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Sodbury Slog muddy action 2019

Wardrobe malfunction leads to astonishing act of kindness

Runners are family said one social media post after a spectator comes to the rescue at the Sodbury Slog

We know you might be getting a feeling of déjà vu thinking 'didn't runABC report on Sodbury Slog yesterday?'  Well we did but we couldn't resist a little more especially when we heard about Emma.....

The Sodbury Slog is not for the faint-hearted. Forget roads – they’re for wimps – this is a lung-busting, trainer-ruining, hill-climbing, multi-terrain challenge held over and through some of South Gloucestershire’s most stunning countryside. Mud is not optional!

The above description is not ours but is taken directly from the event website, so competitors had plenty of warning of what to expect. This year the trainer-ruining comment was prophetic and resulted in a wonderful gesture by a local couple that enabled one shoeless participant to finish her first-ever trail race. 

Sodbury Slog is run each year on Remembrance Sunday. To commemorate the fallen, the event is preceded by an exhortation, two minutes silence, and the playing of the Last Post, all of which sets the scene for a memorable event that has been organised by Bitton Road Runners (ironically) since 1990, when it was named the Beagle Bash.

The race starts at Chipping Sodbury School and the route is mostly run over private land, with a number of water features and strategically-placed obstacles, before ending up back at the school after covering approximately 10 country miles. The pre-race blurb adds this valuable advice: "Tie your laces tight and don't swallow the water. It's not all water"!

Four miles into the event Emma Barnes was struggling across Sodbury Common on one road shoe and a threadbare sock, having lost the other shoe in the infamous "Sheep Dip". Emma, of Bristol Up & Runners, eventually finished 825th in 2:22:08, but not before the altruistic interventions of Hannah and Dick Murray, who were watching the race after their morning training run.

Having assessed the situation and realised that Emma would almost certainly be a sad DNF on her trail race debut, Hannah immediately took off her own HOKA trail shoes and dry socks to enable Emma to get to the finish safely on two feet! Hannah then returned home barefoot. 

The shoes were later cleaned and returned with interest by a grateful Emma, who was amazed to be handed back her one remaining Brooks road shoe that had been washed and dried! The incident sparked an outpouring of positive comments on social media but we found the pithy three-word post by Irene Treston-Waller absolutely perfectly captured the essence of the incident: 

"Runners are family".

You can read our full race report here

Image courtesy R and R Photos for Bitton Road Runners

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