Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2 - The People

The great thing about the camp was the people. The whole atmosphere was friendly and positive.

All of the staff were incredibly open and helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

Mike Gratton himself, is warm and generous (as can be deduced from the way he helps people on the RW forum). Sue, the sports masseur said to me that he was immensely and that no one had a bad word to say about him because there was nothing bad to be said. Just by looking at the laughter lines around his eyes you knew that this was the case.

Bruce Tulloh reminded me of a benign colonial administrator from some early British movie - rather shy and diffident in speech but with an underlying strength and great moral fibre. He was someone you recognise as having a quiet virtue and is a great advert for the benefits of running. He was injured this week and it was the first time since 1955 that he had not run for over a week. I think he was born to be a runner. He has a slight build, mostly legs with his trunk being a small proportion of his height. (me I'm the complete opposite).

All of the people were great enthusiasts but Joe Beer gave the impression of being completely wrapped up in his subject. I had a really interesting conversation with him, where he had his laptop open used it to bringing up papers that supported points he was making - just like they were always on his mind.

Sue Wainwright did a great job of massaging my aching limbs but I think the conversation during the sessions was just as valuable.

There was an interesting mix of people who attended for example:

Bedders (of the RW forum) was one of the most positive people I have ever met. Bubbling with enthusiasm, so happy to be out and running all the time and just wanting to share it with everyone. Someone asked him if he had any races planned and then had to sit back and wait as an enormous list was reeled off. If you want to know something of the joy of running you only have to spend a short time in his company.

Two people worked in rural development, one in Malawi another in China. It was thought to provoking to be told about the problem of trying to develop sugar growing in Malawi, where there are enough men to cut the cane at the moment but not in the future because of AIDS.

Joyce Malley is a world champion masters Judo champion and the coach of the GB team and had that inner strength of someone who knows and enjoys what they do. We often chatted when running because we seemed to be about the same speed.

Triathletes - these people are really insane going for huge long cycle rides up hillsides and then going for runs. They have so much gusto.

Positive enthusiasm was everywhere.


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