Poppy Run

Poppy Run is a series of family friendly runs that took place across the country raising money for the Royal British Legion.
Thank you to Helen Marsland on sharing her experience from the Ashton Court poppy run, Bristol.


6 and a half goats and 2 doggies gathered in the grounds of Ashton Court in Bristol to take part in the Royal British Legion poppy run.

After a short speech from a Royal British Legion representative there followed a moving 2 minute silence.

Sub 30 runners were invited to make their way to the start line, 3 of us goats stepped up, followed by the rest of the herd who were just a stride behind us.

The klaxon sounded and we began our short but meaningful 5k. 5k is not to be underestimated, it’s a training run for some, but a challenge and new distance for others.

I was stepping up to the 5k with no worries, however my views soon changed! The terrain quickly changed from tarmac to a small gravel and rocky path, which immediately changed the game, running was tricky and care had to be taken, the pace needed to be slowed!

It was almost a relief when we entered into the woods and underfoot was leafy. The relief was short lived, as the Marshall gestured us to the right telling us ‘just a short incline for you’……this ‘short incline’ carried on for what seemed like forever. I gave in and had to fast walk up it, this was becoming a tough trail run.

We levelled out across the top of the grounds of Ashton Court, where a bitter wind tried to challenge us even more! The views were amazing. Looking across the views of our city I indulged in thoughts of the veterans and of everything them and their families have been through, with memories of the many other soldiers and people who have served before them, it put a tricky 5k run into perspective.

Once across the top the downhill started….downhill on gravel is quite a challenge, especially if like me you can take a tumble without to much help. The gravel turned into tarmac, now a safe running surface but blinded by bright low autumn sunshine….this was becoming a 5k to remember! The downhill continued, I was taking care not to tumble as the pace of the downhill incline naturally made the speed gather in my legs and almost overtook me. I needed to take control over the run before it overtook me!

Soon I saw the flag and the Marshall gesturing the home run. I could hear the cheers of the supporters from the finish line willing on the other runners who were heading toward their well deserved medals.

Finally there it was, the finish line…I ran towards it and proudly claimed my beautiful poppy medal in a time of 33:01 with thoughts of why we were all there.

Our star goat was Andre who finished 3rd overall. What a running machine that man is! Then amongst the rest of the finishers were myself, followed by a triumphant Kim Crispin and her little pooches , then Emz Pie came determinedly towards the finish. The undulating surfaces had tried to take it’s toll on her ankles which have recently completed 2 half marathons but she stormed though the finish line not letting that beat her. Emz was closely followed by Trish and Andres baby goat Savanna for whom this was her first ever run!

Trish zoomed through the dust of savanna towards her medal and claimed her first run as a green goat! We all celebrated together when a jubilant Emma danced towards the finish to collect her poppy clad medal.

Such a meaningful run, and so great to meet up with our online running buddies.

Hope you enjoy reading my view of the poppy run.

Helen Marsland

Donations can be made on the Poppy Run Justgiving page. https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/britishlegion/poppyrun2018

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