Lima Maratón…


Good morning folks

I trust you’re in mighty fine form and you had a most splendid weekend.
A busy week, lots of stuff going on, but for Johnny-OCD-singletrackmind, the week had only one goal/purpose/aim/objective, the Maratón de Lima.


In other news, Barrow drew away to Swinton Lions in a last-gasp penalty, the Peruvian captain/leading goalscorer looks to be out of the World Cup (long story), a minor earthquake shook the capital on Thursday morning and a wedding took place somewhere else apparently, but for me personally, all/both my eyes were on Av. Juan de Arona at 7am on Sunday morning…


(I will try not to be a running bore too much, I apologise in advance!)

Here is the weekly Monday morning blog.

The road to Lima…

Running is something that I love, but it has been a rocky on-off relationship over the last 30-odd years. I started when I was 11 years old and despite brief sojourns/mediocre attempts at other pursuits, running is probably the only thing that I have (occasionally/briefly/rarely) achieved any surmise of success at. It doesn’t require any skill, nor loads of fancy kit, that is one of the attractions for an unskilled cheapskate like me!

6(1988, when shorts were short!)

I freely admit, I don’t like running on the road, especially not here on these roads in madhouse Lima. Give me the hills any day of the week, but in a nutshell, any speed/pace I used to have had disappeared after beating myself up in “los cerros” week-in-week-out, so a change of plan was called for.

Back in July 2017, I started a specific training program for the 2018 marathon. It was a fearful schedule, but I managed it for 2 months before getting crocked, disheartened and distracted.

Fast forward to March 2018 and an impulse decision to try and get in shape for the marathon, in 7 weeks? Who was I kidding!


However, after pouring everything into my training and more, on the week leading up to the marathon I wasn’t even sure I’d get to the start line. My legs were falling to pieces and I felt shot to pieces (constantly knackered). It was hard training and very different to what I have ever done. Although I did seem to be hitting a possible bit of form, I was worried, would it be enough???

Even when picking up my number on Saturday I still wasn’t completely convinced…



Saturday was also the Nipper’s day out, (and a record 9 bus day for me), so after picking up my bits&bats in the park next to the National Stadium, we then took 2 buses to the Parque de Amistad for our facepainting, steam train, pizza, feed the ducks, ice cream ritual. Always a great day out :-)

33232477_10160466417570302_6004187739472265216_n 32974788_10160466444425302_1388853794866987008_n 33089646_10160466419130302_932940117293662208_n33059410_10160466419110302_5623780604869869568_n 33066045_10160466418940302_8311267415799365632_n 33114976_10160466418225302_3281088593027661824_n(The Nipper has been hinting at a haircut for me for some time…)


Shall I shan’t I??? (Run, not get an overpriced hipstercut at Montalvo!)

I’d done too much to not try, I was superfocussed, probably overfocussed. I just wanted the week over, everything else was a hassle, it was an 11th hour decision and  I had to try, so I set my alarm for 4am on Sunday morning.

(I got 1hr solid kip before the Chinese restaurant band started up, who passed the baton on to my “Salsero” (salsa lovers) neighbours who were still blasting it out at 4am, no alarm required!)

My guts are on and off here, and Sunday morning was a definite off day :-/
Not ideal.

The start was only about 2-3 miles from my gaff, so I walked. Dawn and sunset are flick-a-switch occurrences here in Lima, so it was pitch black until 6am as I went through the road race ritual; khazi-drop bag-khazi-kill time-khazi (with ever increasingly slow queues. This is upmarket San Isidro baby, no sneaking in the bushes here!)

All along, my ultimate goal was a sub 3hr marathon. I ran 2:51 in Manchester in 2001, but I was only 29 back then and practically a full-time athlete (the British Library was a perfect job for sporting folk. Flexitime and all that!)

Sub 3hrs was doable, but I’d need to seriously graft at it from the Off. Nowadays I am a KM dude (after a lifetime of working in miles), I had to keep the KMs under 4:10 to be in with a shout. All 42 of them…


Whilst entering there was the option of getting a place in a “corral” (not a baby play pen, but an enclosure for specific times). Thanks to Manchester in 2001, I could enter Pen “A”, just behind the Kenyans and other elite athletes. Perfect, a good start.

However, half the punters in the “A” pen had sneaked in from Pens B-C-D-E…

I strongly believe that everybody deserves equal chances in every sport, but the elite folk get a spot up front because they are the fastest. It makes sense. The clock doesn’t start ticking for anybody until they physically cross the start line, even if that takes 5mins of shuffling but if somebody is aiming to get round in 6hrs, they will get no advantage in sneaking into the “A” team pen, probably the opposite as one can get carried away with the pace and suffer/blow-up later on. Rant over!

So, after weaving my way round folk for the first 30mins, I finally got into my stride.
Running a marathon is a case of running at your fastest sustainable pace and hanging on for dear life, it is a painful, painful pursuit, with very little pleasure, why do we do it? (Answers on a postcard please!)

All good in theory, but the body is a ticking time bomb and has a slight flaw in that it only has enough gas (carbohydrates) for about 2hrs exertion, then it has to switch to burning oil (fat) which is much less effective and can cause the dreaded “wall”.


This CLIP explains it perfectly!

I won’t bore you with a step-by-step bore-a-thon…

J2 j1

Thanks to Jhon V for the pics :-)

Almost 3000 punters turned out for the 42km race with even more for the half marathon and 10km. I didn’t see any fancy dress folk, but did see/hear one lad running barefoot, the ghost of Zola Budd lives on, he was hobbling at halfway.


The best thing (for runners) is that the entire route is closed to traffic, so it feels completely surreal. Although motorists en-route were not exactly chuffed about this as they honked their horns at traffic bobbies, who were amazingly supportive to competitors. Who would be a copper in Lima, not I.

Cutting a long story short, after a lot of shuffling and gurning, I crossed the line in 2:53:51.

39th overall and 3rd V45.


Happy, as a dog with two tails :-)

Special thanks to my amazing Physio, Maro, who has kept the wheels rolling on this old banger. Without her, I would never have got to the start line. Veel dank goede vriend :-)



With just over 3 weeks to the Copa Mundial, los Blanquirrojas have been dealt a very bad card indeed. Regular blog readers (both of you) may recall the trials and tribulations of Paolo Guerrero, el Capitan, leading goalscorer for the national side and favourite son of the population…

On 8 December 2017, it was revealed that Guerrero tested positive for cocaine and metabolite benzoylecgonine after drinking a contaminated tea containing the substance. As a result, he was banned by FIFA from all competitions for one year, meaning that he could not participate in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.On 20 December 2017, FIFA reduced the ban to 6 months discarding drug use after appeal, making Guerrero eligible for the World Cup. However, on 14 May 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport extended the ban to 14 months, ultimately ruling him out of the tournament. It accepted that Guerrero did not intend to enhance performance but said he was at fault, even if not significantly.

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Now, there are two possibilities here (sadly with the same outcome).

1) He went out on a bender with his mates, got wrecked, snorted some Charlie and got caught.



2) He innocently had a cup of “Mate de Coca” (Coca tea, not a mate of Paolo’s) at the Swissotel in Lima and then had a drugs test and tested positive for benzoylecgonine.


Now if it was scenario (1), he deserves a good slap-on-the-wrist and a hefty fine and also a possible ban. “Just say no” kids, remember Zammo!


He is a role model here (Paolo, not Zammo) and role models can’t be seen to sniff marching powder up their snouts, but cocaine is not actually a performance enhancer, so there would have been no actual benefit/advantage to taking it (in a sports sense).


If it was indeed scenario (2) and it seems the entire population do believe he is innocent, he has been very unlucky indeed and the ban is completely disproportionate to the “crime” of drinking a cuppa. “Mate de coca” itself wouldn’t give you a high, even if you drank gallons of it. “Coca no es cocaina”. If you chew the leaves, they just numb your mouth, lips, teeth and gums. If you add an alkaloid (eg, bicarb) you might get some kind of kick, but it was just tea basically, (which would test positive).

cocatea Coca-Tea-South-America untitled


I once visited the infamous “Cerro Rico” in Potosi, Bolivia where visitors had to take “gifts” including dynamite, coca leaves, bicarb and 99.9% alcohol for the miners (who were basically off their ###s).

dyna(Not many shops sell dynamite, coca, bicarbonate of soda and 99.9% alcohol, and nothing else, but this place did!) Coca tea was not on the menu however.


Coca tea is great for when you travel to the highlands, to ward off altitude sickness (soroche), I’ve tried it, it’s not a patch on Yorkshire Tea, but surely it’s not worthy of a 14 month ban!


Guerrero is 34. Peru have waited 32 years to get to the World Cup, this was to be his swansong. Strikers don’t play on as long as the likes of Steve Ogrizovic.


You do have to feel a bit sorry for poor old Paolo :-(


Did the earth move for you too?

It did on Thursday morning at 6am, for about 15 seconds!

Even though I have lived here for almost 5 years, I still cannot get used to “temblores” (small earth tremors). It is a very unnerving sensation, especially when it goes on as long as this one did, (and my FB feed suddenly fills up with “temblor” updates, to silence the unjustness of Paolo’s case for a few minutes, some folk even blamed the temblor on his case!)


It struck 5.5 on the Richter scale with the epicentre 50 miles south in Mala (Spanish for bad!)

I just live in hope that the unthinkable never happens…

Raiders round-up!

History repeated itself with another draw against Swinton Lions, away this time.
A well-earned away point!


Man of the moment, Jamie Dallimore was the man who saved Barrow’s bacon as he slotted a 30m penalty over the posts as the hooter hooted to record a 22-all draw (after a 16-apiece result at home last month).


Onwards and upwards for the mighty Shipbuilders next week against Sheffield Eagles.


And finally…

A musical dénouement this week!

As I get older (and my failing memory fades with alarming speed), I often miscalculate just how long ago things were/happened.

jarviz(Was this really 1996?!)

Is it physically possible to pick the best album of the 90′s? In a musical time haven so rich in depth and quality.

Pulp – Different Class has to be up there with the best (for me). Sheffield’s finest!

However, this little beauty is not off that album.

Despite reaching No #1, NME said that “This is Hardcore” brought down the curtain on the Britpop party. Dark, yes it was. However, the video was a match for the song and this is one of my most favourite videos of all time, so here it is…

This is Hardcore.

That’s all for now folks.

Have a brilliant week :-)

Johnny, Lina & the Nipper

p.s. Despite being an at-times critic of the digital age/luddite/technophobe, I am glad that this blog is sent out electronically, for if it were a Champion Shopper style newspaper/pamphlet and I had to deliver it by hand, I don’t think I’ll have much spring in my step on Monday morning so hurrah for the internet!


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