London, United Kingdom
Thanks to running club mate Fast Legs, I had a ticket for the second day, first test, NZ v Eng. FL had suggested we’d meet at 10.15, which was a bit early for a new parkrun trip, so I headed back to Ally Pally – a great course, and also a place I could drive to and leave the car for free. I’d run there twice before, but both times were in winter, with their alternate course in action and the conditions muddy and difficult. Totally different in May, with the park green and beautiful, and the ‘official’ course was just a bit more interesting. Having run cross country there as well as two parkruns on the winter course, none of it was new, but some parts run the other way round to XC. And I had a nice progressive run, making my way through the field. On the first lap, after the hill, I caught a youngster on the flat, only for him to run away, so on the second lap I made sure to catch him again. He seemed to flag at that, but it needed only a short vocal encouragement to have him on my tail. I was sure he’d beat me, but still did what I could, deciding that younger legs would be devastating at the end and so raising my pace with 600m or so to go. He stuck to my tail even so, and galloped off – encouragement job done, handshake bonding ensued.
As for Lords, I was there by 10.15. FL, though, has a new girlfriend, and they weren’t there till 11.30. It sounds like a long gap, but with a book to read, the sun in the sky and every tube arrival disgorging a new raft of people to gawk at – Lords’ clientele is particularly good for that – it just flew by.
And on with the cricket. In the end we saw both teams batting, and while England pushed on in the afternoon, a flurry of wickets (it’s always a flurry) meant the game was nicely in the balance at the end of the day. Perfect, and FL’s new girlfriend was new to the whole thing, as was her friend who joined us later, and so we could entertainingly* explain what exactly was going on. We even picked the right time to be exploring the bars, drinking through the end of the tea break and onward, with no wickets falling as Root and Trott produced what was, as it turned out, the match-winning partnership.
*well, you know.