Thursday, 29 November 2007

Blogger: Michael's Parish Blog - Manage Posts

Blogger: Michael's Parish Blog - Manage Posts

Peel to Douglas

Back to the present with a bang! It just occurred to me that the keener visitor may still have the opportunity to take part in the 10 miles Peel to Douglas Walk this Sunday 2nd December.

There is 08.15 signing on at the Philip Christian Centre in Peel for a 09.00 start or P.J. 487873 & Bridget 852884 will probably still appreciate your help if you want to put something back in.

There's no pre-entry for this one though word on the street points to the hot favourite, Peter Kaneen becoming the first man ever to win the race twice in one year.

Looking at the Marshal Board leads me to believe that second place may be disputed by Sean Hands, Jock Waddington & myself with visiting walker Mark Byrne adding to the melting pot.

Chris Cale and fast improving newcomer Andy Green may also come into the equation while the likes of Ray Pitts and Vinny Lynch are also capable of making their mark over the shorter distance.

Marie Jackson looks set to be the front runner in the Ladies' race, though she has been struggling with a niggling injury, so Jane Mooney or Lisa Motley may come to the fore. Jane Kennaugh is always an unknown quantity in this kind of event while Sue Biggart has been working hard on her technique over the Autumn, and it remains to be seen whether she is starting to add genuine speed to her undisputed stamina.

How it all begin

Having devoured all the 'Posts' made by last year's 'Bloggers,' I felt it was a great honour to be asked to follow in Steve Partington's footsteps (something I became very accustomed to over the last three years) and if I can make it half as good as he did, I shall be very pleased. Speculation is rife as to the identity of the other bloggers and by now you should know but I don't.

As a family, my wife, Irene and I decided to take up walking in late 2001. Though I'd been here since 1978, I quickly became amazed by how little of the Isle of Man, you actually see driving around in a car and this seemed a great way to get the us all fit, though I can't claim that it was a total success with everyone. Our two eldest, Matthew & Elizabeth weren't interested at all and wouldn't come and it is still a major challenge to persuade our Lucy to join us though just occasionally, she may admit to having enjoyed the odd expedition.

I first became aware of the Parish Walk in 2002. I had just spent the previous 24 years in glorious oblivion, not even having heard of it but having recently got the 'Walking Bug,' the fact that Sara Denver with whom I'd worked with for some time was attempting to travel a massive, 32.5 miles to Peel, was surely impossible.

Well, she did it and I had to fork out my sponsor money but I had decided that was a challenge I'd really have to face.

2003 came around relatively quickly and Irene & I entered our first walk. We had done a little bit of training in the previous weeks, culminating in 16 miles(ish) along the course to Castletown (we didn't know you doubled back at Malew)

We had never before done anything so hard but also so enjoyable because of the fantastic atmosphere, though the Sloc actually felt easy because we jettisoned our heavy hiking boots in favour of trainers at Rushen.

One of my enduring memories, being in the company of Irene, Sara and her gentleman friend, Chaz, was trying so hard on the section between Glen Rushen and Dalby to keep up a reasonable pace, when just in front was a couple who looked like they had just left the N.S.C., chatting, laughing and smoking!

We did make it, despite Irene being in great pain (she suffers from flat feet) and I was very proud that she overtook so many other competitors on the way into Peel. The crowds were magnificent cheering us in to a finish in 8:12 and we sat in the sunshine outside the Creek Inn, reflecting upon our day, shoes off, and quaffing the most enjoyable beers of our lives.