Well that was a bit surreal.
Don’t get me wrong. The race was great. Well organised and a good route but I came away with the feeling that I might just have dreamed it all.
This blog isn’t so much about the race as it is the story of how Jonathan Winward helped to win the Red Rose women’s second team prize despite not being in Red Rose and perhaps more importantly – not being a woman.
The fact that the rain was hammering down when it was time to set off from home for Scorton meant that I wasn’t particularly keen, but having pre-entered this race, I did actually turn up for registration. I queued for my number and duly pinned it on my chest.
At this point I should point out a couple of things. I’m not really a details person, and I need glasses to read. In all honesty, the glasses thing is an excuse because the bit I should have read during registration was large enough, even for me. But the only bit I actually noticed was my number – 499. There was something written on the back but that was one of those details and I took no notice. Anyway, number pinned and rain slackening meant a wander down to the start with the other Rosers.
Waiting for the start and in amongst all the Wesham team photo bombing, I did notice a bloke with a hand written number. That’s strange in any race but there was something else nagging me about him. Just before the start it struck me. His handwritten number was 499. Just the same as mine. “Strange” I thought, but unfortunately that was the only thought I had about it until it was far too late.
Anyway, on with the race and it was a good un. Quite undulating around the entire course with one short steep section between 2 and 3k. I was up with Janine and not far behind Liam at this stage but they both accelerated away after this and I was left to have a battle with a Wesham bloke right up to the finish.
The course is a lollipop shape out and back, all on road but with very little traffic. The wind and drizzle was light enough to keep you refreshed without getting annoying.
3km to go and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with the Wesham guy it was back down the same steep section. Wesham guy came flying past me but I caught him again on the next uphill undulation. The quiet roads meant I could listen for him catching me while keeping an ear out for any signs of Mr Wahey-Wiseman. The last km was my fastest, just to make sure no one came past and then into the finish funnel. I grabbed the timekeeper to make sure he knew that there was an impostor 499 and then did the usual Red Rose thing of cheering the rest in before going to find brew and food.
It turns out, I was 5th Red Rose male across the line. Just outside any team prize, but as usual, most of the Red Rose team hung around in the school hall while the rest of the prizes were handed out. The presence of coffee and sausage butties helped keep us there as well.
While hanging around waiting to see who had won the second place team prizes, (for some reason, there had been some challenges with getting the results sorted. That blinking impostor bloke I reckoned), anyway I noticed that there was an unused number on the registration desk. It was 498. Another strange coincidence? Suddenly it occurred to me. Maybe I was the impostor. I picked up 498 and checked the back and despite my lack of glasses, even I could make out the name ‘Ian Wharton – Red Rose’ written on the back – Oops. So whose number did I have? Jonathan Winwards!! Thankfully he was unattached, so no inter club sabotage could be claimed.
Looking around, I couldn’t see my alter ego. This could work out well. Was I there as Jonathan or Ian? And if Jonathan won a prize, would that be my prize? I had his number after all as well as mine.
As it turned out neither of us had a prize but in usual Red Rose fashion, we all hung around until the organisers gave up and awarded Red Rose both the men’s and women’s team runners up prizes. But hang on, there are 4 women’s prizes but only 3 Red Rose women!
As the next Red Roser home and having caused such chaos, it seemed only fitting for me to claim the fourth lady second team prize in Jonathan’s name.
And so there we have it. The first prize I have ever received in a race and it’s in someone else’s name for the runners up women’s team. I’ll never top that.