Stafford half marathon – if I see the banana. Ruth Farrell

A play in 3 Acts
The action takes place between December 2014 and March 2015 at various locations in Shropshire and Staffordshire. All conversations actually happened.
Cast (in order of appearance)
Colleagues​ Various employees of Severn Trent Water
Ruth Farrell​​Stoke Fit member since November 2014 – does not own Stoke Fit t-shirt or fluorescent running jackets
(Running History – several Parkruns and two fun runs, both of which ended with Ruth being overtaken on the line by someone dressed as a banana)
Emily, Lesley, Clare and Steven ​Stoke Fit Leaders – proper runners who own Stoke Fit Leader t-shirts
SF Encouragers​ Stoke Fit members – some with Stoke Fit-shirts, some with hoodies, most with fluorescent running jackets
FRC​ Fellow Running Colleague
St John​ Colleague who serves with St John’s ambulance
Act 1
Scene 1 – The Office – December 2014
Colleague​“The organisers of the Stafford Half Marathon say that your work is disrupting the route – will you sponsor the race to make up for the inconvenience?”
Ruth​“Ok, how much do they want”
Colleague​“Not too much and by sponsoring it we get two free places to run”
Ruth​“OK, who is going to have those”
Colleague​“Ruth, you go running, you can do that”
Ruth (with feeling)​“No way”
Act 2
Scene 1 – Baddeley Green January 7th 2015
Ruth (loudly to anyone on the medium long run that would listen)
​“It’s my first time on this run – please look after me”
Emily​“You’ll be fine (long pause) we are running up to Brown Edge”
Scene 2 – The Kitchen January 7th 2015
Ruth stumbles around unable to even find the kettle, let alone the energy to switch the kettle on
Scene 3 – The Office January 8th 2015
Ruth (loudly) to Colleagues
​“My legs are wrecking, I ran 6 miles, I was in bits, I am not doing any half marathon”
Scene 4 – The Kitchen January 14th 2015
Ruth returns home after running up the mountainous Birches Head Road and amazingly finds the kettle and almost, almost has the energy to switch the kettle on
Scene 5 – The Office – February 2015
Ruth​“Right then, who wants these half marathon places”
Colleagues sit in silence looking at each other and then all speak at once – difficult to distinguish between several voices
“I’ve got a bad back, it’s my dad’s / gran’s / sisters birthday, I am going to the football that day, I would love to but I am busy that day – what date is it?”
Suddenly and very clearly all colleagues then speak as one
“Ruth, you go running, you can do that”
Scene 6 – The Kitchen – February 18th 2015
Ruth returns home after running up Birches Head Road finds the kettle, switches it on and makes a cup of tea
Scene 7 – Baddeley Green – February 25th 2015
Ruth (loudly to anyone on the long run that would listen)
​“It’s my first time on the long run – please look after me”
Emily ​“You’ll be fine”
Scene 8 –Top of Hamil Road– February 25th 2015
It seems like several hours have passed since the last scene
Ruth (as loudly as she could manage, ie not very loudly given lack of breath)
“This is the furthest I have ever ran before – can everyone please clap and put some banners out”
SF Encouragers, clapping​“You are doing brilliantly”
Scene 9 – The Kitchen – February 25th 2015
Ruth ignores the kettle and instead passes through the kitchen to flop in a heap in front of the tv – she moves again, gingerly, approximately two hours later
Scene 10 – The Office – February 26th 2015
FRC to Ruth (with enthusiasm)​“What is happening with those half marathon places – Ruth, you go running, you can do that, shall we have a go?”
Ruth to FRC (with no enthusiasm)​​“Er, maybe, I ran over ten miles last night”
And so it came to pass that the entry form was sent in and all Colleagues breathed a large, collective sigh of relief that they were definitely not going to be doing any running any time soon.
Scene 11 – Norton Lane – March 16th 2015
Lesley​​“Are you ready for Stafford Ruth?”
Ruth​​“Well, it is a bit late now if I am not but I hope so”
Lesley​​“You’ll be fine”
ACT 3
Scene 1 – Stafford – March 22nd 2015
Three thousand “proper runners” stand waiting to start the Stafford Half Marathon – it seems to a casual observer that at least two thousand of them are wearing red Stoke Fit t-shirts.
Scene 2 – The Office – March 23rd 2015
St John​​“Hello Ruth, how are you feeling today?”
Ruth​​“My legs are stiff but I am not as bad as I was expecting to be, I actually really ​​​​​enjoyed it”
St John​“Well, trust me, I saw everyone that came over that finishing line and when you finished, you looked fine”
THE END
What happened next…………………..
Almost £200 raised in sponsorship for Water Aid
Ruth’s family​Want to know why they aren’t featured in the play as they too offered encouragement, some top training tips – such as “Should you really look that purple after a run” and were there on Beaconside when the going was getting a little tougher
Colleagues​One has now signed up for Park Run and has promised to attempt the Stafford half next year
FRC​Fellow Running Colleague – has made a full recovery and has signed up for Uttoxeter half marathon in May
Emily, Lesley, Clare and Steven ​Are still unaware of just what a difference they make to people’s confidence
SF Encouragers​Still pound the streets of Stoke having a chat and making everyone feel welcome
St John​Is doing as Ruth asked and telling everyone that she looked ok when she crossed the line
Ruth Farrell​​Is fine (and just a little bit proud of herself)
The Banana​​Was nowhere to be seen but Ruth will keep a lookout for it if she ever enters another race

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