Tuesday 15th May – In the recent narrative Do I Cajole or Encourage? I wrote of my admiration for the runners of Sunday’s Leeds Half-Marathon.

Thousands of amateurs who as part of their training regular pound local streets and dales in all weathers. Meteorology that includes foreboding grey skies, bringing with them a 70% chance of precipitation – An unwelcome consequence of slow moving nimbostratus clouds over the Vale of York.***

***  Other meteorological conditions and areas of Yorkshire where it rains heavily are also available.

Each individual possessing their own agenda for partaking. A penchant for running manifesting from objectives to improve fitness levels, enjoying a challenge, aspirations of raising cash for a good cause, or merely increase their running speed to enhance chances of catching the 163 bus after oversleeping.

As a marshal at Sunday’s event, I got to see first hand the toll of the challenge, the perspiration, the breathlessness, intense fatigue and determination to get to it’s end….. I never dreamt marshalling would be so exacting!

Seriously, though, in my voluntary role it was an honour to witness these driven individuals at close quarters. Stoic runners, including a man carrying an anchor on his back for 13.1 miles.  Not forgetting two tiring runners from Ainsley Scragg Harriers athletics club who asked me where they could catch the 163 bus.


I was particularly awestruck at those, not only happy to challenge themselves with a half-marathon run, but feeling the need to add extra handicaps in a bid to attract further charitable donations.

Kudos must go to the young man from the Yorkshire Dales for his ‘going the extra mile’ in his attempt to secure further sponsorship. This slip of a lad from Thacklethwaite tortured himself by running for two hours while repeat playing the Daniel O’Donnell single ‘Sweaters Are My Friends’ on his iPod.

Although disorientated at the finish line, the poor guy managed to complete the race. However, two days on from his ordeal, he’s still heavily sedated in a local medical centre. According to close family, the lad’s unlikely to take up an invite for this year’s Dublin Wool Festival.

I don’t know how much the Dales lad raised for charity, but I hope Daniel chips in with a few bob for the kid when he regains full consciousness. As long as O’Donnell doesn’t try to raise him from his induced slumber with a serenade, I’m sure his benevolence would be appreciated by the young man.

Amongst the celebrities participating in the race, ex-Leeds Rhinos rugby league player Jamie Peacock ran past my marshalling station at one point. A monster of a man, when out of earshot I planned to shout (tongue firmly in cheek) “That’s right Peacock, run away!…. Come back when you think you’re tough enough!”

However, as I wasn’t sure how far ‘out of earshot’ would be, I thought it prudent to put the plan on hold.

I wanted to write this blog yesterday. However, my existential circumstances intervened, the consequence of spending all day with wife Karen at an oncological assessment ward. A story referred to in my narrative Karma’s Perversity 

Thankfully, after a series of tests and the administering of a pain management strategy, my wife was found to be well enough to be discharged late yesterday afternoon. We were both relieved to learn the abdominal discomfort, which caused our sojourn to a local hospital, wasn’t a serious development in her long cancer fight.

Anyhow, look at the time….. I’ve gotta dash, at this rate I’ll miss the 163 bus into town!