Running isn’t fair.
It started innocently enough. Last night I successfully got an entry in for the Percy Pud. This race is something of a Sheffield institution, a 10k race organised by a local running club, that sells out year after year. It’s appeal is hard to explain, I did it last year in freezing hail and have never been so cold and wet in my life. However, you get a Christmas Pudding on completion instead of a medal, what’s more, one that is vegetarian friendly, and there is always a massive turn out and great atmosphere. Plenty of people in fancy dress, Santa and his sleigh leading the show and, last year at least, an exhausted penguin bringing up the rear.
The Steel City Striders who organise the event warned on their website that in the past few years they have had to turn away over 700 entrants annually because it sells out so quickly. They announced that booking would open at 7.00 p.m. on Monday 5 October, so In anticipation of this being a hot ticket, I was poised and ready with my fingers hovering over the keyboard at the appointed hour. Immediate fail. The website crashed, and I found myself guilty of that childish quality of really wanting what I couldn’t have. Oh no, I wont be able to enter, all the other smileys will be pounding round as one, and I’ll be shivering on the side lines like Molly no-mates all over again. Clutching a sodden placard and cheering desperately others as they sprint past, gazelle like, not even registering my presence as my voice is carried off in the biting winter wind.
I amazed myself by how much I minded, and then did so all over again by accessing previously hidden areas of initiative and knowledge at the depths of my brain by thinking to check on first the event organisers Facebook page, and then thieir twitter feed. Those who know me will know how remarkable this is. Whilst not exactly a technophobe, I don’t do facebook (way too scared of stalkers) and the point of twitter has previously seemed to me to be completely unfathomable. Just a way to broadcast personal idiocy or attract trolls. However, I find necessity had me change my tune with a quicker turn of speed than I have ever mustered on an actual run! I find that they have tweeted a different link that can bypass the crashed website and allow you to enter. Da na! The deed is done, I am in.
I didn’t think all that much about it again until this morning. I noticed a flurry of activity on various running groups facebook pages. Percy Pud 2015 has sold out in 2 hours – all 2,200 places. This is extraordinary. I am pleased to have got in, but I also feel a pang of guilt.
It seems a significant number of others have not been so lucky. The injustice comes in the reason why. The very event organisers had a regular Sunday run out that coincided with the registrations going live. This means, that those serious runners who were out, pounding the roads and tracks and trails with head torches and resolve, and who delayed trying to enter until they got back home post runs, were too late. Sofa ornaments and couch potatoes like me, who from our recliners could try and try again to access the website in comfort, were able to get in.
There is no justice in the world at times. I do feel genuinely sad, some people who volunteered last year and were hoping to join in this year have missed out.
I don’t know what the correct response is, but I’ve decided for today it is this. I am lucky to have a place, so I must make sure I don’t waste it. I will endeavour to train and truly earn my pudding. What better tribute can I make. Weird though, to find I have secured such a coveted place, it is luck not justice, and a rare moment of triumph for my inner (and outer) hobbit, I don’t know what the lesson there is quite. Life isn’t fair, and on this occasion I have benefited from that inequity. Don’t hate me.