We have chewed your ear off before about our passion for grass roots sports for the young un’s and I’m sure anyone involved will have appreciated that. Media bullshit aside, it’s still generally a sad state of affairs in the UK.
Now we believe when you're legally a Man and can earn a living, then you can take care of your own kit etc , but for kids it’s a bit harder and in these tough times were some families may not have the spare cash to chip in for their kids sports kit and equipment (one of my lads kits for his junior team club this season is £55 per child!).
So when we were contacted recently by these polite young Men from South Wales, it pulled on my heart strings and also gave me the chance to achieve a life long goal. Caldicot Town under 16’s have played together from the age of six and have been told this season there is no funding available from their club to replace their well worn out kit for this coming season. Now the problem is we are a tiny business and the small amount of ‘sponsorship’ we are allowed to put through the books is already accounted for in local junior boxing and football. So I thought I’ll have a shot at seeing if the close knit community of our forum members would help out and offered to ride to Gwent or run a marathon in return for donations towards a new kit for the lads (thank God they chose the marathon as Gwent is a long way on a BMX).
Now I like to keep fairly fit but have never run more than around 14 miles in my life. I have always wanted to run a marathon but I didn’t really have time to train for this and to be quite frank underestimated the respect a marathon run deserves. I figured it’s only twice what I have already comfortably done and you see all kinds finishing it every year in the London one...so it will be no problem for a Man of my fitness ...grrrrrr! (mistake No 1).
So the perfect route was chosen, a jaunt from my house along my beloved Wirral and back via the Wirral Way. So yesterday I swerved the first game of the season at the theatre of empty seats (cheers Col), and at 1pm set off with my mobile phone, camera, Ipod and one large bottle of water (mistake No 2).
The Wirral way was created in 1968 following the old train line of the same name, although it is now broken up in some parts as housing estates have grown. It was Britain’s first ever country park and is a combination of a walking/running/cycling path with a parallel horse trek. It’s 12 miles in length so including the mile run from my own house to the beginning it is the 26 miles required for a marathon there and back.
The first leg of the journey is considered the less picturesque although the wonderfully preserved Hadlow Road station is here, a run through the rocks of Willaston (home of the massive apparently) finishing with a birds eye view of the wonderful Neston cricket club of Awaydays fame.
Now I won’t bullshit anyone as the run back was all keeping my eyes to the floor in pure pain as I hit ‘the wall’ and by the time I reached Neston I could barely feel my feet.
I stopped for a 5 minute rest to check my messages (bastard Tranmere where 3 up and I’m sat here in bulk!) and feared I may not be able to continue at this point as I had also run out of water way back. When I got back up my legs were responsive to their brief rest and they just about managed to get me at a shuffling pace back to my front door in just over 5 hours.