club, but I think it is TRC that I will miss most of all.
In 2001, aged 39, I did the TRC Fun Run, having not run since I was forced to do Cross Country at school. I had told myself I would run the London Marathon when I was 40. I was inspired by the spirit of the running club, shown through the enthusiasm and support of the marshals as I struggled along Marshcroft Lane (I set off too fast and still haven’t learnt that lesson 19 years later!).
I joined the club a week or so later. I turned up late for my first Wednesday night, and so went for a run with John Boielle, who gave me a history (not potted) of the club, along with a history of Tring, Grim’s Ditch and the Icknield Way!
Suffice to say, I never looked back (apart from to see if John Manning was about to overtake me) and after about 8 months, ran my first marathon in 2002.
There have been so many enjoyable times over the years – too many to list – but hey, what the hell, I’m going to indulge. Here are some of my best memories and favourite events:
The Greensand Relay. I’ve run every leg except leg 3, and somehow managed to be in the winning handicap team a few years ago. This is a brilliant team event – a must if you haven’t done it yet.
Getting lost with JM on our 1st attempt at the Saunders Mountain Marathon. With negligible navigational experience between us, we managed to more or less reach the top of Helvellyn before we realised our next checkpoint was in exactly the opposite direction. That was one of many mistakes and we were out for 11.5 hours on the first day. Character building stuff.
I went on three Easter weekend trips, and all were great, especially the one at St Johns in the Vale when it snowed. It is beautiful at any time but it was really magical when carpeted white. I remember communal meals, all the kids playing together and, of course, fantastic running.
I’ve loved all the local races – Berko Half, Aldbury 5, Hemel 10 (one for the OAPs!) Hardwicke, Fred Hughes, Pednor 5, Coombe Hill etc., but the Chiltern League races are more special – not much beats being part of a team.
Our club events are always enjoyable – Rick’s Relays, Clive’s Wendover Woods Race, the Brenda Barlow. Even standing in the middle of Northfield Road, politely smiling at irate motorists whilst marshalling the Ridgeway in the pouring rain, is made ok by the appreciation of the participants.
And finally, the Wednesday night runs. However bad or stressful your day has been, almost everything can be cured with an eight mile run with friends to Cholesbury or Wendover Woods. Big shout out to all those that have led me round: Tony H, Colin, Jim, Alison H, Celine, Nigel K, Clive, Brian E and especially John M and Trevor, whose ability to make new routes remains unsurpassed.
So , I am moving to Lynton in Exmoor, North Devon. We are buying a house, part of which we are converting to make holiday lets. It is a beautiful part of the world and is great for running (lots of hills!), cycling (lots of hills!) and walking. We hope that some of you will visit. I have vague plans to host running weekends etc. and (if the committee will allow) I will send more details at some point next spring.
Thank you Tring Running Club – you’ve given me so much.