Around 29 runners from A&T and (some guests) gathered at Sport Village for the 1st ever A&T Christmas Paarlauf…. The weather on the night could well have been worse … but not much!!! .. It started off with that type of rain that gets you very wet and gradually got worse.
I was ably assisted by Lindsey Carter in keeping score on which teams had completed how many laps … does not sound too hard but when peoples numbers started dropping off and the rain came down harder… how Lindsey managed to write on a wet piece of paper was straight out of the Ray Mears ‘How To’ guide.
The race was actually quite a closely run thing and a very competitive evenings session, it was unfortunate we had 1 person short but two absolute heroes, Scott Christey and Steve Foster agreed to do 400s and did fantastic to keep this going for the full 40 minutes of the Paarlauf…. A really gutsy evenings training from both those guys.
As we got underway the first group set off at ultra impressive speed and by the hand over at 200m I was a bit worried and asking myself “ooh err did I mention it was a 40 mins continuous relay”
More drama was to come for team 6 who lost one of their men (Steve) after the 1st 200m due to what looked like a strained hamstring … I hope Steve was ok afterwards as my time was taken trying to count teams and shout numbers back to Lindsey… Special mention must go to Cerys Baines who slotted into team 6 to help out Louise Chan and Paul Jackson who had actually been running 400s since Steve dropped out ……and that meant at one time we had Mum Carole, Dad Garry and young Cerys all on track at the same time … a very proud moment I am sure for all of them… and brought a smile to my face also… after all it’s what athletics is all about…. Continuity.
The teams were chosen by approximate race times and drawing numbers but by halfway it became obvious that the groupings were bringing some very exciting races and at one point around halfway a mere 80m separated the first 3 teams, 20m the next 3 teams and the rest not far behind, so… as was hoped…. The contest came down to a combination of strength, speed, teamwork and pure endurance.
It was fantastic to see the effort and determination of all the teams a real credit to the club and especially from the people who do not normally come down to the track, not for the first time I was extremely proud to be a member of A&T, as an indication of the sheer effort I actually considered for a moment ending it at 35 minutes because people seemed to be working so hard and suffering so much …… this thought left me after around 3 seconds and was replaced by a wry somewhat disturbed smile.
After the full 40 mins had elapsed everyone looked totally spent and ready to stop, but we had a clear winner and a close 2nd place.
In first place was team 9 with Mark Ruscoe, Michaela Shaw and Robin Chan just holding off team 8 of Pete Mulleady, Mark Crowley and Terry Gardiner by around 80m.
As I said before it was a foul night weather wise, of course that was all forgotten when we did get underway, but a huge round of applause to everyone who came along.
I intend to make this a Bi-annual competition with a summer version also being held.
This was our first such event and of course any suggestions to improve the format are very welcome.
A very Merry Christmas to all our members and in fact anyone else out there reading this.