Was it only last week, the highlight of the Black Pear Joggers racing calendar? The club excelled itself again. An expertly designed medal, kindly donated prizes by generous members, all day music and entertainment for everybody and these are a just a few of the many wonderful highlights of this superb all day event. It was everything and more that Stuart Wild, inspired founding member and 100 marathon club badge bearer, could have hoped for and this year we even extended our reach to include that ‘unique beast’ that is the ultra runner.

As always, a fun, fancy dress inspired family day, people produced some awesome TV programme costume themes. Baywatch, Peaky Blinders, Dennis the Menace, The Flinstones, Call the Midwife, Scooby Doo, Disney characters and Walking Dead to name but a few. The fabulous last minute team comprising Lindsey Goodrum, Dominique Edwards, Darren McKay, Lucy Sidwell and Debbie Ann stole the show with their turtle costumes lovingly constructed and hand sewn the night before. The innovative baking tray shells were probably the all-important vote clincher and sealed the deal, although Master Splinter’s mask was also epic. Well done teenage mutant ninja turtles for winning this year’s fancy dress prize and even getting a like on Instagram from the actor who played Leonardo in the 1990’s film.

The sun gods seem to shine down on us every year and this year was no exception. Actually, with our best turn out in the race’s 6 year heritage, it was also the hottest. Well done to the chairman Paul Evans for his inspired goodie bag idea of ice creams rather than chocolate. I think most of us enjoyed one or three throughout the course of the multiple laps. Once again hosted at Old Elizabethan’s Cricket Club, the race has returned to its Perdiswell roots. The lap is a combination of woodchip, gravel, a little tarmac and grass. We wind under trees, through and around the outside of the golf course and it is all off-road.

As always, the little people started proceedings with the Wild Mile at 9am. Mums and dads are more than welcome to run with their littlies if they can keep up. First young man home was Thomas Rushton, Donna Rushton’s son and the girl’s victory was presented to Ellie Attwood, Chris Attwood’s daughter. Who says running talent doesn’t run in the genes? Those two BPJ protegees will be signed up the club as soon as they are old enough for sure. Well done both.

The main event started promptly at 9.30, but it really wasn’t long before the first team and partnerships started to fly in. Following in his daughter’s footsteps, Chris Attwood’s team stormed home as the first team of 5, comprised of the other speedy members Clive Andrews, Jay Warner, Darrin Lynn and Rob Bowery all guising as the The Younger Ones. A late entry called the Irish Welsh Combo, the newly engaged Ryan Lyttle and Meg Jean Judge smashed the pair’s race. Male solo winner was Paul Davies at 3.32.24 and female was Angie Sadler in 4.02.28.

One of the things that is always so heart-warming about this event is the camaraderie. Sometimes teams are formed from total strangers and at the last minute, but the inclusive and friendly atmosphere that is Black Pear Joggers means that everybody gets the same encouragement and support. In fact, cheering is part of the pre-requisite to marshal recruitment and for those in teams and inbetween laps it is standard practise. It is just this kind of boost that keeps me going at this kind of event and I’m sure that is the same for many others, particularly the ultra runners, some of whom went round the same course a phenomenal 12 to 15 times.

Thus, last but by no means least, a special mention has to go out to those that hung around until the bitter end and either conquered or supported those conquering the ultra distance in the blistering heat of the afternoon sun. Team effort went to the Peaky Blinders, Mick Kennish-Ward, Tracy Kennish-Ward, Jemma Newton-Smith, Chris Baigent-Read and Hazel Sherrington (maybe we should have been called the double barrellers) who managed 15 laps between them. Male winner was Neil Herron who completed a mind boggling 14 laps and female winner was the incredible Emily Seward who amazingly did 15 solo laps. Emily will definitely rock the popular Joust 24hr local race later in the racing calendar. No less spectacular were performances by the other ultra soloists, Mark Rose, Alison Law and Matt Smith who all managed 12 laps each.

All the event proceeds go to our nominated Worcester based charities: Maggs Day Centre and Worcestershire Young Carers (YSS)Maggs Day Centre, founded in 1984, is dedicated to helping the homeless people of Worcester and offers them a safe and warm place to go after a night sleeping rough on the street. Open five days a week, the day centre provides homeless people with a safe and warm place where they can use the toilet, take a shower and have a hot and healthy meal. Worcestershire Young Carers aims to support children and young people age 7 to 25 years who help to look after a parent, guardian or sibling within their home, who is ill or has a disability. This includes caring for people who have issues with drugs or alcohol or have a mental health difficulty.

An event of this magnitude cannot go ahead without an awful lot of help and thus a warm thank you goes out to a number of individuals. The Jones family for loan of the bouncy castle and the disco equipment, Pete Boyle and Lynne and everyone from old Elizabethans Cricket Club for use and support in the days leading up to the event. All the volunteers especially people who took time off work, ran around Worcester picking equipment up and running the course various times to check the route. The fabulous marshals,  Kim Randall for his food contributions and Emma Kerton who did a fantastic job on the massage and earned a superb £60 for the charities.

I am therefore left with the somewhat onerous task of announcing the INCREDIBLE total raised this year for our two charities. They will each receive half of the phenomenal £2,500.00 total.

I have to say Wild One is my all-time favourite event every year. It’s not a race, it’s a veritable running party for like-minded people, so make sure you put next year’s date of:

Sunday, July 21st 2019

in the diary and as soon as we know more, you can start planning those all-important fancy dress costumes (oh and maybe do a bit of training of course as well.)

Finally, just how much did you love Ella Shacklock‘s superb medal design this year? It’s not too late to claim one of your own (or a second one in fact) cos Mark Dillon is organising a halloween head torch run of the course on… wait for it…. Wednesday 31st October with soup and a roll thrown in for good measure. It was great evening last year so ‘Save the Date’ and let’s collaboratively bolster the charity koffers just a little bit more.

Photos (thank you) courtesy of Peter Darwen on Flickr