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So many weird and wonderful things happened to me and Pete during our extensive time spent in the world of running. From the time we met, we covered enough terrain between the two of us to qualify for many round the world trips! With copious numbers of 10k and 10 mile races under our belts, it was the ability to discharge his enormous physical energy and obvious talent that kept Pete going. And for me, it was that I found running ridiculously difficult! Incredible that I could walk out in front of an audience of two, two hundred or 10,000 complete strangers during my career without batting an eyelid. And yet to put my kit on and go for a training run, or indeed run that last 2k of a 10k race, I struggled with willpower and motivation because I just found it incredibly hard to run and keep going!

Yet after years of dogged determination to do it for the simple reason that it was the hardest thing I did, I managed to get a couple of great PBs plus win a couple of races (my proudest moment was winning David Denton’s Surrey Classic Series, a series of 3 x 10k races around Nonsuch Park, Oxshott and Horton Country Park. These would occur every year in November and December, and the last one was the best. After the race, we would all rush in for the prize giving, but primarily to grab our coffee and mince pie to celebrate the onset of Christmas.

The SAM SEVEN was a seven mile road race in Leatherhead organised by The Samaritans. I always thought the Samaritans did a brilliant job - and still do - and I wanted to support their fundraising efforts by running this particular race.

I recall that it was a beautiful sunny day. And that always bodes well for me, as I run particularly well in heat, my parents originating from countries with tropical climates (India and Guyana in South America). I remember I beat a guy once by tailing him up a hill, then overtaking him on the flat in searing 30 degree heat!

So the race was run and I came through the finish line with my time hovering above my head. No sooner was I through and walking to the end of the refreshments table laid out on the right, when someone bounded up to me and thrust a large blue box of Cadbury’s Roses into my hand.

“Well done!” they said, and bounded away again.

My first thought was, WOW! What an amazing thing to do. They’ve given EVERYONE who crossed the finish line a box of chocolates for their efforts.

When Pete found me, he asked me why I had a box of Cadbury’s Roses. I said,

“Didn’t everyone get a box?”

When he shook his head, we were nonplussed. Why had I been given a box, but no one else?

We walked over to one of the race marshalls to investigate. And we put the question to him. He said this:

“We were told by the Race Organiser that we were to give this box of chocolates to the first person who crosses the finish line with A SMILE ON THEIR FACE!”

SAY WHAT ?? I was in a state of shock! You mean in all the time prior to the 1 hour 14 minutes and 19 seconds that I completed the race, NO ONE came through the finish line smiling ?? I was agog.

The Marshall looked at me - and smiled.

I LOVE SMILING. It makes people very happy. And most importantly, it makes me happy. Nothing makes me smile more than playing the piano and singing. And finishing a race when you’re knackered comes a close second.

So never forget to smile.

Because if you do, you just might get a box of chocolates for your trouble.


Have you experienced any unusual occurrences in your running adventures? Email me at Or leave a comment below.

I’d love to hear about it!


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