Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A quiet end to last week, no visitors, just pottering about really. My training intensity winding down to prepare for Sunday gave me the opportunity (excuse!) to just laze about.
Picked up a car from Enterprise in Keighley on Friday, and, taking advantage of having wheels, did a good shop in Skipton on Saturday morning.

Up very early on Sunday, away heading up to Newcastle Upon Tyne and the Great North Run by 05:30. Parked up near the finish and left Mags and Meg to catch the bus to the start of the race. The atmosphere at this event is fantastic, everyone is excited and keyed up, the spectators line most of the route and really encourage the runners. It is the single event that raises the most money for charity in the UK. Most of the runners seem to be wearing a vest sponsoring a charity. There are also a lot of celebrities from sport and entertainment taking part, all raising money for their favourite causes. This is the fourth time I’ve run in this event, and it just seems to get better and better.

It was a good day for running, cool at the start but maybe a little too warm later. Martin Lel from Kenya was first home in 1:00:10, and the American Kara Goucher beat Paula Radcliffe into second place, in a time of 1:06:57. Paula was returning to competition after 21 months, following the birth of her daughter, so should not be too disappointed. It would have been good for her to win at the venue that has seen her break 2 world records, though. Full report here.

My time was a little slower, however. I still recorded another personal best, the 4th this year, coming in at 1:45:58, 3½ minutes faster than my previous best. All the hard work pays off.

Met up with Mags and friends back at the 12 mile marker, and had a half hour wind down watching the fun runners streaming past. Not to detract from the athletes, but these are the people the event is for, of all ages and abilities, gritting their teeth and getting to the finish of their own personal challenge.

Meg thought all her birthdays had come at once when the main body of runners reached where they were standing. She has a “thing” about plastic drinks bottles, probably the crunching noise they make when chewed. The last drinks station was at 11¼ miles, so the runners were discarding their empties just around where Meg was waiting. She didn’t know which to go for first, so many were coming in her direction at the same time!

A detour to drop friends back at Washington, and a hold up on the A1, meant we didn’t get back to Gargrave till around 18:00. A long day and I was starting to flag by then.

A quiet day yesterday. A trip to Ingleton to collect the last of the mail and to say goodbye to everyone, then taking the car back to Keighley.

We set off this morning on the first leg of our journey south. A little later than planned, as someone had left a top gate paddle up on Anchor lock, resulting in an empty pound above. It took the lockies a couple of hours to replenish the levels, so it was around 11:30 when we finally said goodbye to Gargrave.

Saying goodbye to the ducks.
And Gargrave
Another fine dry day, but cooler than yesterday. We were joined by a hire boat out of Silsden for all 9 of the locks to the top of Bank Newton, and, with the help of the lock-keepers, were through them by 14:00. Moored in our usual spot on the wiggly bits 20 minutes later. We’re stopping here till Thursday morning, BW are doing some work on a ground paddle at the top lock at Greenberfield tomorrow, closing the flight till 13:00.

It’s been enjoyable these last few weeks, but it’s time to be moving on. Getting itchy feet again. If anyone from BW happens to read this, I’d like to mention Richard, Simon, Steve and Mick, the lock-keepers responsible for Gargrave and Bank Newton. Their attitude and good humour is commendable.

Should be posting more regularly again, now that we are on the move. And there should be some more pictures, too.

Locks 9, miles 2½.

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