12th A Coventry Way Challenge Commentary

5 April 2009

Congratulations to all who came along and took part in today’s 12th A Coventry Way Challenge. The move of date from September to April has proved a great success with a growth of entries that we had only dreamt about. It was growth that we were trying to avoid – the summer undergrowth. In past years much effort has been put in by members throughout August clearing the Way for the September Challenge. I know that Bob Carey and his people have been busy working on the Way through March, but I heard little, if anything, of the word “strimming”. Do you like the new ACW way-mark arrows?

There was a frost at Meriden as Bob Carey opened up registration. The day progressed into a wonderful sunny spring day.

We are indebted to Meriden Village Hall Management Committee for allowing us use of the Hall. We hope that we can make use of this facility again in the spring of 2010. With a high entry parking at Meriden was going to be a problem. Alan Townsend was drafted in to manage the parking. We are grateful to the Manor Hotel for allowing us to use their parking as overflow for the Challenge event.

Assisting Bob Carey early in the morning at Meriden was Bernard Roebuck with Peter Page setting up the photos of previous events. Peter has been out and about taking pictures of today’s frolics. No doubt the pictures appear on the website along with this summary. Peter also found time to ferry some lucky poor souls back to Meriden.

This year, former ACW women’s record holders, Ulli Ull and Miranda Aston, gave up their run to manage checkpoint 1 in Kenilworth. A tricky one, as after 8 miles you have yet to string out. This year you all must have skipped breakfast, as U&M were running out of food. Luckily CP7’s refreshments were still to be collected from Meriden, so these were diverted to Kenilworth and a message relayed to Dave Burrin that Tesco’s would open at 10am, he should find CP7’s refreshments there …

Tina & Bill Eve are old hands of the Bubbenhall checkpoint (2) and saw that things ran smoothly. We are grateful to Bev Goddard for letting us use the car park and have access to the Village Hall for toilets and water.

For many years the Wolston checkpoint (3) has been at the home of Martin & Gillian Cross. They are moving later this month, so we thought it best to find somewhere else at Wolston. A big thanks to Martin & Gillian for their assistance, we wish you well in Dorset. As you know, we secured Wolston Village Hall as an indoor checkpoint almost halfway round, where people can have a sit down away from the elements and contemplate the next 22 miles, maybe enjoy a hot drink. We are grateful to Lesley Blay for use of the Hall – asking for next year’s entry forms to distribute around the village. On duty at Wolston were Mark Nicholas; Amy & Tim Brandon; Roger Panter.

Having easy use of toilet facilities at Wolston, we decided not to make use of those provided by Maureen Harris at her home a couple of miles up the Way at Bretford. Thank you Maureen for all your help in the past.

Frank Tonkinson and the Breakfast Club have for many years have run a tight ship at the Brinklow checkpoint. 2009 was no exception, though Frank admits that we do need to thank Sylvia Cree of the village for her support and general assistance during the day.

It’s a long way to checkpoint 5 at Bedworth, so we have a couple of unofficial water points to help you on your Way. At road crossing by Ansty Golf Course was Mick Hudspith, proving much needed water and encouragement. A little further on at Barnacle was Irene Rogers, famed for her choice of cheese as a savoury offering.

At Bedworth, Maureen & Jim Chapman set up in their front garden much to the surprise of their neighbours – “Hey Jim, don’t you normally do this in September?”. M&J were assisted by Sue Hallett.

Prior to Breach Oak Lane, we had a report from one resident of people at several times of the day straying from the Way and through their property. Apologies to the resident affected, steps are in hand to ensure that signage is improved to make the route of Way more obvious at this point.

Breach Oak Lane checkpoint (6) was manned throughout by Ken Nicholas, with son Mark joining him for a second stint once Wolston had shut down.

Dave Burrin was back from Tesco’s in time to set up the Corley Moor checkpoint (7) in his front garden. Dave (recently 70) was greatly assisted by him Mum, Gwen and Mary Hewison.

Meanwhile, at the finish, Bob Carey and Bernard were still going strong, Alan had defrocked from his high visibility jacket to be joined by John & Anne Aylmer to clock in finishers, present T-Shirts and certificates.

All refreshments at checkpoints and at the finish have been planned, procured, prepared and served by Anne Wade, with not a little help from her Mum & Dad. 3 cheers to Anne and her Mum & Dad! [All 3 booked for 2010]. Anne also ran the 40 miles at some stage during the day.

Comment from someone living along the Way:-
“Despite my fears, we had no real problems at this entry level – small amount of litter and one pear, presumably dropped accidentally, which came in useful for the horses!”

It was good to see “Mr & Mrs A Coventry Way” Iris & Cyril Bean around the route. Also John Green who made contribution throughout the event in so many ways.

Probably missed a few people, but thanks to all who helped and/or took part to make today such a success.

Mark Swift completed his 9th Challenge today – Mark, there will be a special “10×40 miler” T-Shirt waiting for you at Meriden in 2010.