Weekly Update: Bananas, bowels and bollards…

Evening all,

Here’s a piece of salutary advice for you. If you’re ever hungry and in no hurry whatsoever, why not take a trip with Debbie Gibson? Janet Carling and I travelled over to Manchester with Debbie yesterday to the marathon, and Debbie had – how can I put this delicately? – packed more for a day out than gets checked into the cargo hold of a Airbus 380. She had two rucksacks, a bum bag, a chilled food bag, and three of those supermarket bags for life, packed with heaven knows what. It took at least half an hour to bundle her out of the house and into Janet’s car, squeezing her in among all of her belongings. The rest of the journey then went something like this:

Debbie: “Hi everyone! Are we okay?”

Me: “Morning, yeah I’m okay.”

Debbie: “Great! Lovely morning!”

30 seconds of silence passes…

Debbie: “Lovely morning! Everyone okay?”

Janet: “Yes. We’re fine.”

Debbie: “Great. Well this is nice. Anyone want a banana?”

Janet: “I’m fine thanks.”

Debbie: “Oh… Anyone want some granola? I made it myself.”

Me: “No, I’m okay ta.”

Debbie: “I’ve left my cup of tea in the house.”

Debbie then calls her husband because the dog might knock the tea on the conservatory floor. Mr G can’t see the cup of tea anywhere…

Janet: “We can swing back at get it.”

Debbie: “No it’s okay. Well this is nice. Lovely morning! Everyone okay?”

Me: **whimpers**

Debbie: “Sam, did you like my dog?”

Me: “Yes, it was okay I guess.”

Debbie: “Do you want a bagel?”

Janet: “Oh yes, that’d be lovely.”

Debbie: “Sam don’t you want a bagel?”

Me: “No I’m fine thanks.”

Debbie: “Apricots?”

Janet: “We’re fine, I think.”

Debbie: “Oh. Do you want a banana?”

Me: “No thanks, I don’t really like them.”

Janet: “Did you know the banana is the most popular fruit in the world?”

Me: **more whimpering**

Debbie: “Oh here’s my tea, it was right here all along. Lovely day! Everyone okay?”

This took us as far as Pannal. So you can rewind the above conversation, and repeat several hundred times and you get the general gist of how things went. And then, as we abandoned the car on some industrial state and prepared to walk to the start due to the abysmal traffic, Debbie got out the car, sat on the kerbside and started to make herself some porridge. Porridge, people. Porridge. Less than hour before the start, and with the start line over a mile away, Debbie was making porridge on the kerbside in an industrial estate. Its little wonder Janet spent the journey home talking about a bottle of prosseco in the fridge.

Debbie, we love you to bits and wouldn’t change you for the world. But do try to remember, we’re just fine for snacks. And on that note, to the results…



Well, let’s stay with Manchester where the big news of the week is Hannah Peagram. Well, she did it. Hannah (4:44:26) tackled her first marathon at Manchester yesterday. Describing herself as “pooping herself” with nerves on the morning on the race, she proved why she had nothing to fear and brought the race home comfortably under her five hour target. Hannah, that’s a brilliant achievement and we’re all really pleased for you. We’re also equally as pleased for Mrs Marathon herself Jenny Manning (3:57:01), whose months of training finally delivered the sub-four target she was aiming for. I was running the relay, and so caught up with Jenny at about mile 21 and ran the rest in with her. She’s a determined and tough old cookie, I’ll say that much. And then, to top it all off, my new running nemesis Paul Geary (3:39:52) dug deep and finally grabbed himself the sub 3:40 time. Again, it’s amazing, and has given me the spur I need to start training for my next one. We don’t see them down at club that much, but Anne-Marie MacPhearson (5:25:29) and Brenda Loades (5:29:25) pulled out all the stops to complete a race which Brenda said didn’t go well from the start. Regardless of the time, any finish in a marathon is impressive especially when you’re not having a good running day, so it’s hearty congratulations to you ladies, too.


Also at the Manchester Marathon, we had a few relay pairs running half the course each. Fiona and Mike Deacon (with the smurf-sounding team name ’Mamma and Papa Deacs’), Janet Carling and Debbie Gibson (with the less-than-cryptic team name ‘D&J’), and Mark David and I (with the utterly unimaginative team name ‘NVRR’) all tackled the relay route, with a handover point in Altrincham. I would get the results to you, but the organisation of the race was such a buttock-clenchingly inexcusable shambles that the results are inaccurate and all over the place, so we’ll just leave it there. Manna and Pappa Deacs came first for Team Nidd (coming sixth or ninth, depending at what set of results you read), followed by Mark and I, with Debbie and Janet completing things nicely for us.

It had been an early start for Mike, the poor thing...

It had been an early start for Mike, the poor thing…

Debbie (minus shopping) looking strong at mile 25.

Debbie (minus shopping) looking strong at mile 25…

Also yesterday, we had an intrepid team of Nidds down in Sheffield to compete in the half marathon. Matt Wilkinson (1:23:01) was first from the Nidd Valley blocks, soon to be joined by Ladies Captain Michelle Smith (2:08:10). Michelle Dinsdale (2:24:00) and Jane Hill (2:24:24) completed the line up as they continue their preparations for their first marathon later this year.


You’re not going to be surprised if I tell you that Carol Morgan completed the Coast to Coast challenge last week, completing the 193 mile route from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay over four days. Joined by a host of Nidds and other fell running friends, Carol made amazing progress through the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales before heading up over the top of the North York Moors. Ever the master of understatement, Carol described her feet as a little sore. I’d die if I were to try it, I tell you. Well done, Carol. It’s all very impressive.


It’s a little wonder she gets a break from running the juniors to get in any running herself, but it is congratulations to Amanda Metcalfe who took part in the National Third of a Marathon Championships at Hornsea. 8.75 miles is a cheeky distance for any athlete, so Amanda (1:15:00) was thrilled with her time, which exceeded her own expectations. Nice work, Amanda.


Let’s have a quick wander over to the Stray and see what results we have from the Harrogate parkrun. Well, this is very interesting indeed. Fingers Harris (19:18) got himself a new PB for the course and took fifth place overall. He also had his dog Jack with him, so the poor little hound must have been bloody knackered by the time they reached the barcode scanners. Fingers was soon joined by Ben Baird (21:02), John Mitton (21:17), Matt Wilkinson (22:52, so pacing again I assume…). Moira McTague (24:27) took highest age graded score for the event, and Jim Cook (25:19), Carolyn Easton (27:15) and Steve Newton (27:21) also put in tidy performances. Well done all.


Up at Fountains, we best say a few Hail Marys for Andy Todd (19:15) as he recovers from a staggeringly impressive performance, and a few prayers for Matt Rickard (24:00) who is disappointed that an unscheduled toilet stop put paid to the chances of a new PB (that’s over four minutes slower than usual, Matt. What on earth were you doing in there? Never mind, you’ll just have to go before you come out next time). Unhindered by the need to move their bowels, Nick Smith (24:50), Debbie Dilasser (27:33) and Sue Reast (28:02) made up the rest of Team Nidd’s showing. Always impressive, it was nice to see Fiona Robinson (32:45) make a lovely job of the Wetherby course, and Carol Morgan (28:50) took her tired legs for a cool down round the Bramley parkrun. Congratulations to you all.


Wowza! Now this is very impressive. At junior parkrun, Connie Mitton (10:38) got herself a new PB yesterday morning, and Thomas Gillett (11:36) also got himself an amazing time as he weaved his way around the 2k course in Valley Gardens. Well done, you two, they’re two cracking efforts.


If you’ve got any news or results to share, even if they have been punctuated by the need to get to the little boys room, then please do let me know. It’s always lovely to hear from you: chair@niddvalleyroadrunners.co.uk.


The Week Ahead

Now this is when Tuesday intervals really get interesting. This time you’ll be working as pairs to complete the shortest route on the interval circuit. It’s short, it’s sharp, and you’re going to feel the burn but, hey, that’s what we’re for. If you want to be part of the relay-based fun (and I know you do), I’ll see you on the Victoria Avenue roundabout for 7.10pm or at the club house for 7pm. It’d be great to see you.


If you’re quick off the mark and want to see Damien do his playboy bunny routine on Tuesday evening, then you get yourself down to Haworth to have a look at the third of the Bunny Runs. They’re short and cheeky, but all good muddy fun (if not frustrating when you get overtaken by an 11 year old). A steal at £2.50, too. More details here: http://fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=4459.


I bloody love the run we’re going to do on Thursday, I really do. We’re going to do the Hookstone Woods run. For the uninitiated, that’s round the Stray and down through the Saints and onto Hookstone. We’ll then cut through the woods and out onto Leeds Road. You can head back to the club from there if you feel like that’s enough. If you’re feeling perky, you can head under Stone Rings and over the field up to Leadhall Lane, or you can push down the track to Church Lane hill and then back to town and home. Lots of choices, lots of runners. It’s like we had a plan, it really is.


Not much on at the weekend, I’m afraid, other than a couple of races in the Lake District for which entry has closed (so good luck if you got yourself into them and are ready to race). There is a fell race up near Sedbergh on Sunday called the Arant Haw, though. It looks like a toughie, with over 1,300ft of climb in less than 5 miles, so you’ll need your wits about you. They do promise “lengthy cake eating” afterwards though, so it might be worth a little look: http://fellrunner.org.uk/races.php?id=4693.


Emma’s Stretch of the Week

That’s it. They’re finished. You should be all stretchy, loose and flexible by now (and Emma feels that we’re getting to the stage when we’re scraping the sports therapy barrel). We’ll be starting our exciting new feature in the next few weeks. Stand by!


Evening League

Look, just get it booked right? You know the deal, bring a tenner to club, give it to Martin L, Michelle S or Dave S and get yourself a number. This is a team event and not just for the speedy or the seasoned racers. I’ve got an ambition to get the highest ever turn out in an Evening League season, and need you to make my dreams come true. #doitforyourchairman.


We sent Alan Harby and his heavies round to last year’s late-payers, and we’ve never had an issues from them since. You don’t want to see what that man can do with an iron bar, some piano wire and a long weekend, you really don’t. I’d pay up if I were you. Any questions, Judy will set you straight: membership@niddvalleyroadunners.co.uk.


Word to the Wise

Well aren’t you lucky? Jesus might have had three kings, but you have three wise words….


“Any race where you don’t s***yourself is an achievement, really” – Rachel Geary, sharing her profound thoughts on the hazards associated with marathon running. Maybe she should have a chat with Matt Rickard and Hannah Peagram.


“Don’t take this the wrong way, Sam, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this pleased to see you” – Jenny Manning, at mile 24 of the Manchester Marathon, demonstrating why she remains the unrivalled grandmaster of the backhanded compliment.


And to finish:

“Don’t wrap your bollocks round a bollard” – Fiona Deacon, demonstrating a deep commitment to the welfare of the male contingent of Team Nidd during training last Tuesday.


I quite agree. And on that potentially emasculatory note, it’s a goodbye from me. Have a lovely week.


Sam x


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