By Dave Cary
I never intended to enter this race. In fact I had no idea that it was happening until the day before when, out walking our dog along the Golden Valley in Ashridge my wife and I came across two mysterious signs one saying 5K pointing one way, and another saying 10K pointing the other.
Being the curious chap I am, I got onto google on returning home and found out that the signs were for The Gaddesden Gallop 5K and 10K and that it was taking place at 1030 next morning starting from Little Gaddesden Sports Ground. I texted the organizer who texted me straight back to confirm that she would pre-register a place for me in the 10K. I was in!
But would there be any other Tringers lining up on the start line? Never fear, a small (elite?) group of us gathered pre-race including Sally Nash, Martin Hopcroft and Paul Crudge. There may have been others, but there were no other Tring RC vests to be seen.
The course itself turned out to be relatively challenging, the first half going out along the Golden Valley mainly uphill, followed by a sprint downhill along a wooded path and through a tunnel before reaching Nettleden Road. Unfortunately I took a bit of a tumble on this section when I tripped running downhlll, however after a quick roll, I bounced straight back up without losing my race position. I scraped my arm but as Monty Python’s Black Knight once said “Tis but a scratch!”
After the Nettleden road crossing there was a long climb uphill which luckily I had recently run with the 10’s group, so at least I knew when we were getting near the top! From there it was a fairly flat second half mainly on country lanes before returning across the fields to the Sports Ground and over the finish line, with lots of encouragement from the watching spectators and runners that had already completed the course.
I have to congratulate the organisers of this race, Little Gaddesden Primary School, for putting on a great event, hopefully raising a significant sum of money for the school. The race marshals, presumably parents, teachers and school staff, many accompanied by their children, were superb both in their directions to the runners and in their welcome, vocal encouragement. It was also very touching to see so many little primary school children completing the 5K race with their mums and dads. Hopefully a lifetime of running beckons for them.
I would also like to congratulate my fellow Tringers who all managed to achieve finishing positions in the Top 10:
3rd Overall Paul Crudge 44:23
5th Overall (and 1st Female!) Sally Nash 46:04
9th Overall Martin Hopcroft 48:26
Well done to you all!
And 31st Overall…Dave Cary 55:50
Finally on leaving the car park to drive home I spotted Ronnie Wood (whose country residence backs onto the Sports Ground) heading for his back gate with his dog.
So it turned out to be a Rolling Dave and a Rolling Stone kind of morning!