The Round Sheffield Run

It would be churlish to compare the Round Sheffield Run with childbirth.

It would be especially churlish as a man who has not personally experienced childbirth, apart of course from my own, which, although I was very much present at, I have no first hand recollection of. Second hand recollections I have in abundance since they have been conveyed to me by a mother very keen that I should fully appreciate all that she has been through on my behalf.

Having said this, I am going to be a little churlish and make a small but significant comparison between the act of baring children and the Round Sheffield. That is, the way you forget pain associated with traumatic experiences.

This is the nifty little trick that nature plays on us. Particularly on women of child baring age. Without it single child families would have been the norm throughout history. The fact that the average family size is 2.4^ points to the existence of a chemical released by the body at the critical moment. A chemical that whilst not actually acting as a pain killer, makes you completely forget the pain. This makes it, in the long run, the best of pain killers which is why the concept has been developed for use in fairly major surgery, torture and according to a conspiracy theory, that I am personally pedalling (everyone needs a pet conspiracy theory) gets pumped into the water supply during an election campaign to help us forget the pain of week after week of listening to absolute nonsense coming out of the mouths of our betters, the pain of the result and ensures that we are ready to go through the whole charade again a few months time later because the morons just don't get the concept of fixed term parliaments, coalition government and proportional representation as the only sane way to run a country.

There is a lot of controversy about how it is that, or even if, women actually forget the pain of child birth. One theory is that it is all to do with the pair bonding hormone oxytocin, which creates such a positive feeling around the new born cherub that all the pain and effort suddenly seems worth it and are as such forgotten until the next time. Another theory is that this is all a load of wombat's vomit and that you never forget the pain the little b£st$@d put you through and you will use every opportunity that he/she presents you with to bring it up throughout their miserable lives, with knobs on.

Judging by the number of people who re-enter the Round Sheffield, the first theory would seem to hold true for this race.* Maybe a different chemical is responsible however, judging by the complete lack of people lactating as they cross the finish line. As well as creating the uncontrollable urge to cuddle things, particularly the new born one that is about to turn your life upside down, oxytocin is also associated with the production of breast milk just after birth.

Round Sheffield Run
Raising funds to Support Hothouse Theatre's work with Keeping it Wild youth group.
Part of the Nottinghamhsire Wildlife Trust.
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The up shot of it is, if you are running the Round Sheffield for the second time, you have forgotten.

You have forgotten the hills. Not the actual existence of the hills. Your chemical effected brain will be hard pressed to forget the existence of hills in Sheffield. Even a rudimentary knowledge of British geography will bring the concept of 'hills' and 'Sheffield' together with one almighty thump in any reasonably active brain cell.

You will, however, have forgotten the gradient of those hills and the fact that where normal course designers look for the humane way up an incline and try to keep such events to a minimum, the designers for the Round Sheffield, who are currently in their annual post race hiding, chose the most stupidly steep and annoyingly frequent inclines.

You will have forgotten that whilst the race is run in sections - 12 miles running and 3 miles walking - it does not actually help you any and those mad people who choose to run between sections rather than rest up with a gentle stroll, have got it right. It may not seem so in the first few miles but by the second half of the race you will be well aware that running 15 miles is easier than having to restart every mile or 2 once the legs have begun to seize up and rebel against your insistence that this somehow constitutes a fun way to spend a Sunday morning in June .

You will have forgotten how starting everyone off in waves based not on ability or speed but on when they clicked 'send' on the online entry form, means that you are condemned to spend the entire 2 and a half hours being passed by quicker, younger more able runners and just how demoralising that can be.

You will also have forgotten just how easy it is to choke on a jelly baby or bite the inside of your mouth when chewing on a jelly bean, that you only took from a spectating child because they were looking a little forlorn since no one was taking their sweet, sugary, offerings.

And you will have certainly forgotten that the notion that down hills are innately easier than up hills, ceases to hold true after mile 9 when the afore mentioned course planners slip in one of those unnaturally steep inclines, backwards, forcing you to recover the last 6 miles of 'up' in one knee wrenching, out of control, short career 'down' through an almost vertical park, just when your legs have decided to file for a full legal and permanent separation with custody of the your malt whiskey collection. .

The trick of the Round Sheffield Run is, having finished it and received your admittedly impressive chucky medal, complete with inbuilt bottle opener, to go and buy yourself next year's diary and write in very large letters on the last weekend of June - Away. Somewhere. Anywhere. But not Sheffield.

^ I assume that this figure takes into account the effects of divorce, the second family syndrome after remarriage, out of wedlock accidents between ships passing in the night, single , triple and even quadruple parent families of the post modern age.

*There are also a large number of people who do not re-enter the Round Sheffield which suggest that the second theory might also be true and on that particular Sunday, up and down the country, I suspect, there were at least as many people gathering over a pint or two toasting their complete lack of success in entering this year's race as there were people who actually managed to re-enter it.

Thunder Run 2017

 Thunder Run is a 24 hour trail relay race consisting of 10k laps around Catton Park, on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border.

Guy will be running this gruelling race to raise funds for Hothouse Theatre's 2017-18 theatre season.

Guy will be running in a team of 8. The aim is to do 3 laps each over the 24 hours of the race.

"Last year I got 1.5k into my second lap at 1:30 a.m. before 'finding' a pot hole, doing my ankle in, and hobbling the rest of the lap. Before settling down by the campfire and 'red wining' with the emphasis on 'whining' my way through the rest of the event.

This year I have a date with the 1:30 shift!" - Guy

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