Trip,crack,pills and Snowdon – My marathon Eryri

I don`t have many rules when it comes to deciding what races to do,whatever distance they are.Usually it comes down to cost of the race,how easy it is to get there,can I get the time off work,do I need to stay over and are Jaffa cakes freely available in the locality.

A couple of years ago,event director of Birkenhead parkrun (and not the Australian cricket captain) Steve Smith and his wife Jess did the Snowdonia marathon/marathon Eryri. I knew the highlights were on so I watched and I thought that looks interesting🤔 Did nothing about it,watched the highlights again last year and thought again ,that looks good, I could do that 😄

Of course they didn’t show the big hills ,well not much of them last year anyway.They did this year,typical! However,whilst not being the top expert on British hills,I had heard of Snowdon and indeed had been to the top of it a long long time ago.When time to came to enter (in an effective online queue system ,looking at you Mad dog 10k) last December I logged on and to my surprise,after just over an hour,I was in.

After an initial panic about whether I could do it,my marathon and ultra marathon guru, @gemboc1 aka the pink welly lady aka quality friend Gemma,told me to shut up and that I could.Some people pay to get that kind of advice.I realised that yes I could and to be honest with it being so long into the future and having Canalathon,Liverpool marathon,the whistle stop tour and the Chester metric before it,I didn`t think about it too much.After initially booking into a hostel in Caernarfon on the wrong date,I managed to get a b & b on Llanberis high street,not far from the start and 5 minutes stumble from the finish and I also took a 6 month therapy course to cope with the North Wales train system.(Believe me this is needed)

So,I did canalathon (see my Canalathon blog),did Liverpool (it was hot),also Shrewsbury half (I will blog about the three years I`ve done that soon), and the Whistle stop where I was quicker over two races before a headwind meant I was slower overall.Anyway enough of that whiffle,I had 6 weeks before Snowdon after finishing the Whistle stop. Plenty of time.I built up the miles and on Saturday 29th September I decided to do my longest run,about 20 miles.I was going to do it on the Sunday but I felt good after returning home from parkrun and I`d seen the weather was going to be poor so I thought feck it,I`ll do it Saturday.When this happens,it usually doesn’t bode well but for most of the run I was happy,running down the Lever causeway,through Storeton woods and powerposed (#avaraepowerpose) with a cow 👇🏻


along to Heswall,all the way along Telegraph road with its ups and downs,along to West Kirby and headed into Greasby.

At this point,if this was that 999 tv show,Michael Buerk`s voice would start and there would be lights flashing and then the screen would darken…

….no,wait,that was a dream I had.

What actually happened was that I fell over like a right tit.Which was ironic as what hurt the most in the following weeks was the area just under and to the right of my right tit, I tried to carry on (the last time I did this,2 years ago,thanks facebook for reminding me,I carried on and ran 3 miles home) but after a period of ow,ow,ow,that isn’t good,ooh that really isn’t comfortable,I thought after about a mile and a half,I should do something about it.I popped in to see Gemma (I was passing,it would have been rude not to),she had a chuckle,was sympathetic and told me to go to the hospital.Fortunately Arrowe park hospital was on the way to the bus stop and so I went to the walk in centre.I got there just before the Chelsea v Liverpool game started and I got seen in triage.The nurse asked me about my medical history and for some reason I was immensely proud when I was able to answer yes to the “Have you had surgery?” question.Ok,it was for a hernia but it was like really traumatic (No it wasn’t) She noticed my bleeding knee as I was about to hop back to the waiting room and put the loosest covering on it,I think just so I didn’t bleed on the floor.I got seen by the doctor just after the Liverpool game had finished.She reckoned it was a slightly cracked or bruised rib which I thought it was and she gave me a prescription and I was away.Popped next door to the pharmacist who gave me Naproxen which is the “Quality ibruprofen” ,and got a lift home from housemate Ian.Thanks to Ann “Wirral Campervan Hire” Currie and Stuart “Shorts” Rickers for being lovely and offering to pick me up.Stu even offered to come and sit with me in the waiting room but I like him so I didn’t inflict that on him.The staff were brilliant.There were some proper turdwombles in there,the highlight being the old guy who told everyone what time he came in.I knew there would be a wait as they had 3 doctors and I think one of them went home a hour after I got there.At the end of the day it didn’t cost me a penny whereas in certain other countries…..

Now,after a decent nights sleep (on my side,if you have a rib injury,when you go to sleep get a spare duvet or some cushions,prop it up behind your back and sleep on your side with the hurty rib at the top.Honestly I sleep way better with a rib injury than without,go figure 🤔😂 After a couple of nights it wasn’t too painful,just more of an annoyance every now and then.In fact it still isn’t 100% now but its not like something serious so there’s that.I was very lucky.I read of another runner falling over and fracturing his skull.(My mum had training on how to fall over with her parkinsons.Honestly,it was a regularity unfortunately so she had to be prepared.)

I began thinking whether I could run,I had the Chester metric marathon the following Sunday and I initially definitely ruled that out.As the week went on I thought maybe and I ran 2 miles on Friday and 3 on Saturday but it didn’t feel great and when I slipped getting in the bath after the 3 miler and pulled something in my back I thought no,leave it and work on getting right for Snowdon,fingers crossed (I know,spoiler alert but stay with me).I had a fantastic time along with Brian “Up the Shakers” Shenton cheering on all the runners at Chester especially Jay Walker,Gemma,Ann and Ultan “The Ult” Mulhern (Insert “The Folk Doctors – Silent shores” plug here)


I ran a few miles the following week and it felt a little better and whilst I could run,I wasn’t sure just how far I could go.I didn’t want to be 10 miles into the marathon and have to start walking or pull out.I know some runners like to gamble with their health when it comes to races but I’ll be honest,I ain’t one of them.I want to be able to enjoy my races if I can.With two weeks to go I decided I would have to run 15 miles both to see if I could run that distance and also just to give me the confidence.I’m not the most confident person at the best of times and anxiety can get the better of me on occasions so I rubbed Wilkos £1 muscle cream all around the rib,took a couple of paracetamol (and a couple more for during the run) and set off. Thankfully it went well,I didn’t fall over which was a plus,felt ok on the run and afterwards all was reasonable.I did a couple more runs in the week,10 miles the following Saturday and after a little run a couple of days later that was it.I was set for Snowdon.


Now I worry a lot for some reasons when it comes to marathons. Physically I know I can do them,its just the mental side of things that I worry about,in fact I’m not exactly sure what I worry about,I just worry.No I don’t know either. I was fortunate enough to get top quality support and advice from Gemma and the one,the only @firsthurdle,Ellie.The problem when you tell most people about an injury,sometimes what happens is that although well meaning any “medical” advice given to you is,its your body and you who are the one recovering,rehabbing etc not them.Everybody’s recovery times are different,I didn’t know three weeks out,I was hopeful 2 weeks out but I wasn’t really sure till the last few days.

Anyway enough of that.I travelled over on the Friday via the Welsh trains and got to see West Kirby from Wales instead of Wales from West Kirby which was nice.Spent a hour in Bangor ,45 minutes of which was waiting for the café in Asda to cook a jacket potato and a few beans 😂 The bus ride to Llanberis was fantastic,great views,narrow roads and lots of u turns.Went to my fantastic b & b (Not naming it in case I go back next year) then across to get my number and t shirt.I then went to Pete’s Eats ,a fantastic café which basically sells portions the size of Yorkshire.Loads of great options, I had macaroni cheese and a few chips which was bigger than I would have served myself. Lovely!



I watched Stand up to cancer on Channel 4 and was about to fall asleep when my next door neighbour switched on his “101 sounds of a 747 jumbo jet taking off” relaxation tape.Or he might have been snoring.One of the two.Fortunately I remembered seeing a fan in the wardrobe ,switched it on to drown out the drone and I slept pretty well.The race didn’t start till 10:30 so I had time to shower,eat my porridge and a few Jaffa cakes (just got into them,they are really nice) and headed down to the registration tent to try and get in on the racecheck photo which I was told was at 10 but I couldn’t find anyone so I headed off on the 5 mile (not really) trek to the start.Timed it really well and didn’t have to wait too long before we got underway.


Now I knew it was going to be hilly ,I mentioned earlier about the highlights show and also in the pre race instructions the organisers weren’t shy about mentioning the elevation.However when I studied the route map I wasn’t as scared/shocked/horrified as I thought I would be.Yes you went up,but there was also a lot of coming down and a lot of flattish parts.As long as you split the race up and knew when the mad bits were coming I was well,quite relaxed about the race as we started.


I didn’t take any photos until we were going up the last mountain/hill.The first couple of miles were steady then I was pleased with how the first hill went up to Pen-y-pass.I thought we would reach it just before 5 miles but it was a pleasant surprise to get there at 4.5.Then a nice steady downhill before we went off road which is where I can have problems so I took it steady on the stoney,muddy path till we got back on the road. I saw a few people from parkrun and the local running scene,Matt who went past me after 3 miles,Ben a few times around the course and Jimmy who became an instant friend when he said my run briefings at parkrun were “always funny!” Miles 8 to 13 past Bethania and Beddgelert were good and I think it was then we turned into a headwind although that could have been earlier or later.I’d taken my Thunder Runners jacket in case I needed it.It was warm at first so I carried it then tied it round my neck (You see me 20 minutes into the s4c highlights like that,thankfully from a distance).


It was annoying me but then I had a brainwave of zipping it half way then putting my arms in the sleeves.Perfect! When the wind hit I had it on properly though.I don’t mind headwind though,it concentrates the mind.I got my head down,focused and miles 16-22 were really good.We want past the Snowdon youth hostel at mile 18 .Those miles flowed by.I chatted to other runners and I think I did my quickest mile at number 20.


Now two things.I was actually relaxed about the last part.For some it might be a worry but I felt if I got that far I knew I wasn’t that far away from a beer and a jaffa cake.The other was that I was chatting to a fellow runner in Pete’s eats the night before and he’d said treat the race as a 22 miler because the last 4.2 you won’t be racing.It was excellent advice.I’d noticed the elevation but its not until you turn right and see the never ending view upwards at Waunfawr.You go up one bit then another and you know what point it ends because you’ve studied the route map so you know there’s more to come.Having said that I actually marched most of it (The First Hurdle Shrewsbury march) and I had negative splits after the first mile of it.


Then we got to the top and the terrifying (for me) descent.Now as I have mentioned I can fall over for my country on flat ground. I’ve had several tumbles since I started running and I don’t need help.It was grassy,muddy,stony and steep.Some people were haring down it and I heard one runner said he wouldn’t like to be chasing a time on this part.I’d imagine the quicker runners took this last section into account and went quicker early on. I saw the leaders on the highlights going up the last hill and they didn’t seem to be going all that fast themselves.


I got back onto levelish ground ,back into Llanberis and a sprint (of sorts) finish took me over the line.Had my customery last mile/post race teary moments thinking about my mum (I didn’t race in my parkinsons shirt because I had been a bit worried about not finishing when I went to put it on.Plus it was a bit tight over the baselayer.I had it with me though and put it on when I got back.Anyway at the end I got a nice flying feet photo as well.Got my coaster slate,a lovely bit of foil from a nice marshal (one of those blanket things) and a few minutes later I was in one of the lovely showers back at my b & b. I loved everything about the organisation of the race.It was friendly, a lot more personal than at some big races and simple at the end.No messing about,no mad queuing and to be relaxing so soon after finishing was really good.


After I had my shower I put on all my compression gear,watched the football scores and stretched a bit.My rib had held up nicely.It was aching a bit but my baselayer and the muscle cream had helped and I hadn’t needed to take the paracetamol I’d taken with me.A couple of days later on the Monday I was walking around like Albert Steptoe as that final descent took its toll on my back but the co-codamol I had from my last back episode sorted that out 🙏😊  I had a nice trip out into the village,stocked up on pizza,cake and a couple of beers and relaxed.Had a good night,then a fantastic cooked breakfast before I got the bus at the safle bws,back to Bangor.(I’m so fluent in Welsh now….not!)


The train was packed.Apparently everyone seemed to be leaving North Wales that Sunday,then I got on the Merseyrail to Rock Ferry and had my ears chewed off by an 8 year old called Caleb.That was traumatic.I can still hear his voice.🙉

I’d recommend the marathon 100%. Its just not like other ones that I’ve done.For me it was more like an ultra in terms of the planning, the approach,the actual race and the realization that you had to walk in places.You had to preserve your energy early on to help later.I was very proud of the fact that I got quicker as I walked up the last hill.I certainly wouldn’t have gone quicker if I’d tried to “run” it.Its such a friendly race.Looking in the programme it listed all the runners and the times they’d done it. I will come back and do it again.Maybe not next year as I want to do Chester marathon but having said immediately after that I’d never do it again,I am now seriously considering it. I loved the going away part, the lovely place where I stayed ,Llanberis (if I lived there I would so have a stairlift) and of course the race itself.Probably the toughest race I’ve done but definitely in the top 3 or so of the most enjoyable.I did a review on racecheck as well so you can read that if you want.

Waiting for the bus.


Finally,a big thank you to everyone who sponsored me for Parkinsons uk,I’ve  got to £550 now which is £1850 overall (I think) since I started raising money for Parkinsons.It always humbles me that people will sponsor me and I know the money goes to helping people similar to my Mum and I know she’d be pleased to hear that.


I love my slate coaster.💚 It’s not a medal but it’s so unique as a race memento and the memories will be with me forever.

Thanks for reading 👍🏻😉

 

Jon xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tv in the bathroom aka Canalathon 2018

Some of the facts in this blog are true,some aren`t,some are harmless fibs,some are grade a bull****.

Whatevs! I`m joking,all of the events described below are true.😉

When Ann “GET IT DONE!” Currie tells you to get something done you get it done.She told me to enter Canalathon in March(she didn`t really but it fits the narrative so go with it) She did tell me to write this blog though so here it is.If you want a more sensible version then please go and read Ann`s excellent blog on the race (I`ll put the links at the end for everything) There are also lots of other more factual,truthful blogs on the race as well so if you want useful information go there.On the other hand if you want to know how excited I got about a television in the bathroom and how even more excited Gemma “The pink welly lady” Cloney got about underfloor heating then stay tuned.

Ann posted in our team green inner cabinet twitter message group thing one Sunday (July 14th last year – ooh true fact)

and asked me if I was doing Canalathon.I think I`d mentioned it previously and yes,I said I was.Gemma indicated she wanted to do it again (she had taken part in 2016,her first ultra) and Ellie “Tidy” Preece awoke from snoozing in the garden of her palatial Welsh mansion and said “Yes mun,I`m in!” .Brian “Too cool for school” Shenton added his wishes to run alongside a canal and within minutes the band had been put together,and in a matter of a few days Ellie had secured us accommodation which little did we know, would change…….our…….lives.(Like,not even kidding.😂)

Fast forward….hang on…..6 months and we were into 2018.My training consisted of running 15-20 miles on Saturday afternoons ,the theory being that the tiredness from not having a day off on the Saturday (I normally do long runs on Sunday) would help.I did some on my own and some with Gemma,we had a few cracking runs in Liverpool and someone may have got us lost once or twice but being a gentleman I cannot reveal who it was.😉

It was me but I defended myself on the grounds that we would have had to run further if we had not got lost.

I also took GC on a tour of some of the many houses I  have lived in.(Just the 2,but 12 overall isn`t too many is it?)

Other training highlights included being spotted by photographer genius Ruth (@coolairwarmsum) in I think Irby,perhaps Pensby.Anyway,I was actually running at the time which was good.Also having to weigh up how sweaty I was over how much of a gentleman I should be when GC wanted this photo taken.(My offer of a hand to help her her onto the bench was met with a “Sweaty hand Jon,uughhh!”)😂😂

Training went well,I was pleased with the quality of the runs ,both from the running aspect and the food and hill walking thing as well.The Saturday runs were really helping me,I knew I could do the distance but I also knew I could run tired.The whole ultra thing of not being fussed about time (unless you`re in a hurry,obvs) really appeals to me.During the actual race I was always fairly relaxed.I knew I was being fed later, I had a lift home,tv in a bathroom,the best friends ever with you,what more do you want?😍

Anyway,time was ticking on,I got a parkrun volunteer of the month award (its my blog,I`m putting that in) 😂 Never has one person been so surprised and had nowhere to hide.It is on youtube if you want to watch a definition of “deer in the headlights”

So to the weekend itself.Ellie arrived at my house on the Friday and we went over to Gemma`s to pay homage to the team green rabbits Simba and Hattie ,and get their opinions on what we needed to do in the race.Oh and went and had our tea at Hickorys with Ava-Rae “Birkenhead parkrun`s official greeter and starter and all round superstar” Cloney (Gemma`s daughter for those of you who haven`t had the good fortune to meet her)😍 and Brian aka El Presidente,was there as well.The identity of the runner who had the knickerbocker glory has been obscured for privacy reasons.🤔

 

Saturday was Ellie`s debut at Birkenhead parkrun as tail walker.She was a big success and after she did some geocaching which frankly had me entering into areas of the park you shouldn`t really go without a mask and police forensic support.We then went to Asda and got the most important prep done – yes,the fooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood. 😂We all met up at mine,had a runr inspired team photo by my alleygate (a team green photo theme which later led to the infamous Shrewsbury toilet photo).

We set off for Sowerby Bridge first ,to check out where we had to go the following day.Then off to Littleborough,our basecamp for the weekend and our little mansion on the hill.As we arrived a fire was raging in an old mill over the hill which gave me an opportunity to dust off the Monty python “Trouble at mill” joke.It was an amazing house.No clutter,very tidy,very shiny and of course the underfloor heating and the tvs in the bathrooms.Gemma was running around saying “Take off your shoes,you need to take off your shoes to really feel the heat!” So we did….and we did.I had an ensuite wet room and well,the tv delight I was saving till after the race.Gemma`s mum had done us a lovely cottage pie 😋😋 which we demolished between us and with the clocks losing us an hour we were all in bed early because whilst team green know how to party we can get tired,some of us are not as young as we used to be and we needed our sleep

We all were ready pretty quickly the next morning and Ann drove us all to the start in her excellent campervan (Available for hire at wirralcampervanhire.co.uk or tweet @wirralcampervan or wirral campervan hire on facebook)….and we`re back. There was a fair amount of confusion at the start re t shirts,woolly hats etc but I got it all one way or the other.I was more concerned with pinning the number on my shorts which is always fraught with danger.We then got on the coach and had a nice trip to Manchester which finished in a retail park car park before we had the briefing,queued for the loos and had a chat.

We then started (This is exciting you know but I`ll be honest,I`d peaked excitement wise at the floor and then the tv afterwards got me as giddy as a 5 year old given unlimited access to a fruit pastille warehouse). We started together but my legs can sometimes take a while to warm up so I moved on after about 6 miles.I did have a chat with Gemma and I think she told me to go (it may have been something more direct 😂) but I did feel bad about sodding off .Thankfully modern technology was such that we were able to keep in touch throughout the race and apart from Ann having slightly too much flat coke and sweets,I think they were ok.I should mention Brian at this point and his epic dash across the motorway bridge.Brian isn`t a fan of running over motorway bridges,in fact he would rather eat his own nose and support Blackburn Rovers than run over them.I heard a “For fucks sake” as we approached the bridge and I saw him go up the side walkway and then all of a sudden he was a blur (put some dramatic music on for this bit…go on….i`ll wait…………………..not all night,you`re ready,press play! All of a sudden this blur shot across the bridge like Usain Bolt at the start of the Olympic 100m.He was over! Inspirational is not the word.It was awesome.

This next bit is mainly about me (Booo!) because apart from Brian casually running past me later on,I didn`t see any of the gang till the finish.Sorry about this.Anyway,I got into my stride.I think the first feed station was around 11 miles ,after some light refreshments I followed a couple of runners as we had to go off the canal along a road or two before getting back on the canal.Fortunately I managed this ok,now the next feed station was around 21 miles but I knew Helen and Adam (@_fatgirlscanrun and @theearlyrunner) were going to be somewhere on the course with sweeties and fizzy coke.I had of course completely forgotten exactly where they would be so when I ran out from under one of the bridges around 17,18 miles ish it was a very nice surprise to see them there.It was fact it was amazing.I have had dreams about people waiting to give me food and drink but for it to come true was another item ticked off the bucket list.Had a lovely chat ,was told it was all downhill from there and was on my way.


The next feed station appeared soon after and I was having a great time. I love that you can walk,eat,admire the scenery and of course run on ultras.I didn`t have any particular targets time wise but I knew once I got to 20 miles roughly how long it would take me.When I go past 26.2 miles still feeling good,that was a special feeling and I remembered my first few runs then and got a little wobbly realising just how far I had come.I had plenty of time so took my time.The hills and the areas we were passing through were lovely and I was really enjoying myself.I`d run around .9 of a mile then walk and eat for .2 then run again and after going through the last feed station (and it had a cute dog) it was the last stretch to home. I should mention at this point the excellent marshals and helpers at all the feed stations.Every last one of them was superb,couldn`t have done any more for us. Towards the end whilst I knew we were doing 50k I thought for some strange reason it was 32 miles so when I came around a corner to see the finish at 31.39 miles I was a bit surprised but very pleased.I finished in 6 hours 7 minutes 47 seconds so broke the sub 6h8 I was hoping for (not really) I didn`t have a time in mind but I was very pleased with that and hopefully next year I can get under 6 hours.To be able to cover a distance like that, a lot of it on my own ,was something I never envisaged doing when I first went for a run.Don`t get me wrong,the Wirral ultra was better in that I covered all of that with Gemma (there is a blog about that) but to be quite calm and chilled pretty much all the way through was something I was a bit proud of.

Brian had finished in 6 hours and a few seconds. The man is a machine.He has the engine of a 23 year old and makes running look effortless at time. I was able to get my mind in gear and filmed Gemma and Ann crossing the line and @antruns appeared and went off to run the last few miles with Ellie which was really lovely of him.We celebrated with a photo in front of the Sowerby Bridge sign,walked gingerly down the hill and then Ann drove us home and the real highlight of the weekend, a roast dinner presided over and beautifully cooked by Ellie who as many of you know is one of the best hoomins around.

Give me a minute,I’m getting emotional.

Nearly there.

Woah,always gets me,that beef,that chicken (Sorry Ash)

Whilst the food was cooking,we showered and bathed.I turned on the tv and realised it was fecking freeview or whatever thats called these days.I must have spent 10 minutes scrolling through and trying to find something to watch.All these years I`d waited for a moment like this and there was nothing on.I found the F1 highlights,they were on the last sodding lap.I finally had to settle for a “Homes under the hammer” episode which when as a small child I`d had those dreams of watching the tv whilst having a bath,it was more the World cup final than a daytime property show.Still the young lady and her dad from Derby did a great job on their mid terrace buy to let,getting a cracking rent and Dion Dublin seemed satisfied.So happy days.

I got bored and put on all my compression gear,calf sleeves etc and went down to eat.We were all in pretty good shape but we were a bit tired and after a good chat we felt it was snoozy time and we went to bed.I do miss my tv in the bathroom though and with the world cup on at the moment it would have been fantastic to watch games in the tub..There I`ve said it.I miss it.Not as much as Gemma missed the floor though.😂

We said a teary goodbye to my second favourite Welsh person on Monday morning (Sorry Ellie but number 1 will always be Dean Saunders,subject to him never getting involved with Nottingham Forest)* and then we were on our way home.

Canalathon was truly one of the best experiences I`ve had.I`d wanted to do it before and had looked into it in terms of getting there and back etc but to experience it with Gemma,Ellie,Ann and Brian was special.The race itself was amazing,a great challenge which I was very proud to succeed at but the weekend from seeing Ellie arrive at my house Friday afternoon to being dropped off in the campervan (see above for booking details) Monday morning it was brilliant.I will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.Running has given me so much and this was just another example of it.The whole teamgreen thing has been just the best thing and has done so much for me.

Next up is the Whistle stop tour although another very long run around the Wirral again with GC is on the cards before that I think. Then Snowdonia marathon (hilly apparently) then who knows.I definately want to do Canalathon again to see if I can get under 6 hours but there are so many other marathons and ultras I want to do as well,we will see.

 

*I`m kidding,Ellie is number 3.I forgot Mark Pembridge.**

*** She`s number 1.She`ll always be number 1,unless I meet Katherine Jenkins.I`m kidding!😂😂😂

(My favourite race photo)


(Well this one really,love #teamgreen)

 

Thanks for reading,hopefully some of it made sense.

Love you #teamgreen.

 

PS – You can find Ann`s blog at http://www.adventurousmum.co.uk and don`t forget http://www.wirralcampervanhire.co.uk

– You can sponsor Gemma`s daughter Ava in her 2k race for Love,Jasmine. Just search for Gemma Cloney on JustGiving or go to @gemboc1 on twitter.

– You can sponsor Ellie who`s raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund.Go to @firsthurdle for the link.

– Brian`s president of Upton Cricket club and they have been raising money for @vsfhealthcheck who do free heart screenings.

And I raise money for Parkinsonsuk in memory of my mum.💚

 

 

 

 

 

#internationaldayofhappiness

Its #internationaldayofhappiness..day

Hip hip hip,hip f****** hooray

What is there to be happy about I have to ask

Go on smile,behind your mask

We have a racist president in the USA

A puppet with a Russian hand up his bum

Politicians who think we are dumb

Here we have toffs and liars charging to bring back control to our shores

F*** off Johnson and Farrage you unprincipled bores.

The lies about Brexit

And remembering there’s a border in Ireland

The focus on Corbyn’s hat

But not that Rees-Moggy is a complete twat

The reliance on food banks rather than social services

Which is a national disgrace but much to the governments taste.

We have the media who focus on Ant

But forget about Grenfell

Who cry about a lost TV takeaway

Instead of the health of a human

It used to be EastEnders there was unlimited doom in.

However amongst the frustration,the anger,the misery and the worry

There are reasons to be happy,apart from curry.

Reasons indeed to have a happiness day,maybe one or two anyway.

The nurses,the doctors who give their all in the face of shitty pay & conditions

Indeed all the emergency services who work with one hand behind their backs to help those in need

The educators trying to teach and encourage today’s kids

The councils trying to provide whilst cut to the bone

The volunteers who try to make your life fun

And yes,too right I’m mentioning parkrun

To those who make you smile,make you laugh,make you happy.

Whether they are hoomin or bunny,

It doesn’t matter when you know they are funny.

Whether you know them personally or you’ve never met

Send them a nice message or a text

And know they will smile next

Make the most of what you have or what you need to do

To stop life from feeling like total poo

It can be baby steps,one thing at a time

Or a giant leap or a glass of wine

It could be a beer or indeed a Jaffa cake

But whatever you need to make it happen,

In any which way,no matter quick or slow,short term or long term

Today its #internationaldayoflhappiness….day

Please don’t be quiet though,please have your say.

Mother’s Day

It might be in the way that you vote  

It might be the way you put on your coat 

It might be the way you hold your knife and fork 

Or opening some wine,the way you remove the cork
Your Mum
It could be the way you say “We’re not watching that!” 

Or “There’s no way you’re getting a cat!” 

It could be “You’re only having afters if you finish your tea!” 

Or remembering the best way to treat the sting of a bee
Your Mum
It could be working out when to pay your bills 

Or finding the quickest queue at the supermarket tills 

It could be planning a trip away 

“It’s France but we’ll stay in a tent ok?”
Your Mum
It could be learning what’s right and making that a habit 

Or adopting a rabbit and a rabbit 

It could be caring and loving the way you were shown 

Or just setting the right tone
Your Mum
Its not just mums of course,its dads as well 

But this day is a tribute to the mum, 

And especially for me,the mum on her own 

Who sometimes I wish I could phone
My Mum
But this is a day to be proud not sad 

To have some white choccy so I don’t make a mess 

And to cheat in a scrabble game I must confess 

To remember the smiles,the trips to Bon Marché 😂 ,and all the good times 

To eat loads,to have a full tum 

And just be thankful for my mum.

😊

#nationaltoastday

Toast,toast,toast
It comes in all shapes and sizes
It is consumed all over the country
Including Doncaster,Derby and Devizes.

You can put your bread under the grill
But more often in a toaster.
Oh I forgot to mention
Its also popular in Rocester.

You can slice it halfway or eat it as one
Maybe if you’re daring,do a diagonal
Some prefer a light toasting,others like it well done
I just like it in my tum.

All ages like it including teens
A lot like to eat their toast underneath baked beans.
If you have it with a dippy egg you have to cut it into soldiers
Or if you’re strange,with lots of Marmite
But i think that’s just…..weird.

I could go on about toast
The amount I’ve eaten but that would be a silly boast.
The different breads,the different sizes and shapes
Everyone has a favourite

Go home now and have a couple of slices
And in amongst all your kitchen clutter
Treat yourself,ah go on
Have it with a bit of butter!

#worldthinkingday

I thought a bit and I wrote this 🤔

You don’t always have to be loud
You don’t always have to shout
You can make yourself heard
Just by a kind gesture,or even a friendly word

You don’t have to dominate the conversation
You don’t have to talk over everybody else
You can listen,you can learn
By doing this,a lot you can discern

You don’t have to create noise to lead You don’t have to bully or scream
You can achieve so much more By being with the right team

You can be polite,its not hard
You can be aware,it doesn’t need to be written on a card
You can indicate at a corner (hang on,I’m getting distracted)
Above all else you can just be there,and someone’s life could be impacted.

So be calm,be happy,be determined, be kind
Be strong,always back yourself and your mind.
Your opinion matters that’s for sure
Respect others but always want more.

2017 The sequel to…er…2016.

I was going to do some sort of review of my athletic (?) year but tbh I’ve covered a lot of the major stuff in other blogs (London,Wirral Ultra) so this will be a selection of photos from 2017 and a few comments.Get yourself a drink,some choccy,a cake or a banana and hopefully have a chuckle or two.

First up is this one from January,it was the Wirral way trail half and I think I broke my half pb by 3 minutes and was 35th.This photo,I think was taken by the Robbie Earle of shorts wearing,Mr Stuart Rickers and was at the point where we ran by the finish line  but still had to do a bit more.I could smell the post race hog roast cooking,oh the crackling…….give me a moment…….

 

……..I`m back.I think I became a bit delirious at this point but I think I enjoyed it.Running blind for a couple of miles when the rain was in my face was interesting but I managed not to fall over which is always a result.

The photo below is myself ,next to the running legend that is Jay Walker.Jay is so quick,pigeons watch film of him to improve their speed.This was before one of my bi annual Birkenhead parkruns in January.Jay completed his 50th parkrun just before the end of the year.I got my pb in this one and will be having another go early in 2018.

Next photo is another January one.The #ukrunchat legend that is Michelle Mortimer was training for the Manchester marathon ,was up in the north west and needed someone living in Birkenhead to run 16 miles ish with her.Who else? Apart from one of the bridges by the docks being up and having to take a slight 2 mile detour,I felt it went well.I didn’t get lost which wouldn’t have been good and its lovely to meet people off the twitter who are nice online and great to meet in person.

The bun above is Hattie,one of the stars of the Birkenhead parkrun volunteer appeals,She is also gorgeous and good calming therapy to anyone if you`ve had a stressful day.She is also a really deep thinking rabbit as you can see from the photo above.I wasn’t a massive rabbit fan before April but Hattie and Simba are just the best!

Above is Stuart Rickers ,he always wears shorts at Birkenhead parkrun.Every week,in all weathers.Mad people planning on going to the South Pole visit him for guidance on coping with extreme weather conditions.Below is the tribute we paid to him when his back caused him a lot of pain earlier in the year.#shortsforstu was a really popular campaign and raised £0.Stu is also a really nice person and he supports Port Vale.

I got my 10k pb at the St Helens 10k in March.We finished in the rugby league stadium and I got to do my best Ray French impression as I ran towards the finish.Another highlight was my great friend Gemma going into KFC afterwards with a towel wrapped around her legs because she was so cold.Style guru.

I do like an obscure race photo.This one from the Wrexham half isn`ttoo bad. I got some lovely crumpets from the race as well as the medal and it was my first time in the most amazing campervan,driven by another top friend, Ann Currie.Ann cooked some of #teamgreen a lovely meal later in the year and did a quadrathlon this year.I don​​​​t think she`ll stop till she does a dodecathlon.

If you are looking to hire a campervan visit http://www.campervanhire.co.uk or tweet them @wirralcampervan

My favourite running photo of the year is this one below, taken with Gemma at the charity run organised by John Hammond for the Bennet family. It was on the Friday night before the Wrexham half and I was only going to do a few miles but I was persuaded to do 11 and a bit in the end.It was a really good evening and also memorable because Gemma mentioned she was getting a couple of rabbits for her and her daughter Ava.

The one below is taken after the Mad dog 10k in Southport.When you mention chips and how amazing they are ,and then mention them several times again and its cold and you get to the chippy and its shut,then this is the face that appears.Sorry Gemma.

#teamgreen legend and Potteries running supremo,Ash Wilks visited Birkenhead parkrun during the summer and he ,Gemma,Ava,Ann,Brian `El Presidente` Shenton are pictured below.More on Brian later.Ash has helped to form and run a running club and has also gone into coaching and mentoring online.Check out @awrunfitness on twitter. Ash is one of the best people about.

I belong to the best running club there is ,Thunder Runners.I don`t say that because I got two awards from them this year but because they are all lovely.I was so chuffed to get these,almost got something in my eye. I don’t tend to get awards or trophies so to get two like this was truly amazing and I still get a smile when I walk past them.I have them on a bookcase.The security guards are expensive but worth it I think.

The Wirral ultra has been mentioned in another blog but I couldn`t not include a photo from the day.It was a special day for a lot of reasons. I never thought I could cover a distance like that, I raised a bit for Parkinsons,I lost a hat in the New Brighton marine lake,I got a new hat,which I can wear for the World cup next summer,I lost my front door key and I got to do all of that with a really amazing person which made the experience so memorable,especially near the end where we showed levels of restraint not to chin some twat who told us we had gone the wrong way.Thanks to Ann for the photo.Oh and I got a lovely mug in advance which I didn’t open till afterwards.

I didn`t do a blog about the Shrewsbury half marathon because a lot of people did and the special memories I got that day would’ve meant the blog went on forever.I didn’t intend to run with Ash and Ellie but it was really hot and I had the Ultra two weeks later and Shrewsbury is like the Alps but magnified by a zillion.Honestly,if you are born in Shrewsbury you get issued with a rucksack and a St Bernard.We had a fantastic time all the way around and together with the other #teamgreen and #ukrunchat wonderful people that were there,it was a brilliant day. These two have become truly special friends.not just because they say nice things about me.Ellie has taught me a lot of Welsh words but just is the most wonderful funny and smart person ever.Go and read her blog.The link is at the end.Tidy.

I`m going to Shrewsbury in January to watch some football.I know the ground will be on a hill.

We had a #teamgreen spring conference at Upton cricket club in May,Ellie came over on her way back to Wales and together with Jay,Ann,Gemma,Brian and myself we had mini Jaffa cakes and a good chat.Brian is the president of the club and they have to be one of the most progressive clubs around with excellent youth sections for boys and girls and just a really nice set up.

I couldn’t find a photo of the Liverpool marathon where I had the pleasure of watching Jay,Brian,Ann and Gemma run past me just after the 25 mile mark.Jay was motoring quickly,Brian was powering through,Ann apologised for not stopping whilst Gemma stopped,had a Jaffa cake and a chat and still got a massive pb.They all had their different journeys to their marathon medals.Brian inadvertently trained for one before entering it whilst Gemma had injuries which she really had to battle through to do the race.One of my best running moments of the year was that,GC.

I also couldn`t not include a photo of me after the London marathon,one of the best days of my life,not just for the race but the number of discounted easter eggs I got through afterwards.To anyone doing it this year,enjoy it ,its a unique experience and I loved every minute of it.

Below and indeed above is the shirt I wore for the London marathon,Wirral ultra and Chester marathon.I aimed to raise £365 for Parkinsons uk to take my overall total to £1000 but thanks to the generosity of some amazing people I managed to get £635 which also pleased my numerical ocd.Thanks again to all of you,I am so grateful to you all.My mum had parkinsons and it is a really shitty thing.I aim to raise a few pennies again this in 2018 by doing Canalathon,Liverpool marathon,the Whistle stop tour again and Snowdonia marathon.

 

I entered the Whistle stop tour at the start of the year.Was going to be a big challenge doing three races in three days.I had issues with my right foot all throughout the year but thanks to icing ,(ice not cake icing),tennis balls,co codamol (just a few),muscle cream,voltarol and just sheer bloody mindedness I got through it. Five miles around Arrowe park,then 8 including the beach and running down a hill in a massive rain storm then the Wirral half which was the one race I`ve done where I felt I`d run the race before I started.So proud when I finished though. I surprised myself so much this year and it always makes me smile.

A couple of photos from Birkenhead parkrun now.We had a photographer called Bruce visit us in July I think and took loads of photos, a lot of which have appeared on parkrun social media.None of me though but hey ,I haven’t mentioned it.I was run director that day and it is just the best thing ever.People listening to you talk is just the best thing and when you get a megaphone as well.I am biased but we do have the best parkrun going.We always have a laugh,we try and make it the best experience for all the  runners and I`ve made some wonderful friends from it.In 2018 I want to get to 100 volunteers and 38 runs.

My Chester marathon medal,I should have done this in October 16 but I just wasn`t well,still regret that a bit but doing it a year later,whilst not making up for that,ticked that box and I am happy that I finally got the medal. Thanks also to #teamgreen member Mike Evennett who together with his lovely family,gave myself and Brian a lift home. Mike is also the fastest person with one knee.He has two obviously but considering the problems he`s had with it,he still manages to produce excellent results.

Myself and Brian after the Wirral half.As well as being your go to person on ale and pickled eggs,Brian is just the nicest person alive.He also should be knighted for services to the hi vis industry.

I got two medals and two shirts for the whistle stop tour,big uns as well.I also had a tremendous ice cream afterwards.

 

Here`s me being Santa and a run director at the same time.Bucket list item ticked.

I really should have put this in some kind of order but that would’ve been far too organised and time consuming.The photo below was taken after one of the wettest parkruns we have had at Birkenhead.I couldn’t see the screen on my watch,we still had a load of fun though and we were one of the parkruns in the area not to be cancelled. Mark,Mike,Ultan,Steve and Liz below as well as the shorts bloke and Gemma.

 

The photo below is my ice cream of the year which goes to the Conwy half. I like to note the location of ice cream establishments before I start and this one was a belter.A bit pricier than normal but a pb effort saw it all downed.Also got another drive in the campervan with Ann and Brian and an unexpected piece of cake at the end.

A #teamgreen meeting after the race with Brian,the number 1 Scottish funnel manager of Birkenhead parkrun,aka Ann,Mike and Jay who although he didn’t run,came to support loads of people.

Below is the #runr advert that Brian,Gemma,myself and Ava did at parkrun.Myself and Brian haven’t been contacted for more photos.

I put my two medals,shirt and numbers from London and Chester into a frame and I think it turned out pretty well.Together with my Thunder runner trophies, and my Hattie and Simba calendar (haven’t you got one?) its great to look at and will always make me smile.

I have mentioned these two before. Simba and Hattie moved in with Gemma and Ava in April and as an unofficial uncle,I get regular updates and photos.They do volunteer appeals for parkrun which have been very successful and they are just the cutest,funniest bunnies ever and the only things stopping me from getting my own.

Below is another run director and friend,Mr Ultan “NO A” Mulhern.One half of Wirral`s number 1 folk act ,the Folk Doctors,he also knows a lot about a lot of things.He has also been persuaded by two people who shall remain nameless,to come out of ultra retirement and do another ultra this year.Oops.

One last photo,with Gemma and Ann.Both are expert at the selfie thing,me less so but considering we still had 26 ish miles still to do,we looked happy!

All in all I have been very lucky this year.Health wise,despite the foot and the back I`ve been ok,I`ve had the best time at races with Gemma,Ann,Brian,Ellie,Ash and so many more.I`m fortunate to have made lifelong friends from running so apart from the physical and mental benefits, that has to be the number 1 thing for me……and the ice cream of course.

And I`ve finally seen Bradford City score on boxing day!

 

https://fiftyfive25.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/i-found-jesus-by-the-cutty-sark/

https://fiftyfive25.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/i-miss-my-hat-the-story-of-the-wirral-ultra/

http://www.adventurousmum.co.uk/

About Miles with Michelle

@thunder runners @awrunfitness @wirralcampervan @jon_rumley

http://www.wirralcampervanhire.co.uk

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