Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Cambridge 10k

Lurking at the back of a wardrobe somewhere in my house is a t-shirt commemmorating the Cambridge 10k of (I think) 2003. Now, I have never run a 10k in my life, and I certainly wasn't anywhere close to doing so three years ago. But I was involved in the Cambridge 10k for several years, and perhaps one day I will be again.

The race used to be organised by the Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust (who do an excellent job of looking after numerous nature reserves around the county), basically as a fund-raising project with the support of the Cambridge & Coleridge Athletic Club. The husband of one of my (then) colleagues was in charge of organising the race, and I offered to help out with some of the data entry. My role was to process the entry forms of everyone who entered on the day - this basically consisted of entering their details into a spreadsheet as quickly as possible, so that by the time the winner crossed the finishing line, we could instantly look them up in the spreadsheet and announce their name. We also had to identify which finishers were in which age group, to find the first three places in each category so the prizes could be awarded. Particularly in the days before widespread on-line race entry, there were a lot of people who entered on the day, and it was sometimes touch and go as to whether I'd get through all the forms in time for the first finishers. One year several of my work colleagues were running, and one of them wryly observed to my manager, seeing me frantically bashing away at the keyboard, "Now you know how fast Phil can really work if he wants to."

In its first years, the race was based at the Cambridge Rugby Club on Grantchester Road. This wasn't really ideal as a base for a major road race, and we usually ended up with the laptop perched on a corner table in the bar. It did, however, have the advantage of a liberal supply of beer to fuel the race-day operation. Later on, we moved to the University athletics ground at Wilberforce Road, a much more professional, though soberer location.

I think 2003 was the last time the race was held; unfortunately the Wildlife Trust decided that they weren't really raising enough from it to make their very considerable investment of time and effort in it worthwhile. I can quite understand this, though it's a pity, and I hope it'll make a come back one day. Though if it does, I'm determined to run in it for a change!


Blogger jeanne said...

that's pretty funny about how fast you can work if you want to...and scoring in the pub. and of course you can run a 10k! Just sign up for one!

30 June, 2006 13:58  
Blogger jeanne said...

p.s. nice try on the dr. seuss! :)

30 June, 2006 13:59  

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