Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Slow Race Tour 2011

The current financial situation is cutting deep into many peoples pockets. Regardless of which political party is to blame, it does provide an ideal chance for people to step back slightly,reassess their lives and, perhaps change things for the better.

It seems ironic that in times where everyone is conscious of the effects of enviromental abuse, and severely aware of the ever escalating fuel prices and the cost of motoring,that ,in the name of finance, it is public transport that is suffering. Many people I know are, for maybe the first times in their adult lives, realizing the actual cost of motoring and exploring the potential of using public transport as an alternative. It was with great dissappointment, therefore, that I found that the extent to which bus routes operated by our local provider were being cut. I travel from Skegness to Boston at least once a week. Our club training nights on Tuesday finish at 9 pm and the last bus back to Skegness was at 9.45 pm. The last bus has now changed to 6.45 pm. Sunday services,which allowed me to reach Boston in order to connect to club transport for race days have curtailed altogether.

In my present circumstance I am lucky. Taking a prolonged break from work offers me the benefit of time. I can quiet easily cycle the 26 odd miles to Boston with no real hassle, but things would certainly be different if there were constraints on my time. This situation does emphasis the position we place ourselves in in modern day society. We work/play sometimes in places that make us reliant on motorized transport. Instead of moaning about the cost of traveling or the unavailability of transport, maybe we should travel less ,for the main part, and concentrate on working/playing in areas that are either local or accessible by non motorized forms of transport.

It was with this thought in mind that I formulated the plan for my 'Slow Racing Tour'. The Slow Movement is a movement which encompasses many things- Slow Food, Slow Travel, Slow Journalism, Slow Fashion etc and basically advocates a cultural shift towards slowing down lifes pace. It is about living life and experiencing life in a fundamentally different way. It is about connectivity with the land, family and friends -about the valve of time and the importance of its presence in a modern world where urgency, speed and deadlines are king.

I began by identifying several criteria for races to fit the bill. Firstly they all had to be accessible either by walking or biking. This meant that the distance from Skegness could not realistically be much more than 30/40 miles away. Secondly they had to be cheap. I don't want another useless medal or trophy,and have quite enough t-shirts already, thankyou. What I want is cheap entry fees. Thirdly the races had to be somewhere nice. Surrounded by beautiful countryside we are,in Skegness, blessed with plenty of scenic villages which for one day or night a year are the venue for low key road races. The locations would have to have campsites or be remote enough to allow me to get away with a spot of wild camping for either the night before or after the race. It excited me to think that a low key race, with maybe 100 runners, could potentially be turned into a 2 or even 3 day low cost adventure.

The races were easy to find. Several local clubs arrange a summer series of races. The races are all no frills. They have no prizes, consist mainly of local club runners and have an average cost of £3. The Slow Race Tour is about getting back to the basics of running. It is about experiencing very simple pleasures. It is about racing other runners, instead of the clock. It is about helping the grass routes-the local running club,the local pub, the local shop etc. However , most importantly, it is a chance to stick up two fingers to the 'everything needs to be done quickly' crowd and just doing things at my own pace. Slow.

The Slow Race Tour Dates:

The Croxby Crawl Race Series- Wed 4th May 4.4 miles
Wed 1st June 8.8 miles
Wed 6th July 8.8 miles
Wed 3rd August 4.4 miles
Wed 31st August 4.4 miles


The Wolds Dash Series, Hubbards Hills, Louth-

Wed 18th May
Wed 15th June
Wed 13th July
Wed 10th August
Wed 7th September


The Clickem 5 mile series- Wed 11th May
Wed 22nd June
Wed 20th July

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