Monday, 21 September 2009

Berlin Marathon


I’m pleased to report that yesterday’s Berlin Marathon went well. Despite the 26 degree heat, and a decidedly unhappy stomach, I finished in 3 hours 46 minutes. Full details in this week’s blog.

Barcelona, 1 March 2009 3 hrs 57 mins (new PB)
London, 26 April 2009 4 hrs 01 mins
San Francisco, 26 July 2009 3 hrs 43 mins (new PB)
Berlin, 20 September 2009 3 hrs 46 mins
New York, 1 November 2009

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 14 September 2009 Rest
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 2 miles easy
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 1 mile easy
Thursday, 17 September 2009 2 miles easy
Friday, 18 September 2009 Fly to Berlin
Saturday, 19 September 2009 1 mile easy
Sunday, 20 September 2009 Berlin Marathon


Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonschristies

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonsmacmillan

Visit us at http://www.fivemarathons.com/

Join the fivemarathons Facebook Group

View fivemarathons photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fivemarathons/

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

The Cartwright Group



I'm delighted to announce that the commercial vehicle bodybuilder and trailer manufacturer, The Cartwright Group (http://www.cartwright-group.co.uk/), will be fivemarathons' Gold Sponsor for the Berlin Marathon. Even as we speak, The Cartwright Group's logos are being applied to my running top for Berlin and TEAM fivemarathons' tops for the Great Eastern Run and the Congleton Half Marathon. Many thanks to John Cartwright for his help in arranging Cartwright's sponsorship. The money which they have kindly donated will help Christies and Macmillan in their invaluable work.

Barcelona, 1 March 2009 3 hrs 57 mins
London, 26 April 2009 4 hrs 01 mins
San Francisco, 26 July 2009 3 hrs 43 mins
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonschristies

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonsmacmillan

Visit us at http://www.fivemarathons.com/

Join the fivemarathons Facebook Group

View fivemarathons photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fivemarathons/

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Alan Turing


Mathematician Alan Turing is rightly regarded as a war hero and the father of the modern computer. During the Second World War, Turing worked tirelessly at Bletchley Park’s Station X, where he was a key member of the team which unlocked the secret of the Enigma code used by German U-boats. His work directly saved countless lives and helped to ensure the Allied victory. After the war, he moved to the University of Manchester, where he became deputy director of the computing laboratory and worked on the first modern programmable device, the Manchester Mark 1.

Memorial statue to Alan Turing in Manchester's Sackville Park

In 1999, TIME Magazine named Turing as one of the 100 Most Important People Of The 20th Century for his pivotal role in the development of the computer. In what turned out to be a very US-centric list, that was some acknowledgement of Turing’s work (see http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/turing.html).

Tragically, due to Turing’s homosexuality, he was prosecuted for gross indecency in 1952. The conviction ruined his career and he committed suicide at his home in Wilmslow two years later, aged just 41, by eating an apple which he had injected with cyanide. It’s a little-known fact that Apple Macintosh’s logo – an apple with a bite taken out of the side – is considered to be a tribute to the great man, in grateful recognition of his pioneering computing work.

This week, Alan Turing received an apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown (see http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page20571). Mr Brown said, “It is no exaggeration to say that, without his outstanding contribution, the history of World War Two could well have been very different. He truly was one of those individuals we can point to whose unique contribution helped to turn the tide of war. The debt of gratitude he is owed makes it all the more horrifying, therefore, that he was treated so inhumanely.”

“While Turing was dealt with under the law of the time and we can’t put the clock back, his treatment was of course utterly unfair and I am pleased to have the chance to say how deeply sorry I and we all are for what happened to him.”

“So on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan’s work I am very proud to say: we’re sorry, you deserved so much better.”

You may be wondering why Alan Turing is being featured in a marathon running blog. Well, on top of his other achievements, Turing was a world class marathon runner. In 1947, he completed the Leicestershire Amateur Athletic Championships Marathon in a stunning time of 2:46:03. Bear in mind that, in 1947, the world record stood at 2:29:19. Even as an amateur runner, who could only train in his spare time, Turing was managing to get that close to the record. To put it in context, it would be the equivalent of somebody like me running next Sunday’s Berlin Marathon in 2 hours 21 minutes. Given that, even with a good head start and a following wind, I’ll be lucky to finish within 3 hours 45 minutes, you get some idea of just how great a marathon runner he was.


Turing competing in 1946

In spring each year, the Ely Runners stage The Turing Relay, which is a six-stage relay race on riverside footpaths from Ely to Cambridge and back. These paths were where Turing trained while he was a Cambridge don. It looks like a fantastic event and a memorable way to acknowledge a great man. I may suggest to TEAM fivemarathons that we enter next year. In the meantime, I’d better go and pack for Berlin.

Barcelona, 1 March 2009
London, 26 April 2009
San Francisco, 26 July 2009
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 7 September 2009 10 miles steady
Tuesday, 8 September 2009 Rest
Wednesday, 9 September 2009 6 miles steady
Thursday, 10 September 2009 6 miles easy
Friday, 11 September 2009 Rest
Saturday, 12 September 2009 4 miles easy
Sunday, 13 September 2009 3 miles easy


Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonschristies

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonsmacmillan

Visit us at http://www.fivemarathons.com/

Join the fivemarathons Facebook Group

View fivemarathons photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fivemarathons/

Monday, 7 September 2009

Duncan vs Heile


Many thanks to fivemarathons’ PR Manager, Rob Ainscough, who has secured invaluable coverage in this month’s Messenger (the magazine of the Manchester Law Society) and Macmillan’s newsletter, both of which will bring our fundraising efforts to a wider audience.

Fivemarathons article in Messenger Magazine

Last week, I saw an online advertisement from the organisers of the Berlin Marathon, which
invited spectators to “Join us in Berlin to see Duncan take on Heile”. For one brief moment, it
looked like all of Rob’s promotion had paid off in a big way. Sadly, they were referring to the impending showdown between this year’s fastest marathoner, Duncan Kibet of Kenya, who won the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon with a time of 2:04:27, and world record holder Heile Gebreselassie of Ethiopia, the only man to have ever run faster (2:04:26 in Berlin in 2007 and 2:03:59 in Berlin in 2008). Berlin is a lightning quick course, which has seen six world records since 1998, including the last three men’s world records, so both Duncan and Heile will be chasing a new world record on 20 September.

It’s now just over a week until Martin and I fly to Berlin for the marathon and I’m really looking for it. There are several ways in which you can follow the race:


  • you can sign up for text message updates at:
  • http://www.pervasive.jku.at/marathon/berlin/2009/index-en.php?switch=1&token=1925855941. Simply type in the number of the runner you wish to follow (mine is 30394), plus your mobile phone number, and you’ll receive real time updates on your runner’s progress through the race;
  • Universal Sports will broadcast live coverage, on-demand videos and highlights of the race. Just log onto www.universalsports.com. Universal Sports will also provide the same coverage for my final fivemarathons race in New York on 1 November;
  • after the race, you can view a personalised video of your chosen runner’s race at www.mysports.tv. Available on the day after the race (Monday, 21 September), simply log on and click on the camera symbol next to your runner’s results to watch video from various camera positions along the course. The cameras are linked to each runner’s timing chip to ensure that they catch him / her on film throughout the race.
Best wishes to my coach, Laith, for a speedy recovery after a nightmare mountain bike accident last weekend. It was sufficiently serious that the Mountain Rescue had to be called. They suspected that he had broken his pelvis and called the Air Ambulance, which airlifted him to hospital in Lancaster. Fortunately, his pelvis wasn’t broken, but he had suffered serious muscle and ligament damage. When I spoke to him, he'd been given heavy-duty painkillers but, remarkably, he’d retained his sense of humour. Through the morphine-induced stupor, he even managed to relate this gem from a recent race: Laith and a friend had arrived early at the event, before anyone else. Laith's friend, we'll call him John, decided to use one of the hundred or so portaloos, before the masses descended. Once installed in the portaloo, he was surprised to hear another chap go into the one next to him, especially because all of the others were free. He was even more surprised when the chap started to engage him in conversation. Apparently, it went something like this:

Chap next door: "Hello, mate"
John: "Er, Hello"
Chap next door: "How's it going?"
John: "Ok, thanks"
Chap next door: "What are you up to?"
John: "What do you think I'm up to? Take a wild guess!"
Chap next door: "Listen Dave, I'll have to call you back - the bloke in the next cubicle is talking to me.”

While we've already descended to the murky depths of toilet humour, I might as well tell you about the chugging (or charity mugging) to which I fell victim this week in central Manchester. I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself: two students, working for a well-known charity, collar you in a pincer manoeuvre and seek to convince you to set up a standing order into the charity’s coffers. On this occasion, it was a well-known environmental pressure group. After the initial disappointment of me confirming that I wouldn’t be handing over my bank details, the chugger suggested some practical ways in which I could help the environment. For example, apparently I can help save water by putting a brick in the toilet. With the amount of carbs I’m eating, that shouldn’t be a problem. That quip impressed no-one, but I did make good my escape.

You can now view photos from Barcelona, London, San Francisco and each of TEAM fivemarathons’ races at www.flickr.com/photos/fivemarathons/

Barcelona, 1 March 2009
London, 26 April 2009
San Francisco, 26 July 2009
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 31 August 2009 6 miles easy
Tuesday, 1 September 2009 Speed work
Wednesday, 2 September 2009 6 miles brisk
Thursday, 3 September 2009 8 miles steady
Friday, 4 September 2009 Rest
Saturday, 5 September 2009 Mountaineering
Sunday, 6 September 2009 Marshalling Helvellyn Triathlon

Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonschristies

www.justgiving.com/fivemarathonsmacmillan

Visit us at http://www.fivemarathons.com/

Join the fivemarathons Facebook Group

View fivemarathons photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fivemarathons/

NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004