Friday, 19 October 2012

FRA relays - Black Ribbons and Bike Caps

View from the hill
 Last weekend was the FRA relays from Church Stretton and Pennine were out in force (7 teams plus dedicated supporters!!), running in memory of Daz. Black ribbon and cycling cap in place, I was a bit aprehensive before the start as my lasting memory from the stretton hills race was fast unrelenting running  on steep hills and I was a bit tired for that! My legs didn't seem to want to move on the warm up and Jim told me to stop yawning in the start area.
Me and Claire before the start
 Thankfully as soon as we set off all tiredness was forgotten. Unrolling my map I quickly realised what Neil Northrop had meant when he said 'I don't know where to go' while running up the start was a lovely navigation leg, with enough route choice to keep you thinking but lots of runnable terrain as well. Thanks to the planner for that!
Just spotted Ambleside Ladies on our shoulder - photo courtesy of Al Tye
 I took a 'run as hard as you can and when it hurts run harder' approach, there was going to be no half measures today! From control 3 onwards we found ourselves in a tussle with Ambleside which helped keep the pace up and by the end I don't think we could have run faster!
I've always known how powerful the right mindset can be for long races, but Sunday proved the influence it can have over any distance. Any other day I doubt I could have run that fast!
Running in to control 4 - photo courtesy of Al Tye
I think everyone in Pennine found an extra gear at the relays with the V50s finishing 4th, the womens team finishing 5th, the V40s 12th and the Men 18th! I'm pretty sure Daz would have been blown away by the performances in his memory. Daz's parents got to experience what it was about the fell running community that he loved so much. Thank you to all the teams and friends who called out support to pennine at the relays, it made it a really special occassion and moving day that will not be forgotten.

Yesterday Daz's family and friends gathered at Bramcote Crematorium to say a final goodbye. There were so many people there, family, friends, runners and cyclists (complete with revolution kit and bikes - I think Daz would have loved that) that we filled the place and then some! Steve (aka was taken to ensure all forum names were referred to in the service) gave a eulogy to open before Daz's cousin gave a moving account of the two of them growing up. Andy (aka Loveshack) recited a great poem written by Lis, she put Daz into words so well! The final reading was of Josh's words, thoughts which I wouldn't have been able to put down on paper.
The unlikely gathering of family, friends and fell runners (suited and booted, a rare sight for some) then spent the evening recounting tales of races and memories of Daz. A fantastic dedication to such a great friend.

Finally, I'll leave you with Ewan MacColl's song 'The Joy of Living'. The song was played at the end of the service, it was meant for Daz:

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