As the sky darkened and the moon began to show its face, at a time when all good hobbits are safety tucked up in their hobbit holes eating their third and fourth helpings of the tenth meal of the day, they came. On foot and by carriage, in ones and twos they came, in the steadily developing gloom. Unlike other sensible mortals at this time of year they appeared half naked, wearing nothing but flimsy lycra and light shoes to protect them from the cold winter elements.
Gathering at their appointed place of the Burn by the Willows, like moths to a flickering flame, they huddled in a dimly lit corner. A passerby would have heard strange mutterings, in a tongue rarely encountered in these environs. Parlauf! Parlauf! Parlauf! Like the strange chant of a Saxon Druid it permeated among them. The clink of coins thrown into a chest echoed around as one by one, some more reluctantly than others, paid their tithe. Each, hearing their name called out answered the call. So from a disorganised rabble emerged tightly knit groups of three. Each trio had in their possession a baton decorated in the hues of Christmases long since gone which they waved as if to ward off evil spirits.Leaving the meagre sanctity of the Burn they faced the winter wind and headed willy-nilly to a place of learning to continue their ritual.
At a given signal each took their turn chasing each other round and round in circles, going nowhere. Their fellows would whoop and cheer loudly as their chosen warrior came into view,frightening locals and wildlife alike. This seemed to go on for hours although truth be told it lasted less than half an hour of the clock. Finally as a tall man chased a petite woman as if he was trying to get to the pub for last orders the crowd reached its crescendo. Much merriment and the clapping together of hands followed as the huffs and puffs and steaming bodies of the participants crossed some arbitrary line.
It was over! The festivities could begin. At the local hostelry “The Hogs Head Inn” our intrepid band gathered to partake in vittles and strong ale. Prizes were awarded to those who had performed well on the night and to those who hadn’t, a greatly treasured, highly decorated spoon was bestowed. For those deemed of special merit for performing throughout the year a glass etched with their name on was presented. And so as the witching hour drew closer, they returned to the bosoms of their friends and family to prepare for Christmas. Happy Christmas one and all.
Also on the evening of the Parlauf, the greatly anticipated and prestigious Grand Prix awards were handed out, with Rob Andrew running away with the coveted first place.
And Ella Brown presented our annual award the Robert Brown Trophy in honour of her late husband. This award recognises achievement at Druridge Bay parkrun and this year was presented to the first Alnwick Harrier to finish at the first DBpr after lockdown. Well done Geoff Givens!