(This article contributed by Paul Horne who, like most of his fellow runners decided that a club vest was hardly appropriate for what turned out to be just a fun run. He was registered in the club’s name, though, so it’s official!)
I had raced in nineteen Sri Chinmoy events between 1985 to 1998 at various distances from 1 mile to 10 miles so when I saw that there was a free event on 4th December, 2016, to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of their peace mile, I signed up. The event was to be held on one of the old courses and was only 2 miles which shouldn’t be a problem the day after a parkrun.
On the morning I arrived early to pick up my number and there was an army of marshals and organisers making everything easy for the runners. I noticed as I collected my number, that there were not many people pre-registered. I knew that there were two local cross country events taking away most of the local club runners and a charity Santa run taking more. I overhead the people manning the food stall worrying that they had prepared too much. A free event, with free food and drink, reasonable publicity and no runners: I was disappointed for the organisers.
There was a display of the history of the Ipswich Sri Chinmoy races with photos of myself and other running colleagues from many decades ago. I couldn’t help but point out my presence in a photo to a couple of the organisers.
On the start line there was a mix of abilities from some young and fit runners to a couple of local running stalwarts who had not run for 20+ years after major injuries, but who wanted to be part of the day. I also counted seven parkrun regulars on the line. The organisers were forced to combine the junior 1 mile race as there were only two entrants. As the Mayor started the race it was clear that those at the front were away, I hung on to a couple of young lads in the hope that they may have gone off too fast on the downhill. On the uphill back straight I started to reel in the two lads and went by them before I started lap two. On the second lap I ran in isolation except for overtaking the three back markers and finished quite happy with my sub 14 minutes time and 7th place.
At the prize giving it became clear that there were more medals than competitors, but as the first and only competitor in the MV50 I now have a race winners medal and had sandwiches and cake to complete the morning. The Sri Chinmoy web site said they were looking forward to the fortieth anniversary next, I wonder if I will make that one?