Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Philadelphia Story

You may remember that this time last year, my friend Mary, and her friend Laurie, were running the Broad Street 10 Miler in Philadelphia (see “Local Zero” I talked to Mary about joining them this year, if the dates fitted around Vancouver. Unfortunately, this year both races both fall on 2 May, which is a shame. The race itself is reputed to be the USA’s biggest 10 mile race – this year, entries had to be capped at 30,000! That’s pretty amazing, when you think that the London Marathon only gets around 35,000 finishers. While Laurie will be running this year, Mary has unfortunately sprained her ankle and has been unable to train. After doing all of my training for the Dublin Marathon in 2005 and being unable to race, I know how incredibly frustrating it feels. Especially when your friends are getting excited about the race.

Different day, same bull (see “The French Connection”

Although I can’t make it for the race, I am stopping off in Philadelphia on my way home from Vancouver. I know Mary has got some great activities lined up, not least going to one of the Phillies’ home games. Avid baseball fans will know that the Phillies made it to the World Series with the New York Yankees last year. The series was decided while I was in New York for the marathon and the buzz about the games was incredible. Although the Phillies won their game on the day I arrived on Manhattan, they sadly lost the next, and the series, the day before I left to fly home. I’m sure my presence at the game on 7 May will prove talismanic and the Phillies will go one better this year. Ahem. As well as the Phillies’ game, I have suggested to Mary that I’d like to recreate the iconic training scene from “Rocky”, where the man himself (the Fighting Pride Of Philadelphia, no less) runs up the 72 steps to Philadelphia Museum of Art as the stirring culmination of the training montage. I’ll bet no tourists have ever done that before. Coming soon to an embarrassing Youtube clip near you.

As I mentioned at the end of the last blog, Jess had an amazing run in Sunday’s London Marathon. After completing the first half of the race in a blistering 1 hour 37 minutes, she went on to close out the race in just 3 hours 29 minutes. This performance put Jess in the top 500 female finishers – in one of the World Marathon Majors ( This blog isn’t normally graced with outstanding athletic achievement, but rather heroic and no less shambolic tragi-comedy (often involving medical intervention and even the odd flock of sheep), so we really should relish this moment. Well done, Jess!

"We need to take the bull by the balls before somebody pulls the rug out from under our noses"
(see “Dunkin’ Donuts” -

I’m writing this at JFK Airport, awaiting my flight to Vancouver for the marathon. It has been raining so hard today in New York that flights are being delayed because of the amount of standing water on the runways. After last week’s volcanic ash, and today’s apparent floods, I’m fully expecting a plague of frogs for my return flight to NYC. In my day job, I once spent a series of teeth-grindingly boring meetings, discussing the nature of “acts of God” for the purposes of commercial agreements. After being prevailed upon to provide expert insight into the potentially detrimental effects of sonic booms, I announced that we were worrying about nothing, suggested that we each respectively get a life, and find something more pressing about which to concern ourselves. Little did I know, I was about to have a stark lesson in the truly bizarre nature of natural phenomena and their effect on the best laid marathon-running plans of mice and men. An Icelandic volcano stopping the production of our running tops, and grounding flights to north America? Who can honestly say they spotted that iceberg?

Check out TEAM Manchester’s marathon-running fundraising efforts, below. I’m particularly pleased, and proud, to plug Lucy and Amanda’s run at the Edinburgh Marathon, not least because Lucy maintains that I talked her into it (I could have sworn it was the other way around!), but also because they’re fundraising for fivemarathons’ supported charities, Christies and Macmillan. Claire and Helen are also supporting Christies, while Harriet is supporting The Prostate Cancer Charity. You can read about the inspiring stories behind each of their efforts at the websites below. I could fill an entire blog telling you about Noel’s 223 marathons for Bliss (watch this space!). Finally, if Jess’ outstanding performance in Sunday’s London Marathon inspired you to show your support for the NSPCC, visit


Vancouver, 2 May 2010
Edinburgh, 23 May 2010
Lakeland 50, 24 - 25 July 2010
The Atlantic Coast, 1 - 3 October 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


Lucy Dawson and Amanda Howlett - Christies -

Lucy Dawson and Amanda Howlett - Macmillan -

Jessica Lovell – NSPCC -

Helen Thomasson – Christies -

Claire Smith – Christies -

Harriet Sutherland – The Prostate Cancer Charity -

Noel Bresland - Bliss -

Join the Facebook Group "A Marathon Or Two"

View fivemarathons photos at

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004