For as many years as I can remember I’ve found myself stood in the car park of Chipping Sodbury Sports Centre on Remembrance Sunday as the clock struck 11. I’ve always found the silence of one-thousand plus people bowing their heads in remembrance to be deafening, beautiful, and incredibly moving. This Remembrance Sunday that same car park will be silent once again, but it’s a different kind of silence this year, because none of us are there.
Back in the spring, as the coronavirus pandemic that has shaped so much of our lives this year seemed like just another virus that would pass, we deliberated hard on how best to plan for this year to ensure we didn’t take anyone’s money without knowing we could hold the event, or be able to return it if we couldn’t. Every angle and timeline we laid out in front of us was a difficult choice, with the ultimate choice being to not hold an event at all. Eventually that was the decision we took, and while at the time it was a hard call to make, it’s clear to see this morning that it was the right one.
Not since the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak of 2001 have the streets and muddy fields of Chipping Sodbury been so quiet on this special day. It would have been a very wet and muddy one this year for sure. With all the rain we’ve had over the autumn and even the rain today, there would be plenty of mud to go around. But that mud isn’t going anywhere, and it’ll all still be waiting next year, when we hope we will be ready to fill the car park with silence once again.
As we move into 2021 we will start to plan for the next race, the next time we will see each other in the mud of South Gloucestershire, and the next time we can smile as we dance with Terry the Tornado. Until then, stay safe.
When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.