I got to enter another 10K today, which was a lot of fun. I ran the Race for Life, which are a series of events held in many different locations and they raise money for cancer research. The sun shone and we made our way back to Parkers Piece, where we had watched a cricket match yesterday, but today was the start location for the walking and running events of the day.
There was a 5K and a 10K, which participants could walk, run, skip or dance their way around as they chose. I chose to run. The field was a sea of pink, with the cancer charity being the major focus. It was so much fun to run and after struggling with the crowds yesterday, today the crowds were awesome! The course went through the centre of Cambridge, along the cobbled streets of the market square and the crowds of tourists were now lining the streets and clapping and shouting encouragement to the runners. Many of the tour groups were also taking photos of all of us running past! We ran through the “inner sanctum” of Kings College with its grass square, along the river path, up a gravel road and then through a paddock, which required some dodging of cow pats, just for the added challenge and obstacles! The course resembled some of the routes we cycle along, with the mixture or terrain! It was also great because I got to see more of Cambridge and because the crowds were behind the ropes of the course, I could look up and look around and take in the sights of the city, which I loved. I smiled and grinned and had time to say, “Thanks for volunteering!” over and over again to the marshals on the course who I think are always marvellous for giving up a Sunday to stand around directing runners.
I decided to run this 10K nice and easy, since the legs were a bit tired after the battles with the wind and a longer ride a couple of days ago, so I just settled in, ran along happily and took in the scenery. I wore my Garmin watch, but I didn’t look at it once to check my pace or time, I just looked ahead and looked around me and enjoyed myself. I finished in 45:49, but my Garmin showed me running a bit under 10K, so I’m not sure if the course was a bit short or not. Not my quickest 10K, but a nice leisurely one and a lot of fun! When I got to the finish though, I couldn’t find Steve, because the course started in one place and finished in another place, at Jesus Green, where we’d sat under a tree and had lunch yesterday. We’d arranged to meet at the same tree after the run, so we could find each other, but when I got there, no Steve under the designated tree! There were hundreds of people and I couldn’t find him, it was windy and I was getting cold after being all warmed up on the run. I searched and searched, thinking if anyone was going to stand out in a crowd it would be Big Steve, but I couldn’t spot him anywhere. Back to the tree I go. No Steve. Where are you!? I’m feeling a bit chilly and this was the spot! Eventually, after my third walk around the crowds and third return to the tree, I spotted him walking towards me, so for the second time that day, I set off running to speed up to him and dive into my jacket! It’s always good of Steve to come to these events with me and hang around, because it can’t be the most fun way to spend one’s time when you aren’t a runner. Now that I was nice and warm again, we strolled back to our room so I could get changed before we set off for the pub.
We found a pub up the street for our traditional Sunday lunch and it specialised in Thai food. I had delicious stir fried vegetables with ginger and Steve had stir fry with chicken and cashews and it was perfect. Back to the room we went for a short rest and then off to the other event that I had wanted to do today.
I’ve said that what this trip, and life in general, is about, is experiencing things, experiencing new things or doing things we wouldn’t normally do, so that’s what we did. We went to Evensong at Great St Mary’s church. After being in so many centuries old churches and cathedrals on this trip, I wanted to go to an Evensong service, just to hear the choirs and music fill the space. Great St Mary’s is a 15th century church, so I was looking forward to sitting in that ancient architecture and listening to music. We arrived before the service began, found a seat and I just looked up and around me at the interior of this old and beautiful building. The choirs were still rehearsing, so we sat and listened to both the adult and children’s choirs in full voice. It so happened that this was the final service for the choirs, before taking a break, so the service involved all the choirs together. When the service began, we just followed the leader to know what to do, but for me, it was all about just listening to those beautiful voices and the amazing music. The organist was outstanding, just brilliant and the air was filled with magical sounds. I always think one of the highlights of any choir is the choir director and the man leading the choirs at this service, was spectacular! He was so animated and just brought everything to life on an even bigger scale. It was all terrific and something I wouldn’t normally do, but we took the opportunity to do something completely new and experience it in a historic place. Special.
When we walked out of the church, the vicar shook my hand and thanked me for coming and I thanked him. We set off walking back to the hotel and it was an absolutely lovely evening walk. “We must do more of this,” commented Steve. Yes, we must. We’re usually tired or busy when we arrive at places after riding, so we just set up camp, do the necessaries and that’s that. We don’t venture out for evening strolls. Walking in the evening and seeing the city in its end-of-day light, was gorgeous though.
So that was the day. A fun run through the streets and surrounds of Cambridge, a delicious continuation of our Sunday pub lunch tradition and then a first-time experience at an Evensong service in a 15th century church. More memorable moments. I just love the collection we’re building of those. I love what England is giving us. I love the opportunities we have for new experiences and I love the special memories they give us. Love it. Have I said that at all? Love it!