Day 16 (or 17 for some)
…the leading teams were preparing themselves for the final sprint to the line, with the walkers with 188 miles and the bikers with 388 miles to go, the leading teams received a ‘Traced and Tracked’ (or is it ‘Tracked and Traced?’) Notice from the Department of Health telling them that at the hotels they had been staying in overnight they had been in close proximity with another who was now exhibiting covid symptoms.
They were therefore instructed to self-isolate for a day and not to walk or bike for the next twenty four hours. The back markers, namely the PC Plodders, Qua-Run Team and the Walky Talkies, were able to take advantage of this to close the gap.
There was a very mixed response from the front runners. Some welcomed the rest before the final sprint. Others were disappointed and wanted to get the job done. Well, Saturday did prove to be very warm and certainly this correspondent enjoyed his break and a large gin and tonic or two and reminisce with his wife in the garden.
One team failed to read the brief and walked anyway; and persuaded the judges to allow them to register those miles for the following day, but without being able to ‘run’ today.
The usual chaos ensues and the chief steward is more confused than ever.
But the Challenge goes on. Charity targets are being reached and will be smashed; and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves in this extra-ordinary weather.
Today, Sunday dawned once again with a flawless sky.
The Two Legged Tortoises were out on the road early-ish and have put in a commendable team total. Ben Hughes at the end of the day’s journey presented each member of the team with a personally designed and unique memento of their joint efforts and for this correspondent the emphasis this afternoon is on the joints‘ effort!
We are currently awaiting news from the other teams. Two ‘young ‘uns from Chipembere have run their twelve miles while their captain with grandchild aboard was recorded complaining endlessly about the contrasting topographies in which the teams compete.
The VC section of Chipembere put in a very commendable 16 miles in country which looks more like Zimbabwe than Norfolk, contributing to a total for the day of 82 miles.
Tom Bagge walked a stonking 20 miles for his team but notwithstanding that, they only managed a 71 miles. He has worn out his boots. But he has found a comfortable billet near Evanton.
We have learned another of the team is suffering as a consequence of doing 10 miles in Croks!
Of the other leading teams, Escargatoire achieved a total of only 61 but with only seven individual contributions. Their captain is still chasing the wayward member. The Human Hares completed 67 and have found a comfortable hotel in Inverness.
Qua Run Team, the Walky Talkies and the PC Plodders continue to bring up the rear, having not taken full advantage of their extra day on the road. We are hoping Willoughby and his Dad will be out again tomorrow.
But the outstanding performers of the day on feet were the Two Legged Tortoises, posting a total mileage in excess of 100, and they now lead the field and have arrived in Dornoch. Big question is whether they can maintain that pace and reach John O’Groats tomorrow; and whether it would be appropriate for the organiser’s team to win.
The bikers went wild today. The Two Cranks and A Chain Gang covered 195 miles with the two senior members of their team posting 40 miles each. I hope their batteries can charge up in time for tomorrow. While the Carefree Wheelers achieved 179 miles. They are now on the heels of Escargatoire and the Human Hares and on this form should make the finishing line tomorrow. But who knows what engine malfunctions may occur.
It now looks likely that the Walking teams will make John O’ G on Tuesday, unless one of them puts in a spectacular performance tomorrow. We expect the back markers to get in by Thursday, when we shall all be there to applaud.
In the meantime, just three more days for our audience to give the Young Carers a symbolic round of applause as well by donating £10 or less. The more who can be seen in any small way to acknowledge their courage and tenacity, the easier the burden they carry, with our support.
Thank you, and I hope you are enjoying the blog.