I'm heading on foot up Claremont Bank in the direction of the main gates of the Quarry. The closer I get the more I can hear. The town isn't silent any more. There's music in the distance, and a hum of voices.
Hum? By the time I reach the Quarry, it's turning into a muffled roar. 8.30pm and the Quarry's full of people. There are booths, marquees and runners everywhere. All the runners are numbered and bear evidence of origin or intent. I see a little group for the Wrexham AC, another for Cancer Research UK.
Here's a group running for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Sophie and Amy Fewtrell lost their brother Adam to cancer two years ago. He was only twenty. Today Sophie and Amy, along with another Amy and Tilli are running in his memory and to raise awareness of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Adam spent much time in Birmingham's Teenage Unit, but the Teenage Cancer Trust would like to see a teenage ward in every hospital in every town and region. I wish the girls well with their run. They're doing it for the best of all possible causes. HERE'S the link to the Teenage Cancer Trust if you want to donate.
Waiting for the starting pistol, I find Kait Weston, part of Shrewsbury School's fifty-odd marathon team. They're running as part of Medic Malawi, a Shrewsbury based charity run by ex-Head of Wrekin College, Stephen Drew. They're raising funds for a hospital in Malawi, which is the seventh poorest country in the world. In particular they're involved in a large project to prevent blindness in the country - not congenital blindness, but brought about by a pernicous bug.
Everybody's lining up to go. Down near the start line, I see the police team running in memory of Georgia Williams, the teenage girl who was murdered in Wellington last month. I also find a couple of Mexican peasants, but the Shropshire Star has got to them first and the best that I can do is get in the way of their photograph.
By now there's a crowd all around me. Music is booming out of massive speakers, courtesy of Radio Shropshire. People are queuing frantically for last minute loo-calls. The race is ready to go. All the organisers are waiting for now is the all-clear from the cones-men in town who are having a few last minute adjustments to make.
I get talking to the runners next to me, who'll be lining up for the half-marathon which starts thirty minutes after the main one. Anna Hughes and Emily Hunt. They're sisters of the Radio Shropshire presenter Johnty O'Donto [Donnell], who does the Sunday morning Treasure Hunt. One of them is living in Shrewsbury, running with the Shrewsbury Road Runners, the other trains on the Peaks outside Sheffield, where she lives [but she reckons she'll come back to Shrewsbury one day - it has such a pull, she says]. Writing this down, I can't remember which is which, but I say I'll see them later up on Castle Street [and I do].
It's time for the off. The crowd chants, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.... Led by a team of cyclists, the massive crowd of runners chunters past. I film them. I think that's very clever of me. It'll be good to get a bit of film on My Tonight From Shrewsbury. I charge through the town [yes, running part of the way, up alleys where I hope nobody can see me], passing the first few runners in the High Street, the nice young man with the electric mandolin outside the Loggerheads pub, the nice ladies from the Dogs Trust in their fold-up chairs at the top of Castle Street, and finally home - to find that my film hasn't come out!
Here are some more pics, anyway [including a couple of me in action blogging, taken by a friend, Susan Davies, from her upstair window]. And more to follow later on. I'm up to Shrewsbury School to see what's going on up there.