The Spirit of Sparta
Sunday the 30th of September 2012
This time last year I was gearing up for my first trail race, and even better, my first race with a Spartan presence – and what a presence it was! It was very hot and feeling anxious I was pleased to join my club mates at Beeston Castle car park. As we made our way to the start line all nerves disappeared to make way for anticipation as we realised the ‘A’ racers were coming past our start line. Suddenly there were seven Spartans lined up along the edge of the field jumping up and down. Is that Dave? Nick? Steve? James? Alan? Andy? As each of our inspiring ‘A’ racers made their way across the field towards us, our rapturous applause was deafening. We managed to cheer them all through just before our starting official instructed us to make our way to the starting line. By then I was far to excited to worry about the hills which lay ahead and pure elation propelled me from the starting line. Ten tough miles and 1 hour 45 minutes later, Dave returned the support giving me the final surge I needed to complete the last 100 meters.
Today however I’m on café duty resting my legs before my first marathon next weekend. At 11.00am there is a pang of disappointment as I imagine a similar scene to last year unfolding in a field near Beaston Castle. Except this that this year we have increased our ‘B’ runners to 18- Fantastic! So with the flasks, cakes and biscuits packed in my plastic trolley I was keen to get to the finishing line to share in the team spirit.
Accompanied by Andy’s family, we were around 200 meters too late to greet Charlie at the finish line, but as he effortlessly jogged past complimenting Andy’s daughter on her Spartan t-shirt, I knew it was going to be another day of feeling proud to be a Spartan.
Some great times were accomplished by all involved and as a team we looked visibly stronger than last year (our love-hate relationship with Old Pale was paying off). Our support camp grew and grew as Spartans made there way to our home ground of Barnsbridge Gate, with our cheers getting louder and louder. The mound of cakes and biscuits and flasks of tea and coffee was rapidly being consumed and Spartans were beginning to shiver at the sideline but where as other teams and supporters seemed to be disappearing we weren’t going any where until we had all made it back. Concerned we were a Spartan down Tim headed back down the sandstone trail to locate Claire and it wasn’t long before the final Spartan was taking on the last 100 meter straight to the jubilant cheers of the Sparta Spirit.