Exe-rated runners!

Exe-rated runners!
The successful Harriers team, en masse, at the Erme Valley Relays, July 2013

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

4 Trig(ger) happy Harriers bag 16 trigs!

It would seem that the Four Trigs event is all about doing the sums: 4 Trigs + 4 Harriers = 4 Trigger Happy Harriers bagging a total of 16 trigs: the maths is simple. A couple of years ago, however, Scott Jordan got his maths badly wrong; either that or he was trying to reinvent the basic rules of natural logarithms and argue that 2 = 4. Nobody fell for this or believed him of course and we all saw through his, admittedly creative, but rather convoluted and ultimately doomed attempts to cover up for the fact that he just got plain lost and couldn't find the last 2 trigs. Hence, a nickname was born.

After injury forced him to withdraw from his planned 2013 campaign to override his error and reassert his reputation, he returned with even more fuel on his fire this year to bag all 4 of those unruly trigs. He was even spotted on one occasion by yours truly on what we believe to be one of many Sunday morning rekkie runs of the route that he has undertaken to ensure that he would not be thwarted in his quest to rewrite the history books and erase the name '2 Trigs' from them.

And so the day came. Scott-still-2-Trigs-until-he-can-prove-otherwise-Jordan lined up alongside 3 other Harriers who were there to witness his feat and act as adjudicators to ensure that he did not simply go out and bag the remaining 2 trigs that he missed last time and thus take an unsportsman-like short-cut to balance a 2 year old incorrect equation. These 3 Harriers were Terry Oldham (no stranger to this event and someone who has, over the years, amassed enough trigs to almost break into treble figures), Ben White and his wife, Emma. All 3 had their own reasons for running the event too, mostly because it's just a darn good, low-key, low-cost friendly race, and because it is also fantastic Grizzly training to boot (for which all 4 Harriers are also entered).

But back to our main man on this occasion: S-T-T-J. He set off down that Sidmouth promenade like a man possessed. He homed in on that first trig on High Peak like a kestrel hawk homes in on its prey: focussed; determined... with just an ever-so-slight look of obsessional madness in its eye! From there on he relied on gravity to get himself back down off the trig at high speed and, with equally dogged determination, he was off and onto the next trig. Tally-ho! In fact, he was so dedicated to his task that he ditched the camel-bak drinking bladder in attempt to lighten the load; much in the same way as an aircraft dumps fuel in order to lessen weight and be swifter of flight. He didn't consume so much as one drop of liquid on route, so focussed was he. (Disclaimer: this is not recommended as an ideal fuelling strategy, particularly not for a race of this distance and difficulty. Any actions taken were done so by the runner himself based on calculated risk and are in no way representative of the views of the club as whole...)

Heading onto trig number 2 through Harpford Woods and something truly astonishing happened: two other directionally-challenged, map wielding competitors from the South West Road Runners Club homed in on our 2 Trigs and selected him as a guide to show them the way! Clearly they had not heard of his reputation, nor had they read the nickname emblazoned across his hoody that he wore at the race HQ prior to the start, in which he vaunted the nickname 2 Trigs as a form of textual mimicry, perhaps intended as a reverse-psychological battle-cry? Had they have known, they would surely not have chosen this particular mast upon which to pin their navigational flag of hope?

No matter, a merry band of three had joined forces to unite as one homogeneous unit, all sharing one common goal: to get to the next trig point at Fire Beacon hill. (Am I the only one thinking that an idiom that contains the word "blind" in it, twice, springs to mind here?)

Meanwhile, a little way further back, a doggedly determined trio of Harriers were also making solid progress, up and down some of the steepest terrain in the area and getting ever nearer to completing their goal. They were also having a bit of fun along the way and generally chatting and enjoying the views. A couple of miles ahead, the mood was quite different: 2 Trigs was charging down the other side of East Hill strips like a raving banshee. No time to enjoy the views; he still had 2 more trigs to get.... meaning, he was now entering what was, for him, previously uncharted territory: did these other 2 trigs even exist? Were they just mirages, put on the map to taunt him but that didn't exist in reality? How could they exist in reality: he had not been able to find them on his previous attempt!

Anyway..... I could wax lyrical here all day and pad this out into what has the potential to become a 'best-seller' in the small but niche market of running themed books. 'Feet in the Clouds', 'Born to Run', 'Mathletics', and now: 'Mathletics, the sequel: 2 Trigs becomes 4'. In line with the best works of literature, this one has a happy ending. It ends with the final image of a triumphant Scott tearing down Salcombe hill and sprinting along the Sidmouth sea front to the finish line of the 4 Trigs race and posting a phenomenal time of 2:51:14 for a very impressive 12th place overall (out of 94 finishers) on an event that covers 16 miles and contains 3000ft of climb. Even more impressive though, he had located (and got the stamp to prove it!) all 4 trigs and had even successfully guided other runners around the course in the process. Like all eponymous heroes though, Scott is eternally modest and was keen to downplay his superb achievement (2h51 on this course is NOT hanging about). His only comment: 'I was thinking all the way around that course, "ha! I'm not gonna be 2 Trigs anymore"'. Quite right, you aren't Scott. But the problem is, you've got the nickname sewn onto the front of your hoody now and we would hate for you to have to go to the expense of purchasing a new one with '4 Trigs' on it, so, for the sake of your wallet, I think the nick-name had better stay!

As for our supporting actors in this canonical work of literary brilliance, they all acquitted themselves superbly too and finished together, sharing 53rd place and a time of 3:32:28. Sorry to have given the limelight to one person on this occasion, but your efforts did not go unnoticed and you were vital to substantiating that the whole event took place as reported and thereby validating Scott's claim to be part of the legitimate 4 Trig bagging Trigger Happy Harriers team!!

An impressive backdrop for an impressive performance: start of the 4 Trigs race and Scott-2-Trigs-Jordan is already well placed and focused on the task ahead (3rd from right)!

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