Last week I had the rare pleasure of an early evening run in the beautiful autumn sun rather than my usual trudge at 6am in the pitch black. All facilitated by bunking off work early (I had been working hard and deserved an early finish of course) and maybe also persuading my lovely wife to do solo bath time with the little monsters.
Given that I’m marathon training and really should be doing something other than easy runs I thought I’d make use of the daylight to do a tempo run. So me and the hound headed off on one of our usual trails in the Wiltshire countryside at a nice pace which felt great, not sure how much Bracken appreciated the lack of chances to sniff things though.
Half way into the run all was going well, I was keeping a nice pace in the low 7 minute miles and feeling strong. Bracken was even doing a good job of keeping up and not chasing every pheasant that he spotted. Then up ahead I spotted a 4×4 parked on the side of the field up ahead, seemed a little odd for that time of the evening given that it was starting to get dark but I carried on nonetheless.
We passed the 4×4 and then I spotted them, 2 guys crouched on the path up ahead in head to toe camouflage material and holding rifles. Unfortunately Bracken spotted them before me and immediately headed for them because in his mind everybody must want to say hello to a waggling Springer.
Now I was stuck in a quandary; whistle or shout for Bracken in the hope he comes back but really piss the guys off by making loads of noise, or just let him run up to them and hope he doesn’t go too crazy. The latter seemed the better bet and hopefully the one with the least chance of truly ruining their evenings sport.
As I approached them you could see them thinking “this guy is out with a gun dog but he’s wearing lycra and sweating profusely, where’s his camouflage or tweed?”. They then thought I was even more mental when I explained how far I’d run and how we do it most days. Clearly I didn’t stick around long and managed to coax Bracken in the right direction without too much effort and we finished off the run just as it was getting dark.
In total 5.8 miles at an average pace of 7min 27 sec per mile and much needed change of pace and the moral of the story is of course always have a friendly Spaniel to hand if you disturb some men trying to catch their dinner.