On 6 April during a routine interval training session with a local club I
strained a calf on a hill and limped about a mile to arrive home. It immediately
put me out of action for about 3 weeks. As the pain receded in the affected left
calf, the right calf also began to feel the pain. With the the Flitwick 10K scheduled for 19 April, there was little chance of running and when I received a message from the organisers I took the opportunity to inform them that I would be withdrawing and they could re-allocate my number. They mentioned in response that it would only be re-allocated if the limit was reached.
In the days leading up to the event I was feeling fine to cycle to the race but
certainly not run. The distance to the race venue was maybe 16 miles and on this
occasion mainly into the wind. I arrived about 20 minutes before the start and
soon met VC&AC members Keith & Sharon Hammond and our chairman Laurence Klein. Standing 150 metres or so ahead of the start, traffic was not being stopped until they met a wall of runners advance to the start. Eventually drivers decided to turn round but more cars were joining the queue. At this point marshals started to get active, telling all drivers to turn round. There were only minutes to go but at a crucial junction some cars were still arriving but somehow the traffic was cleared with seconds to go.
Picked out Keith as several hundred runners passed and returned to the village
green and the finish area. A commentary started with the help of a motorcade
which I ignored at first as I headed to the toilets. Returning to the green I
thought I heard my name mentioned and the club pronounced as ‘vagan runners uk’.
The commentator was keeping spectators informed of the leading runners but why
would my name be read out? I immediately realised that my running number / entry
had been re-allocated. Without hesitating I approached the commentator’s van and
informed them that I am Peter Simpson, have withdrawn due to injury and it
appears that my number has been re-allocated. There was a short pause before the
commentator informed the spectators of the breaking news that some other runner
was leading the race. One of the other officials in the van rushed over to the
registration desk to find out who had taken over my entry. A list of the
entrants was displayed in the hall and I was still listed with the printout
accurate to 16 April. The leader turned out to be Lee Reynolds from Hert Pheonix
AC who maintained it to the finish. By turning up in support I saved the
officials some embarrassment.