----------------------------------- Training Camp, Norfolk (Various Dates) -----------------------------------
OUCCC's annual expedition for 2004 was on the coast of Norfolk this year, in little known village called Burnham Deepdale. Michael 'Jennifer' Rush was our tireless chaperone and took us through some highly amusing places on the way, such as Wormgay and Six Mile Bottom; we liked Norfolk already. The turnout was good, with some extra-keen freshers joining us. Unfortunately, Alice and Jess were our only females on the trip, but they loved the attention, although Jess got bored of James Hogan trying to creep into bed with her every night.
In past years, our accommodation has been similar to the first constructions that early Neanderthal man may have fashioned out of sticks and clay, but this year we had all the mod cons: hot water, central heating, internal toilets (that doesn't mean we pissed in the corner, although rumour has it that Ed Catmur tried to do this on the last night) an oven, and frogs in the shower. Perfect!
As far as running was concerned, we were very well positioned. Being situated near the coast, and woody trails, gave us plenty of scope for some good running, and yet we still decided to run around a private house and get shouted at. One consolation was seeing Ed Catmur (is there a theme here?!) stack the 2ft wire fence not once, but twice. As he face-planted into the soft turf for the second time, one could hear him moan "but it's different for orienteers....". Whatever Ed - you're just a crip. We used the beach as part of our long run, which Captain Ben had completely under control, at all times, and knew exactly where he was going. Unfortunately, the uber-enthusiasm of the freshers faded after 90minutes and was replaced by what can only be described as pathetic whinging, James "I'm really not gay" Hogan being particularly vocal. Jon Blackledge also felt the full effects of being extra keen in the early stages of the run and was later passed by the mileage king Michael Rush, who is rumoured to be training for the New York marathon. We thought it was slightly unnecessary for Rushy to shout "You're not so good now are you - Belgrave scum?!" in poor Jon's face as he passed him, but he drives the bus so we had to let him off. Paddy Wallace was first home, amazingly, but hitch-hiking really isn't in the spirit of OUCCC...
We returned to the beach again the next day to bang out a dune session that Steve Prefontaine (God rest his soul) would have been proud of. The dune was vertical. Literally. Paddy decided to sit it out as he knew we'd all notice his dune buggy this time round and so it was left to fresh-legged Sam Aldridge to annihilate our weary bodies and make us eat his dust. Pre may have not been that proud in hindsight, but he would have loved our 50ft sand stencil of his name that the tide washed away before we could complete. As this was the final session of the week, it is tradition that the captain gets wet. We did not imagine that Alice would be so obliging as to practically throw herself into the sea before we could have the satisfaction of doing it ourselves, but she did.
After a heavy week of running we decided to venture into the land of the multi-limbed - Norwich. Just a few miles from the self-renowned capital of incest, Norwich was a sight to behold. Fortunately, the odd farmer folk were diluted by an influx of fine upstanding Portsmouth gentlemen who had come to see their football team play against Norwich City, and so we felt a little safer. Once settled in the pub, Paddy forced everyone to play by International Drinking (sorry, Imbibing) Rules and the casualties fell thick and fast; Dewy was punished heavily for being Northern (a new rule) and Dave Bruce was the worst Thumbmaster in the world. A few Purples attempts then followed, with all the freshers posting respectable times, but just outside the half-purple standards. Fortunately, old-heads such as the Captains and Rushy stepped forward to show them how it's done. Then everything gets very confusing. We played I Have Never, and the code of this game does not allow me to divulge any of the secrets, but screw that. Dewy once had a threesome with the original "two fat ladies on a bike", before one got too old and died, Dave Bruce likes little boys with ginger hair (watch out Paul), and SGB's father used to chase his mother for money.
As we left to go back to Burnham Deepdale, Paddy and Ben decided to stay out in town longer and get Ben's girlfriend to intercept the bus on the way home at 7am the next morning. Great idea.... I am unaware of other gossip but apparently Sam and Alice 'slept' in Sam's car and Ed Catmur exposed himself to Jess. Oh, and Hogan, Ian and Dave Bruce bought some cheapo wine and got belted.
A successful trip in all, I believe. Many, many thanks to Rushy for driving around and to Alice for the stressful organisation.
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