Thursday, 15 May 2014

Parents and Prizegivings....

Last weekend I did something a little bit different.....and potentially more nerve-racking than racing.....

I was invited to attend the Durham City Harriers Annual Awards Evening as St Mary's College. It was an ideal opportunity to head over to the NE for the weekend and also catch up with my parents.

A beautiful course

Gibside Chapel at the end of the Avenue

Saturday morning appeared to be a washout, but my dad and I managed to sneak in a trip to Gibside parkrun in between the showers (well, it was both sunny and rainy during the run). I remember going for walks at Gibside as a child and my memory of a beautiful National Trust property didn't let me down. The run is certainly a tough one, going mainly uphill for the first half before you retrace your steps back to the finish, but you finish along the Avenue towards the lovely Gibside chapel (and a nice tearoom - yummmm!). I was caught slightly unawares by the carved animals in the woods along the route - and had to doubletake to make sure they weren't real!

Durham Regatta

I then relived more childhood memories with my mother in the afternoon - as we headed into town for some shopping, we stopped and watched the Town regatta (hmmmm.....the odd early morning outing followed by a frantic run to school to make assembly sprung to mind, as well as trying to keep music anchored onto stands with clothespegs when our orchestra played in the bandstand).

St Mary's College
While getting ready to go across to St Mary's, my dad looked up the Harriers online. Their invited guest from the previous year was only Charlie Spedding......oh dear.....I hoped that they wouldn't be disappointed with me! When I arrived, however, everyone seemed really friendly, and we had fun eating and drinking and getting stuck into the quiz (I did appear to be better at general knowledge than running-specific questions, though they were rather NE athletes/track orientated). Then it was on to the actual presentations - luckily I only had to hand out the trophies and certificates that I was given while someone else read them out (so no embarrassing mispronunciations for me). There were many different awards given for a variety of disciplines, and also an award to the XC team manager for non-running duties. I liked the "honorary life membership", as it can only be given to someone who has been a club member for >30 years, and is aged >65, so they described it as a mark of respect, but also a cheeky "we know you're getting old" award!
I have long heard/read about Rosie Smith - and many people presume that we know each other. We went to rival/parallel comprehensive schools in Durham and have both run for Scotland and GB, but unfortunately I was rather unsporty at school (and had probably left before Rosie started). She's a shorter distance/XC runner and hence way faster than me, but it was lovely to finally put a face to the name. I felt rather unworthy presenting her with her awards but we had a lovely chat afterwards.

The Awards lined up

Luckily for me, I didn't really have to stand up and give a talk (as you never know whether people will be interested in the same things as you, though I guess I have had an unusual route into the running world), because they made it easier for me by turning it into a question and answer session. I guess that could make things worse, as you can be thrown off by unusual questions, but hey I have no problems in talking about what I like to eat when I run! Time flew by after that with informal chatting, the quiz answers (my table came second by 1 point) and a raffle.

I really enjoyed the evening, and found them to be a friendly, diverse club with a range of talented athletes - and I'll definitely look them out for a run next time I'm in Durham!

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