Day 9. Farthingstone to Bicester.
Saturday arrived with sunshine, horses and a switch of support car. The English National Cross Country Championships had long been pencilled in for February 23rd and with members of Darlington Harriers competing, including my brother Jamie, the support roadie handed over the baton and set off for Wollaton Park. I set out across Northamptonshire in the general direction of Bicester, with fantastic company all the way!
With blue skies and sunshine bursting through the windows in Farthingstone, Saturday morning was already looking like a great day for being outside. After tea and porridge, then more tea, we were about ready to hit the road. Pip cycled with me for 7miles, until she passed the map to her friend Helen, and we ran a further 10miles together all the way to the village of Evenly. But before Pip and I even left Farthingstone village two riders on horseback appeared to wish us good luck for the day! We all trotted out of the village together, passing another friend of Pip’s, Peter, and then started to make our way towards Slapton, the village where we were meeting Helen. It also transpired that this was where the new support car for the day was joining us, driven by the ever-energetic Si Rutherford.
Once Pip and I reached Slapton and met Helen and Si, we all said our hellos & cheerios, and then began the next part of the day. Pip set off back towards Farthingstone to continue with her day of teaching riding, and Helen and I ran along with Si, now on his old Peugeot road bike (hidden in the back of the support car)! The miles flew by and before we knew it signs to Brackley, and then Evenly popped up on the roadside. Helen’s husband arrived to meet her at the The Red Lion in Evenly, and we’d made such good time there was a chance they’d be home in time to see England play in a Six Nations rugby match. Si at this point whizzed off on his bike back to the support car, and I ran on towards the village of Fringford. Bicester now seemed closer than ever!
I arrived in Bicester not too long after – the knees that had overall been great were just to say letting me know they were ready to call it a day. Bicester Town is not to be confused with Bicester Village, as I was informed. The latter is an outlet shopping mall, which people travel to from miles around! The busy market town of Bicester itself has a lovely new Sainsbury’s supermarket, where I met up with Si & the support car once again before we went on the hunt for carbs & protein, like all good
hunter gatherers runners. It’s never a good idea to go food shopping when you’re hungry and tired, especially when you’ve just run 26miles. We resisted the urge to buy everything consumable in the store, knowing that Si had prepared a feast back at his flat in Oxford – our next watering hole on the map.
Tomorrow’s route: Bicester to Wallingford.