The BHAA Jeep – Where are you now?
I grew up listening to David Bowie. He was different, even a little disruptive and certainly didn’t conform.
Like us Runners, he has had his highs and lows. We call them PB’s, he calls them hits. We get injured and he fades away. Then, like our own Lazarus like comebacks, he returns with a haunting new track that steals the show.
His latest offering “Where are you now?” was my very first thought when the BHAA Director General, Paul O’Connell, asked me to write a little piece about our much loved yellow jeep.
In my working life, I’m immersed in brands, messages and marketing. For me, a brand is all about what you think of something when you’re not there. If I said ‘Ryanair’ you have a thought. If I said ‘Aer Lingus’ you’d have a different thought. Brands are an emotional connection that can be triggered by a symbol or colour.
When I think BHAA, I immediately think of the yellow jeep. For me, it is the symbol that launches a thousand memories. The dulcet tones of Susan’s commentary. The music in the middle of nowhere. Friendly faces, contorted faces, determined, competitive faces. Private moments, shared moments and hot tea with figure busting buttered fruit cake.
It’s a familiar friend and (if we are honest) heralds the arrival of confident swaggering athletes who like ‘real’ racing. Like some far out cult, it’s music draws us to some remote boggy field. From nowhere, toned legs in unseasonal singlets, follow it’s mesmerising lure. And, even though it offers no protection, we are drawn to our yellow jeep.
It’s there when you arrive and it’s there when you leave. I often wondered at its loyal, quiet service. It took every load, started it’s tired engine but never failed to take whatever was thrown at it.
It was here, there and everywhere and, like a trusty old pet, never complained. It just got on with it, ever present even omnipresent.
I grew up enchanted by Dr. Who and the Tardis. For me, our yellow jeep was not a jeep, it was our Tardis. It just got there, it just left and it just got to the next place. Wherever we were, it was there too as if it landed at a place we call ‘The Finish’
Like you and me, there’s a time that will come when we will retire too. We will tell grandchildren of a yellow jeep with magic powers. In a strange sort of way, the retiring Tardis is a morality tale for us mortal runners.
One day, someone will ask the same question;
“Where are you now?”
Wherever we are, wherever you are, I hope the Tardis will be there too.
There’s no such thing as the Golden Years. The Golden Years are now.