An interview with a Run and Roaster!

10th November
Report by Gary Daniels

Despite the tabloid sounding title, joining a Run and Roast will not, hopefully, lead to you needing a super injunction or a very good divorce lawyer.

Run and Roast is the new social offering, put forward by those lovely people on the black sheep committee, to try and combine the three key components that bring us together as a community; running, socialising and most importantly food! It runs the first Sunday of every month, subject to Champs races and other important events.

The key component of a good roasting lies in the gentle balance of a fun and interesting run, making it suitable for all runners at the club and finding a great place to have something to eat. On the 5th November, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to lead my first ever run, Run and Roast #2, which was excitingly titled “Goyt Valley and Roman Bridge“.

This is my story: (Cue X-Factor style ‘moments’ music)

Run and Roast #2 Route

Run and Roast #2 Route

Actually it isn’t really my story, it is actually the story of a well loved family walk, liberated from a guide book on Cheshire short walks. The guide itself was bought for 50p in a Milton Keynes branch of Blacks. I must admit, it does lead to a couple of unanswered questions; why did the Milton Keynes branch of Blacks stock a Cheshire walking guide and why does a city famous for roundabouts and tarmac covered ‘redway’ cycling routes need a walking shop in the first place?

I digress. We bought the book to give our two young boys something to do on warm sunny days (remember those!) rather than try to murder each other with home made Lego weapons designed to both take an eye out and cripple the foot of any adult stupid enough to intervene. It was either take them walking or build the Thunderdome in the backyard.

A couple of, fatality free, years on, this 4.5 mile walk turned into a training run designed to give my eldest a taste of trail running while in preparation for the 10 mile White Bear Way. Given that it was successfully completed by an 8 year old, in 1.5 hours and powered by a Twix mini a mile, it was deemed suitable to allow hung-over grown ups to attempt, without Twix’s.

The run itself is predominantly dirt path and tarmac using old pack horse trails that are now bridleways. This has the advantage of being wide enough for running in pairs and also allows for a bit of entertainment saying hello to the bemused mountain bikers and riders going the ‘easier’ other direction.

We use the word easier, as being a valley edge run, it involved running down the valley and then back up a 1km long hill ascent, whose ground conditions can be best described as ‘stream bed-esque’ although in this case, as a nice bonus, it came complete with stream! However you do get the amazing valley views afterwards to make up for the cold feet and chest pain. Not only that but the valley on the other side is a gentler ascent.

Having dragged the reluctant family out again on a nice October weekend to review the course, we decided it was fit for purpose. The next stage was picking the pub. The Romper, a pub famous for its lovely beer garden friendly service and great food, conveniently located at the end of the run is now a house. Unfortunately the new occupants weren’t to keen on hosting us as a dinner party, which meant I was forced to look at alternative venues.

I could now lie and tell a gripping yarn of pub crawls and Delhi belly but unfortunately that’s all it would be. Instead I simply used Trip Advisor and looked for the highest rated pub within 10 miles and read the Sunday lunch reviews. The Hare and Hounds fortunately did not disappoint, with a fantastic selection of food, including adding a vegan option specially for us, and pudding.

It was then simply a case of creating an event, with the committees blessing, posting it on Facebook and waiting for the willing victims to sign up.

Then the nerves kick in! Like any first time experience, questions start going around your mind. What if it is too long? Too short? What if they compare it to other, better, runs? Could my fragile ego take it? Would my bum look big in my Lycra? Should a man approaching 40 even wear Lycra?

Then comes the big day. I won’t describe the run itself. No one wants to read about someone else’s run, it’s a bit like looking at other people’s holiday snaps, but what I can say is:

  • We lost our tail runners as they needed to go to Church. Given the priest told my youngest he had to go, it was probably for an exorcism. This could be considered a bit of an overreaction to a simple tummy bug, although if he has previously raced past you at ParkRun, you now have something to blame it on rather than a hangover.
  • We do need tail runners. Volunteers who want to run slow and look after the back are as important as speedy people leading at the front. The banter is better too!
  • No one died. All the ‘what if’ scenarios I had prepared for didn’t happen (e.g. struck by mountain bike, trampled by horse, chased by zombies etc.)
  • The pub was really good, the banter was excellent and we really do have some great people in this club. I mean it. If you are one of those people who usually has to run and then shoot off, use this as the excuse to stick around and enjoy the social.

So given how good it was, why don’t you come and join us for the next one? It’s in December, it will be be great. There will be a Christmas theme. You will get FOMO (whatever that means – I am nearly 40 after all!) – link to the Facebook event is HERE

Those who like things to be well, or even, over organised will be pleased to know I am already making contingency plans for dealing with any trips, sprains or how we would go about rescuing Santa’s sled (and / or zombie attack). So what do you have to worry about?

About the author

Gary Daniels is a full time Chartered Fire Engineer, part time runner, part time cash machine / taxi service and occasional father to two young boys, one of whom is now no longer possessed.