After a good day in the saddle sixty plus Nick was moved to put fingers to key board.
There was a plus 60 called Paul.
Who decided to forsake Gaul.
He rode up Bo Peep.
Said fuck! It was steep.
The Alps aren’t so bad after all!
Once upon a time I lived in Chepstow in South Wales, and often jogged the country lanes, including out and back over the old Severn Bridge – always a bracing run with high winds and spectacular views. Now I live in that place called faraway, but visit the UK each summer to see family. So it was that I found myself planning to be in Bristol for a weekend, and discovered that there was to be a Severn Bridge Half Marathon that same weekend. Of course, there being no fool like an old fool, I entered.
The one, hardly significant, difference in running across the Bridge was of course the passage of time. On being sixty, plus a little bit, I was entered in the male 60+ veteran category. I later discovered that I was just one of 58 in the same category. Not bad, but clearly not exceptional.
The race itself was much bigger than any of the local races I remembered – over 2,000 entrants. I had to get up early, having been warned that the Bridge would close to traffic at 7.45am, in preparation for the race start at 9am. In the best tradition my motorcycle and I crossed the toll booth at 7.42am, saving twenty minutes extra drive. The start area was busy but well-organised, and I quickly collected my race number, had coffee and consequent loo stop, changed and was ready to go.
Somehow the Bridge was a bit longer than I remembered, and a bit steeper, and I’d certainly never crossed it in such company- a tide of runners, flowing almost as majestically as the Severn itself. The Bridge itself was conquered in little more than an hour, out and back. However this turned out to be just the first half of the race. Less fun was the climb up through Bulwark on the Welsh side, followed by the long lane down through Mathern to Pwllmeyric. Nostalgia indeed, since I lived just round the corner for twenty years.
Unfortunately, in running, what comes down must go up. The run back up Dark Lane, passing the twelve mile marker, was fairly tough. The race ended with a short downhill back to the start. Finished in two hours and five minutes, my slowest half marathon but not bad, given the preceding month-long holiday spent in France, eating well and exploring the fine wines of Mersault. Lovely, but not race preparation.
Within hours, the hasty decision ” never again” was under threat, especially as the race organisers had announced a one-off Severn Bridges Marathon next year- out over the Old Bridge, back over the New. That must mean England being cut-off from Wales for several hours! Runners completing the half-marathon this year would be guaranteed entry to this special event next year. Oh dear. At what age do we become sensible?
Words and images by Steve Hill.
Coming to the end of a year and passing to become 60 something. It marked quite a year in many respects. Laura Walter shares some images of a week at the beach to celebrate and talks about her 60th year and her ambitions for being sixty.
Time marches on and I decided to embrace my sixtieth year. I filled the year with friends and family and visited new places to enjoy time with them. In August 2015 my mother surprised me with a birthday visit to mark the end of my 50s. As I have done on so many other occasions in the past sixty years I had to give thanks to a dear friend for helping out. This time it was to Iva for collecting Mom from the airport and once again Erv, my wonderful husband had a hand in it. It is amazing that they managed to keep the secret. We celebrated that birthday and ushered in the next with lots of wine and laughter.
In November we traveled to Europe for a wonderful week in England and Spain with my brother Paul and his wife Bee (we always have such fun). We visited the windmill at Windmill Hill in East Sussex and then on to Seville and Cordoba.
We strategically left things undone thereby creating an excuse for the next trip!
December took me to Wisconsin for my mother’s 85th birthday. With my siblings Keith and Karen, we relived the days of skittles from our youth. As was usual, Keith won !
In March Erv and I traveled to Brazil for a long awaited visit with our dear friends Ana Valeria and Sergio. They had planned the a full range of adventures in Sao Paulo and Rio. I could identify many sites while watching the Olympics!
In addition to the wonders that filled our eyes, our stomachs were treated to great food. I never had a meal that was less than spectacular while in Brazil.
At family gatherings, it is my husband Erv that makes the speeches but on this occasion I took the floor. The speech was unscripted. I was certainly less articulate than I would have liked and I have been forgiven for the oversight of the long weekend in California. I wanted to honor the entire year and the people in that year. .
Now completed, I reflect on the year and observe what many of us know, what I appreciate most in life. The relationships I have formed, nurtured and retained bring me joy and sustain me. It is the people that are in my life that tell my story. I cherish them.