Wednesday, 30 January 2013


 I hope this is the last time this winter that I'm posting run photos featuring snow and ice.  These here taken on an "easy"  run from Foulridge to the Nelson shop last Saturday  morning prior to doing a shift on the coal face for a change.  I prefer to have saturdays off but it's always great to be in the shop and discussing the running aims and needs of todays runner who so often gives this old timer a modern view of the sport.  Not that I always agree with some of the things said!

  A major thaw overnight Saturday was sudden and dramatic and I ventured out to the Strid,  optimistic of a return to normal underfoot conditions; only to spend most of the precarious jog trying to cope battling through 6" of icy slush until I found a stretch in the shelter of the woods and covered it safely...... a couple of times.
 But the pace for the difficult weekend runs mattered little as they were bringing to an end a comparatively modest week of just 27 miles, recovering from the Inskip half marathon.
 The thaw continued through Sunday and Monday and so it has meant a welcome return to some kind of normality with a return to the green,green grass of the playing field  following a hill 9 miler on Monday and a welcome return to the reservoirs today for my weekly 6.5 mile circuit. 
 Most runners have a routine which involves favourite routes and venues which we tend to take for granted; it's only when snow and ice spoil the show that we appreciate what we're missing.

 Returning to Saturday in the shop one of the shoe sales was a bit problematic as the young male customer wanted a shoe for the "TOUGH GUY". An event which I've been aware of  since it's inception by in 1987 by Billy (Mr. Mouse) Wilson but never remotely considered "running".  Possibly this description put me off....

 Taking place at the end of January, often in freezing winter conditions, the Tough Guy race is staged over a course of between seven and eight miles (about 12 kilometres). It consists of a cross-country run followed by an assault course, claimed to be tougher than any other worldwide, featuring 25 obstacles, including a slalom run up and down a hill, ditches, jumps, freezing water pools, fire pits and so on (see detail below). The organizers claim that running the course involves risking barbed wire, cuts, scrapes, burns, dehydrationhypothermiaacrophobiaclaustrophobia, electric shocks, sprains, twists, joint dislocation and broken bones.

  The young man admitted when questioned that he was largely responding to peer pressure in doing it. His wife was certainly not very enthusiastic about his decision; probably thinking that the £80 he had paid to enter (plus expenses on the day,of course) could no doubt have been put to much better use.
   I think the only thing the event has in common with my world of running is in terms of the shoes and some of the clothing being used.  I say some of the clothing as whilst some dress as they would for a normal winter's race, others, including a team of policemen took the whole "macho" element to an extreme by wearing trunks!
  The event has spawned other similar events of course. In fact Billy Wilson sued the partners of one such event and was awarded £450,000.  A fact which highlights how wealthy his rivals are and underlines how popular his and the copycat events are.
 Needless to say, I can't see the attraction. I just can't understand paying £80 and more to risk death (there have been 2 fatalities) by drowning, hypothermia or electrocution!
 But runners have died competing in half marathons and marathons ,haven't they?
It could be suggested the risk of a "tough" event is no greater.  But I'm not buying that and I won't be buying an entry for the TOUGH GUY, the TOUGH MUDDER, or the TOUGH WARRIOR  anytime soon!

                                        DISQUALIFIED FOR NOT WEARING A NUMBER?.........

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