Saturday, 1 January 2011

1) The smell of a new year

"Daddy, what's that smell?" asked the little girl.

"Embrocation," replied her daddy.

And so it came to pass that the little girl filed this fancy word away in her mind's dictionary to mean:

em·bro·ca·tion (em-bruh-kay-shuhn)
The combined stench of muscle rub, coffee, Strongbow, B.O., fart and dread.

On January 1st 1984, my dad organised Hereford's first New Year's Day 10K. Too small to run (my brothers did, but it appears the line was drawn at 11 years old in the 80s), I spent nine New Year's Day mornings altogether perfecting the art of fastening safety pins into groups of 4 and handing them to the runners with as a cute smile as I could muster. I often wonder now why there aren't more infants enlisted to help with this task at races. My dad tells me great stories of the first couple of runs: people still tiddly from the night before having to make a New Year's Heave before the start (such fun) and a team from the local hostelry pushing a full barrel of cider around the course for charity. The event became more and more popular and he handed over organisation to a local running club in the early 90s. The event, now organised by Wye Valley Runners, had its 27th airing this morning and, in the spirit of Janathon, I thought it was about time I actually got off my bum and ran it.

My great friend Emily ensured I was in tip-top condition by filling my belly with cheesecake and champagne last night and sent me off on my bicyle at 1 am to go and sort out my kit bag. Following a 2 hour drive and a cup of tea, I met my brother and sister-in-law, traded excuses and collected our numbers this morning. I don't know, perhaps it was an insufficient warm-up or maybe that I didn't wear my lucky pants, but I have to admit that I didn't feel quite at the top of my game in the first 1 km or so. Thank goodness then that the views were so stunning (I love Hereford, even on a grey January morning) and the marshalls were so incredibly cheery (they were seriously awesome). I finished in a very pedestrian 1:04:44, 199th place, a little less green and very chuffed that I'd finally got around to running the NYD 10K - a great little event if you're looking for a Janathon starter next year...

Day 1 - NYD Run
Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)
Time: 1:04:44
Postition: 199 (out of not many more than 199 participants)
Pace: 10:25 min/mile
Cake rating: 5/5 (lovely event on home turf + smug points gained overshadowed poor performance and general feelings of queasiness).


  1. Great post and a great start to Janathon! If I wasn't ashamed of myself by now for my feeble effort, I know I'm going to be by the end of the day.

  2. Well done. There's no way I could have managed a race this morning. Getting up at midday to run around the streets by my flat was enough for me. I'm sure you had much better scenery!

  3. Well done you what a great start to the year. I love your website by the way the image of the girl emerging from the cake is superb.

  4. what a great post! beautiful blog. can't wait to click back in time and read along with your Janathon!

  5. I am VERY impressed. It took me until just before 4.30pm to finally drag myself out for a run, and that was only after a dirty mcdonalds and a nap on the sofa! Well done!!

  6. Woah a race to start the month! Good on you. No idea why that first km went a bit iffily for you... I mean, after you'd fueled up on cheesecake and champagne and everything?! Sometimes we just have odd days! :)

  7. Lovely post, and I like your header image!


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