Thursday, 24 May 2007

Lose weight: Fast

Looking forward to summer, but worried to about fitting into your swimsuit? Don't worry, just take the Special K Challenge. All you have to do is eat a bowl of Special K in the morning and another one in the evening for two weeks and you'll lose weight. I know, it's hard to believe, but apparently it's true. The clever people at Kelloggs have worked out that by effectively fasting for a fortnight you'll probably lose weight. Amazing.

Monday, 21 May 2007

They are exceedingly good cakes

Well, yesterday was the big day... the Great Manchester 10K Run. Before heading off to catch the tram into the city, I did the sensible thing and checked on the radio to see if the event had been called off because of a terrorist threat of some kind. But no such luck. It was all going ahead. There was no getting out of it.

Before long I was joining thousands of other runners in the Orange Wave due to start at 10am. They all looked a bit too serious for my liking. About 20 minutes before the start we were subjected to warm-up exercises by Mr Motivator, or some other annoyingly perky fitness trainer person who seemed to have far more energy than must be healthy.

Just before the start itself, I heard the man with the microphone announce that alongside him on the starter's podium was Tanni Grey Thompson. Seconds later there was a gunshot followed by an eerie silence. For an awful moment I thought they had shot Tanni. They can't do that! I mean she's a Dame isn't she? As the crowd of runners that surrounded me slowly edged forwards, I quickly realised that the gunshot had signalled the start of the race! In fact, as I jogged past the starter's podium Dame Tanni was sat there klaxon in hand cheering on the runners as they filed past. I wouldn't have minded but she sounded the klaxon right in my ear as I passed, so was I effectively deafened for the first 500 metre of the race. And to think, just moments before I had been mourning that woman.

The run itself was fortunately fairly uneventful. I managed to run pretty much the entire course, and surprised myself to finish in less than an hour! 56 minutes 46 seconds to be precise. I had said to myself that I would add another £10 to the money raised for BLISS for every minute over an hour that I took to complete the run. By my calculations, this means that I'm owed between £30 and £40 from the donations made so far! Okay, okay... I'll put in £10 for every minute under an hour, and even round it up to £40.

Thank you again to everyone who supported me and made a donation. It made it worth the effort. It's possible to donate via the justgiving page up until 20 July 2007, so if you would like to please, please make a donation. Just a pound or two (or even four... a quid for every minute under an hour!).

After the race, I wandered into the G-Mex (or Manchester Central as they are now calling it) to see if BLISS had a stall in the charity village. The Marie Curie Cancer Care folks were very generous with their malt loaf so I helped myself to two slices thank you very much (don't worry they had plenty, they were getting sponsored by Soreen). As I walked round the stalls I noticed that quite a few of the charities had a stock of food and drinks for their runners. I couldn't find a stall for BLISS, but next year I might run for Leukemia Research. They had cherry bakewells on their table.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Targets Schmargets

Wow! You really are a generous lot... As of yesterday we passed the £500 target! Thank you all so much. And still the donations are coming in. Of course, the more money raised for BLISS the better, so please keep the donations coming in and tell all your friends (and enemies).

Now there's just the small matter of the 10 kilometres...

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Weak bin men need not apply

This time next week, it will all be over. Or at least I hope it is, otherwise I will have been dragging myself around 6 miles of Manchester's city centre for over 5 hours! Seven days from now, along with around 30,000 other runners/nutters, I will be partaking in the Great Manchester 10K Run. My legs quiver at the mere mention of it.

I wonder if it would be allowed to complete the course on piggy-back? I realise that it might be asking too much to ask one person to give me a piggy-back for all of the 10 kilometres, but it might be possible to set up some kind of relay system where I could be passed from person to person, so that any one individual would only need to carry me for a few yards. What do you reckon? Another thought I had was inspired by those outfits that some people run in that make it look as though they are being carried in a dustbin on the back of a bin man. My thought: Why not just get carried in a dustbin on the back of a bin man? Yet another idea was inspired by the godfather of ostrich-based comedy, Bernie Clifton. As you'll remember, Bernie often ran the London Marathon "on the back of" his yellow ostrich with a fake pair of legs hanging either side of the ostrich's neck. You see where I'm going with this? That's right. Simply replace the fake ostrich and the fake legs with a real ostrich and real legs and, bingo... Job's a good 'un, as they say.

In my runner's pack, I'm told I'm due to start at 10am in the Orange Wave with the "elite men" (irony noted, thank you). This means getting into the city centre for around 8am... On a Sunday! Gloria Hunniford and the Heaven & Earth show have never seemed so desirable.

Oh well, at least it's all for a good cause. At the time of writing, we've raised £468 (plus over £100 in gift aid) for BLISS! Thank you if you have donated. To add your donation click go to or click the "donate now" button on the right of this page).

Strong bin men or ostrich farmers can just drop me an email...

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Bloody do-gooders

Thank you! You are a very kind bunch! I am very grateful to those of you who have responded to my appeal for donations for my "run" (still using that word loosely). I know it can be awful when you get those requests for sponsorship by email and it is very tempting to hit the delete button. But you didn't. And I thank you for that.

I also know it can be off-putting when you click the link and get as far as making the donation only to be given the choice between £20, £50, and £100! Whoa there! (Which means "stop a horse!"). I said I'd make a donation but upwards of 20 quid? Seem's a bit steep. But of course, the people at assume that by encouraging you to make the larger donation more money will be raised. Maybe they're right. But I think it can also put you off making a smaller donation, and could push some folks into not making a donation at all. So thank you for overcoming that awkwardness and making a donation of whatever value! It really is appreciated.

You do realise, though, that by making a donation I am now even more obliged to actually do the run. It's alright for you, your legs aren't quivering at the thought of running 10 kilometres!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Running Scared!

It seemed like a good idea at the time. And back in March, the 20th May seemed ages away. It’s now less than three weeks away! What’s happening on Sunday 20th May? The Great Manchester 10K Run, that’s what! And what worries me about that is that I’m supposed to be running all ten of of those K’s…

Perhaps I should explain. Late one evening in March, I was looking at a charity’s website ( for those of you who are interested), and clicked on the link that said “fundraise for BLISS”. Next thing I know, I’d gone and registered to take part in the Great Manchester Run on 20th May. How did that happen?!

As you may know, if you’ve been following the story so far, or may not know, I have been travelling across the United States in a car for almost 4 of the last 6 weeks. So I have not been exactly in “training”. And, between you and me, this is now a worry.

This week, after finally purchasing a pair of half-price running shoes I ventured out the front door to go for what I believe is called a “run”, in an attempt to begin my preparations for May 20th. I use the word “run” in a fairly loose way as running was only one of the behaviours I was engaged in for the 15 minutes that followed… Others included walking, bending, panting, gasping, sitting and crawling (well, perhaps not crawling but you get the picture). I covered perhaps a mile and a half in this time, but it wasn’t pretty. 10K is about 6 miles. The sudden realization that this is going to be harder than I thought came over me.

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is that on that evening I foolishly clicked the fundraising button on the BLISS website, I kind of said that I would aim to raise £500 for BLISS (a charity for premature babies). Crazy I know. But these things happen…

And this is where you come in. Yes, I’m asking for money. But only a small donation, and it is for a good cause after all. If you could donate any small amount, that would be great. And I mean any amount. 50p, £1, £5, anything. You can do this really easily by going to Or you can click on the link to the right of this page. It would also be a great help if you did anything you could to publicize my page.

Who knows, maybe karma will have a little reward for your good deed waiting for you round the corner. Or maybe not. Either way, you’ll be helping premature babies, and you’ll feel better for it. Go on. And think of those 10 K’s that you don’t have to run!