Archive for category Sport

Great Manchester Run 2008

Almost no training since the Wilmslow Half, and wouldn’t you know, it’s a personal best of 53:51. I guess I’m reaping the benefits of my earlier training.

Here’s my race result, and here’s a screen capture from BBC iPlayer showing us on the telly in the highlights programme. This was at the finish for Richie’s race yesterday.

Edited to add: I subsequently found out that two of the people I know who were in the race, Paul and Phil, beat me, but by less than a minute, and I’m damned if they’re both not 15 years younger than me, and one of them’s a flippin’ fitness coach.

Junior and Mini Great Manchester Run 2008

(I’m never sure which order the words go in on these events.)

The boys ran their races today, D. tackling 1.8km and R. doing a slightly longer 2.4km. Although the weather wasn’t kind, they both did a great job. D. finished in 12:24, and R. in 13:50. Their own blogs are the places to look for photos, obviously.

Take the Pinheads Golfing, Take Them Golfing

Golf - 2003Golf - 2008

A weekend at Centerparcs. Very, very cold, particularly when we were out on the bikes, which made me ask myself if it was really worth all the stress of strapping them to the roofrack and wondering which stretch of the M6 they would fall off on.

The boys flew birds of prey, played football, climbed trees (Richie did at least), swam and archeried. We played short tennis and mini-golf, and Sarah did some pilates. I had a small victory in that I actually managed to finish a book (The Prestige, by Christopher Priest, top notch, as is the film), which brings this year’s total to, I think, two.

Amazed to find out that it was 2003 when the first of the pictures above was taken, and D. must have been not yet two.

Fun with Endorphins

Wish I'd worn a different pair of shorts Well, as it turned out that Wilmslow Half-Marathon was actually nearly enjoyable. The weather yesterday was horrible, cold and rainy, and the less said about last weekend’s White Easter, the better. But today dawned sunny, if not exactly warm, and you know how a bit of sunshine on your back can perk you up.

I’d never run thirteen miles before in my life. A couple of weeks ago, my training programme called for a twelve mile run, and I got through the mileage, but only with a walk up the hill in Wilmslow Park. Today, however, it felt good from the start, and I knew even after a couple of miles that it was going to be OK.

My first target was nothing more than making sure I kept running from start to finish, and as it turned out there wasn’t a single moment when I was tempted to walk, which was really quite amazing when you think about how brutal my twelve mile run was a fortnight ago. I don’t know why that would be. I haven’t run for a couple of days, so maybe it’s that I’m rested, or maybe it’s because my routes through Wilmslow and Handforth all have nasty hills, while today the course was relatively flat. Or maybe it’s all the people around, and maybe it’s just the nice weather.

If I managed to make the first target, I was aiming for 2 hours 15 minutes, and ended up with a time (by my watch, not my official time) of 2 hours 6 minutes and 38 seconds. Actually, now that I think about it, if I was running all the way, it would have been difficult to go as slow as 2:15. 2:06 represents a pace of 9.67 minutes per mile, or 9.95 km/h, so I basically kept (fractionally below) my typical pace for the full 13.1 miles. Chuffed!

On the last mile, my hips were aching a bit, but I had none of the problems from my ankle, knees, shoulder or feet that I’d had during training. I was even thinking “you know, I could tackle a longer distance than this if I wanted to…”

But that has worn off now, thank goodness, and I think it was the endorphins talking, and I’ve found it hard to dedicate the time to this, so a marathon might be a step too far. It would be nice to do the Manchester 10K in a significantly faster time though…

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Wilmslow Half-Marathon for Amnesty International

I’m running the Wilmslow Half-Marathon on 30th March in aid of Amnesty International. Please click on the “Just Giving” widget in the sidebar —> to go to the web site where you can make your donations online.

It’s Yer Money I’m After, Baby

I got a reply from Manchester United today, finally some sort of response to my complaints about what I saw as actions contrary to the Club Charter. (I wrote to them initially on 21st May. Yeah.) Basically, what they said was: we did it for the cash.

Which, of course, we all knew. I just wanted them to damn well say it.

Incidentally: the club’s web site is still advertising season tickets for 2007/8. Hah.

Tour de France

Here’s what happens when you go to watch the Tour.

  1. You spend two hours watching various motorised adverts zoom past you. The locals will cheer these to the rafters, and will push you out of the way to get their hands on, for example, free samples of washing powder.
  2. The bikes will then appear, and thirty or forty drug-users in brightly coloured lycra will zoom past you. You may get to see their bike helmets whoosh by. This all happens in approximately 0.0000001 seconds, and your children, who have been waiting in the baking heat for two hours, will miss it.
  3. You go home.

Glad I saw it, though.

Manchester Great Run 2007

New PB – 54 minutes 42 seconds, which is 31 seconds faster than I ran it in last year (and exactly double the time of the guy who won it, lest we lose our perspective). I think I should have done it faster, but the weather was way warmer than last year, and the course seemed so much more crowded.

So Long, Old Trafford

Today was the last day of the season, the last day of my Manchester United season ticket, and the end, at least in terms of a regular event, of all this:

I hope I’m not going to sound like I’m whingeing. I expect I will sound like I am; after all, the team are champions, playing the best football in the country, and fielding at least one, arguably two of the most exciting players in the world. Most football fans in the country would love to have all this at their club, wouldn’t they? Why would anyone walk away from that?

I’m done with being screwed over tickets. My season ticket in 2007/8 would cost £760. This is a 14% rise over 2006/7, which would be shocking in itself. But over and above that:

  • My season ticket went up by 10% last season, and by 10% the season before. This is a 40% rise over the last three seasons, and you just know they’re going to keep on making similar increases. The only thing that will stop them is supporters refusing to pay it. This is the only option available for the disgruntled.
  • Last year’s 10% rise was explained to us by the club. They told us that the increase was necessary to offset the fact that United hadn’t actually done well enough on the pitch in 2006/7 (they didn’t get out of the group stages of the Champions League), and that revenues were therefore down and the money had to be recouped. OK, so firstly: you’re playing badly, and so we have to pay more for the privilege of watching you? Oh, thanks. And secondly: does that mean that if you exceed expectations (say, by winning the Premiership, reaching the FA Cup final and getting to the CL semis), should we then expect the prices to come back down again? Apparently not, for some reason.
  • Season ticket holders will, in 2006/7, be forced to join the cup ticket scheme. This demands a commitment by the ST holder to buy their seat for any cup matches played at Old Trafford. According to cup draws and successful progress, or not, in the cups, this could mean any where between 3 and 14 extra matches over the season, including the Carling Cup in which United would be certain to field a reserve team. (Although United have promised a price reduction for Carling Cup matches, when you take into account the 14% increase, this reduction brings the CC ticket down to just under the full price ticket for 2006/7. Oh, and there is no word on potential increases in ticket prices for high-profile games – as an example, the club unilaterally increased prices for the Champions League semifinal at OT this season. My seat would have cost £45 if I’d gone, compared to the usual price of £35.)

How desperate is the club to get cash in? They were the Premiership’s lowest (net) spenders last summer, and next season they will get around £20M more than they did this season from the new TV deal.

Did I whinge too much? Sorry.

First Outdoor 10K Of The Year

It was misty first thing, so spent the morning indoors doing the housework; but when I finally ventured outside I felt the sun on my back and decided not to put it off any longer. Put my kit on and got outside for the first outside run of any kind in 2007, and because I felt good I decided to go for the full 10,000m.

Soon decided that I’d set off too quickly. Made the first kilometre in 5 minutes 30 seconds, which left me panting because there’s a steep climb up Handforth Road in that first kilometre. But I pushed on, taking the Turing route, and got back home in 56 minutes 2 seconds.