Okay it’s here.
Today marks eight years since I began a running ‘streak’ – running every single day without fail for a minimum distance of one mile. In practice the distance has been anywhere between one and twenty-six point-two miles (The London Marathon) along the way. I’m going to save the full story for another day but I’d just like to relate how it began and a couple of memories along the way from this past eight years.
I’d been originally thinking of this project for some time and had even achieved a period of several months of marathon training before sadly succumbing with a broken big toe. Ironically that was not caused by the seventy/eighty miles a week I was training at that time but by stubbing my foot on a door frame in the home! Such is life I mused as I struggled through a couple of painful eight and five-mile runs with the fractured toe before realising that particular streak was sadly at an end.
The idea of ‘The Streak’ came from former Olympic runner, Ron Hill. Ron is usually the first individual the running fraternity think of when the term is mentioned, his own Streak beginning way back in 1964 and still ongoing at 15,742 runs this very day. I took Ron’s criteria of running at least one mile a day and sometimes smile at the things he did to continue his long unbroken run of days. The former marathoner has told of running after a car crash in which he sustained a broken sternum and heart damage. Now that’s serious stuff. It almost makes his ‘run’ on crutches the day after an operation for bunions seem like small beer. This is the sort of mindset a streak puts you in however so I can easily understand what was going through Ron’s mind as people were undoubtedly calling him crazy for doing what he did. It’s difficult for others to understand the time, hardship and investment that goes into a Streak.
Over the past eight years I have been very fortunate with injuries, thank you God for that. I have however run with torn muscles on several occasions and dragged myself out of bed when I could hardly stand with a bad case of influenza. Travelling and holidays often presented a problem. I have run around airports whilst waiting for a late flight arriving, I have run down back lanes in Italy with a pack of dogs chasing me and got hopelessly lost in Rome when not being able to find my way back to the piazza upon where my hotel was situated. I have run in temperatures of -30 in Canada when the cold air burnt my throat and froze my eyelashes. I have returned home from a run with heat stroke conversely.
The Streak has enabled me to run in some beautiful places. Beaches, mountains, major cities such as Vancouver, London, Naples and Edinburgh. It’s also enabled me to connect back to nature on the majority of days, most often when I run in the beautiful old hunting estate, Bestwood, part of the original Sherwood forest in Nottinghamshire. I’ve done an awful lot over the years to maintain it thus far but it’s given me an awful lot in return. I have no idea if, how and when it will end but will continue to treat it one day at a time as I have always chosen to.
In four hours time it will be time once more to drag those trainers and kit on and today head off to dear old Bestwood for another three miles-worth of The Streak. Wish me luck!
It’s a running anniversary of sorts for me tomorrow (more of later). For that reason it seems like a very opportune time to remember an old friend and fellow runner who is sadly missed by all that knew him. This was my humble tribute to him at the time. Two and a half years on, this gentleman still remains an inspiration to me…
Les Skinner ,who passed away on the 6th September 2005
A celebration of my friend Les.
It was with great sadness I heard the news of the passing of Les Skinner recently, an old friend of mine and a great friend to many at Redhill Road Runners and of the club itself. I felt it important to write a few words about him at this time and although this is a sad occasion, I shall attempt to relate some of the lighter times with Les – just as I believe he would have wanted.
I’m sure it’s not particularly a Nottingham thing but has anyone noticed the amount of cyclists these days who ride around in the dark almost completely invisible with no lights on on their bikes?
Sometimes it’s youngsters but by no means always, do they actually realise the danger they are placing themselves in? How many of you have been shocked at just how indistinct these riders are when you’re out and about driving the roads? It’s just frightening. What’s more they don’t appear to care.
It’s been another black few days for serious crime in Nottingham. Over the weekend two young teen aged boys were shot in the Radford area of the city prompting the local police to send out armed squads of officers on the streets of Nottingham. A thought that makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Further, there was also a shot fired on North Sherwood Street in the city centre. The street is no backwater but very much a student area and close to a main thoroughfare into the city. It is a worrying thought for me, especially as I have two female friends who live in that vicinity.
Today has seen a further terrible incident. In a store on a main street right in the middle of the city a female shop assistant was stabbed. This cancer is no longer confined to a three or four notorious Nottingham suburbs but is now in the midst of decent, ordinary Nottingham folk going about their business.
You know in all seriousness, apart from tragedy of these horrific incidents, this stuff can really harm the city potentially. It’s arguable that it is already. Around a year ago I did a piece of psychological research into perceptions about the city with interviews with six people who lived locally. During that research the crime figures when viewed closely clearly indicated that Nottingham was not being compared like-for-like with contemporary cities such as Leeds for instance.
How a woman’s mind works.
Some time ago I embarked on a very special journey into the world of teaching Special Needs children. My original remit was that of a student on a six-week placement at a Special Needs School in the district of Nottinghamshire where I live. My working role was as a Teaching Assistant, aiding the children with their learning whilst carrying out my research. Hearing that I was slightly ‘sporty’, the Deputy Head volunteered me as a helper in the Physical Education class, which would happen every Wednesday afternoon. To my relief, I learned on that very day that the school basketball season had just ended and that football season was about to begin!
I got changed over the lunch break and having donned a rather snazzy Italia Azzurri jersey, acquired on a Roman holiday, headed for the nice gym hall that the little school proudly owned. The children filed in and got changed excitedly, chattering away, with only one young boy dissenting for a game of basketball instead.
Now it has to be said, I live in a quite respectable area. It’ s possibly one of the oldest areas of Nottinghamshire being situated adjacent what was once called ‘The Great North Road’ from many hundreds of years ago. Redhill is a neat and tidy and well-established suburb a few miles north of Nottingham and is close to open countryside and cheek by jowl with the larger suburb of Arnold with it’s shopping area, facilities, and a population of approximately 38,000 people.
I’ve lived here in Redhill a long, long time and I like it. It suits me.
Opening the curtains the other day though I noticed a sight that is becoming more common these days – that of a collection of used beer cans stood outside my neighbour’s garage. It’s a trivial thing, maybe just a couple of young guys having a drink on the way home from the pub or youngsters messing around. It’s not the dawning of Armageddon or the end of civilisation in Redhill as we know it. In fact in nearby Arnold there are reports that the huge proliferation of litter, and particularly beer cans, gathered up on the main shopping thoroughfare, Front Street, is now being used in some very ingenious ways. Hurrah for Arnold! Well done to the neighbouring conurbation. It’s very much a case of waste not, want not in Arnold these days. Read on to view some great examples:
February 6th 2008, will see a commemoration of the terrible Munich air crash which killed twenty-three people including many star players belonging to Manchester United. It’s a sad day to report that the minute’s silence proposed for the derby game between Manchester United and City has people urging for it to become a minute’s applause due to the risk of it being disrespected by City fans
Opposing fans Of Manchester United have been singing songs which glorify the Busby Babes’ demise in the 1958 plane crash in Munich for many years. Not that the Manchester club’s fans are not guilty of similar transgressions toward rival club it should be added. The latter fact only endorses the sentiments here.