Sunday, 16 September 2007

The Robin Hood Marathon passes by twice in one day

A closed and deserted Derby Road at 10am. The park is to the left.

The first runners pass the south entrance to the park at 10.20am. This is the 3 mile point in the Robin Hood Marathon.

By 10.55am it has been like this for 15 minutes.

At 11am, whilst runners are still streaming pass the south entrance to the park, the runner behind the leader is passing the north entrance and will be seeing the 10 mile marker on the Nottingham Marathon within seconds.

11.40am by the north entrance, the main body of runners has been passing for about ten minutes, a good half-hour behind the lead runner.

The Robin Hood Marathon has been running past Lenton Recreation Ground since it started in 1981. According to the organisers, it is the second most popular marathon in England with some 15,000 runners taking part this year (the most popular is the London Marathon). Alongside the full marathon there are a number of other runs, including a half-marathon, and an event for wheelchair users.

We have been going to watch the runners pass by at the south entrance to the park forever, or so it seems. The congregations at the Gurdwara and the parish church, which face one another across Church Street on the south side of the park, gather and applaud. Some, like me, are regulars who gather around the park entrance, whilst others are park users caught up in the mass of bodies who feel the air with the slap slap of the their feet. A lot of feet moving along quite fast together make a sort of lapping sound like water on a pebble beach at night. Strange as it may seem, if you close your eyes and just listen, the main body of 15,000 runners passing by is actually a calming experience.

This is the first year I have ever photographed the runners passing by. As the pictures show the distance between the leaders and many of the runners after an hour is about seven miles. As the pictures above show, I took a picture at the south entrance at 10.55am and walked across to the north entrance on Derby Road, by which time the lead runner had already passed, but I was just in time to catch the runner in second position.

Every single one of the runners has my admiration. Many years ago there was a film called 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' and I suspect that every runner today felt that way, whether out on their own at the front or seemingly lost in the mass of runners who passed by for minutes on end.

The Northen Rock financial crisis continues to dominate the news as reassurances about savings only seem to prompt ever more savers to try and withdraw their money from Northern Rock.

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