Will The Spring Migrants Be Back? (30/03/2014)

This coming Saturday will see the final event of the winter athletic season – The National Road Relays.

With it comes the opportunity to again spot the "spring migrants". Those that travel year on year back over proven routes to meet up and feast on the athletic delights of Sutton Park.

Early sightings at the Midland Road Relays were the likes of Ray Fletcher, Colin Hunt, Tony Phillips, David Payne and President Ron Bentley all coming out to welcome the new spring.

Will the National see the rarities like the lesser spotted Hager or the "great chested" Milovsorov? New additions to established Tipton families have already be seen in the forms of the Hill's, Nicholls & Williams.

Of course it is not just the Tipton "genus" that can be seen there are many famous faces and bodies from other families. Famous runners who have graced the roads of the park will be mingling with those blazing a trail this year. At the Midlands there were Ian Stewart & John Graham.

The National may bring the likes of Jim Alder, Dave Moorcroft, Bill Adcocks and other "old predators" of the athletic food chain who used to go hunting (especially on Stage 9).

Sutton Park is always a good meeting place for those people you have not seen for some time, often twelve months ago. It is reassuring to have the regularity of the seasons – both athletic and calendar – but do not take it for granted, savour it. For this author it will be his 30th year of pilgrimage.

The National Road Relays are a competitive time but they also bring friends and families back together.

This year there will be absent friends no longer with us who we should take time to remember. Enjoy the event but take time to reflect on what the seasonality & regularity really means to you and the part our sport plays in your life.

So if you are coming along why not ring up an old athletics friend or rival and say that you will meet them in the park to watch and catch up on old times. I for one will be there – but who will you see?