Sunday, 25 June 2017

Boy.... Was it Hot

Well the dust has now settled on the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk and what an event it was weather wise. Last year’s event was hot, but this year, wow was it hot. Standing at the NSC last Saturday before the start it was already known it was going to be a warm one as the early sun already had warmth in it as we stood on the start line. Once underway in the race I walked with Mike Bonney and we were afforded some shelter from the sun on the way up past the plantation after Braid roundabout thanks to some cloud cover. Unfortunately it did not last and by Santon we were back in the sunlight and the temperature had risen significantly. My plan to walk at a pace that would see me reach the first checkpoint at Santon Church just under 2 hours was already gone as I arrived around 2mins over. Mike had moved ahead by this point and the event from here on for me was quite a lonely one apart from Christine's company every mile, she had turned up on the Oatlands road to start her support car duties. As I walked over the Orrisdale road Mike George and his wife Irene, who were spectating, claimed he had ordered Fog for the Sloc, from my position I could see it was indeed starting to roll in. By the time I reached Rushen however it was evident that the Sloc was going to be an uncomfortable trek as the fog Mike had ordered had all but gone and the sun was burning up the recently laid tarmac. I accepted a Beer this year at the Roundtable before starting the decent into Dalby and Glen Maye I was a little conservative dropping down as I cramped quite bad at Dalby last year, it took me till Kirk Michael to recover, so a drop in pace was my way of trying to prevent a repeat, in turn, this made me slower than last year into Peel but I was 7th albeit already 40 minutes behind the leading duo of Richard Gerrard and Liam Parker. As you know Peel is my home town so walking up the main street and onto Derby Road to the Town Hall check point was again this year met with great support from family and friends, however from experience, I know this support is deservedly given to all that pass through or choose to stop at St Germans 32.5miles into the event.

Peel to Bride is the section I least look forward to. I think because the Firefighters Charity Walk takes the same route only 8 weeks before the parish, this is the reasoning, in my mind anyway. The crowd outside the Mitre in Kirk Michael were spot on as always, I think the Fancy Dress costumes stayed in the box this year or at least I did not see anyone dressed up like last year. I passed Mike Bonney going into Ballaugh who was struggling with the temperature, something he will admit himself is his nemesis, a couple of degrees cooler or at least a good covering of cloud I doubt I would of seen Mike as he would have been well gone. On the way back down the lane that leads up to Jurby Church, 45 miles in, Mike told me he was retiring as we passed one another. My focus now was to try and reel in Pete Miller who had passed me on the return road leading to Jurby. I thought by now the heat may have started to go out of the sun and it would be a more pleasant walk to Bride given I was now near 10 hours in, the high hedges gave little shade and the lack of tree cover was also evident. Christine had started soaking my cap with cold water and as it dried swapped it with a spare also soaked in water, she continued to do this until the run into Maughold just before 2200hrs when the sun was at last setting but the temperature remained. I passed Pete heading towards Andreas as he stopped alongside his support car and seen him again at Andreas church. From here on myself and Pete passed one another several times, one to mention was whilst I was in a port-a-loo that Christine had spotted near the Silly Moos in Lezayre. Pete walked past as Christine stood outside prepared with Vaseline, Baby wipes and a can of Freeze Spray and shouted "it’s not that bad is it" and "are you doing the parish log" it clearly was that bad and I apologise to the driver of the Hiab wagon for more likely changing the centre of gravity of the said loo. The Freeze Spray was for my legs, I must hasten to add, not for any other sensitive area of the body. Parliament Square was chocker with people supporting from the Pubs either side of the road who had starting cheering long before my arrival at the junction and continued to shout, clap and cheer as I headed out toward the turning towards maughold. I caught Pete again as we started are climb towards Maughold church so we walked into the checkpoint together and stayed together till a mile or so after Ballajora. I had put a jacket on by now believing it would get cooler as it started to darken, it hadn't, but I left the jacket on until the finish. The walk through Glen Mona and Bulgham  was again a lonely one. My daughter had turned up to help support for the last 12 or so miles so it was good to see her, although Christine seemed to be still doing most of the running as Annalise sat in the car. Karen Lawrie past me as I walked into the top of Laxey, this had the effect of me picking up my own pace to try and keep up with her. On the return road to Lonan church I wished her well for the remaining 7 miles in thinking I would not see her again until the end. The walk through Baldrine and along the LA straight seemed to fly by and it wasn't long before I was dropping down the Whitebridge into Onchan. My head torch was not the best by now (cheap batteries) so making out the hedge and gutter was difficult in the pitch darkness. I was surprised I had managed to Keep Karen insight from Lonan so we did indeed see each other again at the up and down of Onchan Church. We both knew at this point we had all but finished so congratulated each other a little prematurely, with 2 miles to go of an 85 mile race, I think we were both confident at this point. Christine and Annalise had gone ahead to the finish, after supporting me one last time on Royal Avenue, so it was good to know they were going to be at the end. Like last year there were one or two drunken supporters on the Promenade which is always entertaining. The prom itself, for me anyway, always seems to go on for ever, the lights of the finish are clearly insight from the old swimming pool site but never seem to get any closer. Sure enough though, after what seemed like an age, I crossed the finish line of the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk in 5th Position overall and 3rd Male in a time of 17:52.03.

Sundays won’t be the same now as I will not have this blog to write, and, as this will be my last chance to say some Thankyou's, here goes

 Thankyou to the organisers, sponsors, marshal’s, medical teams and supporters for a great event

 Thankyou to Christine and Annalise for all the support on the day.

 Thankyou to The Caff race walking team for all the help and advice

 Thankyou to Bridget Kaneen for all her support

 Thankyou to Richard and Kyley Gerrard for putting my name forward for the Blog last year

 Thankyou Murray for giving me the opportunity. You are, and will continue to be missed by all.

And Thanks for reading ……….

Friday, 16 June 2017

Good Luck!

Well here we all are less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk. This is it.. all the training and pre event planning has brought us here, to this, the evening before the event.

Good Luck to everyone for tomorrow. I really do hope you all reach your distance goals, whether that be the 11 miles to Santon, the 19 miles to Rushen, the 32.5 miles to Peel or the full 85 miles to the finish, in Douglas, sometime before 8am Sunday morning.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Rain Rain and More Rain!

A late start on Saturday was planned due to most of us being out the night before enjoying the last day of TT 2017. Ray kindly picked me up so i did not have to drive through from Peel first thing, after a rather late night, it was definitly a good move. By the time we reached the NSC at 8 o'clock the rain was fair bouncing which seems to of been the norm for the last week. Andy had already arrived and Dave was not long after, all of us deciding to sit in the shelter of our cars. Rich arrived on foot and was not long climbing into Dave's car for shelter. A discussion was then held, through slightly lowered windows as to whether we should man up and venture out for a lap of Baldwin or head straight for breakfast in The Caff. After some discussion we did indeed man up and headed off towards Mount Rule. The rain eased off and was as good as stopped once half way round the 10 mile loop, getting out and plodding round was the right call. This was the last Saturday walk, obviously, before the Parish so pace and distance were irrelevant.

Apart from a stroll on Tuesday evening I will not do anything now before the event. The next week will be spent insuring all my kit is ready, that I have batteries and spares for my head torch and rear lights and any last bits of food stuff have been purchased and prepared.

I cant believe it is now only 6 days until we line up at the National Sports Centre to start the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk. Numbers and Timing Chips will be available from the NSC on Thursday 1730 - 2030hrs and Friday 1730 - 1930hrs........... See you all there!

Friday, 9 June 2017

Nights........ Done! (again)

Thankfully I am at the end of another set of nights. I was supposed to be doing an extra one for one of the guys that wanted to enjoy Senior Race day without the knowledge of having to come to work at 2300hrs Friday night, however, I have managed to pass the shift on to one of the other guys who covers for us when required so my weekend can start as soon as I finish here in a couple of hours’ time. I have convinced Christine that we should take the girls out for some lunch, more likely down south, as it looks like the bikes will go ahead today judging by the morning that is breaking outside of my office window, this way I can have a few drinks with lunch and hopefully continue with the drinking once back in Peel for the evening.

Training has been the normal Tuesday and Thursday sessions over Marine Drive this week so far. The plan for Saturday is to do a loop of Baldwin before breakfast at The Caff. I have not felt 100% this week with a slight stomach bug and also a cough developing over the last few days. It is more likely to be just the body out of balance from working the last 7 Nights and trying to get some sleep during the day which hasn't really gone to plan. Christine alters and badges up racing leathers as well as working at Penny Bridge Stables so each day there has been callers dropping off or picking up leathers that have needed work carried out so sleeping during the day has not been easy.

With only a week now until the start of the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk I have started buying what's needed, food wise, so I can start to put a box together of everything required on the day. I will also get any medical bits and bobs this weekend and have them boxed up ready. It’s surprising how quick certain things go off the shelves, leading up to the Parish, with 1400 competitors all wanting blister plasters, Vaseline, sports drinks etc. it’s not hard to see why.

Christine has asked that I try and find someone to either do support for the last part of the race or at least someone that will go with her for the last part. I know last year she was not comfortable driving in the dark, keeping an eye out for me and also having to be careful where she was parking and swinging doors open. My Daughter ended up jumping in the car with her at the Dhoon but this was totally unplanned so this year I will try and sort something out. It really is a long day for the support crews. Last year Christine met me on the Oatlands Road in Santon, probably 1.5hrs into the walk, and stuck with me then till the finish in Douglas approx. 16.5hrs later. I would like to think I will complete the event in a similar time this year so she is more than aware there is another 16 hours or more, sitting in a car, to look forward too next weekend, the least I can do is try and find her either some relief or company for the last few hours.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Happy TT!

Happy TT everyone!

I am writing this whilst the majority of those competing in the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk will be tucked up in bed. I started another set of nights on Friday which will see me working the early hours until next Saturday morning. Nights are always double edged and although they mean I can train most evenings and maybe fit one or two extra walks in during the days they also prevent me from attending any social get togethers, or at least being able to drink if I do. With it being TT week  it’s even more frustrating that the evening entertainment, put on at places such as the Bushy’s beer tent and my local pubs in Peel, will have to be missed in favour of tipping up here at 2300hrs each evening for the night shift.

Training over the last week has been ok. I managed to get out Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings and also went straight from finishing here yesterday morning to the NSC to meet up with Andy, Rich and Ray for a stroll. The group put a good session in last weekend around Glen Roy, which I missed due to work, this weekend we headed out again on one of the regular training loops started by heading out through Strang to Crosby before crossing the main Douglas to Peel road and heading up the steep School Hill past Ellerslie. From here we continued out as far as Garth crossroads before turning towards The Braid and picking up the Parish route through to Santon before turning left at the end of the Oatlands road and heading back in over Marine Drive to finish as always outside The Caff. The weather started quite overcast first thing but soon warmed up once the sun broke through which made for a warm end to the walk. My watch had recorded just over 16 miles at the end as we took in the sunshine with an outside table to enjoy breakfast. The pace wasn't too bad for a quite hilly route but the legs were starting to feel it a little towards the end.

Unfortunately for the fans over for the racing it has been a poor start to the festival weather wise, however, when the weather has been good it has been really good so they have not had it all bad. Hopefully the weather will stick around for the planned racing Today, Monday and Tuesday although early reports suggest it will break again Monday. Walking this morning for the first couple of hours would be perfect conditions for me on the Parish in 13 days’ time but I guess anything is better than wet and windy. Marine Drive was a popular place this morning with a few people out getting the last few miles in the legs before tapering off towards the event to allow the legs a little bit of rest before the off.

Steve Taylor posted this week that the National 50k Championships will be held on the Island early in September, a fortnight before the End to End Walk. Early chatter amongst the group is most are going to give it a go. The distance is the same as the Firefighters Memorial Walk back in April but differs in that it is being held on a completely flat course around a 1km loop of the National Sports Centre and will be judged under Cat A rules unlike the Parish, End to End and Firefighters which are judged to Cat B rules regarding technique as follows

Rule 230 Definition of Race Walking: Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg shall be straightened (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position.

The event is held with a Race Walking Association Category B permit which allows the judging rules to be relaxed with only the contact part of IAAF rule 230 being applied.

It would be great to see the event well supported and for those that have only this year got into walking, in preparation for the parish, this gives another event to continue with the solid training over the summer months you have already put in. As stated in my early posts, Race Walking coaching is available on a Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night at the NSC and on a Saturday in Peel for those that want to take part, once back from holiday, I will be spending more time with Bridget Kaneen to prepare for the event. The two week gap between the 50K and the 2017 Ramsey Bakery End to End and then only another 4 weeks there after until the South African Centurion in Cape Town means a busy couple of months, walking wise, to look forward to once the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk is (hopefully) completed for another year.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Rice Pudding!!

Training started on Monday this week with a rather pacey walk up over Baldwin with Richard. At the time it felt gruesome but in fairness it was needed to free the legs off after the Race the Sun. Tuesday, again seen only myself and one other of the usual group out, Ray had headed to Spain for a short break before his life is taken over by the TT for 2 weeks, Stew was still away and Andy and Rich were both busy with work, so that left Dave and I to tackle Marine Drive. Both nights were a struggle, more so with the temperature, but the weather really made it worth being out. Wednesday was a night off and Thursday four of us met up and done the loop around Douglas / Onchan. I missed Saturday as I was on a day shift and also had to decline an invitation to train again this morning (Sunday) due to work commitments. On the subject of work commitments, I am hopeful that this may be my last weekend for a while working on shift. An opportunity has arisen for me to transfer onto day work (Mon - Fri) for a while whist the Power Station goes through a routine outage. I will more likely still have to work over weekends when necessary but at least I can train and arrive a little later in the morning rather than having to be in at a set time to take over from the previous shift and miss out completely.

I found some Nectar Hydro Tabs before the Race the Sun event and have used them before and after training over the last week. I more often than not have a case of water in the boot of the car and have been adding one or two of the Tabs, for flavour, rather than drinking it plain. I may have mentioned before that the High5 sachets I use give me a dry mouth and sometimes taste as though the last mouthful is still very powdery in the back of the throat. The Tabs don't give this feeling but the down side to them is they do not contain any calories, unlike the high5 product. I have ordered 3 more tubs for the Parish. It may sound daft but the calories in a drink are more likely the only calories you will be getting toward the end of a long walk unless you are one of the few that can eat right up till the end of a long distance race. I find after so long I refuse solids in preference of fluids, this can happen in the space of a mile, I can be quite happy eating the odd sandwich, cake and bits of fruit but all of a sudden just want fluids. When this does happen it’s important that the drink is made up with something that will at least give some amount of energy otherwise the fuel used to keep the body moving forward will soon run out. The Tabs, like the High5, also have key electrolytes so the salts lost are also replaced / kept in balance.

On the subject of foods etc. that I eat during an event I have made a list below to give some idea. some of the choices may make you think 'URGH' I couldn't eat that whilst walking, but by now, if you have been trying different foods, you will know what is best for you and what does not upset your stomach or mind on the day. I say mind as what goes on in your head plays a big part in whether you finish or not. The slightest thing, that would normally not bother you, can really peeve you off on the day, one of mine is sticky hands, Christine and Colin have helped me enough now to know that if I am having something  sticky they have a Wet Wipe ready as well so I can wipe my hands and face after eating it.


Rice Pudding
Various Sandwiches
Salted Nuts
Fruit Cake
Ginger Cake
Fruit Jelly
Naked Bars

Later on in the race Christine will have most of this stuff on a large tray so I can help myself to what I fancy. At the beginning, so I'm told, I'm quite predictable so she has what I like, and usually want, ready for me as I pass. I become a little more fussy and awkward (a pain in the arse) later so the tray is her way of preventing any arguments. You really don't want to get to the point where you are arguing with your support, for fear, as has happened in the past on the Parish, they get in the car and head home leaving you with nothing or no one to give you the assistance and encouragement you will so desperately need as the miles drag on.

Also No support = No finish  (rule 13 below) if you are already thinking that you may go on further than Peel 'depending on how I feel' then you should already have support arranged in case. One or two who I know and are taking part this year have said this to me recently and I have said the exact same thing to them. Also if  whoever they are knows they may be required, if everything is going well, then they can also be prepared for what may be a long night ahead of them.

13. Competitors continuing beyond Ballaugh must be individually accompanied by an attendant in a car. The sharing of a support vehicle is not permitted. Attendants must wear hi-viz reflective clothing.

Honestly you really don't want to be heading through Kirk Michael thinking how well you are going and how you told yourself you would only get as far as Peel to then start panicking and trying to organise last minute support to enable you to go on past Ballaugh

My phone has just alerted me to a WhatsApp from Dave Walker for a walk tomorrow morning. With it being Bank Holiday Monday I guess lots will take advantage of the long weekend and get some additional miles in. With less than 3 weeks to go now until the gun goes off at 0800hrs on Saturday 17th June these may be the miles that count!!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Race the Sun

Another week of training has come to an end finishing yesterday with the Isle of Man Children Centre Race the Sun. Tuesday seen only me and Richard out training due to work commitments and being off Island for one or two of the others. I finally managed on Wednesday to meet with Pete Miller for a stroll around Cringle and Ronauge. Pete had invited me down, a couple of times previously, to train on one of his local routes but through work or racing commitments I hadn't been able to. The route was a good 10 miles and was just as hilly going out as coming back so ended up being a good walk effort wise. Pete is walking really well and will undoubtedly be on for the most improved on previous time award come the Parish in a few weeks’ time.

On Thursday I had my first experience of judging a race walk event. The Manx Harriers Club 5K was held on the T.T access road and was an opportunity to get one of the four signatures I need to be signed off as a level 1 judge. As I compete on most of the events it may take a while to get all four signatures but at least when not taking part I can give something back by helping officiate.

As already said, yesterday, was the Isle of Man Children Centre Race the Sun. I had opted for the first leg starting in Peel, at 05.06, from the Kiosk on the Promenade opposite the Marine Hotel. I arrived down around 20 minutes before the start and wasn't surprised to see most other runners warming up along the sea front. If it were a walking race I would have done some sprints etc. to warm up as well, however, as it was running I thought it was best left to the more capable athletes, the 11.5 miles ahead of me was already a concern, distance wise, I definitely didn't need to go adding distance by running up and down the promenade as some kind of warm up routine! The majority of the 30 teams were lined up at the start with only 2 or 3 others opting to start later, one reason for this was the tide time, being high tide at 06.40. I set off at sun rise and headed out over the Headlands to White Strand before picking up a short bit of road section and turning right onto the old railway line at Knocksharry. I recced this section in the opposite direction a few weeks ago, at that time there was a couple of boggy sections, yesterday thanks to the good weather we have experienced in the last couple of weeks those sections had almost dried. Once out as far as Glen Mooar we dropped down from the railway line and headed to the beach after crossing the main Peel to Kirk Michael coast road. This was to be the first section of sand as far as Glen Wyllin and straight away it was apparent it was going to be hard work as the tide conditions meant we were running quite high up on the beach in the softer sand. Once at Glen Wyllin we had to make are way up over the sea defense boulders, again due to the tide preventing us from running around them. After cutting up through the camp site we again picked up the disused railway line out as far as Bishops Court where again the course diverted from the footpath onto the beach via a couple of fields and someone’s back yard, we had to run between their house and garage to gain access to the next bit of beach section. This last bit of the route up to Ballaugh Cronk was over 2 miles running in the soft sand. My finish time was 06.48 (1hr 42mins for the leg) so the tide was at its highest as I ran the last mile. Dale Farquhar was doing the second leg which started with a 6 mile beach section and said at the Point of Ayre how difficult it was. I did the second leg last year and it could not of been more different in that the tide was at its lowest and running on the water’s edge was not to dissimilar to running on the road the sand was that compacted. The team did a tremendous job of clawing any time lost through conditions under foot, and in my case not being the strongest runner, over the remaining 8 legs taking in Maughold, Laxey, Douglas, Port Grenaugh, Port St Mary, Bradda, Niarbyl and Peel to finish at 19.35 giving us a total time of 14hrs 29mins compared to 14hrs 32mins last year. From waking just before 0400 it was a long day ending after midnight in The Creek following the Presentation and Buffett held in the Marine. Thanks and huge congratulations must go to Lisa Motley and her team at the Children’s Centre for organising another great event.

The planned training for this morning came to naught. Feeling quite good last night I had agreed to a stroll, however, on getting out of bed and walking toward the shower the effect of the alcohol that had been consumed, starting at The Bay in Port Erin yesterday afternoon, had worn off and I was as stiff as a board. With only 26 days left now until the start of the Manx Telecom 2017 Parish Walk there can be no excuse for not getting out tomorrow night.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Another Week Closer!

Another week of training has been completed, which of course means, the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk is another week closer. The week started with a sharp coaching session on the Tuesday night, I rested Monday, on the TT access road with Marie Jackson. Thursday was a lap of Marine Drive in the anti clockwise direction passing through kewaigue / White Hoe to start and finishing with the climb out of Port Soderick and Marine Drive to end up back in Douglas

On Saturday Richard Gerrard, Ray Beattie and myself met at the NSC at 0700hrs for a stroll over Little London. The walk from the NSC out toward Ballacraine was in dull but warm conditions but once through Ballig the weather became  wet and once up over Sartfeild the head wind was also more than evident. Thankfully by the time we reached Druidale Cottage and headed toward Injebreck the conditions although remaining wet improved in that the head wind had as good as disappeared or at least we were being sheltered by the fells either side. Richard had placed some water at the tight hairpin above Injebreck Reservoir so once water bottles were refilled we headed off to complete the remaining 6 or so miles through Baldwin and Mount Rule to finish back at the NSC.

I have started to use a High5 powder supplement again in my water since the Firemans and although I'm not completely happy with it as it gives a powdery taste towards the bottom of the bottle I am struggling to find an alternative that is closer to the original Nectar Sports Concentrate that I was using. I thought  I had managed to find a GU product on Friday evening but of course with not saving my recent searches I am now struggling to find it again. It may even of been a Powder not to dissimilar to that I am already using.

I managed to find an Asics clearance site last week and ordered 4 pairs of the older DS10 that I have been using since starting the longer distance races and using a lighter shoe. I wasn't sure if they were going to materialise or not due to the difficulty in finding them, in stock anywhere, since January. I am happy to say that they arrived as stated. When I originally put the order in the store was showing 9 pairs of size 10.5 in stock on there online order page so a repeat order was put in and I received another 4 pairs on Friday. The down side to having more trainers cluttering up the bedroom cupboard is that Christine has informed me some of my trial and error purchases over the last few months thinking I wasn't going to find the older DS10 will need to be culled.

1413 entries have been received for the 2017 Manx Telecom Parish Walk. To plagiarise a post I seen earlier, there are 646 Men and 767 Women. The youngest is 18 and the oldest 82 with 197 previous finishers competing this year.

I have just been out to walk the middle part of my leg of the Race the Sun event being held next Saturday. Yesterday it was foggy up on top of Sartfell, because of this the route seemed to pass over quite quickly. I cant help thinking now that the recce today was a mistake as the distances I thought were quite short seemed to go on for ever. Maybe the unknown would of been better next weekend.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

A Sunny Northern 10

It was perfect conditions in Ramsey this morning for the Northern Athletics Club Paul Collins Northern 10. After staying out far too late last night and still feeling the walk from the day before I wasn't to keen on making the trip up to Ramsey this morning but with a little encouragement from Christine (a foot up the arse) I reluctantly and gingerly climbed out of bed, showered and headed off with Christine who had decided also to get up, the weather was far too nice to be lay in bed anyway. From Ramsey Football club we headed out of Ramsey toward Sulby. Thankfully Chris had taken my own, Marie Jacksons and Sharon Cains drinks as within the first mile or so the temperature had risen. I had started to quick which in turn meant I wasn't walking well (thanks Marie) but as I settled / slowed down my walking improved. The walk back in from St Judes to Ramsey differed from previous years, as in, we were instructed by the Marshal to walk on the left hand side of the road. The camber on this side was evidently worse than that on the right hand side and played its part in a few walkers including myself to complain of sore hips and glutes immediately after the finish. A massive well done to Adam Cowin, Hannah Hunter and Steve Partington who were the top 3 finishers in that order, Hannah winning the Female race in a time of 85mins. Jayne Farquhar knocked two minutes of her previous best to finish 3rd Female and 6th Overall. Sharon and Louise Hollings both knocked over two and a half minutes off there PB's to finish 5th and 6th Female 9th and 10th Overall. Marie Jackson was 2nd Female and 5th, I finished 4th Overall 3rd Male which I was happy with as the event was being used as a recovery walk after yesterday as I knew I would not motivate myself to get out today otherwise.

Thanks to all at Northern AC for hosting the event, Paul Collins for sponsoring and the Marshals for keeping us safe at the road junctions / crossings.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Turned Out Nice!

What a week its been weather wise. I finished my nights on Friday morning and must say sleeping over the last week has been almost impossible knowing that the sun was shining outside. I got up most days by noon so I could spend the afternoon lounging in the garden and / or strolling the promenade in Peel. I didn't walk on Monday in favour of spending the afternoon with Christine and visiting my sister for the first time in what seems like an age. Are first stop was the MSPCA in Foxdale where we had a piece of Cheese Cake big enough to sink a ship! That put any plan of an evening stroll on hold due to feeling like I was carrying a lead weight around with me. Cheesecake for breakfast was maybe not the best idea!

I trained Tuesday and Thursday, as usual, taking in the prom route around Douglas and Onchan on both nights. On Wednesday evening Christine and I went through to the NSC where there was a get together of family and friends of the late Murray Lambden. We arrived quite early but were not surprised by the amount of people already there. He really will be sadly missed by all.

The plan was to do some decent miles on Friday with Ray. unfortunately Ray was held up in the morning and I had a massage planned so by the time Ray called I could only get out for an hour before peeling off. Ray continued on for some additional mileage due to being required for medical cover on the Manx National Rally on the Saturday morning, preventing him from training with the usual Saturday group.

Saturdays walk turned into a bit of a marathon in the end (or a mile short of one anyway) Andy, Richard, Stew and I headed off from the NSC at 0700 and took in the back road from Strang to Crosby, heading straight over the cross roads up to the Garth past Gilbys Stables, then out to St Marks before turning and heading out to the Ballamodha where we went left for half a mile or so before turning right onto the road that leads up to the Cringle Reservoir. After another mile or so we went left and found are way back to Silverdale via Grenaby where more fluids were taken on-board from an outside tap Richard had found and used in the past. Once hydrated we followed the Parish Route backwards along Orrisdale and the Old Castletown Road as far as the Oatlands Road but continued straight on through Crogga Mill and White Hoe to end up back at The Caff for refreshments. The Caff has recently been refurbished and I'm pleased to say The Caff Racewalking Team photo, from last years Parish, has made it onto the Wall of Fame.

Myself and Wifey are out tonight, we went out last night just for tea time drinks but were home for 20:00 due to me walking this morning. I am planning to do the Northern 10 tomorrow morning, signing on from 07:15 for an 08:00 start, but it will depend on two things, 1 , if I get home early enough tonight, and 2, if I can find someone to give me a lift as I wont be driving up unless it turns out tonight ( doubtful ) that we are home before the band finishes.

Good Luck to those that are running and walking in the morning. I hope to be there, if only to walk the legs off a bit from today.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

47 Days to Go!

The first part of this week, Monday to Wednesday, I have was on evenings and although this has gotten in the way of getting out walking, more for recovery after last weekend than effort, my left calf is still sore so getting on top of that first has to be the way forward. Bronwen Kaneen came round on Wednesday morning and gave me my usual Sports Massage which helped loosen the calf up and I have started the stretching exercises again that I was doing on the run up to the Firefighters walk. The next event for me will be the Northern 10 in Ramsey on Sunday 7th May starting at Ramsey Football Club. If you have not done the event before the route heads out along the reverse of the TT course to Sulby Bridge before continuing straight on to St Judes here it turns Right and heads back along the Jurby Road into Ramsey, taking a little detour, and instead of heading straight back to the football club to finish we head out along the Bride Road toward the old Grand Island Hotel before turning down onto the promenade and taking the road through the park to the finish. It is mostly flat apart from the drop down onto the promenade close to the end. I'm sure the calf will of eased off by then and I will be back to full training so I'm looking forward to it. I also have the Race the Sun coming up in 3 weeks time so need to be as injury free as I can be leading up to that. I would like to get out before hand to recce the full route as I have only walked the first 5 miles in reverse a few weeks ago. I start my nights on Friday evening for a week so my days, apart from trying to fit in some kip, will be free which should help me fit in a few extra walks or at the least mean I don't miss any planned training in the evenings.

I got out with Dave on Thursday evening for a short lap around Marine Drive although the calf was tight throughout it was no worse for the 6 or so miles. On Saturday we left from the NSC and walked down to Ballasalla, via marine drive and santon, where we picked up the Parish route and walked as far as Malew Church. The rain had started as we walked past Rushen Abbey so once at Malew we decided to get to Balthane, where Andy had left his car for the journey back to Douglas, by taking a short cut through the back of Ronaldsway Industrial Estate. The pace for the walk wasn't at all quick but with last weekends Firefighters Walk still in the legs and Richard still recovering from his London Marathon it was good to get some miles in all the same.

Entries close for the Manx Telecom Parish Walk next weekend. If you have not entered yet then you really do have until then as under no circumstances are entries accepted after the Sunday 7th May cut off.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Firefighters ....... Done!

Well that's another Firefighters Memorial Walk completed. My time in mind to finish this year was a similar time to last year .... 5hrs 12mins. At Ballaugh all was going well, even through Jurby my time was still up on where I wanted to be, as Dale Farquhar, Dave Walker and I rounded the cone, in that order, half way up the Jurby Church access lane. By the time we reached bride church 21miles in I had dropped to 6th, I had started to feel myself slowing and the watch confirmed this. The leader was now 5 minutes ahead and 5th place was a couple of minutes up the road. As I rounded the turn to head to Andreas I felt a slight pull in my calf, From there on I suffered with a cramp which became almost a show stopper at St Judes. I spent a bit of time there lay on the ground with Christine trying her best to stretch and massage the cramp out. I continued on past the Ginger Hall where I was passed by Andy Dawson and soon after Tony Edwards, who himself had struggled with cramp earlier on in the race, this dropped me to 8th. Around a mile outside Ramsey I managed to reel them both back in, Tony first and then Andy myself and Andy worked to pull a small gap on Tony, then with around half a mile to go I managed to drop Andy to regain 6th at the finish. With 5 minutes covering 1st to 6th at Bride I had lost another 18 minutes to the leader at the line, finishing a total of 23 minutes behind. Those 18 minutes were lost in only 10 miles so unfortunately the cramp had played its part in my finish time. Stew Jones, another member of the training group also suffered in the mid stages with cramp which also plagued him till the finish after starting really well running 6th early on. It was a good day out for the training group with 4 of the top 10 places being filled by the team.

The event was won by Dave Walker for the second year in succession with Karen Chiarello 2nd Overall / 1st Lady and Mike Bonney 3rd. The top 10 at the finish looked like this ...

   Name                                       Bride              Ramsey
1180David Walker03:25:42 [1]05:15:09 [1]05:15:09
229Karen Chiarello03:28:31 [5]05:17:31 [2]05:17:31
312Michael Bonney03:27:05 [3]05:20:13 [3]05:20:13
460Dale Farquhar03:26:24 [2]05:22:09 [4]05:22:09
5100Aaron Kneale03:27:36 [4]05:23:16 [5]05:23:16
6143James Quirk03:30:18 [6]05:37:52 [6]05:37:52
747Andrew Dawson03:38:39 [8]05:39:00 [7]05:39:00
856Tony Edwards03:38:34 [7]05:39:05 [8]05:39:05
9119Pete Miller03:44:31 [11]05:42:17 [9]05:42:17
9Ray Beattie03:43:03 [9]05:44:09 [10]

Am I happy with 6th? ........ Yes ........... would I have preferred to finish 6th with a time closer to the leaders? ........ of course. I learnt a bit today about over doing it on the salts and maybe not eating enough carbs, both factors in the onset of my cramp I think. My Achilles, although sore at times, gave no real issue and feels ok tonight as I'm writing this. I have had it before after a race when its felt as if it has gone back 6 months to when it was at its worst so I'm happy enough with that.

Massive congrats to Dave on another Win and well done to everyone who took part whether finishing at Bride or Ramsey. It was tuff out there today weather wise and definitely not overcast as predicted.

Congrats must also go to Richard Gerrard, running another strong London Marathon today and also Sharon Cain on setting a PB in what she said were tuff conditions in London.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Here We Go!

Sunday sees the long awaited 11th running of The Firefighters Memorial Walk. Hopefully the weather will be similar to that of today (Friday) warm but overcast would be perfect. I have been away since Tuesday working so have not had much time to think, never mind prepare, for the event. I trained on Monday but apart from that have done nothing this week. If I am honest I wouldn't of done much more than strolled around Peel Marina just to keep the legs turning over. I hope, like me, you are looking forward to the event, during training on Saturdays we have a couple of times done really good mileage so walking 31 mile on Sunday should be a doddle .............. shouldn't it!

Good Luck to all that are waking whether it be to Bride or Ramsey.

See you Sunday

Thanks Murray

What a start to this week with the sad news of the passing of Murray Lambden. I remember my first race around the NSC, a guy with a camera was clicking away and encouraging me along by calling the number pinned to my vest. By the second event he encouraged me along by referring to me by name, this to me typified the man, he wanted to know and support each and every one of us by name, no matter if we were at the front, middle or back of the field he had the same level of respect for us all. I have read a fitting tribute by David Griffiths this week on the Manx Harriers website and learnt a lot more about Murray as a competitor. It will feel strange from now on not starting a race wondering where Murray will pop up, clicking away and / or filming. We Joked last year in South Africa, whilst competing on the SA100 held on Robbin Island, that we wouldn't be surprised if Murray was around the next corner with his camera! He was also someone who appeared able to be in more than 2 places at once. it would not matter how many events clashed with each other he would manage, by the end of the day, to post pictures from each event from the first competitor to the last.

Back in November he phoned and asked if I would write this blog for the 2017 Parish Walk, daunted at the time, I more likely never thanked him for the opportunity ........................ Thanks Murray!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Work / Walk Balance!

This week has been 'one of those weeks' when it has come to the work / training balance where work has won, if it wasn't for getting out on Monday and Tuesday the week may of well ended up the shortest, mile wise, I have done since the New Year. It doesn't have any real detriment to anything other than how I feel mentally when the week hasn't been as planned distance wise. Work cannot be entirely blamed as I met up with Jock, Vinnie and Dave Mackey on Wednesday evening for a few drinks in Jaks, using Football as the excuse. I could have easily trained and said no to the invitation of an evening of comedy from Mr Mackey and Lynch but it is something that should not be missed. Vinnie is now heavily into his Yoga which has seen him become super flexible, of course this led to the usual (Male) line of questioning which I will not go into in case anyone who is reading these weekly ramblings is easily offended! Unfortunately a few of the group could not make it, Richard had commitments with work and it was Dave Walkers wedding anniversary. I did suggest that he should tell his wife, Sally, that the night out in Jaks was a once in a life time event and that wedding anniversaries come along every year, but it was feeble at best.

Due to work I didn't make it out Thursday and Friday, although I swopped onto a morning shift Friday from my rosted evening so that I could hopefully take part in the first race of the Easter Festival of Running in Port Erin. By the time I got home from work it left little time to prepare or to drive down to signing on. I was going to walk the 10K as the ankle is still not comfortable when running, walking is still an issue but it seems to not worsen any when under walking conditions and had arranged to meet Pete Miller down there for a stroll (Sorry Pete). Due to work on Saturday evening also I missed the Peel Hill run, held as the 2nd of 3 events Manx Harriers organise as part of the festival, the 3rd event being a 5k race on Douglas promenade on Sunday morning. I'm not sure if the disappointment of missing the race was as bad as not being able to recover in The Creek immediately after crossing the line outside the House of Manannan with one or two of the 320 odd competitors that take part.

Entries have now closed for the Firefighters Memorial Walk next weekend. 206 competitors have entered which is a great number for the event and up on last year which seen an entry of 116 compared to 183 the year before. I can’t believe I have been walking now for well over 3 years and that this will be my 3rd year competing on the event, I have had to take holidays as my rota sees me on day shifts next weekend 0700 - 1500hrs (see title)

Andy, Ray and I met at the NSC on Saturday morning for a shorter walk than that of last week. We followed one of our usual jaunts out on the Parish Walk route to Santon but turning early and heading back over Marine Drive to finish at The Caff. I am still testing footwear out at present so if you see some lunatic with one bright yellow and one bright green trainer on next weekend that will be me. I said a few blogs back that I had cut the back out of a set of racers to ease the area that puts pressure on the Achilles, these were new DS11's and were rubbing quite bad on the effected ankle but by cutting the material away it provided some relief. I also cut the right foot shoe, this was the cause of a nasty blister thereafter, as the harder material that makes up the heel support was inadvertently exposed. So to not cut another new racer I may have to try one of each, perhaps I should consider some midnight miles so not to be seen in odd trainers .......... Oh no, hang on........... Work will probably get in the way!!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Not The Sloc!

After a few swapped texts on Friday evening it was decided a route would be chosen at the NSC on Saturday morning. Richard, Andy, Stew and I met Dave Walker, who had managed to fly back home a day earlier than he had expected from the UK, and Sam Fletcher who was also free to walk due to his babysitting commitments not starting, this weekend, till 12 o' clock. It was decided, so Sam could make it home in time, that the Sloc was the best route to follow. Sam had arrived in his Mini Bus so this was the chosen transport down to Ballabeg (Sam's house) he could then turn at will and head back for home to meet his timetable. The weather was perfect for it, nice and clear, if not a little cold to start, but this didn't stop Sam wearing his usual wife beater vest. Not to speak for anyone else but I ridiculed him on his choice of attire, it was only at the top of the Sloc, at the round table junction, that I realised his choice was far better suited to the now sunny, warm weather and pace than the layers I had wrapped up in. We continued on the Parish route to Peel, Sam had turned Dalby side of Glen Maye for home, where the rest of us stopped at a café for breakfast. After refilling are water bottles we set off back, on the main road, to Douglas and the NSC.

With doubling up training Wednesday and Thursday my mileage this week, after yesterday, was up somewhere close to where it would have been without the short break in Brussels. I must admit to feeling a little empty at the bottom of Ballakillowy yesterday morning but I had walked on Friday, late afternoon, and hadn't really eaten much Friday evening apart from a Salad. I think both these factors played their part early on Saturday. For those that are doing the Firemans Memorial Walk, on Sunday 23rd April, who have not walked a similar distance before it really is important, not only to eat and drink on the day, but to eat and drink ( no.. not alcohol, oh.. ok... maybe just one or two! ) in the week leading up to the event. I normally eat  Pasta, Rice and Potato type meals the week before and drink more water than I normally would in any other week. Again, this works for me,  but if it is your first long walk and indeed its being done as training for the Manx Telecom Parish Walk itself then it is an ideal opportunity to try and eat and hydrate well the week before and find foods your  happy with and sit well in the lead up to the event.

Note to Self - Read this before your next South African Centurion event!!

There is only one week left now to enter the Firemans Memorial Walk, entries close at midnight on the 13th, so get them in so not to miss out.

Friday, 7 April 2017

How Much!!

After arriving back from Brussels to late for training with the group on Tuesday evening I knew I had to do something on Wednesday. Brussels was a great place to visit for a long weekend, the restaurants and bars were always busy, certainly towards the evenings restaurant wise. The bars were busy all day. The weather was great too so most of the day was spent strolling around the narrow streets and The Grand Place. It did not take long to realise the closer to the Grand Place you got, bar wise, the beverage price escalated quite rapidly. We went from a extremely cheap €8 in one bar for 4 drinks to €37 in another that was on the square itself. Luckily, me getting the first round in worked well, as every other round seemed to be the most expensive. The hotel we stayed in was just off the Grand Place so around 20:00hrs we returned to the room for a freshen up. At this point I fell asleep until being woken by my phone around 23:00hrs, it was the couple we had travelled with asking if we were ready to go back out. Christine had decided it was to late so I joined them both and away we went to do it all again. the bars we frequented earlier, which were already busy, were now heaving! Most had bands on, it was only the next day we realised that everything band or DJ wise started after 2300hrs. Breakfast the next morning was the typical continental affair..... a big greasy fry up would have been more welcome than a croissant and yoghurt as some kind of medicinal hangover cure I must admit. All in all it was an enjoyable trip, the travelling was a little annoying to say the least. Sitting in Airports and on coach's / trains really does get frustrating but it is all part of the experience.

The Grand Place

As I guessed the afternoon in Liverpool was for me spent stood outside shops whilst wifey went shopping. We did find a nice garden bar to have a couple of drinks before heading back to the airport for are evening flight home so it wasn't all bad.

On Wednesday Christine dropped me at kirk Michael and I headed back on the main road to Peel. It is the same 6 mile route I do quite often and was what was needed to slip back in to training. I also went out in the evening and walked the route of the Peel Hill race held as part of the Easter Festival next weekend, hopefully i can get a swap or day off so I can take part. Next week starts and finishers at the House of Mannan though which is far more convenient for The Creek afterwards!
Thursday lunch time I got dropped of at the same spot by wifey but walked / ran back on the Raad ny Foillan route, once I had picked it up at Glen Moor. This is the reverse direction to what I will hopefully be doing on the day but was an ideal recognisance of the route. I wrong slotted almost straight away and headed further up the glen than what was required due to missing the small cut up the side of the old railway line bridge pedestal. I would not of made this mistake coming from the correct direction, however, although this year sees the route take on a clockwise course it does get held anti clockwise occasionally and I would have missed this cut on race day for not checking the route first. I  trained with Andy and Stew on Thursday evening around a lap of White Hoe, Port Soderick and Marine Drive. I wore the same shoes as what I had worn to go up Peel Hill the night before with no issues, but maybe due to the higher pace, I managed to tear the fresh skin of the healed blister the shoes had caused, a fortnight ago Saturday, on are walk around Glen Roy. With the Firemans Memorial Walk now only 16 days away I need to decide if I am going to persevere with the shoes and hopefully break them in in time, dig out a pair of  DS 10's I have in reserve or wear one of the other many pairs of trainers I have tried over the course of the last 8 months to aid the Achilles recovery. I think it has more to do with where I have cut the back of the shoe, exactly the same as my original set, than the shoe itself but I am reluctant to order a fresh set in case it is the shoe. Stew and Andy both said last night that they find the size a little more generous than the previous DS's causing them to slip a little on the heel. It is a bit late in the day now to change things so maybe it will have to be a case of taping up the area affected and going with it.

As its such a nice afternoon today I am going to have a stroll round the Western 10 route but missing the part that goes from Ballacraine to Ballig due to traffic. Saturday training will go from the NSC as usual with firm plans to be made later on with the group on distance and route.

Christine has just asked are we out tomorrow for the Grand National  .......... she does come up with good ideas occasionally!!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Brussels Here We Come

with being on nights this week it meant my days, when I should be sleeping, were free. I done a few small gardening jobs on Monday and once finished sat for a while in the front garden thinking I should really make the most of the day and get out for a walk. I didn't want to do anything to pacey as the ankle was still a little tender. My Nephew, Wayne Quirk, swaps and changes his exercise discipline from cycling to gym and weights then walking. he is currently in his walking phase so I met him for a steady 8 miles. Its always good to catch up with him, typically, he only lives 100 meters from my house but since we have both finished are time in motorsport where we could be found in are respective garages till all kinds of hours most days we now only catch up on the odd occasion. when I started walking late 2013 Wayne was up for the challenge also and started walking most evenings competing also on the Winter walking League. At the time he went and spent, what I considered to be a lot of money, on suitable clothing, trainers etc. He still has all the kit he bought which is proof that buying cheap really isn't the most efficient way. I have swapped my kit a few times since I started, spending probably 10 times as much on shorts than what I would when I first started. I wrote a while back about a chafing episode I was unfortunate to suffer during an End to End walk. The shorts I had on then were more likely something I had found cheap on one of the discounted sporting store websites, needless to say, the shorts I wear now are a far cry from those early ones with seamless stitching and compression pants built in.

Tuesday training ended up being a decent enough session. At the start I felt as though I had just come of the back of a longer distance race. everything felt tired and heavy, I was glad I wasn't the only one feeling this way as at least I had company along the promenade as everyone else took off towards Onchan Head. The pace improved towards the end and the body didn't feel much worse for it.

I managed to arrange a massage on Wednesday with Bronwen. With work and breaks away we had not met up since the beginning of February. I am hopeful work will remain as planned now until after the Parish so that I can get back into a routine with Bronwen for my Sports Massage. I have two more sessions of Friction Massage on my Achilles booked with Jorel at the Adjust Clinic in Peel before the Fireman's Memorial Walk also.

The weather was wet when I woke earlier on today (Thursday) . Andy Dawson had sent the group message out to see who was up for what would have been a wet walk. I had slept a little longer than planned so would have been tight for time to make it through (that's my excuse) Dave was working, Stew had had his injections for an upcoming trip to Argentina, Rich was Running and there was no word from Ray so it came to naught. I could of gone out later on but the refuge of the Sofa seemed a much better option than splashing around Peel. I packed my bag for work tonight with lunch etc. to eat during what was my last night shift. I also packed some walking gear with the intention to walk back to Peel after finishing here at Pulrose in the morning. (yeah right)

Entries are coming in thick and fast now for the upcoming Fireman's Walk on the 23rd April with 125 entries so far.

I am off to Brussels for a long weekend with Christine  so there will be no walking now, apart from shopping miles and sight seeing, until next Wednesday. No doubt wifey will find a whole host of well known clothing stores to browse around knowing full well if I dare complain, even once, that will be my support gone for the upcoming Fireman's and Parish Walks. I don't know how she can dare make comparisons with the boredom for me of standing in shops with her sitting in a car for hours on end waiting on my every need ................ cheeky mare!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Another Week.......... Done!

I started another set of nights on Thursday. as I scrolled through some news items on the net I seen a '30 days to go' post referring to the London Marathon, of course the Fireman's Memorial walk is being held the same day. as always I will be on nights till next Friday morning which will see me head straight to the Airport for a long weekend away in Brussels. Sitting writing this now I can only think of the training miles I will be missing whilst off the Island, however, I am sure as it gets closer I will begin to look past that and may even become a little relieved at the prospect of some time away from walking. My plan is to train well over the next week, night shifts helping with this, so I don't feel to guilty come next Friday morning.

Training on Tuesday night took in Marine Drive for the first time this year as a Tuesday / Thursday loop. It was a late change to the normal prom route but was evidence of the nights stretching that enable us to take on this route. Admittedly it was a little dark once we started to drop down back onto South Quay, we had gone out round White Hoe first so not to be on the road back from Port Sodrick in the fading light, but the extra miles and the route was what was needed after a practically no miles day on Monday apart from a short stroll with Christine.

On Wednesday evening the Isle of Man sports awards were held at the Villa Marina. Deservedly, for the second year in succession, Richard Gerrard won the veterans sports person award. The year for Rich seen wins on the Parish, End to End, the African Centurion Walk in Cape Town and also a sub 3 hour London Marathon. Thankfully, like last year, Richard will be taking part in the London Marathon on April 23rd so at least we can all finish one place higher up the finishing order on the Fireman's due to him being missing!

Thursday evening was spent back round the usual lap of Douglas due to Ray being on call for the ambulance service. the head wind on the prom was enough to make me want to turn round and head back to the car, thankfully, the wind let up by the time we were in Onchan so the route back to Bikestyle was a little less arduous. I wonder with Bikestyle moving in the future down to the Market Hall will we still be meeting at Bikestyle when its no longer there. Many shops etc. seem to move on or close but remain a landmark used to give directions or explanation as to the where abouts of another buiding or shop still trading. Being Peel born and bred I am definitely guilty of confusing people with directions that may include Looneys, The Creel Chipy, The Peel Castle Public house (PC) and The Chocolate Box. these are four examples of building that although still standing have either changed name and business many years ago or closed down but will always be known to me as I remember them historically. This is of no use however, to a TT visitor say, when asking directions to the Bus Station. If I made mention of any of these in my directions It would definitely lead to them missing the bus or perhaps never finding it at all.

Saturday, once I had finished, I headed straight to the NSC for 7 o'clock to meet and head off on a planned 20 miles. From the off I knew I had made a mistake wearing a new set of racers. I had cut the back out of them to give the Achilles a little more room but had not cut enough. Normally I can start to wear a new set without any concerns, this was certainly the case with the older DS's I was wearing. Perhaps the new evolution need a little more time to break in. I struggled all of the way round which was unfortunate as the weather and route made for an enjoyable walk otherwise. Again its better I have found this out now rather than starting a new set of shoes the week of a race, which I was confident to do before, and finding out then. A short stroll today (Sunday) has brought another week to an end. The fine weather was definitely an excuse to do alot more, hopefully it will continue into next week.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Nice Weather (Part 2)

I managed to get out on Saturday morning for a stroll before the Judging and Health and Safety course I had opted to attend. Ray, Stew, Andy and Dave walked me back to the NSC and then continued on for a lap off Groudle before finishing at The Caff.

I intended, once the course had finished, to go and spend a few hours in the Pubs of Peel, however, the weather was poor once I returned home so the decision was made with Wife'y to get some wine and have a night in. The pubs would have been busy with the Rugby being on and the couple we usually have drinks with on a Saturday evening had bought tickets for the band Space at the Villa, both these facts made the decision of staying in easier. Until Thursday I was on days over the weekend so had not planned anything with them but I managed to get Saturday and Sunday off so at least I could chill before Sundays 10K. Christine and one of my daughters, Daniella, drank the wine so I had an alcohol free evening, this is something I plan to change today as soon as I have finished writing this.

The IOM 10k Championship was held in wet and windy conditions which kept some of the regulars away. I completed the distance just over a minute slower than my current PB but with the weather conditions, and the mileage covered this week, I was happy enough. I ended up 4th Overall 3rd Male (Adam 1st, Gianni 2nd and Hannah 1st Female 3rd O/A)

I was also delighted to receive a Trophy awarded by the Manx Harriers committee for my performances over the last 12 months on all events that I have competed.

Next week I am on evenings Monday till Wednesday and then off for 2 days before starting another set of 7 nights on Friday. I hope everyone's training is going well and hope you have all entered the Firefighters Memorial walk by now.

I'm off to the Pub!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Nice Weather!

A good start to the week weather wise meant I got out for  training walks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and although colder on Thursday the group met as normal at Bikestyle for are usual lap. Dave Walker turned up wearing a heart rate monitor and proceeded, once we were on the promenade, to break some kind of unofficial heart rate record. Hanging on I managed to glance down at my watch and blurted out through bursting lungs the speed I had seen displayed, Dave immediately dismissed what I said, however, he confirmed sometime later that my watch was reading correctly. God knows how many beats per minute his heart rate monitor recorded. My Dad would always say the heart will only beat so many times before it stops, if this were remotely true, I think a good portion of the beats I have left were spent on Douglas promenade on Thursday evening!

I decided to have a rest day today (Friday) the weather, once I had got to Peel from work, compounded that decision. Tomorrow I am attending a Level 1 Judging Course at the NSC. My intension is to walk with the group earlier in the morning and get back to Pulrose Power Station with enough time to shower before making my way over to the Harriers club house for 10 o'clock. The Caff may have to be missed unfortunately.

As a reminder from last weeks Blog - Manx Harriers have a 10k event on Sunday with entries being taken on the day. If you don't fancy taking part, helpers will most certainly still be required.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Another Week Closer!

After Sundays walk with Dave I rested on Monday evening, I had planned on just a short recovery walk but the evening, once home, seemed to come and go. Tuesday, at work, I could not wait to get home, changed and back to Douglas to meet the group at Bikestyle due to the fine weather. I left work at 1530, but by the time I got to Peel it had started to cloud over a little and on my return to Douglas the heavens opened and the day I had been looking out on, from my office window, could not have been more different. It was good to get out though and the rain meant the pace wasn't bad either.

Wednesdays training with Sam was a no go as he had other commitments, so a stroll with Christine to Shoprite and back was the alternative. I did manage to get out on Thursday morning for a few miles before work which was a bonus as I had thought no miles would be covered due to being on evenings, starting at 1500hrs. Friday morning seen me start another D.I.Y task at home (another ceiling). I have only myself to blame really, having finished the new bathroom ceiling last week i still hadn't got round to tidying the tools up and putting them out of sight in the garage, because of this Christine suggested maybe I could start on the bedroom whilst all the tools were still in the house that were needed (I normally pretend not to be able to find tools to stall these things). It seems a harsh punishment for not tidying up after myself, but on the other hand, it is a job that has needed finishing off since we renovated the house nearly 4 years ago so I don't really blame her for taking the opportunity to finally get it done. It did mean my plan to get dropped off in Kirk Michael again and either walk or run back was pushed aside. I made sure I tidied up after myself before leaving for work so not to fall into the same trap next week, however, in my eagerness to place everything out of sight in the garage I neglected to push the Lawnmower back into its space and left it outside. I have already received a text saying whilst it is out I may as well make a start on the lawns, I will never learn!

Andy Dawson, Stew, Ray and I met on Saturday morning. It was a rather foggy start to the day and by the time we had finished it had became damp also. I got back to Peel with enough time to get showered, make lunch and leave for another evening shift so any extra miles walking around the streets of Peel frequenting the local pubs will have to wait until next weekend. I have taken Saturdays day shift off next week so I can attend a Judging course at the NSC, held by England Athletics. Hopefully, with an early start, I can get some miles in first before using the facilities at the Power Station to get cleaned up in time for the course to start.
Manx Harriers are holding their Manx 10k and junior championships next Sunday at 10:00am. Entry can be made on the day. Helpers, as always, are required to lap count, marshal or make tea / coffee. If I can manage to get another day off I will see you there!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

103 Days to Go!

Here we are another week closer to the Manx Telecom Parish Walk 2017. The Parish Talk was held on Tuesday and from what I hear was well attended. Unfortunately the live feed and recording of the evening did not go to plan so for those that could not make the event, if anyone has any questions I am more than happy to answer them from my own experience of distance walking over the last 2 1/2 years. I am also lucky to train with multiple parish walk winners and finishers, so if I don't know I have their knowledge and experience to draw from, Stew Jones and Dave Walker were 2 of the Panel on Tuesday evening.

Only Ray and myself trained on Tuesday so we left from my house in Peel for a random lap of the town. the pace was not great, partly due to the narrow pavements and multiple road crossings, but also due to my ankle being sore. It was only the second time I had trained with the Achimed tendon support, the first being Saturday. I thought on Saturday it was just my Achilles being tight that was causing me discomfort but once the symptoms were replicated on Tuesday I have come to the conclusion its the support. The mode of action of the support is that it causes a massage effect due to the silicone inlay which supports perfusion, the further effects are swelling, irritation and pain are relieved. I can confirm that all the above have definitely been noticed in the short time I have been wearing it and the pain experienced whilst training is an unfortunate effect of this, however, it does suggest that the support causes the greatest effect during physical exercise. Regardless of this I decided to train without wearing the support on Wednesday and opted to wear the heel raises that come with the Achimed support to further help in the tendon recovery to compare. I am encouraged to say that both training walks on Wednesday went well, I got dropped off just outside Kirk Michael by Christine in the morning and walked the Coast Road back to Peel and trained in the evening around Douglas with Sam, Rich Wild and Ray. Yes the tendon was sore but nothing like when wearing the support. I am going to try wearing it only when at work or strolling during the day or evening when nipping to the shops or walking with Christine around Peel for the next 7 days to see how it goes.

I was going to Recce the first half of the Leg I am hoping to complete as part of the Race the Sun relay in May on Thursday as the day started looking quite bright. By the time Christine was leaving for work, I was going to get dropped off close to Kirk Michael again and pick up the old railway line, it had started to look a little dull so with that and the chance a contractor may have been calling to measure up for an extension to are driveway I decided to advance the heating and sit in the comfort of the house and wait to see if he turned up.

Thankfully the Contractor did arrive so it wasn't a wasted afternoon. My phone also pinged at 15.30 to remind me I had a massage on my Achilles booked at 1600, I think I had blocked this from my mind due to the excruciating pain I'm in whilst suffering the punishing manipulation at the Adjust Clinic in Peel. Thursdays training group met up at Bikestyle for the loop around Douglas and Onchan. With the nights now stretching a little it allowed us to extend the walk and instead of turning up Harbour Road, above Port Jack, we continued along King Edward Road and took the turning up Groudle Road before joining are normal route back through Lakeside Gardens. By the time I arrived back at the car I was soaked due to the weather turning wet around half way through the walk. It gave the rain jacket a run out though which was good, I know it will keep me dry during the upcoming Firefighters Memorial Walk if it turns wet. The only downside I feel to this kind of waterproof material is I feel like I have been poached after only a few miles. I am sure if I spent a lot more money I would find a top that not only held out the wet but also allowed the garment to breath. here's hoping for a dry walk on the Firefighters and Parish.

Saturday morning Stew, Ray and I met at the NSC for a walk. As I made my way into Douglas a few groups of fellow walkers were already out on their way through Braddan and also at the top of the Ballahutchin heading in the direction of the course, possibly towards Santon. We decided to follow the same route but again turning left at the end of the Oatlands Road to head back through Crogga Mill and along Marine Drive to finish back at the NSC but not before pausing at The Buttery (The Caff was packed) for breakfast.

This morning (Sunday) I met up with Dave Walker for a stroll, Dave was unable to make it out yesterday due to work commitments. This week has seen me cover more mileage than any other since New Year partly due to being off work. I return to work tomorrow so the next weeks training will be interrupted by the inconvenience of working evenings from Thursday. I may have to consider walking to Pulrose from Peel on Thursday to make up for the session I will miss.

Entries close for the Firefighters Memorial Walk on the 13th April, so if you haven't entered yet get those entries in so not to miss out on a great event.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Change of Plan

I had planned to compete yesterday (Saturday) on the Manx Harriers organised Open 10 / 20k Walks and Run held at the National sports Centre. After completing the new bathroom ceiling task I had started on Thursday I settled down on Friday evening and made the decision I was not going to race. my Achilles had been sore after a gruesome massage on Thursday and although I was confident I could walk the distance I wasn't sure I could maintain the pace over 20k. I had PB'd last time out on the final round of the winter league but the last 1600 meters of that race I had felt my calf and in turn my Achilles tightening. I still wanted to do something so contacted Richard to see if he was still planning on taking part in the 10K run being held after the 20k walk. It turned out he had decided to give it a miss also so we agreed to meet at the NSC as usual for a Saturday morning stroll. The weather on waking was wet and windy to say the least but within 30 minutes it had improved and by the time I had got to Douglas the rain had stopped. We headed for a lap of Baldwin which is normally quite sheltered but decided to carry on further as the weather improved. just short of 18 miles were covered by the time we returned to the NSC. My ankle was no worse than when I started and of course I will never know if it would have been the same had I taken part in the race.

History was made on the 20k walk in that the event was won for the first time by a Female. Hannah Hunter completed the distance in a time of 1:47:18 2nd place went to Erika Kelly 17 seconds slower but still a massively impressive time. I see Hannah training most days  between Peel and Douglas, the effort and commitment she puts in makes this result much deserved. The same has to be said for Erika who started her journey into race walking not long after myself in 2014 attending coaching sessions with Bridget Kaneen on a Saturday morning in Peel

Hannah and Erika 1st and 2nd overall

Tuesday the 28th February sees the annual Parish Talk. It’s being held at Keyll Darree Education and Training Centre near to Noble’s Hospital. Doors open at 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Entry is free, and tea, coffee and biscuits will be served. The event will last around an hour and a half.

Friday, 24 February 2017

What Day Is It!

I have started writing this during my last night shift of this cycle (01.26) and already I am struggling to remember what I have done training wise earlier in the week. I know I was definitely out on Tuesday night as usual but for the life of me can not remember Monday evenings training if any. Nights seem to have that effect on me. Wednesday I must of premeditated the weather to come on Thursday and walked with Sam Fletcher who is getting back into his training after an elongated break. Sam decided around late November to take some time out and come back fresh in the new year, unfortunately, his wife Laura became ill and training, not surprisingly, took another knock. Sam, over the last couple of years, has been a strong competitor finishing 2nd last year to Richard Gerrard on the Ramsey Bakery End to End walk and winning the Fire fighters memorial walk back in April. He was also set for a really good finish on the 2016 Parish Walk before suffering a hamstring injury on the way out of the Maughold loop which ultimately saw him retire from the race whilst in 7th position.

As mentioned the weather on Thursday was awful with damage caused to property, tree felling and flooding in some places. Richard Wild was still keen enough to put the group message out to see if anyone was training at 17.30 as usual. One or two had legitimate excuses why they wouldn't be turning up, I played the work card and chickened out turning my hand instead to a little D.I.Y job that turned out as equally bad as a walk in the wind and pissing rain would have. In fact, if I'm honest, I think the walk would have turned out better! Once finished here in the morning I will grab a couple of hours kip and start the task over. The one good thing about completing a set of nights is I am now off for the next 9 days, returning to work a week on Monday, by then we will already be 6 days into March with only 47 days until the 2017 Firefighters memorial walk.

Peel Breakwater and Lighthouse is in there somewhere.

I have entered the Manx Harriers Open 20k Walk  tomorrow so will have to only get slightly drunk tonight and steer away from a fish supper on the way home. Saturday night however will be a totally different affair with much drinking and eating if only to celebrate the end of another week of working nights!!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Well Done Julie!

I will start this week’s Blog by congratulating Julie Barlow on winning the 2016 / 17 Winter walking league. Julie has shown consistent improvement and was overall victor in the 10km league with a clear margin over Stewart Jones and last year’s winner Tony Edwards. Although not racing last weekend Dale Farquhar has set some massively impressive times this series along with Gianni Epifani who went just under 49 minutes last Sunday.

Compared to last week the miles have been quite low. I didn't walk on Monday due to being on an evening shift at work but managed to swap Tuesdays evening to a day shift so I could get out that evening. Wednesday again was an evening shift so again work got in the way of training. Being on evenings does mean I have the mornings free so there really is no excuse other than Christine is home most mornings as she does not need to be at work till after lunch, so spending time with her either shopping, carrying out D.I.Y duties or just nipping down to the local café for coffee is the best excuse I can come up with.

 Thursday night was spent with a few work colleagues at the Hooded Ram in Douglas for a curry and drinks so my usual Thursday evening blast around Douglas was moved over to Friday morning, Dave had asked the question on Thursday evening if anyone fancied walking Friday a.m. so it made the decision a lot easier to leave the pub when I was offered a lift back to Peel, at a rather early time of 21.30, knowing I had planned to walk the next morning.

 I started my set of nights on Friday / Saturday morning for the next 7 days so the usual arrangement of leaving work and meeting up with the group at the NSC was arranged. The route in the end saw us back in Douglas after covering 16 miles , so that and the 13 miles covered the morning before, have ended the week well with the possibility of a few more miles on Sunday being gained.

 The weeks already since New Year seem to be flying past with the last round of the winter league now gone and the Open Meeting at the NSC only a week away. Interest in the Firefighters Memorial Walk seems to be building rapidly with the first 39 entries already in. The inclusion of the 20 mile event, finishing at Bride church, for those 17 years and over, will hopefully tempt more people to take part in what is a great event.

 Before work on Friday I watched a program on ITV filmed on the Isle of Man called Britain's Best Walks it took in three routes, Dhoon Glen, Laxey and Snaefell if you did not catch it its really worth a watch, if only like me, you need reminding every so often just how lucky we are to live on this fantastic Island. The Race the Sun event gives the opportunity to see what the Island has to offer whilst running along the coastal paths of the island starting and finishing in Peel  I have chosen to do the first leg across Peel headland to White Strand before taking in a short section of road and turning on to the old railway line at Knocksharry Stop, Glen Mooar, Glen Wyllin and finishing at Ballaugh beach car park where I will hand the timing chip over to are second team member Dale Farquhar who will carry on over the beach and dunes via Blue Point and Smeale as far as the most Northern point at the Point of Ayre. I will need to plan between now and May some familiarisation walks / runs of the route before setting off on the day. I’m fairly confident but there is a section just after Bishops Court, following the old railway line, where you turn to head down onto the beach so I really need to be sure where this is so as not to run past. Luckily Christine works at Penny Bridge equestrian centre in Kirk Michael and hacks out along the old line most weeks so has a fairly good idea where I need to turn off, but more importantly, she can collect me from Ballaugh beach to save me having to walk back or try logistically to leave a car there so I have my own transport back home. I am hopeful the Achilles issue will be resolved by then, it was pain free racing last Sunday but has niggled a bit this week when training just enough to remind me it’s still there. I have another session of friction massage planned for next week, although painful I really do feel the effort both Bronwyn and Jorel are putting in is starting to pay off, I am also going to order some ankle supports next week to try.

 If you have not entered next weekend’s Open Meeting at the NSC but you could spare a couple of hours on Saturday I know Bridget Kaneen and the rest of the organisation team would appreciate any help with lap counting, marshalling or even tea making on the day. Bridget can be contacted on 497594 if you can help out.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

A Good Week

The idea this week was to train each evening, however, Monday was really poor weather wise so I decided not to bother. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were better weather although bloody cold but I managed to get the normal 7 or 8 miles in each evening. Pete Miller joined us on Thursday and is starting to show how capable he is of securing a massive PB on this years Manx Telecom Parish Walk. Michael George also made it out for a stroll this week and seemingly does not loose any speed at all. I'm quite sure he could just kick on and leave the rest of us if he so desired, the same could be said for Richard Gerrard and Dave Walker.

I popped into The Creek on Friday to see a mate regarding some building work, it was only supposed to be a quick visit but ended up being a slightly elongated affair ending in The Royal 3 or 4 hours later. I had taken the day off on Saturday so I could make the Saturday morning walk so I was mindful of having to drive first thing otherwise I may of stayed out for the night. unfortunately going home early meant I missed Little Miss Dynamite in the creek later on. Michael George and his wife Irene, herself a Parish Walk finisher in a time of 22hrs 05mins 32secs, had made the Journey through from Douglas for the evening so I advised them not to miss out on the chance to see 'The Dynamite' in action. I have a video somewhere of Dale Farquhar and Ed Walter enjoying 'The Dynamite' after the Race the Sun last year, ill dig it out and add at some point if I can find it. Dave, Ray and I headed off at the usual time of 0800hrs for a planned 15 mile or so. The morning, although cold, was bright and suggested that maybe we can start to leave a little earlier in the coming weeks so to get to The Caff a little earlier. The sausage and egg bap felt more like lunch yesterday than breakfast as it was close to noon by the time we got there.

Christine and I had planned to meet friends on Saturday afternoon so made are way to The Whitehouse to start an afternoon of food and drink. The food never materialised but the drink made up for it and we stopped on the way home some time later and picked up some chilled Pasty and a box of Fruit and Fibre for supper, not really the best preparation for the following morning.

This morning (Sunday) was the last round of the Manx Harriers Winter League held at the NSC. Conditions again were ideal for what is always a well supported and organised event. Two of the leading Female walkers, Erika Kelly and Hannah Hunter, were missing as was another leading Male walker Tom Partington as they were all competing at the Sheffield Indoor 3000 Meter event. Most of the usual training group were competing on the 10k event, however Richard Gerrard and Dave walker were missing due to work commitments and Richard Wild was stuck on the other side of the water due to a late kick off last night in the Tottenham Liverpool game. I'm happy to say the Mighty Liverpool won the game so Rich will feel missing the last round was worthwhile. Stew Jones walked strongly to finish in the mid 57's and Pete Miller knocked almost a minute of his current 10k PB to finish around 61mins. Ray walked well considering he is still coming of the back of the Flu bug and has also spent the week fitting training in around building a new wall (in Ramsey not on the America / Mexico border) I managed to PB finishing in a time of 56mins 06secs so it really was A Good Week!

Monday, 6 February 2017

A Cracking Event

Repetitive I know,

Entries have opened for the Fire Fighters Charity Walk. The event is a chance to try out clothing, eating, drinking and gives an opportunity for your support crew to practice what will be expected of them on the big day.

It is also a recce of the Peel to Ramsey section of the Parish route

April 23rd 2017

See you there!