The Trials and Tribulations of Marathon Running…. By Sean Clarke
You may have cursed me recently. You may have even questioned my sanity if you have driven past me whilst I have been running towards or from Overton. I wouldn’t blame you, as I have myself. Maybe I should explain. It all started about 18 months ago. I took up running as a novice and initially took to laps around Argoed Lane. It’s ideal for running; little traffic, fairly flat and great scenery. It was soon time to expand the horizons and trips to Bangor and Penley followed. I discovered that there are hundreds of organised running events all over the country and as a way of gauging progress, entered a 5 kilometre run in the Wirral. Managing to finish the course was an achievement and the front-runners who averaged around five and a half minutes per mile awed me.
After half a dozen 5k’s the next big test was a half Marathon and I plumbed for Liverpool’s L13/10k which combines a choice of 10 kilometre or 13 miles. The race went really well and I managed to gain sponsorship through work for Nightingale house.
The next logical step was a full Marathon but things were not to run quite so smoothly. My application for the London Marathon was rejected as was fifty thousand other peoples and this was very disheartening, as I had begun training. Trying to think laterally and not wanting any further barriers, I applied to Dublin (overseas entrants have priority).
About four months ago I stepped up the training and started getting some decent distances in. I ran from Llangollen, Oswestry and Whitchurch to Overton and surprisingly, these were really enjoyable, particularly in the mild evenings.
With three weeks to go and plenty of miles under my belt I experienced a sharp pain in my left knee- I was gutted. I attended the surgery and received some sympathetic and helpful advice then sought out a physiotherapist.
Following an intensive course of physio and a couple of painful practice runs I became very pessimistic about my chances of finishing. I decided not to pursue sponsorship as I attempted to minimise the ramification of withdrawing and became despondent about the whole thing.
With three days to go I had my last treatment and was versed in strapping the knee. We travelled over to Ireland a couple of days before the event and I began to lighten up and surrender myself to fate. Collecting my race number from Ballsbridge was energising-thousands of runners had arrived from overseas; in fact half of the field were foreign.
Over ten thousand runners congregated in Merrion Square in Dublin city centre at eight a.m. on a freezing October morning. We all had our different reasons for being there but were united in a common purpose-to try and run twenty-six and a half miles without expiring. The starter was sounded and we were off. I tried to settle in to a steady pace when about a mile and a half out I saw a lady slowing to light a cigarette-she was clutching twenty Silk Cut! I know that there are different schools of thought surrounding training programmes but this was a new one on me.
At around the eight mile mark I noticed a similar aged Chinese gentleman keeping the same pace as me and we chatted briefly, we finished our half marathons in similar times and were both running the full version for the first time. Around half distance I found myself running next to a chap dressed as Superman, the spectators were really cheering when they spotted him and the crowd’s good humour helped lift all of our spirits. There were drinks stations and mile markers regularly spaced around the course but I hadn’t noticed a marker for some time and turned to the nearest runner, who happened to be from the U.S.A, to enquire about the distance remaining “ten miles left man!” he shouted, “piece of pie man, piece of pie!” he enthused. - I felt like tripping him.
Between miles eighteen and twenty-three I began to harbour dark thoughts. Besides contemplating the homicide of a perfectly pleasant American I also remembered reading that the first ever runner to have achieved the distance is said to have passed away immediately after bearing the news to the armies awaiting him.
My knee was aching but towards the end I was buoyed by the spectators, cheering and handing out sweets on the route, I’m sure it was the jelly babies that got me through. The last mile was agonising, I had no energy left and felt as though I could walk faster than run. Toward the finish I felt a sense of relief and was drained when I finally crossed the line. That evening, over probably the best pint of Guinness I have ever tasted I was asked whether I would run another...I’m not committing, but drive very carefully, you never know who is on the road.
By Constable Darren King
by Constable Darren King
What a beautiful sight it was to see so many families and young children participating in the spirit Halloween. Whilst walking the beat around the village, I was met by would be vampires, ghosts, skeletons, werewolves and witches, all of whom seemed to be enjoying the very generous gifts of the residents who obviously preferred to treat, rather that be tricked.
My sincere thanks to these residents who by the end of the night must have had the sound of door bells ringing in their ears, and also my sincere thanks to the parents who either accompanied their children, or used other means to ensure their children were safe and not up to trouble.
Unfortunately though, SOME, and I state only SOME, of the more older children do not seem to understand that Halloween ‘trick or treat’, does not mean that if a householder does not answer the door, or wish to give you sweets, or even less surprisingly money, you do not then have permission to throw eggs, flour or stones at their house or car. There is no law which states that people have to provide you with gifts just because you are ‘dressed in a scary costume’, (even though I noticed that some didn’t even bother to dress up), but there is a law against causing damage.
I know that there will be numerous people now reading this and thinking, ‘its only kids having fun, we did it at their age, hasn’t he got better things to do’. As always, yes, I do have more important events to deal with, but my very valuable time is spent having to deal with matters like this. Some may not think that having these items thrown at your property is such a bad thing, but I can assure you that the residents who were victims and reported these incidents to the police, were very upset, and not only had to spend their time cleaning up the mess, but also out of pocket from having to pay for the cleaning products.
As for the comments, ‘its only kids having fun, we did the same at their age’, believe it or not, I had a very ‘colourful’ childhood myself. But the world has changed, even in Overton. People are less tolerant than in times past for numerous reasons, stress, financial, marital etc. although it is upsetting for some, people cannot be forced into participating in village events. What I find upsetting is that out of the dozen or so villages I cover; only residents in Overton had to report this type of behaviour.
I will be reiterating this message prior to next years Halloween, along with the warning that I will be stop checking any individuals I suspect may be carrying eggs or flour for the purpose of causing damage, and depending on the circumstances, I will either be reporting them or if necessary, placing them under arrest. I am a true believer in justice, and I will not allow a few idiots to spoil the fun for the rest of the village. Thank you.
Darren King, Constable 1360.The Police
Station, Overton,Wrexham LL13 0EF
Telephone: (01978) 290 222 Fax:(01978) 294 771