My Dear Readers, you may have read in my blog about HEROS, a group with no leader, no secretary, no run length limit (apart from what can be done in 2 hours max.). This concept has run for over 25 years and there has been a run from the same car park at 9.00am every Sunday come hail or sunshine running at the speed of the slowest person.
I first became aware of this group about 7 years ago when running with my then trail running partner, George, when we bumped into them on the North Downs Way. The group was full of people I had met before from club runs and races, this was a group with no affiliation....perfect.
Let's jump forward those 7 years and like time, the group has morphed with the chance of a new option of 8.00am which has been amusingly called Anti-Heros, not because it is in competition with the 9.00am group but it allows more options to runners who may have something on that day and want to go out earlier. Every week the group leader of choice is asked who their favourite anti-hero is and it forms the poster for the coming run, mine was Clint Eastwood's brilliant character "The Man with No Name"
It is mad to think that I have trodden the paths leading off from our meeting point at the "Third car park on the left" on numerous occasions but now I have been asked to devise a run of about 6 miles at 10 to 10:30 min/mile pace or 75 minutes for faster runners. This got me pouring over maps of the area and trying to find routes that took us to what I considered to be "interesting" but as I am a bit of a nerdy geek what I find interesting may not always sit well with other, more normal people.
The route was set and after picking Liz up from her house we drove to the "Third car park on the left" where I was pleased to meet four other runners and went off at 8.05am onto the trails. I was nervous that some of them would know the route, especially , Brian, who was my inspiration to run from London to Brighton but he would know the trails, like me, as he taught me a lot of them but the joy is that they can be put together in so many combinations that it is not always the route but the company you have.
Everyone was chatting, I made the pace gentle and enjoyed the company until , unbeknownst, to the others I took a turn too early and found I had cut off a section of woods so after a quick parlez with Brian we cut off towards the woods I wanted to go through and on entering it my jaw dropped, as did my fellow runners by their whoops of joy and admiration. The woods were awash with Bluebells and when I say awash, it was a beautiful like a carpet of blue sprinkled around the freshly leafed trees.
The run continued and I decided to make up the loss of my previous error and took us along a section of path where the local pet farm puts some of its animals to grass. I was a little concerned when I remembered that there was always a Highland bull in the field ahead and knew that Liz has a morbid fear of bulls but this guy was as docile as a teddy and as we passed I tweaked his horn surprised by its warmth leaving Liz to make friends with her camera.
The run came to an end too early for me as I really felt I wanted to do more but pleased that everyone went away happy