THE VIRTUAL WRITE-UP (Matt 'Scribbler)
I'm afraid I didn't manage to make Ken's hash from The Carriers' Arms- a combination of being stuck in London and the run being at least 2 counties distant from Bucks.
However, it already bore all the hallmarks of a classic Ken hash...which set me thinking: "Do you really need to attend a hash order to undertake the subsequent write-up?"
Assumption 1: Numbers will be down on 'normal' weeks for a 'Kenathalon'
• The combination of an Autumn Bank Holiday, the crossing of a county border, and the nomlecature 'Ken' before the word 'hash', usually guarantees a 50% fall-out rate. Either before, during, or after the hash.
Assumption 2: It will be long. Very long.
• The use of the word '-ish' during the briefing tends to be a giveaway here. Alternatively, 'ermmm...', 'I reckon', or 'Don't ask me...' are all classic 'tell signs' during a Hashalon (as they say in MI5 interrogation circles...or so I've... ermmm heard...)
Assumption 3: It will be lumpy.
• Yes, I do realise that we run in the Chilterns, and yes I do understand that hills are an occupational hazard in these parts, but Ken tends to view any protuberance as a personal affront to his machismo, and rather like Everest, is not content until he's scaled a peak from every conceivable angle.
Assumption 4: The locals will be suspicious
• Because Ken likes to seek out far-flung corners of the HWH3 empire, well beyond the 10-mile limit, our running group tends to be viewed with an element of (what can best be termed), suspicion in 'foreign parts'. Or downright hostility, if you interrupt an important darts match (see the 'Orcs', Beaconsfield Arms, Dec-16)
OK, so here now comes the ACTUAL write-up courtesy of Paul Tanner (aka Spy): judge for yourselves whether fact is stranger than fiction?
THE ACTUAL WRITE-UP (Paul 'Spy')
Despite Ken’s concerns the car park was generously proportioned so everyone got a slot.
Ken had evidently received inspiration while browsing for T Shirts. He itemised the routes as follows:
XL 7 (Matt note: yes the 'XL 7' did have 'idiot' written all over it!)
As usual he said “miles” but we wondered, of course, what the units on his measuring string might have been.
We set off for a hazardous circuit of the charming village of Watlington. We were buzzed by a lot of traffic but fortunately there were no casualties (Matt note: remains to be seen...). Screams on on-on echoed in the ginnels.
Next we emerged onto nearby fields where a load of bulls, some with alarmingly large horns, straddled the path. Where was Doormat when we needed him? Jo, you were lucky to miss this one. Did you know something the rest of us didn’t? Cool as cucumbers we ran through, scattering the herd.
The first leg took us to the Ridgeway where Summer began to hold back due to burrs in a highly inconvenient location. Most of the hash stopped for remedial care. Meanwhile a group of FRBs found the On Inn (accidental XS). Being FRBs, they dismissed this and turned back around. The other option was another field of bulls/ cows with well-marked cowpats.
Not long after that we got to the M/L split. The Longs went right and then Chilterns-inevitable happened: after much research Ken had found the steepest mega-hill route up towards Christmas Common (Matt note: see Assumption 3). On this hill there were more animals but by this time all we could see were their eyes reflecting the light from our head-torches. A welcome regroup at the top preceded a dark woodland path leading towards the Fox and Hounds. Sadly, Phil and Sue were not there to welcome us so on we went.
We could have taken Hill Road straight back to Watlington but that would have been too easy. As we started down that way the GM announced another grooming stop. This took a few minutes during which he and Spy got disconnected from the pack, missing the L route and going XL instead. We still don’t know how far that was in English units.
Finally we were back to the On Inn and a mile straight to the Carriers Arms where we were greeted with sandwiches and sweet snacks, good beer, no queue at the bar and nice people. (Matt note: I stand corrected...apologies to any locals who might have been offended)
Thanks to team Keyboard for a memorable run and all the accoutrements.
(Matt final note: I make that 3/4 assumptions correct - a 75% success rate - possibly higher if we're never invited back to hash from The Carriers' Arms!)