A number of people have kindly inquired over the last couple of months about my efforts in the recent Paris Half Marathon. I realise I am a feeble trainee blogger as I should really have posted something as soon as my weary legs dragged me across the finish line to be greeted by the roar of a thousand appreciative supporters…oh no hold on, that was in the Marathoner’s Dream.
Still, on the basis of better late than never, here is a wee glimpse into the run and about the George Best Foundation which stands to gain if any of you have a spare fiver that you can slip into my Just Giving fund.
On February 7, I was invited to run the Paris Half Marathon.
This meant just three weeks training which for a rather lumpy frame whose preference these days is very much for a cold beer on the sofa was, as you can imagine, something of a culture shock.
But a crash training course which involved plenty of kilometres and a total ban on beer (white wine was permitted in small quantities) meant that I was vaguely prepared for the race on March 4.
Thankfully, conditions were perfect: around 12 degrees, a gentle breeze and some cloud cover.
And the run itself was quite fun….the first five kilometres around the Parc de Vincennes in the east of Paris, over the peripherique (fortunately the traffic was halted for the morning) and into Paris. Bastille, along the canal, turn right at the Seine…all the way down to the Hotel de Ville, a right and right again into Rue de Rivoli and pretty much tout droit through Bastille again and back to Vincennes – where my delightful family were creasing themselves in laughter at my showboat sprint at the end.
The worst bit was when a Swedish girl put on a spurt of pace and ran straight through the remains of a squashed pigeon. I thought the poor girl was going to hyperventilate so loud and lengthily did she scream….
These old legs churned out the kilometres at around six minutes each, not as fast I once did but not bad for three weeks training.
Prior to the race I think I said I was aiming for about two hours 10 – sadly, didn’t quite make that hitting the tape in 2:11:24….no world records but my best effort over the distance since doing 2:03:32 for the first half of the London Marathon in 2002….
I finished something like 20,082 – which again is no great shakes although as I was pretty much the final starter of 30,000 I was still quite chuffed.
So, it was a terrific day out….BUT it hasn’t finished yet because I am still trying to raise a few quid for the George Best Foundation. We have passed the initial target of 500 quid thanks to some very generous donors but there is still time to build on that.
The Foundation, incidentally, was set up after the death of the great Manchester United and Northern Ireland footballer and has the goal of helping youngsters off the streets and off alcohol through the use of sport. It also helps to fund research into liver disease. It is an excellent charity to honour a great player.
If you can help then great – all you need to do is click on this link and get started. It is safe, secure and simple. If you are a UK tax payer then the charity can also claim back a certain amount of tax on your contribution to make it even bigger.
George would have thanked you and so will those who stand to benefit from the work that the Foundation is doing. Many thanks.
©Barney Spender 2012