"Road Closed" declared the sign and my heart sank, for I had carefully planned my route to the Bird in Hand pub at Henley. To my knowledge it's the first time that HWH3 has run from this venue and it was certainly a first for me. So having resisted all previous attempts to persuade me to invest in a sat nav I now had to admit that one would probably have been useful about now, considering that a large lorry had just loomed up in my rear view mirror and appeared to be more than a bit annoyed at my obvious hesitation! I was forced to go, somewhat indignantly, straight ahead into the market square where I made a tactical left turn, in an attempt at shaking said lorry off my tail.
It succeeded, but I now had no idea in which direction the pub might be. Yet more vehicles appeared in my rear view mirror and another lefty appeared to be in order. Unfortunately it took me into a car park. More fortunately, as I drove further into the car park another exit came into view, that took me back onto Greys Road, which was where I wanted to go in the first place. I turned right and there was the pub, phew!
I was still a few minutes early despite the detour and I joined the assembled throng on the pavement outside the pub. Kerry said that she was not talking to me (an obvious contradiction I thought) on account of having clocked up 5.5miles on the short run on the previous weeks hash (which I set). Actually it was only 4.7miles but Hey Ho! who's counting. (Obviously Kerry was!)
Aud, our hare for the evening, called on-on, and we ran towards the river whilst trying to avoid local car drivers who seemed intent on scoring points by trying to run down one or more members of HWH3.
Just before we reached the Thames Embankment we encountered another unknown group of runners who were running towards Henley on a potential collision course with us. Somehow we managed to avoid them, weaving between them in a manoeuvre that would have left any motorcycle display team feeling proud.
With these hazards behind us we then proceeded along the towpath for some time when a wonderful
thing, never before witnessed in the annals of hashing happened! KERRY OVERTOOK ANT! Such an event
under any normal circumstances would have been far less likely to succeed than a person climbing the North Face of The Eiger in plimsolls but, let me explain. Ant, on the previous weeks hash had picked up a leg injury
which had the effect of slowing him down considerably when he ran, such that Kerry was easily able to outpace him. Kerry's moment of glory was short-lived however when Ant came hopping by her on one leg a short time later!
Soon after this bombshell, came the long/short split with the shorts turning to the right away from the river and Aud and Barney joining the longs (a rare event) to the left over what appeared to be a bridge across the river, but no! The bridge took a nasty turn to the left and we ended up on the same side of the river, only a bit further down from where we had started. It turns out that there is no river crossing at this point and you would have to go way upstream as far as Sonning to cross the river on foot.
We now turned away from the river down a tediously long straight along which the FRB's were regularly re-cycled. I tend to try and avoid this regular re-cycling!
We eventually arrived at Woodlands Road which we ran along for some distance before turning right into the wood on a bridleway. Details became hazy at this point, as did I, but I can see from the map, which Aud kindly gave me back at the pub, that we made a series of turns before regrouping outside the entrance to Gillots School.
A few twists and turns later saw us on the home stretch. To be honest this was a part of Henley that I did not recognise and at one point I even doubted that we were in Henley at all! We eventually arrived back at The Bird in Hand at 9.25, having covered 5.8 miles (in theory) and inside the warm pub, all was forgiven as the beer and chips worked their magic. Nice one Aud!