For months Kim and I had been training hard for the Clarendon Marathon. We’d been out in all weathers, mostly wet, walking miles and miles to prepare ourselves for what lay ahead. Of course, neither of us really knew what lay ahead, except that it would be hilly, or at least the last part would be. What I wasn’t prepared for though, was a horrible cold, striking me in the week leading up to the big day. In an attempt to get rid of it quickly I took tons of Lemsip and had lots of sleep and rest but, when the big day arrived, I felt dreadful and it was clear my cold was going nowhere fast.
The back thing did not disappear as unexpectedly as it came. It dragged on and on… For the last three weeks the pain has been more or less incapacitating. It’s worse when I stand still or sit down, sleeping is also a bit of an issue, as is walking, bending, more or less everything really. So I’ve been hobbling around with a horrible pain in my right leg, hip and back and a trio of numb toes. Needless to say, there hasn’t been much real walking going on apart from the odd limp up to the village and back. Continue reading Hobbling to The Running School
Early in 2014 I got an email from a journalist. It came out of the blue and was a bit of a surprise if I’m honest. She wanted to write an article about me for Good Housekeeping Magazine. At first there was an element of suspicion, after all there are so many scams going on in the world today, but I Googled her and she really was a journalist so I emailed her back. Continue reading Imagine me an inspiration – first published 9 September 2014
At Kiln Lane we left the towpath briefly to cross both the road and Brambridge Bridge. There was a second half lock here in the 1700’s, probably built to retain water levels for the Brambridge water mill. A little bridge crosses the site But you have to look very closely to see the remains of the lock. Today, with everything so overgrown and the runners hot on our heels there was no time for exploring the history of the canal. Continue reading Winchester to Woolston the tough miles
After a busy week searching for boundary stones, today brought a chance for a little sit down. Commando, CJ and I were off to the football. For once, the match wasn’t really the main attraction.
On 2 October Francis Benali, one of my favourite ex Saints players and a familiar face at running events, began the monumental task of visiting every Premier League and Championship ground in just two weeks. It might have been a simple task, except he was running and cycling the whole thousand mile route! This amounted to running a marathon and cycling around seventy five miles every single day. His aim was to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
This isn’t the first long run Franics Benali has undertaken. He can often be spotted at events like the Wivern 10k and the Southampton Half Marathon, or just running on the Common. In 2014 he ran to all twenty Premier League Grounds to raise money for the same charity. This though, was his toughest challenge yet. Franny, set off from Bournemouth feeling, in his own words, “nervous and apprehensive”. He was due to arrive at St Mary’s the final ground on his massive tour, shortly before kick off. Of course, we wanted to be there to cheer him on. As it happened the crowds were so big and I am so stupidly short that I barely saw the top of his head and completely failed to capture him in a photo but I’m pretty sure he must have heard me shouting his name.
Inside the ground we found Franny masks under our seats. Of course Commando couldn’t resist trying his on. For a brief moment I felt like a very badly dressed WAG. Then it was down to the business of football. While Burnley and Southampton thrashed it out on the pitch Mr Benali must have been having a little rest somewhere in the bowels of the stadium. Hopefully someone was rubbing his tired muscles and making him a nice cup of coffee.
At half time a slightly tired looking Franny ran onto the pitch to a rapturous and very loud reception. After a short interview with his daughter, who is the announcer at the stadium, he finished his amazing feat with a run around the pitch. Of course, we were high up at the very back so only saw him as a tiny red dot circumnavigating the grass but we stood and cheered anyway.
Despite an unfortunately timed rain shower he ran the whole distance and was met at the far side by the unmistakable figure of Lawrie Macmenemy. When Franny went off for a well earned rest Lawrie Macmeneny, with his now white hair and trademark long black coat, walked around the outside of the pitch right below our seats. The ex Saints manager, who led the team to their one and only FA Cup victory in 1976, got almost as loud a cheer as Mr Benali.
The football may not have been the main attraction at this match but it was the icing on the cake when we won 3-1. Winning always makes the walk home more pleasant and, this time, we even got the beginnings of a pretty sunset over the river as we crossed the bridge. Hopefully Franny was having a sleep by then. He certainly deserved it. What a hero!
Parkrun is becoming a bit of a regular Saturday morning event for me these days, although, obviously, I don’t run. Sometimes I help out, doing things like marshalling, sometimes I just watch or have a wander on the Common, other times I walk it. What I’ve never, ever been asked to do before though, is blow up balloons. This was a very special parkrun though. Continue reading A very special parkrun
It’s been an odd couple of days. First there was a small disaster with a WordPress update that had my heart in my mouth for a while until I called the winderful people at LCN. Of course they sorted it all out for me quick smart, much to my relief. Then there were lots of little errands to run, eating up miles but nothing that could really be called a genuine walk followed by sitting at my Mac working on my first Itchen Spitfires’ newsletter. By Friday evening the newsletter was all but ready and I needed to get out and stretch my legs. As I also realised I’d not eaten anything since breakfast I thought I’d take a wander down to the Butcher’s Hook pub, have a coffee and a look at the final piece of the Roam Art Trail puzzle then maybe get some chips from the chip shop. Continue reading Disappointment, triumph, chips and cygnets
After a light lunch and a rest Commando declared he felt up to a little more gentle walking and suggested we have a look at the canals. This sounded a lot more like it as far as I was concerned, although I knew he wouldn’t be anywhere near up to the walk I had originally planned, so off we went. Continue reading Avoiding the marathon