Farthingstone Foot Fest: Frolicking with Tamzalina
(26 miles or maybe more like 28 miles...)

May 2010

Dear Paul (Race Director)- please can I bring my tyre along in this event.

Dear Rima - I would like to warn you that there are 85 stiles to get over

Rima thinks: "Can't be as bad as Bath Beat - 68 stiles and 44 gates or otherwise Bath Beat was just a good warm up!"

Introducing Tamzalina (also known as Tam)

This is Tedology's (Ted) other half. Tam has normally ONLY ever gone out with Ted. As she's usually quite reserved and shy, she's always followed behind Ted. It was thus natural for Ted to come out with me solo on bigger events. Anyway it gave him a break from the twins. Having recently completed Bedford Clangers and Bath Beat, he's been feeling a little worn out and feels like he'd like to retire after having completed over 200 miles on his side

Tam (bless her iron mesh) thought that perhaps Ted needed a rest and volunteered herself. The photo is after she completed the event but my goodness before the event she looked all sparkly after Luke Collyer, who recently dragged 2 tyres in the London marathon, gave her some solid dressing up advice. She became a giggling teaser as if she were just hot off the assembly line.

As this event was trying to raise money for the Warwickshire and Northampton Air Ambulance Service, Tam wanted to help them as the charity provides a service that saves lives in remote places.

FootFest Day

Tam met her country cousin Frank whose outlook was level
5am.....grog.....I hate early mornings. Fetchies who have seen me at 8am know how bad I can be in the morning as I suffer from insomnia. Had a bad week of sleep with work in Vienna. My body decided that it wouldn't bother to sleep on the night of the FootFest either. So at 5am, the eczema was playing up, and thus was forced to take 1/2 a piriton tablet to ease the itchy body.

I got up, dressed, and put stuff in the car. Having no appetite at that time in the morning, I made some sandwiches for later. Head still groggy, and the little tablet I took to ease the itch would only keep the head groggy. Fortunately Uncle Wayne was coming and drove all the way to the venue. Unfortunately stomach was churning and required a desperate pit stop before continuing on to Farthingstone.

The village was easy to find and everyone was welcomed into the village hall by Paul himself. Admitedly I wondered about going back to bed. However a cup of tea, and then bumping into Foxsake and some others who had been at Bedford Clangers and Bath Beat began to warm up my fuzzy head.

In the mean time, whilst waiting, Tam decided to entertain a dog, as well as look after a lady's set of walking sticks. This is so unlike Tam. I wondered if her new look gave her new confidence!

Part 1: Farthingstone Frolic 15 Mile Route

Tam seems to attract others to follow her

We left soon after 08:20 and would soon come up to our first set of stiles. The stiles were fine, and Tam's choice of dressing would prove to be ideal for the conditions. After all I hadn't counted upon also having to carry Tam over 22 kissing gates and 32 narrow footbridges.

Uncle Wayne ahead in the rapeseed field.
The views were of course stunning, breath taking. We were treated to traversing across rapeseed fields which incidentally look very similar to flowering broccoli.

We completed the first 3.5 miles at about 10:45.

At the turn off to the canal, I met a group who pledged money towards the Air Ambulance service that I was raising money for on the day and would leave money for me at the hall. I can only imagine that Tam had given them an enticing move. Must be something about her bucket.

I started to feel low on energy. Having just had water and tea for breakfast was not the best fuel for a long distance. My stomach was growling, and I misinterpeted a bridge number for being 36. It was in fact 26. Good thing Uncle came and pulled me back after I'd gone a couple of 100 metres off route.

I bumped back into a couple of ladies who I'd overtaken earlier.

Lady walker: "I'm so glad I've caught up with you, I have something for you"

The lady searches in her bag and pulls out £1.50: "A guy jumped off his canal boat and asked me what you were doing. I told him about the charity you were raising money for and he gave me this apologising he couldn't give more"

To the guy who gave the money, I really appreciate your thoughts and instant generosity.

3.5 miles along the canal.
I am now starving, have slowed down and had to pull out a sandwich. I pass a guy sitting on his canal boat, talking on his mobile. I greet him with a thumbs up. Uncle later tells me that when he passed the guy, he was ranting on about some lady pulling a tyre and having to repeat the word "tyre" several times.

A man talks to me about what I am doing and then carries on ahead of me. "Listen I am Graham Patton and I will be leaving you some money at the hall." Thank you Graham for your gift

We reached the second check point (CP) amongst the main walking group of people. Heading onwards to CP3 would be the point where the main group would pull away from me. I had been happily running downhill over taking everyone when a large grassy hill rose up before me. A lady with 2 walking poles overtakes me and throws in a comment "Bet you regret taking that with you!". Before I knew it the words left my mouth "Well anyone could walk it"....and smiled "Have a good day". As she walked into the distance, me and Tam were happy in the smiling sun inching our way upwards.

Everyone passed me. It didn't matter it was a beautiful day and the weather warnings of rain did not appear.

We got to CP3 and CP4 within 5 hours. 15 miles completed at 13:15. Tam took a short rest whilst I had some lunch and fuelled up. Laughing with the marshals, I told them for the next 11 miles - should be back completed within 4 hours! Sometimes it is better not to say a word.


Part 2: Tam's Calling!

Time to get back on the road at 13:30. Uncle and I separated at this point. He would catch up with me. Following the next set of instructions, I managed to get confused and entered into a magical forest. I say magical because I was distracted with it's beauty, the music of the birds and abundance of vibrant blue bells. Paul warned me that the views would be even more breath taking on this second half. I agreed. I'm not sure what really happened in here, but as the track narrowed, I found myself carrying Tam, concerned that she might knock over a rare wild flower. I narrowly escaped swimming in a muddy bog and can only thank Tam. If I was not carrying her and thinking I didn't want her in the mud, I would have been wallowing in there. In fact I soon lost the track. I decided the best thing was to go straight as I could hear the golf course on my left hand side.

I found a way out of the woods and met all the runners who told me that I need to go the other way (the direction they were going). I told them I hadn't even really started the first part. They had no clue where I was and as far as the directions were concerned I was now lost. In fact Paul indicated I should not have entered the woodlands and guided me back to the route with a warning me that if I carried on, the check points might have closed by the time I got there. I couldn't let Tam down and was admanant that we would at least complete her first full marathon.

Tam asked me to slow down to talk to the cows
I had to now find Uncle as he would be trying to locate me. A quick call and he would wait for me a little after Snorscombe Mill. I had managed to add on a couple of miles so he waited for nearly an hour as I back tracked. It was 14:45 by the time I met him!

Fortunately, Tam was a happy tyre. She liked bouncing every now and then and had a way with the animals. I think she'd like to come back as a sheep dog in her next life. I mean seriously, when ever we passed cows or sheep, they would follow her. She made me laugh.

Leaving CP7 and slogging up the hill

We navigated our way to CP5 (19.25 miles) and were pleasantly surprised that marshals were still waiting for us. It was 15:55 and they had told us they were going to pack up at 16:00. Thanking them profusedly we headed on to CP6.

I think I was now getting a little tired as I couldn't remember whether we had gone thru a kissing gate (KG) and then a foot bridge (FB) or a FB and then a KG. Backtracked 1/2 a mile to confirm it was the former, more time wasting. We got to CP6 where marshals were still there waiting for us and opened the gate for us to get through. CP6 told us they only waited because they wanted to see the tyre girl!

We hurried onwards to CP7 and the ladies we met were fantastic with refreshments at the ready. One of them said "Rest here for a moment and as you have one last big hill". I looked up "Come on Tam, let's do it!".

Everything was going well now and I located where I had got lost and had met all the returning participants! A final blurred moment came when I thought a metal sign was the sign we were suppose to see. I once again headed in the wrong direction! Oh well at least I got myself a couple of golf balls to massage my feet. Had to call Paul one last time to check where we were. However Uncle rechecked and discovered my eyes had deceived me. Paul, bless him, decided to come out and ensure we found our way back!

Last run was to be 75 metres to the village hall and was again pleasantly surprised to see waiting people lined up outside, cheering as we came to the end.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the FootFest a fantastic event, especially to the marshals who waited until we had got there. Also thank you to the runners who donated to the Warwickshire and Northamptom Air Ambulance Service. We raised £47.50 on the day.

FootFest has 85 Stiles, 32 foot bridges, and 22 kissing gates to get over/cross. It has magical cinematic views. The woodlands that I ventured into was a mistake, but there are still wonderful woodlands that the route takes you thru with butterflies and bluebells.

Having a figure of 8 means that you can drop out after completing a decent 15 miles.