Brugge 2016…a view from the back by Laura Roberts
Having been a Flyer for 12 months, problems with shin splints and various other
issues meant running had not been as consistent as I would have liked. Come
January, the numbers on the scales and the monumental struggle to get into my
jeans meant I needed to sort this running malarkey out….so the resolution was made
and a couple of months later the Brugge trip was booked.
Fast forward to 4 days before race day and tonsillitis struck again. Some ‘gentle’
persuasion from Lucy and Liz of “its fine, a nice run/walk, enjoying the sights etc….”
sheer stubbornness and 500mg of Clarimyocin and I found myself standing at The
Elms pick-up point early on a Sunday morning. Weather was looking good, although
I was starting to worry a little too good! Coach loaded, minus Sherry as unfortunately
a misplaced passport meant no travel, we were on our way. We arrived at Ashford to
find an hour’s delay on the tunnel, so the group quickly dispersed for more breakfast/
beer/ coffee with one eye on the board, as driver Bob had reiterated many times in
his light-hearted tone that “We are W, when it says proceed, you MUST proceed!”
The second stage of the journey was a little more fraught; misplaced passengers,
missing the subsequent train, a closed road and a rather scenic detour to the
carpark, meant time was on the tight side. We finally got to the hall, numbers, chips
and medals collected, quick change of clothes and bags dropped and we made our
way to the starting area, feeling really gutted for Terry, Lorraine and Linda who had
missed running the 5K, due to our late arrival.
3pm- it was very busy and very hot, the plan was for me, Liz, Lucy and Keith (I think
he knew) to take it slow at the back…so off we went.
The first part of the race is
run through a residential area, lots of spectators and residents at the ready with
their water hoses- 1.5K in and I have never been so happy to be doused in cold
water, the heat was unrelenting and I was starting to regret my decision…….although
was not at all vocal about that……was I Keith?! Lucy, Keith and I had a short walk and
then carried on. We then realised we had company in the form of the sweeper and
their crew, pushing us on (not literally unfortunately) Lucy’s language was pretty
colourful at this point and I’m pretty sure she gave them all an education, lol. Now,
Keith had pre-warned us that there wasn’t too much crowd participation, but we
learnt that the people of Brugge love a trier and when you have the sweeper up your
backside (or maybe a little in front) the crowd cheer you, shout your name and give
you bottles of water for the duration of the race.
Quick photo stop in the square before ploughing on, we finally came to the much
more scenic area of canals and windmills and with the help of some shade fell into a
comfortable pace, although heading towards 10K, my legs felt dead and the jelly babies
weren’t helping. Liz and I fell into a run/walk pattern and much to my insistence she
wouldn’t run on. Seeing the Flyers supporters of Terry, Linda and Lorraine was a
very welcome boost!
In sight of the 14K marker and running just behind the sweeper…” must get past”
was the aim and after nearly being taken out by a pensioner on a bike, texting on his
smart phone that was the push needed to get by, we finally over-took, a few more
cobbles and the end was in sight- sprint finish done. Keith and Lucy finished just
after, followed closely by Michelle and Ron.
We made our way back to the square and met the others, enjoyed our free beer,
while soaking up the great atmosphere. Time was ticking on, food was needed in the
form of subway and obviously a quick stop for Chocolate before heading home.