They call Alabama the Crimson Tide

Learn to work the saxophone
I play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Steely Dan at their sarcastic best. All my ‘fans’ know I love my musical references and here I am like Tom Waits sat at a piano with a bottle of bourbon and a head full of thoughts and emotions just hoping for the bran to take effect for that artistic crap. Thanks to XTC frontman Andy Partridge saying this in a NME interview and now will never shift from my mind.

2020 was a non year. I nearly had more lockdowns than races! And the near future doesn’t look a lot better. I won’t consider entering another race until March at the earliest and I won’t get a Covid-19 vaccination any time soon, maybe June. I’m an asthmatic but I’ll wait my turn. I get regular temperature checks and Covid tests so I know I’m cool.

I’m physically tired and mentally exhausted and it’s affected my health. I’ve tried really hard to make sure we’re all engaged and encouraged to run. I have had a couple of loyal lieutenants who have helped to keep me sane and I am completely in your debt. They were a tremendous rock when I had my mental health issues during the autumn. They won’t appreciate this but I will namecheck them. They are Kelly Sherriff and Ian Booth. Maybe I set my bar too high. I feel I’m along the right lines judging by the response from our members.

We had Harrier Spotting, Rainbow Colour Shirts, 5km Challenge, different cross training challenges, the Virtual Pub Quizzes, various bingo challenges and Victoria Nixon with her Stars and Segments Challenges and Ganesh and the Half Baked Half Marathon. There was the Spotify playlists. The ‘First Record Bought’ was very illuminating. We had the Zoom chats with an England Athletics Coach to try and improve our approach to running, trialling Totum supplements and I tried and failed to get nutritional advice from Calleva, a supplement company in North Petherton, but that’s still a work in progress. I’ve been accepted as an England Athletics #runandtalk Champion supported by the charity Mind to help regarding mental health issues.

It’s been an unfortunate period. We can’t run in groups with our friends, we have to have be so vigilant to keep ourselves and others safe as we have a new normal.

I feel like a dinosaur and an imposter. Things have moved so much and so quickly. Technology has taken over. Zwift virtual runs and cycle rides have taken over as people want to avoid people. I just want to get out and run. On the road, beach, trail. Feel the wind, rain and sun on my face and the back of my neck. It’s my way of feeling truly alive.

Some have been shielding and isolating and I hope you’ve not been forgotten. I’ve tried to keep in touch with most. The Annual General Meeting is looming near and in stunning Supermarionation™ of Zoom. I feel my job is unfinished. I have to be captain when we have races, I have to use my experience to make a difference, and I have to help others to reach their goals.

Do I want to carry on as Club Captain? No, not really. In normal circumstances, of course. I am truly gratified that the membership wanted me as captain. But, this year has been a shit sandwich. I want to rock up next Tuesday and see Tracey Benton and Sue Nicholls smiling, telling me to pay attention and announcing their club run. They’ve both served the club brilliantly and deserve their chance to step back a little.

This leads me to the work of others behind the scenes. Tracey and Mark Benton have both been a huge support for me. Tracey’s experience as a previous captain has been invaluable and Mark is a no nonsense common sense bloke and does a great Geddy Lee impression after a little red wine. Matt Powell is a real fun guy. The kind I can spend hours with in a pub and come up with loads of brilliant ideas. An idea for committee meetings when we can meet up again. Stevie D is the work horse that makes everything tick, unnoticed but always there. The Run Leaders, Super Sue, Tracey B, Steve Wilcox, Ian Booth, Matt, Stevie D, Tony Gore, pressed ganged Tim Byrne on special occasions, and, especially, Tracey Thomas who has always been there for club runs regardless and a great support.

Also, I would like to thank all the Harriers who have bought into my madness, have taken part in the challenges and have turned up on those rare Tuesday club night runs.

I’m sick and tired of moaning about the lack of races, lack of time running together. There are some Harriers I haven’t seen in nearly a year. I want to write about Harriers racing, great performances from our members, humorous encounters and episodes along the way. In fact I yearn for precedented times unlike these unprecedented days. Those halcyon days where, like the Nailsea RC Beer and Banger 10k, when we we can sit around with a pint and chew on a cheesy sausage.

The Annual General Meeting is on Tuesday, 2nd February at 7.30pm and it will take the form of a Zoom chat. It’s your chance for your voice to be heard.

Vote Pineapple 🍍

Incidentally, I prefer bourbon or Irish Whiskey to Scotch Whisky.

Call me Team Yellow

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