Sunday, 25 April 2010

Above Us Only Sky

Hello from Manhattan! The good news is, despite Iceland’s best efforts, my flight left on time and I arrived in NYC without incident. No wing-walking to chisel volcanic rock from the engines either. Final preparations for Vancouver are also going well: a few gentle runs in Central Park and arguably eating too much. The park is a great place to train – very green, pretty and full of other runners. I’ve also got fond memories of the NYC marathons and International Friendship Runs in 2004 and 2009. More mixed feelings about September 2006 in the park, but that’s another story for another day. Send a cheque to Christies for a minimum of £75 and I’ll tell you all about it. It’s a cracker too: alcohol poisoning, ghostly apparitions and even a horse. It’s got it all.

As I’m writing, Jess is well underway in the London Marathon. The text updates from the race organisers confirm that she went through the halfway point in just 1 hour 37 minutes, which is very quick. I’m now ticking down the minutes until the text arrives from the finish line. Jess told me that they’ve got really heavy rain, which is far from ideal, but at least they’ll avoid some of the heat-related problems from recent years. Only four weeks until we’re doing it all again in Edinburgh (I’m sure that will be a comforting thought for Jess when she finishes). Based on my experience of long queues during last year’s race in London, Jess has done well to get into her running so quickly. My starting pen was full of runners in fancy dress. Many had come as either giraffes or people who’d never run more than two miles before.

Strawberry Field, Woolton, Liverpool. Sunday, 11 April 2010

Two weeks ago, I did my final long run before Vancouver: 21 miles from my parents’ house in St Helens into Liverpool. In fact, it’s only 8 miles between the two, so I had plenty of miles within Liverpool to take in some of the sights. As a big Beatles fan, I stayed after the run to see some of the Beatles landmarks – Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby’s grave at St Peter’s church and, across the road, the church hall where Lennon and McCartney first met in 1957. I also visited Strawberry Field and Mendips, the house on Menlove Avenue where John grew up. So, during my training runs on Manhattan, I’ve been sure to take in The Dakota, the building where Lennon lived from 1974, and where he was shot dead by a deranged fan in 1980. I was only 8 when Lennon died, but even I realised that something seismic had just happened. The Liverpool Echo was filled with tributes for weeks after his death. Across the road from The Dakota, in Central Park, lies Strawberry Fields, with its mosaic tribute to Lennon. Amongst the thousands of fans who visit Strawberry Fields every day, my running had, just for once, taken on a cultural dimension beyond pounding Merseyside’s unforgiving streets.

Strawberry Fields, Central Park West. Saturday, 24 April 2010

My onward flight to Vancouver leaves late on Monday night, which should give me plenty of time to get over jetlag, acclimatise and get my head ready for the race on Sunday, 2 May. With London a week before Vancouver, Jess will have an all-important extra week to recover before we race in Edinburgh. Just getting that excuse on the table nice and early...

Talk to you again from British Columbia.

PS Just heard from Jess: she finished her first marathon in 3 hours 29. Just fantastic!



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 3 hrs 53 mins


Coniston 14 (14 miles), 28 March 2009
1 hr 48
Humber Half Marathon, 15 June 2009 1 hr 40 (new PB)
Congleton Half Marathon, 11 October 2009 1 hr 33 mins 49 seconds (new PB)


Vancouver, 2 May 2010
Edinburgh, 23 May 2010
Auckland, 31 October 2010


Liverpool, 28 March 2010 1 hour 33 mins 14 seconds (new PB)

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


Jessica Lovell – NSPCC -

Helen Thomasson – Christies -

Claire Smith – Christies -

Harriet Sutherland – The Prostate Cancer Charity -

Join the fivemarathons Facebook Group

View fivemarathons photos at

No comments:

Post a Comment

NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004