I started running when I was 11 years old. Basically the summer before I started big school I had an ear operation, which meant I couldn’t play rugby in my first year, so my ever-imaginative sports teacher just told me “run round the school grounds and see how many laps you can do”.
I took him literally and each time tried to beat my previous number of laps. As it was Cumbria, it was always raining, so I wore football boots and occasionally when it was too wet to even play rugby, the whole of the year used to get sent off on a “set run” which was a hilly 5-(ish)-miler, run in football boots (with metal studs), we weren’t allowed to wear trainers for some reason?
So, I became quite good in the useless art of running on wet, hilly tarmac roads in football boots. One day I was chosen to represent the school at an inter-schools competition. My teacher was so impressed with my endurance potential that I was entered in the 100m hurdles, an event I’d never even tried, but the seed was planted…
(I was in effect useless at everything else I tried, but found that with training, I could run!)
Living in the Lakes I used to do a lot of fellwalking and general rambling, anything to be in the mountains and although my Dad had been a professional Guides Racer (short, steep and fast races like Grasmere and Ambleside), I didn’t get into fellrunning until I ran the Kentmere Pike Race in 1985, in a pair of Reebok Royales (the ones that turned your socks blue when it rained, as it did most days). The rain poured and I slipped and lid my way up and down the fell.
There were some very ordinary looking, but at the same time distinctive lightweight trainers with a kind of pyramid grip, sticky as winnie-the-pooh on a blanket, and, they could be re-soled!
(A HUGE bonus for skinflints like me!)
I had saved up my pocket money and handed over my £29.99 for a pair of Walsh PB Racers (which I still have somewhere).
Norman Walsh used to make shoes by hand in a tiny lock-up in Bolton, there have been other brands (most recently Inov-8), but for me, for grip, nothing beats Walsh!
There was a Pirelli ad with Carl Lewis, back in the day. I imagine he must have been paid a bit of bra$$
Power is nothing without control and speed/slowness is nothing without grip on any uphill/downhill!
I didn’t bring any off-road shoes out here with me, as I never knew that off-road running existed, but for the last year I’ve got round in a pair of size 14 Sauconys.
I’ve been desperate for some new shoes, but at £100-a-pop, I’ve been reluctant. In addition, buying shoes online is a risk.
a) They might not fit.
b) They might not even arrive here! (Sticky-fingered posties and sloth-like customs processing).
A chance conversation with my mate Danny (who is sponsored by Walsh as he is a seriously good fellrunner, not a joe-jogger/chancer/dreamer like me) changed everything! He arranged for Walsh to send me two pairs and I was convinced I would never see them (although a pair of size 13 fellrunning shoes would be of limited use to a local postman).
Bus tickets have been bought!
Operation “Can I really pull this off?” is go…
In three weeks time I have a rather busy weekend planned:
Friday: Finish work at 9:30pm, get 10hr overnight bus at 10pm.
Saturday: Arrive Yunga 8am, acclimatise (for 16hrs, normally a week/fortnight is recommended), run 50-mile “Ultra Trail 69″ race starting at midnight, skywards up to 15682ft above Lima bath water!
Sunday: Finish (hopefully, not-at-all guaranteed) by 4pm, bus back to Lima at 9:30pm.
Monday: Get back to Lima at 7am, start work at 7am (need to work on that minor detail!)
Can it be done?
Watch this space…
If I should suddenly disappear…
Will explain next week, hopefully/presuming I don’t disappear this week that is…
Uuuf, que frio
Lima has rather a unique climate. When the Spanish Conquistadores stumbled across Lima, it was obviously summer, as for 6mths of the year it is cloaked in thick grey cloud, it never really rains and it never really shines, but strangely most punters here prefer winter!
In winter it gets down to about 14 degrees (Celsius) and in summer up to about 28 degrees, not a massive range but boy-oh-boy, do people like to talk about it!
I thought Brits were obsessed with the weather.
I have to bite my tongue, as there is a serious and widespread belief that a change in temperature (cambio de clima) is responsible for making people sick here.
When I worked in a school, there was a day which was about 2 degrees lower than the previous day and over a third of the class were at the school nurse. A slight sniffle means no cold drinks, no bathing/showering and hat-scarf-gloves come out. “I’ve got flu” is the cry.
I bought a new jacket for Christmas just before we came out here, I’ve not worn it yet!
I am still trying to work out what is the difference between a “brisa” (breeze), “viento” (wind) and “aire” (air), all of which can be deadly, yet people have windows wide open in winter (and complain of the cold!)
I shouldn’t mock, but I have to keep quiet. I can’t imagine what locals would do if they had to scrape ice off their cars?
My good mate, James B had his birthday this weekend. I’ve only got a small handful of amigos here, and James is one of them. It fell on a tricky weekend. Lina was on here weekend course, so it couldn’t be a boozy do (Lina was up at 6am to go to college and I was up with the bairn not long after), so I took it very steady indeed at TGI Fridays, but it was a top night enjoyed by all
I used to work at (and run for) the British Library. It was an ace job, I loved it.
Apart from drinking and eating pies, I wasn’t doing much exercise when I started there and a brief and non-illustrious career in Rugby League which ended when I copped for a hand injury in 1999. I started running again…
A lad called Steve was a bit of a library legend. He’d run over 100 marathons and even gone under 3hrs in fancy dress. He could run 100miles+ a week and his legs didn’t drop off.
(I have only run over 100 miles four times in my life and each time I got seriously crocked).
After a while I started to train with Steve (and Alastair) and it was basically flat-out racing every lunchtime, it was hard but it did get me fit. I was bullied into entering the 2001 Manchester Marathon (which was also the Civil Services Championship, which we won the team prize for).
It was by far the most unpleasant day of my life, pure purgatory!
I’d trained hard and wanted to run a good time, people had told me that it was a fine line between running hard and your wheels falling off. So I set off as hard as I could and hung on…
A majorly uninspiring two-lap course round Manchester Ring Road (the old Commonwealth course) on a dreary September morning. I went through halfway in 1hr 20mins, it could not last and I blew up at 20 miles, slogging in in 2hrs 51mins, never again!
I carried on running, but resolutely refused to even entertain a road marathon ever again…
When the Wee One arrived (2014) I gave up running for a while: work, shifts, studying, packing, moving continents and nappies all put the brakes on it. (My Dad stopped running when I came along back in 1972).
One day in March 2015, I was sat in traffic on Avenida Angamos and saw a sign for the Adidas-Movistar Lima Maratón, it was 6 weeks away, so I entered and trained every day getting round in 3hrs 5mins.
Training on the road in Lima didn’t really inspire me, so afterwards I gave up instantly!
Then, a marketing email arrived in my inbox 5 weeks before the 2016 race, so I entered again and trained every day for 5 weeks, slogging round in 3hrs 10mins. I kept on training afterwards after seeing that off-road stuff did exist…
Despite being tempted this year, I kept my money in my sky-rocket. Other higher, wilder and longer fish to fry. Some awesome performances though and a big shout to my mate Declan, good work amigo
Mr Hewson and Mr Gallagher come to Lima.
Lima used to be completely bypassed by all/any bands, due to piracy, not in a Somalian nor Johnny Depp style, but in that everything was copied.
This has now changed and Lima seems to get its fair share of bands/acts/clowns.
Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and Coldplay all played recently (I didn’t say that it got good bands here and put them in any of the categories above that you find most fitting!)
New Order played last December but tickets were well out of my price range, Morrisey played but it clashed with something else.
Going back to 1987, me and all my mates were obsessed with U2, there early stuff was good and “The Joshua Tree” album was really good. They started to go downhill after Rattle & Hum. Bono started to disappear up his own “poto” soon after!
However, along with The Meteors-Live at Glasgow and Black Grape’s first album, it is an album I’ve heard a lot and now U2 are doing a Joshua Tree tour and it’s just been announced that Noel Gallagher is supporting.
(Just the one on the right).
An unlikely double act!
I don’t know how much the tickets will be, but I am curious…
A video to hopefully a Monday smile on your face
As the red Honda Clunk is now gone, and as this blog is named after the mighty C90, it seems fitting to honour the “King-of-Clunk” Mr. Ed March (who should be passing through Lima sometime soon), he is a dangerously inspiring man ED MARCH
If you haven’t seen his epic film, check out this TRAILER.
Have an awesomely awesome week.
Johnny, Lina & the Nipper