You will have read
elsewhere on these pages (ahhnnn !) that I gave up piano lessons to
do my ‘A’ level exams, and then spent the rest of my life playing
music and not doing what I did the exams for. I had a similar
experience with sport : being a bit of a weedy child, I was poor at
sport and rather disliked it all, and when I had more control over my
life (as a teenager rather than a child) I skived off school sports
whenever I could.
Ha-ha ! Fickle
For in 1981 , after a 3
year dalliance with Karate - I was good at it but I was playing far
too much music to fit it in as well, though I would someday like to
do it again - the first London Marathon was held and I remember being
humbled by the determination and courage of the grannies, clearly
unfit businessmen and young teenagers who all managed to push
themselves over the line. A few months later, Gary Newbon on ATV
Sport announced a “Brum Run” - the first Birmingham Marathon - and I
casually said to my Mom and Sister that I fancied doing something
like that : the resultant howls of derisive laughter led me to try to
prove them wrong ! So a summer’s worth of training in which I had no
real idea what I was doing resulted in my running in the 1981
Birmingham Marathon in a pair of Green Flash Tennis Shoes and still
somehow finishing in 3:42.15. A Regular in “The Gigmill” where I was
serving at the time came in with an entry form for the next year’s
Wolverhampton Marathon, and by then I had the bug.
In 1982 I set
my (so far) personal worst in the Sandwell Marathon - 5:08.15. It was
only a blip though, for I was out of work and had nothing to do but
train : later that year I did 2:54.20 at Birmingham, and in 1983 set
my personal best in Bristol with 2:47.40. I like to think
that I still have another of those in me. Deluded ? Moi ?
In 1984 I ran
4:59.41 in Wolverhampton, a week after the flu and having undergone
some pretty impressive cramps, let me tell you ! But did 3:04.11 in
Leicester. In 1985 I met Kay, now my wife, and I was thinking about
her whilst running 3:19.01 in 80° in Brussels. Each year since 1982 I had
been applying to enter the London Marathon and was duly rejected each
time : but I got in for the first time in 1987, and then was
surprised to manage it again in 1988. I ran my 25th Marathon in the
Birmingham Vax Marathon in 1989, and in 1990 I was lucky to get a
place in the Berlin Marathon : the first year it ran through the
Brandenburg Gate into East Germany. Indeed, the week after I
returned, East Germany no longer existed...
Kay and I got
married in 1991 and I did London for the 3rd time ; I ran the
Potteries Marathon in 1992 ; I got into London again, and ran the
first English Riviera Marathon, in 1993. In 1994 I ran the
Polytechnic Marathon, and was lucky enough to go to New York,
finishing in 3:32.52. The next time I got into London was 1997 - 5
times successful in 16 years : also, Alan Blackwell and I ran the Sri
Chinmoy Marathon in Battersea Park - consisting of 26 laps of a one
mile course !
1998, then. No
luck with London (I’m sure they just send me last year’s letter with
the date changed.) so I did my 50th Marathon in Stratford. I realised
a long-term ambition by running the Isle Of Man Marathon, and, after
a 10 year absence, the Wolverhampton Marathon returned : however, I
was rubbish. A stronger (though still not very fast) race in
Manchester in 1999 was OK but I wasn't fit enough for the Neolithic
Marathon, smegged my back in for the Wolverhampton and the Snowdonia
Tourist Board smegged up my entry for the Snowdonia Marathon : 2000
was better and I passed 60 Marathons but turned veteran…!
I run with Rodney.
here's the full
list if you're interested...
Isle of Man