In the third of our occasional series, Ian Fraser recounts how he happened upon an impromptu “fan club”...
The Adoring Public
“The other day I had some business in Newtown and decided to use the opportunity to have a run. Parking up in town I headed out across the penny bridge to the river path in the direction of Abermule – a route which is so well known to many of our members that I expected to meet some of them running it blindfolded.
It was one of those training runs where despite best intentions, once you start you have difficulty maintaining enthusiasm let alone a steady rhythm and this wasn’t helped when within two miles or so I caught up with a couple of dozen primary school pupils and their teachers walking in the same direction. I slowed down to a walk so as not to spook the party – I don’t own the path after all – and made some jolly excuse about being glad of the rest as the teaching staff tried herding their charges to one side of the path. As I passed a couple of children one boy said “keep on walking” while another ventured “it’s a celebrity” followed by the hint of a chuckle. I turned around and smiled indulgently whilst at the same time thinking “cheeky little monkeys, why in my day I’d have received a good talking to if not a clip around the ear” (just when did I turn into my Dad?). Thinking no more of it I ventured on a couple more miles, got bored, and headed back the same way to town.
On the approach to the sewerage farm from the direction of Aberbechan my only concern was to get the run over and done with – yes it was that enjoyable – when I caught site in the distance of the same group of children massing outside that landmark of nasty niffs. Determined not to be held up or, conversely, make a nuisance of myself for a second time in the space of little more than half an hour, I thought I’d leg it past at tempo pace. I got up on my toes and found a good speed and rhythm that had been largely missing for most of the run. As I came through the gate the crowd of children started cheering me, each and every one waving a miniature Welsh flag as they stood behind a banner which read “Treowen School – Keep on Walking”. Did I imperiously ignore the cheers and motor on? Did I heck, I ground to a halt, temporarily incapacitated with laughter before (I think) thanking everyone very much and breaking off into a trot while still chuckling for the next mile or so. I was pondering “is this how Andy Davies is going to feel on the streets of Glasgow in a few weeks time?” Then another thought struck me – “what if they were waiting for someone important, saw me, thought “job done” and left before the intended real celebrity arrived”? Highly improbable of course but it gave me another good laugh and put a spring in my step by which time I wasn’t far from base camp.
Not too bad a run after all, then.
I later found out they were waiting for TV naturalist Iolo Williams and crew who were due to walk that way on their trek from Conwy to Cardiff and decided on an impromptu rehearsal. Ironic that someone known for skipping warm-ups should have become the warm-up man”
Read the second story in the series of Runner's Tales - "I've got to be honest, I'm not a dog person"
Read the first story in the series of Runner's Tales - "A funny thing happened on the way to the Finish"
If anyone else wishes to share with us their stories of heroism, horror or humour (or preferably all three) then please get in touch with Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org