September 2011

9 September 2011 – Update

I haven’t written for a month due to holidays and being time poor.  These are exciting times and my optimism for a wobble free future grow stronger everyday.  This is partly influenced by starting levodopa last Thursday!  It will take two weeks to kick in fully but six days in I can definitely tell I have more control and can do really wacky things like “write”.  It is so liberating being able to write something rather than have to type everything up.

I have started running again, the physiotherapist decided he could do no more so I took to the streets.  Once again, so far so good.  In the 10 days running I have got up to 6 miles this Saturday Karen, Sharon and I fly to Dingle in the Irish Republic to run the half marathon.  It starts a busy few days; we returned to Glasgow on Saturday night and on Sunday morning it is the Great Scottish Run, the Wobbly Try-Athletes team is approaching 240 with 180 or so in the 10k and 60 or so in the half marathon.  It will be an absolute spectacle and we have runners travelling from Yorkshire (probably arriving by walking barefoot through the snow wearing only old flour sacks to keep them cold), Ireland and Paisley.  It is a fantastic effort by the team to recruit many potentially new members.  Amazingly, Scottish athletics are entertaining the idea of allowing the try athletes to be registered as an official athletic club.  This will give us much credibility amongst runners, allow us to attract discounts for members and get a whole lot of people paying a direct debit which, with luck, they will forget about.  How marvellous would that be?

Just before I went away on holiday, Mark Cooper, I will rephrase that, the incredible Mark Cooper made a fantastic effort to beat the world treadmill record of running 161 miles in 24 hours.  He completed 131 miles, or five marathons, and in the all-time ranking will be the highest debutant.  It was amazing watching him just play through the miles.  The venue was the Corinthian bar in Glasgow, the fantastically ornate building and the staff were truly tremendous and extremely supportive.  The media coverage we attracted was awesome and as he finished he was faced with the Sky Sports News reporter thrusting a microphone in his face.  Imagine that?  One of our Try-Athletes being interviewed for Sky Sports.  I have said before, and I say it again, Mark Cooper is the most determined and focused men I have ever met and he is a truly nice guy, absolutely no airs and graces.

The holiday was great.  Hot, sunny and an excuse to learn a new skill.  This year it was editing digital video and we made a rather politically incorrect version of the dambusters.  This will go up on our new digital channel shortly.

Returning from holiday I was met with a mountain of post, and much excitement.  We have a number of events coming up and the last week, Gavin Hastings and I travelled to Whitehaven in Cumbria to speak at a dinner.  It was terrific fun.  My speech was a barnstormer, I got my delivery exactly right, and Gavin’s enthusiasm was infectious.  He has set us a target of raising £1 million over the next three years to go to curing neurological disorders.


26 September 2011 – September

The weekend of 3 September began in Ireland with the Dingle half marathon.  Dingle was a beautiful run.  It is the first time I have run a half marathon and had to stop purely to take in the views.  It is a stunning run.  Unfortunately, it is in the middle of nowhere and a 24-hour trip to Dingle is a bit knackering.  Dingle is 100 miles from the closest airport and the roads are not terribly good.  We discussed having a TryAthletes training camp their next September and combining it with the Wobbly Walk.

Sunday, 4 September was the Great Scottish Run.  Over 200 TryAthletes turned out and it was great fun.  Karen ran her second half marathon in two days and, without me to slow down, ran the second one half an hour faster than the first one!  Liz Ryan brought a party from Yorkshire and Merseyside up and Mags brought a squad from Dublin.  There was a great spirit and was a great opportunity to grow the TryAthletes even further.

Once we had the tent packed up, the Wobbly caravan moved on to Cameron House on the banks of Loch Lomond for the Great Scots Cup, our first foray into the world of golf.  The Sunday evening was a get together for the celebrities and a chance for the Wobbly team to meet them and explain a bit about what we do.  I had a good chat with Brian Whittle and Tom McKean from the world of athletics over dinner and then listen to the stories of the ex-footballers; Alan Rough, Derek Johnstone, Murdo MacLeod, Andy Goram and Willie Young.  Willie is an ex-referee and provided the voice of reason to the conversation!

The golf started the next morning and saw the arrival of some more celebrities including Eve Muirhead, Andy Nicol, John Rutherford, Alison Walker, Walter Smith and Neil Lennon.  Loudmouth golf trousers sponsored the event and the celebrities looked magnificent in their garish breeks!

My golf was atrocious but was a good laugh, the trousers setting the scene for the whole occasion.  We also had a film crew making a comedy video of the event.  The film was shown at the gala dinner in the evening which went on until three o’clock in the morning and raised £30,000.  We made some fantastic contacts and lifted the bar once again.

The rest of the week was no less hectic with trips to Aberdeen and Gleneagles before heading down to fourth annual Wobbly Williams walk, this year on Hadrian’s Wall.  This was an event too far!  I managed the first day but no more.  I woke up on the second morning and decided the best option was to stay in bed all day.  It was glorious.  Or as glorious as spending the day in a two star hotel room can be!  I was seeing dots by the end of it thanks to the woodchip wallpaper.

For the first time in four years I missed the Great North Run.  A combination of wanting a weekend at home and threatening noises from my neglected family put paid to my annual Purgatory from Newcastle to South Shields.  I watched some of it on the telly and missed it terribly.

I started levodopa towards the end of August.  I am yet to see the benefits of it fully but then I have been have been living and odd life over the last few weeks.  Things will settle down now.  I am also going part-time from 1 October to do some fundraising for a project which Steven Gill at Frenchay hospital is fronting.  I’ll explain more about that later.

A lot has been happening behind the scenes which will hopefully catapult our fundraising.  I think things are going to become a whole lot busier over the next few months.  This excites me enormously.

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