DAN, TIM & NEIL
RUN FOR THE BYBF AND ROCK CHALLENGE
On Sunday October 10th 2004, Rock Challenge's Production Assistant Tim MacFarlane, trainee Propsmaster Dan McCready and soon-to-be (?) volunteer Neil Exton ran in the 10-mile BUPA Great South Run around Portsmouth and Southsea in Hampshire, to help raise funds for the charity behind UK Rock Challenge, the Be Your Best Foundation.
Dan's account follows:-
I couldn't remember whose ridiculous idea it was to run the Great South Run until I was actually on the start line, about to go. Oh yes ... it was Tim's mum!!!
She stood there in her nice warm coat beaming away ... and taking photos ... and only then did I recall her actual words when she'd suggested that the Rock Challenge crew run the Great South Run to raise money for the best cause in the UK! "It would be fab!" she'd said. "About 10 of you, with me, all running together!"
And yet (after a list of variously dodgy excuses / tales of appalling injuries / prior Global Rocka international duties) our group was now but three: Rocka's fab assistant producer Tim, future rock challenge volunteer and (RCUK FC midfield supremo) Neil and myself limbering up for the toughest challenge of my life. (Harder than getting Hornsea's ark up that ramp, for example!)
It had been just as the 2004 Rocka Tour ended that I'd decided it was time to live a
healthier lifestyle with regular exercise and no more eating junk food every
minute of the day, and over the last four months I had been building up to just this moment. My mind flashed back to my very first jog ... where I'd lasted approximately 10 minutes before cutting my losses and heading home. Now here I was, facing 10 miles! It doesn't sound that far when you say it, but if you actually look at a map it's quite a distance!
The countdown started and the adrenalin began pumping around my body. Finally the starter gun went and we were off, cheered on by the MacFarlane, Exton and McCready families!
It must have been about 10 mins into the race when I first started to wonder if the one-mile marker had been stolen. We already seemed to have been running forever (and I could feel my ever-troublesome shins starting to ache.) However, it finally appeared, and passing it was a brilliant - and yet daunting - feeling. We'd made it past the first one but there were nine more to go!
The route of the run was fabulous, passing most of Portsmouth's historical landmarks including HMS Victory (Admiral Nelson's flagship at the battle of Trafalger) and HMS Warrior (one of the oldest warships still afloat) and also passing the yet-to-be-finished 165m high Spinnaker tower.
By the time the three of us had hit the half-way mark, the legs were starting to tire and our tripod's gameplan was called into action (a round of The Alphabet game to take our minds off the pain.) However by the time we got to the letter G we realised we were wasting valuable breath and stuck to concentrating on our running.
Neil was visibly struggling quite a lot of the way and as we hit mile eight and despite staunch encouragement from Tim and myself, he decided it was time to call it a day. He bravely shook our hands and slowed to a walking pace.
This was a worry. The trouble with a tripod is, if you take one leg away, the whole thing falls over! Yet, suddenly, the race was on.
Tim stepped up the pace and I did my very best to keep up with him, but being as youthful and sprightly as he is, I was worried I was holding him back as we came up to mile nine so I told him to go on ahead. Off he sprinted and I was left alone with my thoughts for a mile, thinking of each of the people who had supported me or had said encouraging words in the run-up to the event.
As I rounded the corner of the seafront I saw Clarence Pier stretching out into the water. The Finish! I could hear the PA announcer, and suddenly a gust of wind hit my back, my legs went into overdrive and I think I even managed to annoy some people who thought they were finishing really well only to see me come dashing past them. I just kept thinking "Every person I pass is one higher placing."
The final straight was incredible. There were so many people lining the street, clapping and cheering. From somewhere right at the bottom of my body (I think it was my toes) came a last reserve of energy and I actually sprinted the final 300m or so!
I think my time was just under 1 hour and 40 mins with Tim a few minutes before. Neil came in after only a few minutes, having himself found some extra energy to start running again at around the 9th mile.
It had been a real struggle but I was really pleased for all of us that we managed to finish when I think that a few months ago a lot of people would have doubted us. Thank you very much to everyone who supported us through training and - especially - on the day. I think the three of us would agree that we couldn't have done it without you!
As for today? I can't walk on my right leg, my left knee keeps on clicking, I couldn't put my bag on my shoulders because they hurt so much, and I have a bit of a temporary bend in my back ... I'm trying to stop it hurting so much. Basically I'm in agony, but a few people have since asked me if it was worth it and of course it was! It was for Rock Challenge!
Next year there's the Great North Run ... after that it's all 24 miles of the London Marathon! So who's with us?
That's strange ... where did everybody go? :o)
Help sponsor Tim, Dan and Neil - make a credit or debit card donation (minimum = £5) to the Be Your Best Foundation via the Charity Aid Foundation's "Give Now" service
PRESENTED IN 2005 BY THE BE YOUR BEST FOUNDATION