A to Z of Honourable Order of Woodwoses

A is for Artist.
Woodwose 0, Richard Long, the Bristolian conceptual artist, was the first person known to have completed a circuit of the Community Forest Path in 1998 for his piece:
HOME LAND WALK, described as
A continuous walk of 45 miles in 16 hours around Bristol on the Community Forest Path – A walk encircling my birthplace and the birthplaces of four generations of my family.

B is for Buddhist.
Woodwose xlix, Rin’dzin Pamo, was the first person to complete a ‘barefoot’ Green Man Challenge around the Community Forest Path. She is a Vajrayana Buddhist of the Aro tradition – represented in Bristol by the Aro Ling centre on the Gloucester Road. The Buddha’s teaching mission and the Green Man Challenge both have their beginning in a deer park. The Buddha taught for 45 years – the Green Man Challenge is 45 miles long.

C is for Corinthian. Woodwose ii, Mark Vogan, formerly of Glossopdale Harriers had a key role in spreading knowledge of the Green Man Challenge in the Fell Running Community. He heard about Woodwose i’s achievement through his contacts with Town and Country Harriers and decided to have a go on Christmas Eve 2007, because he happened to be between social visits. He did this without any preparation in a truly Corinthian spirit.

D is for Daily Runner. Woodwose xii, Jim Plunkett-Cole and Wishthound Alphonso Fernandez are running at least 10K every day during 3013 with their friend, Neil Taylor, to raise money for various charites. Their challenge 10Kx365 has attracted support from most local running clubs and is due to come to a climax by completing the Green Man Challenge on 31st December.

E is for European. Woodwose lxxxiv, Neil Bryant is one of the select band for whom the Green Man is not so much a challenge as a warm up. In 2012 he completed the Transeuropean Footrace from the tip of Jutland in Denmark to Gibraltar a distance of 4,178.5 km in 44 days. He appears to have moved to Switzerland from Bristol for more challenging running conditions.

F is for Fundraiser. Woodwose xxvii, John Reynolds, was the first fundraiser to notice the Green Man Challenge. However, he did not riase money for by running the Green Man. That was merely a warm up for longer challenges to raise money for St Peter’s Hospice. The latest venture I know of was to run 192 miles in three days in aid of the National Osteoporosis Society.

G is for Guardians. Woodwoses lxxviii and lxxix, Sarah Sweeting and Rob Dickson have taken on the role of Guardians of the Community Forest Path alongside the Gaveller – Woodwose v. If you can use the paths that make up the Green Man Challenge, it is because people have taken the trouble to keep them open. I could add the names of other Woodwoses and of officials such as Adrian Woollacott of North Somerset, but then I would have to add the names of the Public Rights of Way officers in all the councils through which the path passes.

H is for Hungarian. Woodwose lxxxvi, Zoltan Lesi and his Wishthound Runy added a touch of international class to the cani-cross competition by finishing second overall in the 2013 Green Man Ultra event in a time of 7 hours 48 mins.

I is for intermediary. Giles Heeks and his colleague Woodwose xxxv, Martin Klijn of Moti Bristol running and triathlon shop organised a guided run around the Green Man Challenge course in February 2011, which attracted sponsorship from Saloman and Merryl. After he moved on Giles introduced Steve Worrallo to the idea of the Green Man Challenge.

J is for joker. Woodwose xviii, Matt “Wistman” Edwards, organised a successful attempt on the Green Man Challenge by a group of half a dozen triathletes from Bad tri to celebrate the Vernal Equinox in 2010. To gee up his group beforehand he devised a nocturnal visit to the Green Man where various peculiar ceremonies took place.

K is for King of the Forest. Woodwose liv, Daryl Carter is the current king of the of the Green Man Challenge having twice smashed the record for the course, in spite of having had a brush with serious illness – the first time in a time of 7 hours 8 mins – the second time in 6 hours 35 mins to break the 7 hour barrier.

L is for Ladies. Woodwose viii, Ruth Pitchers became the first female Woodwose in November 2008 and remained in solitary splendour until February 2011, when her record of 9 hours 54 mins was pipped by Woodwose xxxii, Angie Sadler in 9 hours 46 mins. These were joined by two more, Woodwoses xlvii Tracy Darch and xlix Rin’dzin Pamo before the end of the year. More women have been attracted by Green Man Ultra Race.

M is for Medics. Woodwoses xxv, David Mitchell, xxvi, Mark Pyke (El Lucio) and xxvii, Steve Eastaugh -Waring (a vascular surgeon, an anaesthetist and a hip man) gave ultra running a medical thumbs up when they completed a circuit in 9 hours 51 mins in December 2010. These are not the only medical Woodwoses – Woodwose ii is a GP – and there may well be more.

N is for Nightrunner. Woodwose liii Alex Foster and Woodwose xxxviii Luke Taylor were the first to run the Green Man Challenge at night from dusk to dawn instead from dawn to dusk as in the usual Challenge. Woodwose lxxviii and Woodwose lxxix, Sarah Sweeting and Rob Dickson have also achieved this feat.

O is for Organiser. Woodwose li is Steve Worrallo, the organiser of the Green Man Ultra. Steve’s Ultramarathon ltd website shows the first Ultramarathon organised in 2010 was the Malvern Hills Ultra. This was repeated in 2011. In 2012 the Green Man Ultra was added along with the Thames Challenge Races, the Severn Challenge and Relentless – a series of continuous ultra races. He lives at Holt Castle in Shropshire.

P is for Pacesetters. Woodwose vii, Martin Beale and Woodwose xiv, Martin Indge set the pace for the Green Man Challenge by breaking the 8 hour barrier in 2008 and 2009 and opened up the possibility of a 6 hour circuit. Martin Beale was also responsible for escorting Giles Heeks’ group around the circuit when most of his guides dropped out. The picture shows Martin Beale (l.) escorting American, Kevin Stroud, on a continuous run (105 miles) on the Cotswold Way.

Q is for Queen of the Forest. Woodwose xc, Lynette Porter is the current Queen of the Forest after completing the Green Man Challenge in 8 hours 3 mins in March 2013 ahead of all but six of the men. She would undoubtedly have got under 8 hours if the Ultra Race had started and finished in the deer park. She was 18 minutes quicker than Liz Wiggins the previous record holder.

R is for Rugby Players. John Carr and Kevin Rafter,former distinguished Rugby Players, became walking Woodwoses with their friend Karl Suchy in June 2011.

S is for Strider. Woodwose xxiv, Rob Burrows put the cat among the pigeons by challenging the assumption that a 12 hour circuit of the Community Forest Path should be categorised as the feat of a running Woodwose. He managed to walk around the path in 11 hours 35 mins after burning off two companions who were supposed to walk with him before he reached Dundry.

T is for Trailblazer. Woodwose i, Chris Smart started the whole thing off by completing the first circuit of the Community Forest Path in response to the Green Man Challenge on Sunday 30th September 2007 in 11 hours 38 mins. Chris was unsupported and was carrying weight to train for the OMM (Original Mountain Marathon). He made one navigational error near Goose Green and stopped for lunch, which made his time vulnerable to Strider’s effort. (He has since achieved 10 hours 27 mins and 9 hours 22 mins – the latter being sunwise.)

U is for the Unknown Woodwose. There are certainly more people who have completed a continuous circuit of the Community Forest Path than have informed the Gaveller of their achievement to claim the title of Woodwose. Richard Long did it before the Green Man Challenge had been formulated and there was a group from the Cathedral School who did it in about 20 hours and didn’t want to advertise their names. There must be more. (I mistook this man for Woodwose xlviii in Hambrook.)

V is for Virtual Woodwose. Woodwose xliv, ABC Warrior, is a virtual Woodwose. This concept was dreamed up to deal with groups that do the Green Man Challenge as a fund raising relay. This particular group are the Avon Business Club, which meets in Clifton every week. ABC Warrior is the Woodwose and the individual walkers are Woodwights, the word for those who help Woodwoses.

W is for Writer. Woodwose v, Chris Bloor has written three books of walks and runs connected to the Community Forest Path. The first describes routes looping out to the Path, the second set loop out from the Path and the third describes the Path itself. Woodwose cxix, Ira Rainey is writing a book called Fat Man to Green Man. He says “The book is light-hearted/humorous in nature and covers my journey from fat lazy plodder into somebody who could run and complete the Green Man Ultra (as well as the Bath Half Marathon the following day) and everything that followed.”

X is for Xylophilist. Woodwose xlviii, Neil Banwell is a xylophilist – a lover of trees rather than beetle living in rotten wood. After he became a Woodwose his interest trees took him to Dartmoor to explore the mysterious Wistman’s Wood. After recovering from injury, he has become a fundraiser for research into autism.

Y is for Youngest Woodwose. Ultrarunning mainly appeals to older men, but there have been some younger woodwoses such as Woodwose xx, James Leith of Bad tri. However, I do not know whether he was the youngest.

Z is for Zoophilist. Woodwose lxiii, Mixed up Muts is a virtual Woodwose created by a cani-cross team, who are animal lovers or zoophilists. Several cani-cross teams have taken part in the Green Man Ultra, which features cani-cross classes. They are following in the footsteps of Woodwose xii and his dog or Wishthound, Alfie. Vegetarians are also known as zoophilists and there are several vegetarian Woodwoses including Woodwose ii.

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