Today marks the beginning of Running after Routledge!! The day overall went very smoothly, 26 miles of ground were covered and only at the end did the weather become any kind of problem. Friends, family and supporters all came out to see the start from Hummersknott Academy, and now the feet are rolling!
The day began in a flurry of photographs outside Hummersknott Academy but the group gathered for the first section of the run was soon on it’s way – when the old-school starting pistol was fired by Head teacher Mr. Howarth! The cross-country team, Mrs. Armitage, Shirley and Dennis from Darlington Harriers, my Dad on his bike and I set out from the school towards Bannatyne’s Hotel – waved off by friends & supporters. Once at the hotel we again huddled for a few more photos by the commemorative blue plaque dedicated to the Mana Expedition and Katherine Routledge. Photos all done, the Hummersknott students returned to class, Shirely & Dennis said goodbye, leaving Dad & I to run out of town. Leaving Darlington we were surprised by the presence of two extra supporters on their bikes, also members of Darlington Harriers, who rode along side wishing us well.
Approaching the first village on the route, Ian Barnes, President and Chairman of Darlington Harriers appeared on the roadside. We ran together through Croft-on-Tees, crossing the River Tees (river number one!) and the county border into Yorkshire (county number one!). Next up was a rendezvous in Dalton with my friend and accomplished runner Berni. Trading places with Ian, Berni ran to the next pit-stop, Northallerton eleven miles away, but not before waiting for what seemed like an eternity by the main train line at a level-crossing!
After Northallerton Dad and I cycle & rode on for the last nine miles of the day together, with our flashing lights and fluorescent reflective clothing helping to keep us visible as the clouds started to draw in. The rain started at about mile twenty, and the hail at about twenty-two – at which point all chatting stopped and it was a case of ‘head down’ until we reach Thirsk. By that point Dad’s feet were frozen on the bike, and I was feeling thankful to have a new Goretex jacket that was keeping the elements at bay.
We arrived in Thirsk at about 2:50pm, welcomed by support vehicle driver, aka Mum, and photographer for the day Graeme – but in pouring rain. We grabbed a few final photos then piled into respective vehicles, wrapped ourselves up in wool rugs and began the refuelling process after 26miles of running in roughly 4hours. Thanks everyone who helped today happen. Special mention and thanks must go to sponsor Emerald Bio Gas! The fundraising also started in earnest with Darlington Lions Club presenting the project with a cheque for £150 to the BioMax fund.
We are still waiting for our Just Giving link to go live – thanks for your patience with that everyone! In the mean time there is a donation button on the main Running after Routledge page, which I know some of you have already use.
Watch this space for the next update! Roll on tomorrow!