Well, as usual it’s been a while since I lasted posted so here goes.
Over the last 2 weeks, Great Britain has hosted the Olympics and what an amazing event it was. I have to say that when tickets first went on sale, I had little interest in being there but once the track cycling, diving and athletics had started I really was disappointed not to have been in the Olympic Park. Of course, I have been there and was one of the first people to run on the track in the Olympic Stadium as part of the Olympic Park Run but experiencing live events in the Stadium, Velodrome or Aquatics Centre must have been awesome. Throughout the event, I did try and secure tickets but the website provided one of the most frustrating experienced on many, many occasions.
All is not lost though as I won tickets to the Wheelchair Basketball in the Paralympics due to my volunteering as part of Sport England’s Sport Maker initiative.
Since the legacy, the media has focused on the legacy. This focus has mainly been on reintroducing competitive sport in schools, increasing participation in grassroots sports and encouraging volunteering in local sports clubs. The Telegraph has started their ‘Let’s Keep The Flame Alive’ whilst Join In UK is holding a special weekend on 18th/19th August to encourage people to volunteer and participate in local sport. parkrun are actively involved and should serve as a great example at how volunteers can deliver regular grassroots sport for free across the UK. With 20,000 participants each week and 1000s of volunteers contributing their time, parkrun events and their increasing popularity prove there’s a desire for people of all ages and abilities to be active and competitive even if the competition is personal. Each week at the events, we see children of 5+ take part, trying to gain PBs.
I hated sport at school. I wasn’t any good at football or rugby. Hated running (cross country was the punishment for when the pitches were too icy). I once did a couple of decent attempts at the high jump and remember the PE teacher, Mr Butterworth, suddenly getting slightly interested in my abilities. Unfortunately, consistency eluded me and I returned to being unsporty. I should have taken up running but, as mentioned earlier, it was the chore. Schools need to find ways of encouraging all pupils to find a physical activity they’re good at. The Olympics should/may light a flame in some children to try a sport and I hope it does. Running is an obvious choice. Unlike many Olympic sports, running has very few barriers to participation unlike sailing, rowing, equestrian, fencing, boxing etc which are (comparatively) less accessible. Having said that, at about 15, I went on a dinghy sailing course and fell in love with the sport. I was even pretty good at it both (informally instructing others) and competing for my school. It helped me win a school award for my contribution to school life, the AFCENT Award. As well as dinghy sailing, I windsurfed and enjoyed that too. However, when I tried to get involved at University, the elitist attitude meant I didn’t continue my involvement and other than a sailing course I did 15 (ish) years ago and some yacht sailing (which I enjoyed but far less), my involvement in sailing is no more. Maybe I can get the boys interested in the future and sail again. I hope so. Of course, I also want them to run. I asked them if, when older, they’d come running with me and they both said yes do there’s hope!
Yesterday evening, we held our 3rd Mile Event, the Mud Summer Mile. I organise these as a little extra to the weekly parkruns and they normally prove popular. There were 60+ participants over 2 races and the event went well. I took part in the 2nd race with the aim of finishing in 7 minutes and nailed it. My mile PB is 6:56 which I set at the Magic Mile in August 2011. I was slower in the Movember Mile and would have loved to have PBd last night but having done several miles on the turbo and wanting to not break myself didn’t give 110%. I ran with Stuart Smith (parkrun RD at Southampton) and he was instrumental in ensuring I hit my target with lots of encouragement.
As always, the event was great (a little less inclusive than previous events due to the fact the start/finish were some distance apart but glad I organised it). As usual it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of those people that volunteered including Ben, Neil, Tamsyn and Irene from Lordshill Road Runners and Gareth and Dave amongst a few others. Thanks all!!
September brings another mile event. This one being a track event at Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre. That should be interesting.