The sight of a friends running route and time on his facebook page was far too much of a challenge for the occasionally unhealthily competitive author to resist today. He had the fancy app on his mobile phone, I have old wonky trainers...
So I headed out along Hawton Road, seeing my first butterly in weeks, a large white fluttering towards the cloying fields of rape. I was in a determined mood - the only reason I saw it because I was looking up tracking the position of a coal black cloud laden with wet stuff.
As I reached the turn off to Farndon in Hawton village, as usual looking terribly pretty, I reckoned I was going well. A kestrel greeted me coming out of the trees near the Thorpe turn off, another was soaring as I crested the bridge over the A46, laughing no doubt in a keening manner at the lumbering slow humanoid.
On Farndon Road, there were Greenfinches again. A most pleasing sight. They are not numerous, but for a couple of years I hadn't seen any at all.
By now I was feeling the pressure, face set, driving the pavements, paying little note to the swollen River Devon, and turning onto the final stretch...I checked my watch.
I had beaten him. By just over a minute.
Alas I lose. In the pathetic person stakes!