Heading north. Robert Peary. Roald Amundsen. Ian Botham, Thomas Dolby. None of them had experienced a storm like this. I’d arranged a lift to Sheung Shui with Gunpowder Plod, but he bailed. “There’s a MASSIVE storm system coming down from China and it’s stuck over Sheung Shui,” he blubbed. “The wife doesn’t want me to go…”
Hare Mango Groove’s initial bravado had evaporated. “This lightning is putting the willies up me,” he opined, perhaps revealing a Freudian adoration. “I am a bit scared now. Where is Eunuch when I need a cuddle?”
SAS-trained frontiersman Serbian Bomber was even more rabbit-headlighted. “Torrential rain. Is there still a run?” And Luk Sup Gow, heading in from Shenzhen, added, “Bring your handy lightning protectors… absolute World War 3 broken out here in China.” Even the normally stoic shortcutter One Eyed Jack was moved to comment: “Mango, you have just gone up in a puff of smoke.”
But it turned out Mango was made of sterner stuff, and issued his own thunderstorm warning: “Members of the public are advised to take the following precautions when thunderstorms occur: 1. Stay indoors. Seek shelter in buildings if you are engaging in outdoor activities. The hash is ok though cos you are a bunch of morons and deserve to be struck by lightning. 2. Do not stand on high ground. Keep away from highly conductive objects, trees or masts. Unless Mango sets a trail to the top of a big fucking hill. 3. Wear a condom.”
Arriving late at Jockey Club Park in Shek Wu Hui, I was surprised by how many had actually made the effort to run in these shit conditions. A pack of about a dozen had turned up to the back of beyond in an enormous thunderstorm (it blew trees down near my gaff nearby), including the unbearably smug Velcro Lips, who now has a posh address in Stanley. That’s quite a journey!
Mango had set off to re-mark the trail – it turned out to be A trail, not THE trail, and off we went into the parallel-trader universe of Shek Wu Hui, running down streets and alleys lined with pharmacies and dodging the wheeled suitcases of mainlanders.
It didn’t take long for the front-runners to get through the melee, but they were stymied by a crossroads check. Liberace had done the straight-ahead direction and come back wih his usual plaintive “no marking”, but I managed to find trail down the same avenue within five metres, and delighted in the customary haranguing that followed me as I trundled on. “You fucking moron Liberace!” was one of the more charitable comments.
Then something weird happened in my calf and I walked the rest of the trail with Back To The Future, Golden Jelly and Liberace. ‘Twas clearly an abridged route as we never got more than five metres above nullah level, and in fact followed a nullah for 2km of mind-numbing numptiness – but at least there was a run. Let us commend Mango for going out into the unknown when his painstakingly set original trail was blasted from the face of the Earth by the wanton forces of nature, that kill us for its sport… or something.
There were Marmite biscuits at the finish courtesy of Geriatric, and a lively circle dominated by the RA, who claimed that he missed out on the Jaffa Cakes provided by Mango at the run two weeks prior, when Mango gave the RA’s designated Jaffa Cake to Serbian Bomber, who wanted a second one like the gutsy chubber he is. The RA intoned: “Revenge is a dish best served cold … and wet … Nuff said. – RA
Hare: Mango Groove
Runners: Liberace, Eunuch, Creme Brulee, One Eyed Jack, Back To The Future, Geriatric, Golden Jelly, Golden Balls
Pussies: South Side Pushover, Velcro Lips, Catch Of The Day