A sunny winter Sunday morning and I’m jogging the two miles from Kingston Hill to Ham for the annual Stragglers/26.2 mob match.
The Stragglers and 26.2 both formed about the same time 30 years ago as training groups to run the London Marathon and have been friendly rivals ever since The annual mob match is based around the number of runners each club can get out and it alternaties between the Stragglers home at the Hawker centre in Ham and 26.2’s HQ in Surbiton. Stragglers being a larger club always get the most runners but 26.2 work some kind of magic to ensure they win a subsidary race so everyone goes home happy.
Mindful that marathon training kicks in next weekend I decide to run there and back so that overall I’ll cover approximately 7.5 miles. The race starts on Burnell Avenue just off the River path and follows part of the route we are using on the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon. Once on to Dukes Avenue there is a fabuous stretch of wide pavement that the Stragglers use for winter speed training. I’m warming up now and the slight niggle in the calf is not causing any problems, so after a very cautious start I start to stretch out and speed up.
We follow Riverside Drive to the end and turn left onto Ham Street. The 13.1 will now turn right in front of Ham house and head back towards Richmond. Today we continue until we reach the River Thames and turn left on the River Path back towards Ham. This last off road stretch is muddy from recent rain and some river flooding, but its a nice day and familiar territory so quite enjoyable.
At the finish a lot of runners stay and chat and I give out a few leaflets for the Richmond 13.1. Malcolm and Helen Davies say they will enter this afternoon and when I check later they have done so, bringing us up to a total of 83 runners to date.
Sandwiches appear and are very good. There is going to be a presentation and raffle for bottles of wine, chocolates etc, but time is moving on and I need to get back to plant shrubs and bulbs which arrived yesterday afternoon mail order. I leave, regretting the fact this will make me ineligable if my number comes up in the draw. Standing around for half an hour has made me stiffen up. Getting running is not easy. I manage an inelegant shuffle and hope I don’t meet anyone I know!
If you are local to Kingston and interested in joining a club, check out the Stragglers and 26.2 websites. Perhaps in 2014 you two can be part of the mob! For info on the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon go to www.perseverance-events.com .