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Town & Gown & Gown - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Town & Gown & Gown
I suppose it's like a peculiarly Oxford kind of triathlon: 2 miles' cycle from suburb to town; a 10K run around town; 3 hours' singing in chapel; 2 miles' cycle home...

Yesterday's Town & Gown 10K Fun Run was, as the Oxford Mail says, a big success. It certainly was for me: I raised nearly £300 in sponsorship money (or will have done when I've collected it all!); beat my previous best time by over 2 minutes; and had fun.

In the end there were only two of us from work in the race, B (the running enthusiast who has been organising the training) and me. S had been invalided out, much to his disgust, but had valiantly limped into town to cheer us on -- as I only discovered when I heard him bellow my name from the side of Parks Road. :-)

There was never any expectation that B & I would run "together" -- he's faster, so started further forward, & there was no way I was going to catch up with him! -- but it was nice to know somebody else I would be among the 3000 entrants. (I did look out for him coming the other way on the bits where the rather bizarre route doubled back on itself, but didn't spot him.) In the end, though, it didn't matter: the atmosphere was really friendly, the weather was good, I didn't get lost (!) and all in all it was a bit like going for a ramble in the sunshine. Only, um, considerably quicker.

Having finished nearly 10 minutes before me, B waited at the corner just before the finish line; when he saw me he yelled "58 minutes! Come on!!!" -- up to that point I'd had no idea at all how I was doing on the time. I knew I'd been running better than usual (more steadily, less feeling that I was fighting myself or the road, no aches or blisters) but I didn't know if that actually equated to faster, and decided not to think about it & just concentrate on finishing and enjoying it. When I heard him shout that, I knew I could get in under the hour, & was tempted to relax, but then actually saw the finish & just went for it. I heard a familiar voice yell my name as I charged towards the finish -- surprisingly familiar, because I didn't expect monkeyhands to be there, but it turned out that she and barnacle had joined addedentry to cheer me on, which was a lovely surprise.

B's time was way better than mine, of course, but I think he was more pleased with my result than with his -- I suppose I'm the first person he's coached to some kind of racing success. :-} I certainly couldn't have done it without him, I'm just glad I didn't let him down! He was even more pleased when he realised later that he'd forgotten (and I hadn't really thought through) that because I'd started further back from the starting line, the time on the clock was two minutes out from the time recorded on the chip. (Yes, your race number contains an RFID tag, and they scan you as you cross the finish line. We live in the future!)

So anyway, in fact my official time was 56:13 (only just over 9-minute miles). I couldn't believe it!

Then after the race there was plenty of space between the town and and and and and gown, as we went for a leisurely lunch in the Jericho Café and then an even more leisurely sitting around in the St Giles churchyard, before I had to head to Pembroke for rehearsal and a rousing choral evensong (Howells' Coll. Reg. and Elgar's Light out of Darkness) to stave off the post-running sleepiness.

Of course now I can't help wondering what the Oxford Decathlon would involve: running, cycling, punting, singing, essay-writing.... come on, LiveJournal, help me out here!

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Comments
cleanskies From: cleanskies Date: May 19th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
debating, climbing stairs, floodsnorkling, finding a decently priced haircut and mixing cocktails
emperor From: emperor Date: May 19th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
night-climbing?

Well done :)
arnhem From: arnhem Date: May 19th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congratulations - that's superb! 8-)
hairyears From: hairyears Date: May 20th, 2008 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Mortarboard discus, University Challenge, jumping of Magdalen Bridge (Pong Jump? Hop, Slip and Squelch?)

Actually, reviving the sport of racing matched pairs of 'Best and Best' racing punts would be Teh Koolz.
htfb From: htfb Date: May 20th, 2008 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Punt racing does still take place, though usually downriver at skiff and punt clubs. Thames Ditton, Sunbury: you do the google. There are a couple of best and best punts at St Edmund's School boathouse still, though the one time someone was supposed to show me their workings he didn't turn up.
hatmandu From: hatmandu Date: May 20th, 2008 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Pontificating? (By which I mean, of course, making new bridges across the Cherwell.)
From: bibliogirl Date: May 20th, 2008 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Well done!
covertmusic From: covertmusic Date: May 20th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC) (Link)
More a modern pentathlon, really;

Bridge-hopping, punting, cycling, room ballot negotiation and running from porters.
lnr From: lnr Date: May 20th, 2008 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
pimms drinking? Some competition involving visiting every one of the kebab vans in town?

Well done you!
katstevens From: katstevens Date: May 20th, 2008 09:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Well done dude!
sbp From: sbp Date: May 20th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
drinking tea.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: May 20th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh victory! Oh friends, where is my pint? Nine minute miles or near-as-dammit-anyway, I say, well done!

I'd think an Oxford Dec would involve an integration of May Morning with A Typical Day in 4th Week in some fairly neutral term (e.g., not preparing for Mods or Finals) with something more extraordinary. For me, that would involve a three-mile cycle ride at 5:30 a.m., choral singing for half an hour, rapid change of clothes from cycling into dancing gear, 15 dances in succession, consuming a large cooked breakfast and two pints of b33r; then there'd have to be a stint of essay writing, or possibly timed essay plans? There'd need to be a stint of walking on forbidden grass followed by Porter Chase, and staircase races, with at least one roofwalk and tying an oar to the chapel tower; first one into the common room wins that section, but this must be followed by team tea-drinking with compulsory Neighbours and a quiz immediately following that, moving on to punt racing, change of clothes to full formal dress, and then consumption of regulation major dinner, to be accomplised without falling over: pint in the KA, sherry, white wine, red wine, port, and G&Ts in the College Bar afterwards. Oh, and to win, one has to become PM or a cabinet member. Yer typical Oxford Dec *would* take ten years to come to a conclusion, because it's Oxford, not Cambridge, which is far more practical, after all :-).
imc From: imc Date: May 20th, 2008 11:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Croquet. And going to G&D's.

Well done, excellent. I suppose I owe you a tenner.
triskellian From: triskellian Date: May 20th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, you could have a G&D's triathlon! Start at Little Clarendon Street, run to St Aldates, swim to Iffley then cycle back into town via the Cowley Road, ignoring the fact that the third G&D's is in the middle rather than an end-point of the bike ride.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 20th, 2008 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tenner - yes please! And I owe you lunch. :-)
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: May 20th, 2008 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Clearly a massive personal best. Many congratulations! I am impressed that you have developed so much so quickly, but more so that you have proved that you can enjoy it.

For whom are you collecting? I shall make a donation directly.
j4 From: j4 Date: May 20th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's generous of you -- thank you! I'm collecting for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign. You can donate online, via justgiving.com.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: May 20th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have donated through CAF Online for work-matching, Gift-Aid-reclaiming efficiency reasons.

At this point I would grumble about justgiving.com's swingeing 5% rake except that I have a nasty suspicion that CAF Online take at least as much, if not more.
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