Friday, 27 June 2008

Well Done, The Amazing Bethany Clague

Bethany Clague's remarkable two lap feat did contain the odd moment of humour and I'd like to share with you one gem which I heard from Elizabeth Corran:

As most of you will probably be aware by now, towards the end of the second circuit, she was becoming really tired and even hallucinating. She was well supported over the final few miles by her family and close friends but really pretty much 'out of it.'

However, travelling along the promenade, she passed the bottom of Mona Drive (where the Welbeck Hotel is situated) and suddenly chimed, 'That Michael George is going to owe me alot of money,' before continuing for her final few metres.

I wasn't sure that she could definitely achieve her goal especially with the weather as vicious as it was but I am truly amazed at her tenacity.

Regarding the recent post on the 'Forum' by one of her back-up team, though I think the organising committee were very helpful towards Bethany on what was, let's face it quite a perilous attempt for which they no doubt would have received criticism had it not gone according to plan with Bethany arriving back in one piece.

She received no end of publicity through them to help with her charity, The Hyperbaric Chamber, yet they would have been within their right to wash their hands of what could have been a dangerous distraction to their main event.

I think by popular demand and with great sense, she was also given a platform to speak on the night of the presentation and I thought that she did receive something from Manx Telecom.

To summarise, let's all applaud Bethany's fantastic endurance and athleticism in what was a magnificent performance that most us could only marvel at and wouldn't dare attempt. That having been said, I think that anyone else should be actively discouraged from trying to follow in her footsteps especially during the race. The next person may want to do four laps or do it with a leg tied to their friend's and it may become a bit of a circus with the additional worry that the they might not be so brilliantly prepared both mentally and physically as Bethany.

I really hope that Bethany earns thousands of pounds for The Hyperbaric Chamber as she deserves to and I it think it may be their place rather than Manx Harriers (who are another non profit making organisation) to recognise the achievement with an award.

In Praise of The Ogre

Nigel & Mark Clague in the London Marathon 2008.(Pic by Margaid Gosschalk)

I ended my last posting in a bit of a hurry and re-reading it I may have given the impression that my support, Nigel Armstrong is a mean, sadistic bastard with a savage mean streak that only ogres or say er.......dentists may possess.

Nothing could be further from the truth. He's a fantastic bloke and there are few more genuine chaps in athletics and in his defence, he was only following team orders (wasn't that what they said at Nuremburg?)

So I must publicly thank Nigel, Emma and Mark Clague because without them, there's no way I'd have even been out there, never mind finishing 4th.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

I wasn't Careful What I Wished For!

Well done to all of you who competed this year in the worst ever conditions (or so I am led to believe.) As I have not stopped saying all week, the sensible ones stopped at Rushen and to even reach the top of the 'Sloc' in that foul weather, was a major achievement in my opinion. If it was tough for the walkers, at least we were on the move. We should all take our hats off and bow to the marshals and officials who stayed at their posts when desertion would have led not even the hardest of hearts to call for their execution.

That 122 competitors finished, I thought was remarkable and the list of superb performances would be too long to type out here but I should mention Jock, Robbie and Maurice as they all trounced me, Sue Biggart who I I think would have beaten me and even threatened Maurice's third place had she not valiantly gone for the record. My own team mate, Dave Mackey was the fastest first time finisher and Marie Jackson with whom I did much of my training before I lost my momentum, somehow made it into 16th place and was surely the lightest finisher in the top twenty and perhaps in the race.

For me, everything was going perfectly well and according to plan. At the bottom of Ballakillowey, I was only about a hundred yards behind Jock and feeling in great form. Even at the top of that most difficult climb, I was still within two minutes of him despite not feeling that I had not put a great deal of effort into the ascent. I did drop back slightly further on the approach to the bottom of the Sloc but I could still see Sean already high up, Robbie at the base and Jock still within striking distance.

When I turned the corner, I did begin to struggle but I still was positive, thinking everyone else would be in the same boat. It was when the Sloc began to even out into a gentle hill that I should have regained my technique and pressed on but the strength just wasn't there and every time I tried to move up into my racing form, the wind would blow me off and I'd have to stroll along for a while and then begin again.

By the time I'd made it to the Round Table, I felt dreadful. The pain in my groin that I'd taken time off training trying to fix returned and my back was hurting. To ensure I felt thoroughly miserable, I was now 6 minutes behind Jock with Sue catching me fast.

Even on the downhill sections, I couldn't find my rhythm and it was chastening coming into Dalby, thinking I was really starting to motor when Sue overtook me! This is a tribute to the way she has concentrated on the technical aspects over the winter but at the time didn't make me feel any happier.

The excuses started to infiltrate my mind and I had more or less decided that I was going to quit at Peel. My back up, Nigel Armstrong was less than sympathetic, lets face it only a week earlier he'd ran two Marathons uphill and assured me despite my protestations it was too early for one, that this was just a bad patch and I'd come through soon.

Tactics now became essential. Not the ones that I should have been working on i.e. how to get back in the race but how could I convince Nigel that I needed to give up and go home. True romantic that he is, he'd met a young lady triathlete on his Comrades Marathon in South Africa and invited her to the Island to spend a weekend of love, watching a wimp like me, in the pouring rain and howling wind try to yellow belly my way out of the Parish. Surely, he'd just take the opportunity to whisk her off to a quiet warm restaurant and ply her with wine before making his advances. Not a bit of it! He was staying out there, so was she and that meant me too!

My one last clutch at the swinging straw was the 5,000m I'd been invited to walk at in Birmingham. I was going to save myself by retiring at German, so I'd be capable of recording a good time at the U.K. Athletics meeting. Nigel gave that short shrift too, reminding me what I'd been training for all this time.

The only thing I could do, my devious little mind concluded was throw in the towel at Patrick and then Nigel wouldn't find out until later! The only thing was that there was no nice hot car, steaming cup of tea or nice warm pub there and before I knew it, I'd been dibbed and off I went.

By the time I reached Ballaugh, I'd recovered somewhat and was quite amazed to hear that Jock had overtaken Robbie and despite all my travails, I was only about 18 minutes behind the latter man. Finally, I overtook Maurice and had Sue within about 20m on the approach to Jurby.

Remember early in this series, I told you that I was careful what I wished for? This time I'd told Nigel that he had to bully me into taking food and whilst also giving great encouragement on my progress, he was making certain that I ate what he was giving me. Unfortunately, some months previously, I had bought a pack of energy food where you don't get to pick what the flavours are. Unfortunately, one of the things it contained was a banana flavoured bar and me being me, instead of making sure it got the full treatment in the waste disposal or incinerator left it in the bottom of my bag and half of it had now been supplied to me and was sitting in my hand. Agonisingly slowly, I nibbled it until I was left with the tiniest piece. Absolutely disgusting but finally I disappeared that last morsel....for all of two seconds. My party piece was back and I threw up three times, losing all that hard fought ground in the process. Despite the diuralyte and whatever else Nigel gave me, about half an hour later ,I had another big slump in energy levels caused by the vomiting.

Once again though I was again on the up and by the top of Bride Hill, when faced by the race walker's paradise which is the long gentle slope down to Andreas, I was really able to power past Maurice and catch Sue who had been about 200m in front. By now, we were really paddling in the huge puddles, Sue trying to navigate between them with me just following due to the lack of wipers on my specs.

More good news. Robbie was down to 12 minutes in front by Sulby Bridge and with Sean already in retirement, I was feeling confident of being able to catch him up and perhaps even exert some pressure on Jock.

With Sue just in front of me, we were fairly powering into Ramsey, yet just as everything was feeling fine, sickness hit me once again and I was doubled over four times on the way into Parliament Square. Nigel, who had been almost everpresent had gone for provisions and when I found Mark Clague who was acting as deputy, he had none of the rehydration stuff.

After that any thoughts I had of the win were finished. The timing was bad but I'm not sure whether I was in good enough shape to have challenged anyway. The whole of the walk down the East Coast was horrible and I think quite dangerous as well with visibility very poor.

Once again, I was searching for any excuse not to complete the job and I was trying to think of a way to escape. To my mind Sue was nearly as tired and not moving with any of her earlier zeal and I was on the verge of asking Ray Pitts (Sue Biggart's support) to call the Control to see if he could get the race stopped and offer to share third prize, when Maurice stormed past us as though we weren't moving and I had to forget about my ghastly double dealing to try and catch him. Although, I was able to open a gap I was able to maintain to Sue, I have to give Maurice the credit he deserves and there was no way I could catch him.

I have to say that by the time I finished, I was just glad to have completed the course. Definitely, never again!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Jock Waddington is Brilliant

I only have a few minutes, so I will probably write a more detailed account of my race a little later.

Sean Hands and Robbie Callister have already shown what great sportsmen they are in victory and defeat and I really admire the two of them but I really am thrilled that Jock won the Parish Walk (although obviously I would have preferred it to be me.)

Jock and I started the winter leagues at around the same time and he is always a true gentleman. I've been telling anyone who'd listen and many more who wouldn't that I felt he had a real chance this year.

As detailed in Murray's earlier feature on him, Jock also puts plenty back into athletics, can often be seen marshalling at events in which he isn't taking part and is a member of the IOMVAC Vets committee.

He and his wife Terri are always helpful to other competitors and I'll never forget the soup they gave me in the 100 mile race.

In short, it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke. Actually that's not true. A nicer bloke couldn't have made it happen. Oh well. That sounds like a load of bolocks but you know what I mean: He deserves it for all the hard work he put in.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Just Do it!

Well Blogophiles, this is it. The next time I blog it will be from cloud 99 or from under a cloud and most of you will be feeling extremely sore, yet I hope we will have the satisfaction of having achieved our goals.

I have been planning to write this preview for a long time but typically have left it until the very last minute. Many times, I have mulled over what I would write and the phrases I would use. One of them was going to be: 'It's a long time since I actually managed to get a long distance walk right.' However, the truth is that having thought about this, I never have. All my 'ultra' walks have been beset by problems and I have never quite managed the 'even effort' which we all should aim for. Last year, despite finishing third was probably the worst ever, when my support crew came so close to 'Throwing in the towel' and calling for an ambulance when due to dehydration and failing with my feeding, I became very disorientated and almost collapsed at Andreas. They almost caught my 'meltdown' on camera as I was just about to 'hit the wall' but was saved by my back-up Nigel Armstrong who was ironically described on the commentary as 'A judge giving me a warning.'

That is one thing that I would like to clear up once and for all. The fact is that I was spoken to at Dalby Mountain by Graham Young, the chief judge and he said, 'You aremaking contact (i.e. totally legal) but I'm going to warn you unofficially to be very careful and make sure you get in a good long stride when you go down 'Glen Rushen.'' And then he watched me nearly every step of the way for about 6 miles.

There was another period towards Lonan when apparently 'Race Control' received a complaint about my walking from person unknown and I was told by someone in a marshal's top to 'Watch my walking' as I approached the church UPHILL! This could have put me off my stride but I was fortunate enough to have had Marie Jackson, an experienced racewalker and also a judge as the other member of my support team and with her encouragement was able to have confidence in my technique. That said, I was still unable to catch Ray Pitts.

Before I step down from the 'Dock/Witness Stand, Soapbox,' I would also like to point out that I have since competed in 'A' standard* races in Holland, England and in front of our own 'International Judge,' Steve Taylor and have not yet been even close to being disqualified. You should see me trying to type while gripping the desk for all its worth.

I hope you haven't fallen asleep before I actually came around to my thoughts on the race itself. Once again my opinion has changed as we approached the big day. A few months ago, I was beginning to see the challenge as 'just' beating Robbie. Since then Peter Kaneen has entered, Jock Waddington has supplemented his obvious talent with greater fitness and then Sean Hands who I was beginning think was a spent force after his early bath in 2007 and his subsequent non-appearance at any of the winter races has obviously put a lot more work in this year. His relaxed and confident manner in Murry's interview had precisely the opposite effect on me.

In some ways, I wonder if we can draw an analogy between Sean and a boxer. 'They never come back' was the old saying and there must be a similar fear about putting your body through it again after a couple of years absence. However, I believe he has the temperament to overcome this and I now see him as the 'favourite' to accomplish a repeat performance of his 2006 triumph. One man whose mental or physical strength can never be questioned is Robbie Callister and while I do not foresee him ever going much faster than he has already due to the limitations of his style, whoever is challenging him knows that they have to put in a really exceptional performance to beat him.

My gut feeling is that even if Peter Kaneen crosses the start line, he doesn't really possess the background fitness this year that is required for the magnitude that is the Parish Walk. He has not been on form even on the shorter distances (though still quicker than me) and I can't really see this translating into victory come Saturday night. One man who has been in top form and peak condition is Jock Waddington who despite being given little chance by other pundits, even being described as a comparitive novice last year in one piece. It is rough justice that he has been laid low with a cold over the past few days, yet he told me last night that his appetite has been unaffected and could he possibly still be a contender, though I suspect that his misfortune may just take the edge off his chances of glory.

Me personally? I've gone through the worrying whether I've concentrated on endurance enough or should I have tapered for my 50k race, thereby losing valuable training opportunities and whether I could have managed a few more decent sessions in the last two months instead of trying to sort my groin injury and am now just looking forward to enjoying the day. My plan is to sit in behind Robbie and Sean, get quite close at Rushen before letting them pull out a bigger lead over the Sloc. Last year I wasn't nearly patient enough and put in a huge effort to reel Robbie in on the approach to Peel and suffered the consequences. If I am able to stay in touch, I imagine, Sean will be hoping to make the break in the area between Kirk Michael and Bride and I will try and join Robbie and keep Sean within striking distance. The idea is to sail into the lead toward the end of the race, me being the fastest man with a chance of victory at that stage, though I know only too well how speed can be blunted by distance and am very well aware of the power and iron will of both of those fine athletes.

I really don't see the point of me trying for third place again and if the opportunity does present itself, I intend to go for victory even if it ends in humiliation but that said; I still have to use my brain and must be aware of many different scenarios that may arise besides the one I have imagined.

My expectation is that battle behind the lead from 5th place in the men's will be between Alan Cowin,Martijn Biesmans, Terry Moffatt, Chris Cale, Andrew Titley and perhaps Michael Shipsides.

Try your best to beat them (but not me.)

If you're walking tomorrow, I wish you the best of luck and if you're spectating, assisting or officiating I hope that you don't get too wet and enjoy a not too exciting race that I win quite easily. Unfortunately, that is more of a dream than an expectation.

Girls On Top

I didn't ever get around to finishing my life story in athletics but I'm sure that the world won't stop turning and that you'll be able to munch on your pre-race breakfast Saturday without worrying that you've missed out on some vital piece of information.

Who do you think is going to win?

Sue Biggart will walk off as the outstanding favourite in my opinion, as she has gone much quicker in the past than any of the other leading ladies and there is no reason despite her dancing exploits(she recently competed in the Manx Celebrity Come Dancing)o assume that she has not prepared as thoroughly as usual.

There are a couple of dark horses in the race who have the talent to displace Sue but will they have the experience and determination? There is Janice Quirk who was the first woman in the End to End and who had a splendid debut finish in last year's event with a superb 19.01 but the one lady in my opinion who is in with a real chance and she won't thank me for shouting it form the rooftops is Marie Jackson.

Marie finished in 2000 in just over 20 hours I think but at that time she was yet to develop the style that has made her the most consistant manx racewalker at most distances(don't mention 5k to her) over the last five years or so. She won the 'End to End' on the old east course and last year won silver (individiual) and gold(team) medals in the World Masters 20k. Before that I wouldn't have given her much hope in the Parish Walk but such achievement really bolstered her confidence and she went on to win the National 50k title in april this year.

Most eagerly anticipated sporting battles contain a contrast between the athletes involved and this is no exception. Sue is strong and very Parish Walk orientated with seven previous finishes in as many years and apart from last year each one quicker than the previous. Although very much a one event specialist, she also came home second lady in the National 100 miles held at N.S.C. in 2006 (lapping me at least once in the process.) Marie by comparison though slight in stature is very steely but the other major difference, despite Sue trying very hard to improve over the winter is that Marie posesses an excellent racewalking technique and therefore should move much more economically.

What I have written above is possibly a little disrespectful to Jane Mooney and Alison Brand(did I hear that Ali isn't aiming for a finish this year?) who both put in brilliant performances last year to post 17:26 and 17:31 and should any of the above three not quite realise my expectations, then there's no doubt they'll be right in there.

Roey Crellin, still fastest Manx born woman(17:12) was not quite up to her best in 2007 but if she shows her true ability may just feature, as may Marie Gilbertson or Terri Salmon.

As I remarked at the outset, Sue Biggart is in pole position but this could be the best ever race.

As usual as I say on these previews, if I've missed you off or undersold you, I apologise but just go out there and prove me wrong.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Bring on the Parish Walk Boogie Woogie

The latest news in this constant tale of woe is that Jock Waddington hasn't been too well. Apparently, he was supposed to go to Jools Holland last night but was laid up instead. Hopefully, his indisposition(that spelling doesn't look right but time is precious) is temporary and he'll be fully recovered for Saturday. In fact he probably should have gone to the concert because it was lively enough to wake the dead!

At this rate no one will tell me anything in case it finds its way into my 'Blog,' yet I am like a news hungry beast at the moment and probably ready to fall for any old spoof.

Did anyone else get the text about tapering? No one has owned up to that one as yet.

The latest weather forecast is better than the first which is certainly good for all the officials but temperature is more important for us walkers and a maximum of 16c should just about do the job.

I suppose that should lead on to the tip for the day which I think is to make sure you have head covering if the sun is out, not to mention U.V. protection cream. If it gets to the stage when you are needing to apply the sponges, the best place is to the back of the neck where the cool water will be most effective. Vaseline is also essential for all parts that may chafe, especiallyu in hot or wet conditions and I'm sure I don't need to spell that out everyone, as some of them are more gender specific than others. Some recommend the petroleum jelly for the feet as well, although I have left mine without in recent years as I find my foot blisters from moving within the sock.

Oh well, I'll try and give you my insights on how I think the race will pan out tomorrow but for now I'll have to leave you.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Post no. 74... Where Michael Blogs Instead of Engaging with Henry

I don't know if someone was winding me up but I just received a text purportedly off 'Parish Walk Information,' off a 166--- number basically telling me not to train and rest my weary legs. My guess that its someone from Manx Telecom or high up in the organisation pulling my leg after my earlier rant but 'ITS TROOOE!'

Well each to their own anyway. If Sean, Robbie and Jock fancy doing a couple of 20 milers between now and Saturday, who am I to stop them?

I just heard some more bad news and it seems that Ian Wakely who did so well on the Sarah Killey Memorial race has also had to withdraw due to knee trouble.

The excitement is really starting to grip me now and this afternoon when I was supposed to be rapt by an important meeting of accommodation providers, I could think of little else but the race. Perhaps my mind is actually being more practical and just doing anything to avoid work because I had decided to come home, introduce our 'Henry*' to the carpet before preparing tea and all I have done is read Rich Wild's blog, checked my own for comments before reading Murray's 'Stats' and having a look at mine. I'm afraid that my technical wizardry has come to the fore again though and I'm not really sure what the difference is between, 'Pageloads,' 'Unique Visitors' and 'Returning Visitors.' It sounds simple enough but they don't really seem to add up. Me being more than a bit thick as usual I think.

Luckily, our Terence is away with school at the 'Venture Centre,' this week, so I'm filling my time whiling away the minutes before the 'Big Off' doing a few things i don't usually do. Last night, we took advantage of the weather and went looking for sharks but failed and four extremely playful seals at Peel had to do. Tonight, I'm off to Jools Holland but will have to keep my dancing in check (see above re not over exercising,) then tomorrow, it's 'Blood Brothers.'

Therefore, I shouldn't start climbing the walls before Thursday.

* For those of you of a less than domestic ilk, Henry's the vacuum cleaner.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Will he? Won't he? Will he? Won't he? ..............Oh Who Cares Anyway?

I don't know. I was asked to subtly announce that Mark Hempsall wasn't walking (Hence the title 'Hempsall Out,') bearing in mind that I thought I had an impeccable source (i.e. Conan The Destroyer's mouth) and now he tells me, he's changed his mind! He's 'just' walking to Peel as training for the '100 miles' in Milton Keynes this August. For anyone who thinks he may be pulling a flanker, though, he has promised to back up Dave Mackey from 8pm, so you won't be the only one chasing him with an axe if he continues.

Briefly, I had hoped that the previous paragraph may mean a resurrection of the chances for our team Eminem & Eminem but I have also heard that Matt Haddock has suffered an ankle injury and in the interest of his '100' ambitions will also bow out at German.

More gossip: Peter Kaneen has still not decided whether or not to start the race though in honesty, I really can't see him featuring at the sharp end due to the interruptions in his training this year. However, Beware! Last time he didn't think he'd pass Santon i.e 2003, he went and won it!

I also have it on good authority that Eamon Harkin will be accompanying his daughter, Breeshey who has entered the U21 race, so the top ten will be losing another of its regular inhabitants.

If you add into this the absence of Ray Pitts, Thomas Melvin, Jane Kennaugh (unless she's found another alias,)the aforementioned big dude, there is plenty of scope for new heroes to emerge and I think that the standard this year will be higher than ever.

My favourites to enter the higher echelon for the first time would be Chris Cale, Marie Jackson and Janice Quirk but if you're out there and have put in the effort, the sky's the limit.


Nooooo! Stoooop iit! Stooop! Noooow!!!! It's too Laaate!!!

There's people everywhere walking at full tilt! Stop it now! It's too late!

I hope that got your attention!

If you're still training now the only thing you're going to improve is your chances of being injured and being knackered on the day!

The idea this week if you can't contemplate the thought of no exercise after all these months of hard work is to warm up as if you were about to do a major training session and then stop. This will keep your body loose and perhaps lessen the possibility of your brain melting down but any hard work this week will be counter productive.

If you haven't already made your lists up and done the shopping, write down everything that you could conceivably need. Don't forget clothes for the end, vaseline, spare everything including socks and shoes, a luminous vest to pin your number on to so that you can change quickly in varying weather conditions, loads of food, bananas, water, sports drinks, a head torch, new feet and a second brain that you can't unprogram that says, 'Never do this again!'

I hope to write more tomorrow.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Little Islander

Here's a dilemma for you. Nine days before the biggest race of my life to date, I received an invitation to compete at the UK Athletics Championships and Team GB Trials in the 5k track racewalk (you may remember that Peter Kaneen won bronze last year.)

This would give me the opportunity to compete on the same stage as some of the biggest names in British Athletics and even any friends or family that I take with me have to pay, from £12 per ticket.

So, I here you ask: What's the dilemma? It's only three weeks after the Parish Walk and I'm sure I won't be able to do myself justice with 85 miles in my legs. Do I give up what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to taste life at the top of the UK table for what is a provincial ramble around the Isle of Man at an unrecognised distance? No comparison can be made between the events and in honesty this could be my once in a lifetime opportunity to win our own 'Blue Riband' race when you think of how increasingly competitive it is becoming. So there's little contest in my mind. This could be my 'Parish Walk' whereas 5k is my least favourite distance (I'm ranked 14th in the UK as opposed to 12th at 10k, 9th at 20k and 4th at 50k) and I have little chance of finishing on the same lap as the winner even at my best.

I'll just have to hope that at 42 years of age, I can continue to improve and they'll give me another shot at stardom after turning them down this time.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Scaring the Spectators

Last Wednesday's race was also a bit of a walking striptease for me:

Immediately prior to the start, I decided that the spetacles had to go. As usual, my relationship with my 'Garmin' sports watch was fraught, hampered this time not by my inability to work it properly but because I didn't start it and in a fit of pique, threw £160 worth of gadgetry at the assembled officials.

By the time the next lap came round, my hat which was atop my scone mainly to keep the glasses dry that I wasn't wearing was the next item to be jettisoned and as by now, I didn't it would seeem have much more to take off, the few spectators were becoming visibly peturbed.

They needn't have worried. The 'Breath-rite' nasal strip that Peter Kaneen had kindly supplied me with succumbed to the damp in the air and came off one side of my nose. I'm not sure they look too 'cool' at the best of times but standing like an antenna, it definitely had to go.

The next lap there was a 'frisson' in the air as the onlookers quaked in their boots but despite threatening to remove my shorts, I had nothing left to give. Pretty much describes my walk as well.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Two Laps of the Parish Walk Course? Just Watch Bethany Go!

Just in case anybody was wondering what I was referring to re. Bethany Clague, I suggest you take a look at her website where amongst all her other heroic deeds, she also details how she will be attempting to do TWO laps of the Parish Walk Course this year. The picture above is from the Blackpool 1/2 Marathon where she recently set a PB

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Great Balls a Fire

I remounted the horse last Wednesday in the 10k track walk which was quite poorly supported. Despite the low number of walkers, it was good to see Neil Brogan and Matthew Betteridge make their debuts on the track and excellent to witness two PBs from Vinny Lynch (57:29) and even more notably, Lauren Whelan who posted a superb 56:17.

It's really tough, 25 laps of the track and at this time of year, I struggle a little with 'exercise induced asthma' despite the use of an inhaler. Unfortunately, I was unable to exert any pressure on the winner, Peter Kaneen, though I have to say I was pleased to roll in less than a minute behind him, in a time under 50 minutes, despite not really training for the event.

In the run there were some excellent performances, too, notably from the winner, Martin Malone, Andy Fox and webmeister, Murray Lambden who announced his return to form despite not being tactically at his best (see his own Blog.)

It was also good to note, Mike Garrett finishing in one piece and member of my back-up team, Mark Clague put a decent display in his first attempt on the track, although I am sure there is more to come from him.

Surprise of the night? Has to be Bethany Clague missing the walk before competing in the run. Is she going soft?

It was also pleasing not to have suffered any reaction from my groin injury, though it did present me with another 'Do' 'Don't' for you. If your fitness adviser (Mark Hempsall in this case) recommends the use of ,'Deep Heat,' before a race, be careful where and how you rub it in. Due to the location of my problem, it certainly gave me a very interesting few minutes, hence the title of this post.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Don't Forget 10k Track Walk & Run at the N.S.C. Tomorrow

Referring to young Matthew's comments on my last posting, how about we now call ourselves the '3FM (the F accounts for Mackey's swearing, then there's Matt, Mike & Mac) Onchan Combi Rejects?' I reckon a sponsorship deal from the radio station could contribute towards Dave's next BMW and then all I need to do now is to contact Elizabeth Corran to tell her to white out 1600 Eminem & Eminem's and replace them with our new tongue tripping handle before the programmes are sent out.

If I could stop enjoying myself long enough, despondency would be setting in, as the only training I have done is the aforementioned ill-fated hill session. While my spy network informs me that Sean & Jock are still hard at it, the only thing I seem to be getting harder at is the the TT festival. My team captain, Dave Mackey has long since foresworn the alcohol whereas I actually seem to be imbibing more and with a trip on the Karina to see the fireworks planned for tomorrow, followed by dinner on Thursday with some of our biker guests, the forecast for the next few days is 'Wet to Very Wet' (and that's not the weather.)

Perhaps I'm just not cut out for the dedication required to win this Parish thing. Do you think they could move it forwards a few weeks next year just for me?

On a more positive note, I do intend to race tomorrow night, before I set sail on board that mighty vessel and I think all you bloggophiles should blow away the TT cobwebs with a good blast at 10k around the track. Signing on at N.S.C. from 6pm with the start at 6.30pm tomorrow. If you think you would gain more from a run (Robbie C competed last year) signing on is at 7:15pm with the gun firing at approximately 7:45.

Regarding the picture on the front of Manx Athletics, it is a coincidence that we (The Welbeck) have given John Crellin a little assistance for many years and that he was just about to be overtaken by Chris McGahan, now domiciled in Peel, to whom we also chip in with a little bit of sponsorship.

I was party to the conversation with former sprinter, Nicola Dixon and apparently, she has a Newspaper cutting buried somewhere with the headline: 'Fastest Girl on the Island.' She remains pretty nippy when it comes to the race to the bar for the Guinness.