A Race of Two Hemispheres

The last Assembly League race of the year is always a marker of change – the end of the summer, a bit like the last Test at the Oval used to be. For me though, this week’s race was a different sort of milestone – my first race post almost life-ending accident.


Not only was it my first race back, it was my first trip back to the Beckenham Cricket Club, the home of my running club, a place I had avoided quite deliberately. I knew that I staying positive and focussing on the things I was able to do was key to my recovery and the running club would just make me remember the things I couldn’t do.

It all got a bit emotional as I picked up my number, so I escaped to the outfield and warmed up in the gloom for a lot longer than I needed, trying not to be spotted by people I knew. My HRM knew something was amiss – my heart was pounding at a rate that I would expect when doing 400 metre ‘intervals’; it took an age to calm down – I jogged nearly as far on laps around the boundary as I was about to race.

The three miles of the race skirt around the eastern edge of Beckenham Place Park, with a tough hill to start with, and then ends in front of the decaying ‘Place’ at the top of the same ridge.

I wasn’t sure how my body would react to racing, so I deliberately started at the back of the pack, right at the back, but within a few metres I was in race mode, albeit rather slower than 9 months ago, and gradually passing a few runners.


By the time I was over the first hill and crossing the prime meridian into the eastern hemisphere I was into a rhythm, although I was a little wary as I bisected it again as I was crossing Calmont Road (I am still very circumspect traversing tarmac).


I had left something in the tank for the final mile from the former Garden Gate pub, now a McDonalds Drive-Thru’, and was able to pass a few runners although that last hill seemed to go on for ever as a gloomy dusk descended.

I was exhausted; the time, pace and position weren’t great (23:18, 7:52, 205/238) but that didn’t matter at all, I was elated – I was racing again and my body coped with what I had put it through. A fellow club member joked that I would be running a sub 40 minute 10k by Christmas, I somehow doubt that, I haven’t run one of those since 2007, but maybe I will be at least able to race that far by then.

I jogged back to the cricket club with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while – we shared our 2015s – neither had been great, her partner is seriously ill. We hugged by the clubhouse, my life is getting much better, her’s really isn’t.

I stayed under the dark Satanic skies and warmed down with some more laps of the cricket pitch outfield, I needed to get my emotions under control before I headed home. I called it a day as the rain that had been threatening for three hours finally started.


6 thoughts on “A Race of Two Hemispheres

  1. lloydsloops

    My friend, if only…
    Have you checked the results, i wish i had known..
    To congratulate you, that’s amazing, well done You!

    1. runner500 Post author

      I only had a very cursory look, just to check my time…. You were a couple of seconds/places away from Neil from Go Feet Blog who I saw back at the cricket club. It would have been great to meet although the emotions got the better of me on Thursday. We must get together after one of next year’s races, if not before.

  2. Jim Brennan

    After all of this time I’ve followed your blog, I just learned today that your logo is a work of Banksy. I had breakfast this morning with my daughter and son-in-law who told me Banksy’s story, and I’ve watched Exit Through the Gift Shop. I’ve written about the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and am a fan of street art. I followed Ray Ferrer, a spray paint artist who died of a cancerous brain tumor this year, way before his time. He was a brilliant artist. Anyway, way cool!

    1. runner500 Post author

      Banksy is great, I love the humour and ironic juxtapositions within his art. I use the avatar quite a lot and have been correctly identified here a few times by people I know in other settings as a result. You have posted about Ray on your blog haven’t you? It is certainly a name I recognise.


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