Saturday morning and a change to our usual routine of running parkrun in Milton Keynes. Why? Because Kas had an appointment with a half marathon in Leighton Buzzard – this year’s Dirt Half. From the title you can guess it’s a trail race, and the competitors are expected to return looking a bit mucky. Or a lot mucky, depending on the weather.

We all went down with Kas as the girls decided they didn’t fancy doing parkrun and then driving down to meet Kas afterwards. The race didn’t start until 10 so even with a planned arrival onsite at 9 it wasn’t a late start. As we arrived there we were greeted by the sight of a rather large number of our running club team members dressed in the club lime green. Nice. There were, apparently, 59 entrants from Redway Runners. In addition, there were also probably another 30 club members marshalling or otherwise supporting the event.

It was quite a nice morning by November standards (still, calm, a bit damp, but not cold and not raining).

While Kas was running, the girls and me decided we’d go and do a bit of caching, as you do. Well, if I’m being honest, I decided I was going to do a bit of caching and they were obliged to come with me, but they didn’t complain much and I did promise them some cakes or biscuits from the stall in the Race HQ once we got back.

We left Kas at about 9:30 and hot-footed it along the canal in search of a couple of tricky puzzles by Dave’s Piglings that I had solved a couple of weeks before. Both proved to be quite easy finds, and we followed this up with a dash up towards Leighton Buzzard town centre, where there’s a challenge cache (also by Dave’s Piglings) that I’d spent ages checking whether we qualified for. After some time I managed to find a way of all three of us qualifying for this using the same set of caches (by finding caches whose names begin with the letters of “Leighton Buzzard” and of at least 8 different cache types).

As we were walking back from here I looked at my watch and realised we’d just about be able to catch the runners passing by on the Grand Union Canal towpath. In fact, as we’d come that way, we’d have to go and wave at them until they’d all run past us, because there were enough that either us or some of them would have ended up in the water if we’d just walked back that way.

Once most of the runners had passed we were able to slip back under the road bridge and head back towards Race HQ again, but not until we’d first walked right past and walked around a short series of caches at Tiddenfoot Lake. I like that name. There were about 5 caches. Once again these are mainly owned by Dave’s Piglings. I understand some of the Piglings attend the nearby school. The walk around was quick and the caches were all found pretty quickly, which proved to be just as well, because the path around the lake was also a part of the half marathon course, so if we’d been much later we might have been trampled.

We made what proved to be a totally unnecessary walk all the way around the school to get back in and then just had time to quickly dash into the Race HQ for some cake before wandering off to try to find the finish line. This proved to be a bit harder than I would have expected, but we got there just in time to see most of the Redway Runners coming in.