Today is World Emoji Day, it is a thing, the Interwebz says so. World Emoji Day (also called Emoji Day) is an unofficial holiday celebrated on July 17. It is a “global celebration of emoji”. So what better way to spend it than running with our friends at On The Whistle. You may remember my posts about the Wickham Whistler, same guys, same race principal, different location and theme.
It’s an out and back multi lap race with a six hour time limit, run one or many laps, when you’ve had enough ring the bell, they’ll log the time then award you with an emoji medal, and what a medal, more on that later. Each lap was 4.6 miles, so 3 laps scores you a half marathon, 6 laps a full marathon and more an ultra! You get an extra badge attached to the medal ribbon for half marathon, full and ultra too.
This time around the event is being held at the lovely Staunton Country Park and out around Havant Thicket in Havant. Staunton, where the race HQ is located is a Regency landscaped park/gardens, laid out in the 1820s and 1830s on the site of a late 18th century pleasure grounds and walled garden. It had a series of specialist gardens and follies by Sir George Staunton to accommodate his Chinese and botanical interests, including the Chinese bridge to the island in the lake, I often run past this during Havant parkrun. Havant Thicket is lovely Forestry Commision land, it’s a lovely if a little bumpy run! Brucey bonus was the parking, the guys at On The Whistle secured the car park on site, result, just print out the parking permit from the event email and stick it in your windscreen when you arrive.
It’s a lovely low key event with a small field of runners, lots of familiar faces which is great. These faces will become increasingly familiar regardless as you will be passing each other a number of times before the day is out. High fives, shouts of encouragement or even a plain old smile works wonders in events of this nature, this is my forth multi-loop race and it certainly won’t be my last. The format is conducive with smiles and a stress free race, no pressure, take it as you feel on the day. Wonderful.
The race starts at 9:30 with registration opening at 8:15, as well as the bountiful aid station there are also a couple of portaloos provided, all bases covered. Race directors Keirnan and Clare get proceedings underway, Keirnan providing the race brief and Clare lovingly modelling the Emoji medal, with Del getting ready as he is lead bike this morning. All briefed and ready there are a few spare minutes just to gather ourselves and 3-2-1 On The Whistle.. we are off!
The course takes you off down Cedar Drive, those of you familiar with Havant Parkrun know this hill well, up towards Whichers Gate, then running parallel with Staunton Way for a short time before running a big loop around the outside of Havant Thicket, which is not massively hilly but it’s certainly not flat. We then come back on ourselves round towards Whichers Gate and back up the back slope to loop around race HQ, collect a wristband, stock up on vanilla fudge and other assorted goodies of choice, take on some fluids and do it all again.
It is a really nice route, solid gravel tracks underfoot with very little mud or puddles to negotiate, road shoes perfectly fine for this one. Quite sheltered by trees for the most part, often quite still because of this, but then nice breezes hit you when you turn corners, often much needed on a day like today.
I’d met up with Adrian and Lisa from Bosh before the race and ended up running the 4 laps chatting with Lisa most the way. She totally pulled me round the course pretty much from lap 2 onwards. The heat today absolutely drained the energy from my legs and I really struggled, lack of recent long runs also very evident. The gentle undulations from the first lap became steeper and steeper as the miles racked up. I definitely walked more than I should have and was happy to call it quits at 4 laps and ring that bell.
So finally, on to the medal. It’s a rather large Emoji of course, on a lovely emoji printed On The Whistle ribbon. You have sunglasses one side, winking the next and if you give the middle a tap it spins round, awesome!!
I absolutely love the events these guys put on and I’m gutted I’ll be missing their next one, The Woodland Challenge, on the 11th September but I’m already booked in for the Bacchus.
So a big thank you to Clare, Del and Kiernan from On The Whistle and their crew of awesome volunteers for another lovely Sunday spent running with them. If you’ve not done one of their events before then do so, I can’t recommend them highly enough. Fun and friendly to the very last.
Post run Cornettos, totally a thing…
Thanks to Rochann for turning up with bacon rolls, frubes and a Cornetto for me. It was lovely having the Mrs and kids there to cheer and support (and pinch sweets!).