What is a Virtual Race?
Virtual running works exactly the same as any other type of running but the difference is that the entered race can be run at any location, at any pace, inside on a treadmill or outside in another country! All you have to do is enter a race and provide evidence that you have done it.
How Much Is It & How Can I Sign Up?
If you want to take part it will cost £10.00 and all proceeds will be going to Epilepsy Research UK. Once you have provided evidence that you have completed the run I will either get the medal to you personally or send it in the post.
To sign up go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EpilepticResearchUK and donate £10.00 and in the message box just indicate it’s for the Virtual 10k.
Why Should I Sign-Up?
Well, for one thing, if you are new to running, it is a great way to stay motivated and build your confidence. Having a target, no matter how small, can be the difference between lacing up your trainers, or a night in watching TV in your pyjamas. Virtual races are especially good for people who live in remote areas, work unsociable hours, or have children or other commitments that mean they are unable to predict their windows for running, but who still want the thrill of some running bling.
Most importantly it will provide Epilepsy Research UK with much needed funds to help support and promotes basic and clinical scientific research into the causes, treatments and prevention of epilepsy.
It was 30 years ago today that Section 28 was enacted. A piece of legislation that banned the promotion of homosexuality in the school place. In fact it went further than that; the teaching profession were not permitted to discuss or educate students about gay relationships. They could not promote the acceptability of homosexuality as a family relationship.
Let’s not be mistaken with regards to this legislation. It was enacted by a Tory government that was obsessed with “traditional family values” and feared that teachers would teach students to be gay at a time when classrooms had 40+ students to a class and teachers struggled to teach them to read or write, never mind to be gay!
Regardless of what politicians said in public, this was anti-gay legislation off the back of the HIV/AIDS stigmatisation, fueled by the rabid hatred of the gay community lead by the right-wing press and self-righteous, so-called Christian Tory MP’s and Peers.
Thankfully in 2003 this nasty piece of legislation was repealed and rightly so. Something that as a Labour Party member I am proud of.
Many of today’s adults struggled with coming out during those 15 years. Coming out was hard enough in the 80’s and 90’s but many gay men and woman had no one to turn to during their formative years. Many teachers felt helpless when education, especially around safe-sex, failed many gay men and women.
I’d like to think that society has moved on from those dark days with many LGBTQ people living their lives open and honestly, but sadly for a large number, being gay has had a detrimental effect on what should have been a happy life. We can only hope that our children and grandchildren can be openly gay, bi or trans without fear or prejudice, but as long as we have bigots we will have hatred.
Last night the UK was the victim to another terrorist atrocity. At 10.30pm last night the MEN in Manchester should have been filled with sound of ecstatic children and young adults revelling after being entertained by Ariana Grande, instead the night air was filled with screams, sirens and pandemonium.
This morning social media has been filled with both sorrow and rage and rightly so, but how that manifests is a different thing.
One post I read today… “We need to fight extreme religious beliefs and the bible says an eye for an eye” without any hint of irony.
Others suggesting that we should get out onto the streets and take the fight to “them”. And who are “them”, the Muslim taxi drivers who took the injured to hospital free of charge, to the Muslim doctor who treated those in need or the Muslim nurses that will be part of the victims recuperation.
Be angry by all means, but be sensible. These extremists want to divide and conquer, and as a nation we must stand together.
Today a nation mourns with Manchester, we are updated hourly with the number of fatalities, and even more sad is the news of those who had their lives prematurely taken away from them.
Without a doubt everyone with any sense of decency wants to see an end to these atrocities, but how that is achieved is a different matter. I, like many others, wouldn’t know where to start but what I do know is that fighting fire with fire is futile, history has taught us that and sometimes jaw jaw is better than war war.
It’s time for us all to stop pointing the finger. The KKK don’t speak for the vast majority of well meaning Christians in the same way that supporters of Daesh don’t speak for the vast majority of well meaning Muslims. Stop listening to vile individuals like Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson, who go out of their way to incite hatred and brainwash the scared and vulnerable.
We should fight hatred with love and if that makes me sound like an old hippy then I’m happy with that, I’d rather be an old hippy wanting the best for all with a soft heart than an angry individual who becomes so absorbed in their own bile that they can’t see the woods for the trees.
I don’t expect everyone to see things my way, of course not, but I am happy to look in the mirror knowing that I don’t hold any prejudice towards other merely because of their faith.
Be vigilant, be brave but most importantly be kind.
I only took up running in 2012 to see if I could, nothing more, nothing less. I wanted to get fit so set myself a 4 month goal to run the Cardiff Half Marathon.
I asked my cousin, who had run a fair bit for advice and in all fairness he didn’t try to tell me what to do, but suggested that I should just gradually build it up at my own pace and to make sure I felt comfortable.
I did my first ever race in 2:14 and was just pleased that I completed it. I didn’t
need “expert advice” or a “running mentor”, I kept it simple and basic.
Four years on and right across the social media spectrum coaches, guru’s and experts are popping up left, right and centre offering training plans, dietary advice and access to a wealth of knowledge¹, but now more than ever this comes with a premium £££££££.
I’ve even seen comments by so-called experts that criticise runners for being too slow; hardly the encouragement new runners want!
I’ve run a few marathons, a fair few half marathons and 10k’s but wouldn’t consider myself an “expert”, I barely recognise myself as a runner most of the time so it does concern me when I see so many people who are relatively new to running offering such services.
Just because I run a bit doesn’t make me an expert, in the same way that just because I can spot a badly made table doesn’t make me a carpenter!
I’m sure for most, their intentions are honest and genuine but I’m sure a minority are merely using their “expertise” as a cash cow. I guess at the end of the day, if a runner wants to part with their hard earned money for information that is readily available for free online, then it is up to them. As wise man once said “Who is more
foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?” (Obi-Wan Kenobi).
Personally I would rather listen to the experience of those runners who are humble about their running. We all know runners who do marathons as as often as most us do 10k runs, those who take delight in running 50 miles across Brecon, because it may be fun and those who turn up at your club and give without expecting anything in return.
I’m sure my personal observation will offend someone, it’s not meant to, it is exactly that, a personal observation but I think as runners we should sometimes take a step back, look at how we are going about our running and maybe just get back to basics without over complicating things.
¹ In my opinion doing a few races over the last couple of years doesn’t equate to a wealth of knowledge.
12 months ago I was happily training for the London marathon, clocking up 18, 20, 24 miles with relative ease.
As with other marathons, a combination of nervousness and excitement made London even more special.
I had raised over £1,000 for the Trussell Trust and on the day I thought everything would
simply go to plan, and enjoyable race with a hopeful sub 4 hours time.
All was good until disaster struck at 13.5 miles when after stopping at a medical tent for pain killers for my groin, something in my hip popped. I couldn’t even put my foot down never mind try to go on very slowly, my marathon was over.
The following day I had an x-ray, with nothing showing and suspected tissue tear around the hip joint.
After 12 weeks of no weight bearing, high dosage of painkillers a new x-ray revealed a displaced fracture of the hip!
The following day I had surgery that left me with 2 screws through the hip joint plus a plate and 4 screw into my femur, but this was only the start!
After surgery a further 6 weeks of non weight bearing before I could even think about rehab.
I eventually started rehab in December 2016, 8 months after the original injury and this is where the hard work starts.
Rehab and physio was at my local hospital and was amazing. They knew exactly what I needed, they didn’t put time limits on it and encouraged me all the way.
6 weeks ago I had a go of the treadmill at physio for the 1st time. I managed 1,7km. It sounds nothing but for me it was amazing. Each week I would push it a little further to see if I felt any pain, but nothing.
3 weeks ago my running club Caerphilly Runners took responsibility for Penallta Parkrun, I had set this as my target to return running. I’ve done a few marathons to date but finishing that Parkrun was right up there for emotion, considering I was
about to hang my trainers up for good in February.
Getting back has been a slow and long process, but I can now see light at the end of the tunnel. For others who suffer injury, whether small or large, you must learn to be patient and to have faith; not to rush things and believe in yourself. If I can get back to some sort of running then anyone can.
Today was a bittersweet day!
In April of this year I raised over £1,000 for The Trussell Trust, as I fervently believe that people living in the 5th largest economy should not go without basic food.
My running club, Caerphilly Runners, has over the last couple of weeks been taking donations from our runners for our local foodbank in Caerphilly and I was pleased to be delivering a fairly large donation today knowing that it will go some way to help people and families within our community but all it did was convince me of some of the inequalities in our society.
What I saw today only emphasised today’s report by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation that reported that almost 4 million working people are living in poverty (Monitoring Poverty & Social Exclusion 2016) and whilst I was there I saw a number of people, not down and outs or ‘scroungers’ as portrayed by certain elements of the press and tv programmes, but people like me and people I know needing assistance and support to get them through a few days.
A number of factors are causing the current record need for foodbanks, and although government figures show high employment, salaries are stagnant, private rent is extortionate, benefits have been slashed and the building of social housing is almost non-existent.
These factors will see record numbers using foodbanks in December, as newly released figures reveal 45% increase in number of three day emergency food supplies provided by Trussell Trust foodbanks last December compared to the monthly average for 2015/16 financial year (Data from The Trussell Trust), this will no doubt be a larger figure this December.
I think it’s fair to say that most of society think that even the existence of foodbanks is a scandal and hope to see the day that they are no longer the norm but the exception, but I also think it’s fair to state that until we see wholesale socio-economic change, it will get worse before it gets better.