Saturday, 31 August 2013

A word for my sponsors

And the word is...thanks. No hectoring this time, just a quick word of appreciation or those that dipped in their pockets; it's much appreciated.

I read a newspaper article a couple of weeks ago by somebody who wrote that they'd stop stopped sponsoring people who were going to do events that they'd do even if they weren't being sponsored, and it did make me wonder whether today's run was therefore 'legitimate', in the sense I'd have probably got round to doing it at some point anyway.

In a sense it doesn't matter, but I hope that the fact I'm going to match the funds given makes it a little more legitimate. And the timing of today has accidentally coincided with MSF being in the news for their work in Damascus after the chemical attacks there, the ramifications of which haven't been off the news all week. So it looks like the provision of medical assistance will be the extent of the UK's practical involvement in Syria for now, for which I am relieved. I couldn't see what good was going to become of ringing the doorbell and running away.

Anyway, to the run. Mrs M kindly drove me up to Marple this morning (and even more kindly got out of bed before 6.30 to do it), and after a few photos I was away just after 7.15. The weather was pretty cool to start with - I ran the first half wearing a gilet. There's not much to describe really; it was a long and winding canal towpath. I made a mental note of only two things. First, you can tell we've had a reasonable summer, as I could feel the heat radiating off the stone as I ran under many of the 96 bridges on the canal. And second, metropolitan ducks (that is, the ones up near Marple) are clearly more used to humans in close proximity than rural ones, as the former continued to lounge around lazily as I passed inches away, whereas the latter hopped, quacked and flew off once I was within a few feet.

Mrs M and daughter number 1 met me just before my halfway point (handily just a couple of hundred metres or so from our house) with a few provisions, and I carried on with the second half. The first 20 miles were all completed in times of under 8 minutes a mile, whereas the last 7 were all a few seconds over 8 mins a mile, which reflects how I felt; I did tire a bit. But I finished the 27.3 miles in 3 hours 33 mins running time, a couple more mins if you add on the quick break I had at halfway.

I got some lovely blasts on a barge's hooter as I crossed the finishing line (the point where the Macclesfield Canal ends at the junction with the Trent & Mersey Canal), and my 2 support team had made a "well done!" banner big enough to be seen from outer space. And then there were many photographs, some of which will undoubtedly appear on Facebook sometime soon. Annoyingly, a couple of them captured the only 10 seconds of real discomfort I had either during or after the run, a tiny bit of cramp in the hamstrings. Tomorrow might be another day however....

So, it was fun. It's a lovely run, from the outskirts of urban Stockport through the countryside of east Cheshire, to the the outskirts of the Potteries - you should try it. Perhaps not all at once however. And finally, thanks again to my logistics team; couldn't have done it without you.

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