Looking back I was surprised that no one had thought of it before, an actual LFR band…although perhaps not the sort that you’d think. LFR have always been known for delivering fantastic, vociferous support at events and races, you only have to look at our XC events and see how we line up to deafeningly support our own guys as they finish to understand the LFR tradition of “supporting the hell out of things”. You simply don’t see other clubs committing to the same level.
Certainly on many occasions some of us have taken the odd noise-making device to an event to help raise the temperature but then Anthony Smith and Paul Doyle came up with the now famous gong. That notched things up a bit. However, until recently, we hadn’t really thought about getting our collective ‘instruments’ together to form a band in order to add something a bit special to events.
That said, with some of us out of action, some not being able to race for other reasons, the perfect storm arrived with 4 of us being free for a couple of hours on the same morning as the Dirt Half and this gave rise to the LFR Band’s first gig. In case you were wondering, the 4 in question were Anthony Smith, Vice Captain Carrie Tyas, Debbie Morrell and myself. Could we really schlep our gear up into the woods and support the hell out of the Dirt Half in our own inimitable way? To quote Barack Obama… “yes we can”
Its not like we went under-prepared. Armed with not one, but 2 hunting horns, a triangle, a pump-action air horn, a kazoo, a gong and finally an accordion…yes that’s right, an accordion, we set up at about the mile 8 point in the woods just after a small hill. Our aim? To play improvised jazz and offer some comic relief to runners as they came up the hill and shout encouragement as they came through.
So how did it go down? Well I can definitely tell you that overall it seemed to have been well-received by the runners, with a mixture of surprise, laughter and confusion on their faces as they went by. One was so impressed he had to stop to take a couple of pictures of us, such was the impression we made! Others informed us that we could be heard for miles! Again, another small victory I think. But what of the LFR runners? We called them all out by name, cheered, encouraged and gave them some impov-jazz the likes of which they will never hear again and they went off for the remaining 5 miles, re-energized.
There have been previous blogs about ‘supporting’ and how much fun it can be when you can’t take part in a race, to feel part of the event, albeit in a different way. I don’t want to repeat these blogs but there really is something special about supporting an event, whether its with a band making noise, marshalling or simply turning up for a short time and encouraging. As a runner, every time someone encourages you from the side-lines, something clicks inside and you automatically up your game a little. When someone calls you by name, your game changes and it gives you a massive lift. They say its better to give than to receive and the same applies to running, and runners always talk about events that are well-supported for a reason! It’s because we get a buzz from the support.
I don’t know about future of the LFR band, but we had a blast on our first gig at the Dirt Half and it would be great to think that we could make it happen again at a race sometime soon and bring our own unique blend of comedy improvised jazz to the runners.
Other blogs about supporting at events: