International Ghost Runner – March 2015
In early March 2015 i received a phone call, out of the blue, from good friend in the UK informing me of winning flights to the UK and tickets to England Vs France in the last game of the 6 nations at Twickenham through Marriott Hotels #Reunitemewith. Initially I thought it was a wind up, but it turned out to be genuine!!
Despite the event overlapping with my wife’s birthday I “reluctantly” accepted the prize.
I also realised that the weekend co-incided with the Reading Half Marathon which my brother and his partner had signed up for……a plan started brewing.
I sent begging emails to the race organisers filled with emotive tales of this most unlikely scenario and how much it would mean to run with (or at least trailing behind) my brother in their event, despite entries now being closed. I awaited their response eagerly.
And so it came to pass, a Thursday-Friday ‘free’ flight from Brisbane to London, free accomodation at the Kensington Marriott, spending money, a slap up meal for up to 12 people at the Hotel (£60 per head) on the Friday night prior to the Twickenham Corporate Suite, free food and drink and viewing of what turned out to be an astonishing (England 55 – France 33) finale to the 6 nations.
Did I mention the Soho bar crawl with my cousin until the early hours of Saturday morning?
Early Sunday morning was a tough one! I just had to power on. So I hired a car and drove west to Reading, encountering race related road closures all over town. Ultimately I dumped the car in an industrial estate and ran to toward the waiting crowd of runners, seeking familiar faces. I jumped the fence relatively close to the front and “BANG”, we were off. Caught up in the mass of moving bodies I knew I probably wouldn’t see my bro until the finish, where he would no doubt be finished and waiting (probably refreshed, showered and fed) for me.
I ran well considering previous few days festivities and jetlag, in fact it was probably just what I needed. I ran through the town I’d not been to for about 15 years since our Mum moved to Devon and I recognised very little.
Half way through the run a young spectator pulled on his Dad’s sleeve and pointed at me “Look Dad, that guy doesn’t have a number!”
Yes. That’s right, the organisers had whimsically declined my request to enter the event without so much as an acknowledgement of my amazing luck. “Sorry, Entry for this event is now closed” was the cold response.
Feeling highly satisfied with my finishing time of 1:32:59, and still highly irked by the organisers response I defiantly and unashamedly accepted a finishers medal when it was handed to me at the finish. It now has it’s rightful place amongst my growing collection of event finishers medals.
Subsequent to the race I found my bro who had finished in his usual ridiculously fast time, and we drove down to Devon to surprise Mother who had no idea I was even in the country.
The next day I flew back Brisbane and then immediately flew to Darwin, back to work to surprise my boss, who had no idea I had left the country.