Back in the last millennium I was a student at the world’s greatest university, Cambridge University. The only thing I got seriously involved in outside my studies was “The Haries”, Cambridge University Hare and Hounds cross-country running club.
Ever since the first run in 1947 Cambridge runners would occasionally attempt “The Boundary Run”, a multiterrain run around the edge of the city. In my student days we organised a “boundary run” for members of the university around the northern edge of the city. As the club marathon secretary in 1997 I organised a 14 mile race which had 17 finishers.
A few years ago The Haries relaunched the boundary run as an event open to the world, both town and gown. There was a marathon run around the edge of the city and a half marathon where you stopped halfway. It can be thought of as an equivalent to the “Round Sheffield Run” without hills.
For old times sake and to get in good training run for the Sheffield half marathon, I decided to run the boundary run half marathon. My wife (who I met in Cambridge :-)) and I travelled down on Saturday and spent the night in my old college. Early on Sunday morning, off I went to the new university sports centre (not there in my day) close to the running track.
There were considerably more than 17 runners at the sports centre when I arrived, I got my race number and pinned it to my old Cambridge runnIng vest. At 8.55am we all went out into the cold, it was a sunny morning but with the usual Cambridge winter Siberian gale force wind blowing.
It was a slow start as we ran down a narrow footpath, then off road across a muddy field. I remembered the mud from my student days so I wore my XC studs for the race. After 3 miles I gradually started to work my way through, it was very nice running on path through Grantchester Meadows, one of my favourite running routes from back in my student days.
After 5 miles we moved onto less familiar parts of Cambridge, there were no distance markers so I was never quite sure how far I was from the end. I kept working my way through to about 8 miles, then my position came to some kind of equilibrium. We ran along on roads, footpaths and across fields. Finally we came to a big sports field, which I knew where the half marathon finish was situated. There was an awful lot of running round edge of the sports field before we passed someone playing bagpipes and there was the finish.
Over the line, I made it. Very tired on finishing but I didn’t run myself into the ground. I got a good training session out of this run down memory lane. I recommend this event if anyone wants to try something a bit different and have the novelty for a Sheffield runner of running on the flat 🙂