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Bacchus Half & Full Race Report

Catharine Western (aka Burt) reports.

It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I approached the Bacchus Half Marathon and its cross-dressing fancy dress code this weekend. The residents of Rustington were in for a treat at 7.30am on a Sunday morning when ‘Burt & Tracey’ emerged from our house to be picked up by Clive Harvey in his civvies who, quite sensibly, had decided to save his gender change for the minibus…Thankfully we were joined by Jamelia (James Brock) at Angmering station dolled up to the nines in her pink tutu, looking absolutely fabulous daaaarling. Whilst waiting for the mini bus we were kindly advised by a passing taxi driver that we probably shouldn’t be hanging around on street corners….fair point. We were joined on our journey to Denbies Vineyard by Geordie Paul and his band of Spartans who were doing the marathon yet again, possibly the strangest combination of fancy dress outfits imaginable. I feared for the safety of my band of ‘ladies’ as the Spartans didn’t seem fussy….

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L-R Jamelia, Tracey, Clarissa, Glenda & Tina

Once at the venue final touches were added to fabulous outfits, makeup was applied, and Glenn Parisi’s (sorry Glenda’s) breasts were inflated.  I had the somewhat surreal experience of entering the ladies toilets in drag, causing several double takes! I then had the even more surreal experience of applying lipstick and eyeshadow to 5 men. The local charity shops had done us proud, with Clive & Trevor Harvey (aka Clarissa and Tina) sporting a backless vest and leather mini skirt with fishnets respectively. NB I am reliably informed that running in leather is not advisable. Tom very unwisely left his outfit purchasing to me and I decided to go with Anne from Little Britain as my inspiration…eh eh ehhhhhhh! Glenda was rudely described as a ‘hairy Pamela Anderson’ which I thought was very unfair, I think she must have forgotten to book her wax this week. It took us a while to spot them, but Wally (Kirsty) and Wanda (Strongie) completed our gang.


Not the Wally & Walda I remember from the children’s books….

Roger the blow-up doll somehow survived last year’s escapades and made her debut this year as Doris. Sadly she hadn’t been able to afford the gender realignment surgery and I’m sorry to say she was badly taken advantage of by some rowdy female runners at one of the feed stations…

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Doris required re-inflating after all of her exertions during the race


After watching the marathon runners, including our Spartan travelling companions, head off first, we wandered down for the most leisurely start I have ever experienced. In fact, the whole race was undertaken at a very civilised pace, with any attempts at breaking out of a walk criticised by Grumpy Glenda as “going too fast”.  At one point we were overtaken by a flock of flamingos. There was lots of interaction with the other competitors, marshals and poor unsuspecting members of the public during the race, which created a great atmosphere. Glenda (particularly her lace clad derrière) proved very popular with members of the clergy! It was at the third feed station that we encountered a rather large issue…they had run out of wine! Somewhat ironic given the name of the race and not ideal, particularly when we discovered that this was the case at the following few stops as well…We finally got our hands on some liquid refreshment at the last station, not a minute too soon as Glenda was threatening to throw a full-blown diva strop. The lack of wine was disappointing but it was still an enjoyable stroll (I don’t feel I can call it a race!) in beautiful countryside with a lot of giggles along the way. Crossing the line we were rewarded with a medal, t-shirt, hog roast, and some wine! Once beards were rubbed off and breasts deflated, thirsts were quenched with some beers in the sunshine.