So much has happened over this summer, that I had all but forgotten the Wings for Life World Run down at Silverstone in May. What a great day that was - meeting and running with friends old and new in a previously unknown (to me) part of the countryside....in conjunction with thousands of others around the globe, all raising money for a good cause (research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury)!
It was a pleasant surprise to receive an email from the organisers to remind me that the prize for this year's race was the opportunity to take part in one of the next year's global events, at a destination of my choice (which almost makes up for not receiving the free cinema tickets every participant was meant to receive this year - just kidding!).
Some of the destinations that caught my eye this year are not holding events next year, but there are also several new ones that have joined the party. It's difficult to choose where to go - as you don't want to go somewhere that takes forever to travel to, or that would result in major jetlag, I'm not convinced that I want to run in the middle of the night or in temperatures in the mid-30s, or anywhere politically unstable. However, I would love to see a new place and meet new people.....but then again, would a language barrier take away from some of the enjoyment of chatting while you run? Decision, decisions.....
In the buildup to opening registrations (on October 1st) and announcing the full event list for 2015, Redbull (the race sponsor) are making a video that includes all the country winners from 2014 saying a little bit about why they ran this year, and where they'd like to run next year. As I live a long way away from London, they sent a camaraman (Stephen) down from Glasgow to film my part in the video.
Part of our brief was to include something stereotypically British, and if possible, a Union Jack. Bearing in mind that they asked me to do this the day before the independence referendum (for which I have steadfastly kept my views to myself), I really wasn't sure about being filmed standing around holding either a Union Jack or a Saltire, so I decided that wearing some GB Athletics kit would cover it quite well.
The winning postbox
We spent part of the afternoon playing "hunt the red phone/post box" but eventually found both in the Haugh of Urr. The phonebox appeared rather "tired" but the brightness of the postbox seemed to suit our needs. Bearing in mind that we'd not passed a single vehicle on the rural drive out there, it became a veritable Piccadilly Circus as soon as we started filming. Every logging truck and tractor in the area must have driven past, and several people nearly crashed their cars while staring at us to see what we were doing. One local lady even had a slight panic that we would stop her posting her letters, and didn't seem all that reassured to know that she was a potential movie star!
Eventually we got it done (though who knows what will end up in the final edit.....probably not much at all!) and set off back down the quiet country roads. Stephen filmed some typical "countryside views" involving fields, rolling hills and sheep, mr tying my shoelaces with my foot propped up on a "drystane dyke" and then got me to run up and down the road a few times (somehow managing to time it for the only passing vehicles again - cue more curious looks!). He even chased me down the road filming just my feet!
City boy meets countryside
I did make an amazing discovery though....Stephen asked why I kept stopping at the side of the road and what I was eating. It turns out that he'd never picked and eaten blackberries from wild roadside brambles before and that he thought that they might be poisonous. I got him to try some and he was amazed at how sweet and juicy they were - and what size they could grow to completely naturally!! Nature's energy gels!!
Anyway, the filming was done.....and both of us were left to wonder what on earth the final product will look like.....but anyway, it should still be a great worldwide event on May 3 2015 so join in if you can!