I’ve always loved Tom Cruise, despite his Scientology freakery, and never more so that when he played Maverick in Top Gun. Aaaaaaaaaah, fast aircraft and hot men, what more can one ask for? Well this year is the 30th, yes, THIRTIETH! anniversary of the release of the film, so it was by pure luck that I happened to see a picture of the medal above on Facebook, advertising the ‘Top GRun‘ race organised by www.phoenixrunning.co.uk. Thankfully some places were left, so I signed up. It meant taking a day of work, but anything is worth it when it comes to one of my favourite films.
So today was the day. I set off early for the beautiful Walton-on-Thames, not too far from Heathrow and just inside the M25. If I win the lottery I might buy a pad up there; I drove past some stunning houses! Happily the traffic Gods were kind to me, so I arrived to the lovely Weir Pub just after 8:30 to pick up my number. A few runners started turning up in flight suits and aviator shades, and they all looked great. It was pretty warm, even that early on, so aviator-sunnies off to all those who managed to run in them!
The event started at 09:30am, and is actually a six-hour timed event. You can do minimum one lap (out-and-back) which is about 5K, or as many as you can muster in the 6 hour limit. Needless to say I just did the minimum (I know, I’m a bling whore!). The race briefing was great. Low-key, funny and Top Gun related, then at 9:30 the whistle blew and we were off. The route runs along a tow path beside the Thames, and is really very pretty. I’ve only just got back to running again in the last couple of weeks, and i’ve only been run/walking up to 30 mins, so I knew it would be a slow one today. Despite faffing around for ages with my Garmin last night, trying to sync it to my phone and update the software, I managed to leave it at home. Oops. Not a problem, I just plodded to feel. I was also cognisant of the fact i’ve got Bognor 10K on Sunday, so wasn’t planning to cane it today (nor will I on Sunday right enough…). I ran most of the route to the turnaround, but ran/walked the way back. Of course I was lapped a few times, but that just meant lots of opportunities to say ‘Well done!’ to passing aviators, and get the odd high-five in too. I even stopped to have a chat to a man who asked what it was all in aid of, as he was enjoying seeing us all out running. He said that he used to run marathons but had recently had two strokes and three heart attacks, if I could believe it! so was no longer running himself, poor bloke! I told him about the film and the run marking the anniversary, to which he asked “So do you work in the film industry”. Bless him, he may also be slightly blind. I said that alas, I did not, but in hindsight I should have pretended to be Julia Roberts. I might have gotten away with it. Maybe.
Anyway, having no clue how long it was all taking, or what pace I was at, I just kept plodding along, eventually reaching the finish line, and ringing the bell at the end to signify that I was not mad enough to keep going. I’m not exactly sure what my time was; I was told but wasn’t listening properly as my eyes were fixated on the medal. I think around 47 mins which is definitely the slowest I have ever run 5k, but hey ho, I had a fab day so who cares. Of course I probably stopped to chat to that guy for at least 20 mins….
So my race complete, medal round my neck and time to drink some water and munch on a few sweeties at the finish (they provide an epic selection). I sat around for a while in the sunshine, chatting to some others and watching lots more people run back and forth. All in all a fantastic event, and worth the drive up. I can recommend their events – check out the bling on their website! I’m hoping to do another one later in the year too.
So my Brighton marathon training has now officially started. Lots of work to do, but I have to say, it’s great being back running again 🙂