Friday, 28 March 2008

Video of Robbie Callister

The 22 minute interview with Robbie Callister (split into three parts) is now available from the links on the home page or directly at:

You can also see them (and more than 100 other home made films) by going to

I've been talking about doing the video for almost a year and with his normal pre Parish walk walking holiday in Spain starting next week, it rather forced the issue and made a bit of a now or never project.

I hope that you enjoy watching it. As always, I learnt a bit about the featured person.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

How I helped Michael George set a personal best

We enjoyed an excellent meal at the Welbeck Hotel on Sunday and helped Michael George towards record bookings for a Sunday lunch. The meal was so good I had to phone Sue and tell her all about it.

“Hi Sue. Did you know that nice Michael George man who is trying to win the Parish Walk and is writing a blog at also runs the Welbeck Hotel with his wife Irene.”

“I believe they do lovely meals in the restaurant and their Sunday lunches are £15 for two courses or £18 for three” she replied.

“That’s not all.” I said “Up to two children can eat free when they are with an adult”.

“I seem to have lost their number, how do I get in touch” said Sue.

“Its 675663 or you can visit But before you go Sue, can I ask you a question”.

“Go on” she said.

“Do you realise how many people switch off the radio when they hear your awful adverts”.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The long run

The heading is the name of an Eagles song. It has been said that my idea of getting up to date with music is to play the new Eagles album rather than their old ones.

I'm off to see the Eagles perform live at the O2 Arena in London in a couple of hours having previously seen them in Stafford in 1977 and Manchester in 2001 and 2006. The tickets are very expensive and it may not be a coincidence that they encore with "Take it Easy".

So there is no long run tonight and not enough time to tell you about the conversation I had with race director Raymond Cox last night about some exciting plans for this year at the Parish Walk.

Just time to tell you that I recorded a three part interview with Robbie Callister last night. It will be posted on the site but if you can't wait that long, go to

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Not looking forward to re-starting the blog

Brian Goldsmith, who passed away on Saturday, at Ballacraine in the 2007 Peel to Douglas walk.

I think I implied last week that I would be giving the blog a rest for a few days and those few days turned out to be even more hectic than I could have imagined.

The worst part of the weekend, however, on returning to my house on Saturday morning to download pictures and videos from the Manx Mountain Marathon before heading off to Peel for the Peel Hill Race, was to receive an email from Eammon Harkin.

He was passing on the news that Brian Goldsmith had passed away just a couple of hours earlier. Brian was due to train with a group of walkers on Saturday morning but had failed to show up - Eammon had received the news from their mutual friend, John Stubbs.

Only the previous evening Brian had been marshalling at the Easter Festival 10km. Ian Turnbull, who has written a wonderful tribute to Brian for the website was due to go on holiday with Brian and his wife Sandie tomorrow and had been with them when Brian returned home from the run on Friday evening.

Brian was a late convert to race walking only after injuries prevented him from running. I'd known him for around 20 years without ever being too close but he regularly gave me feedback about my websites. He would tell me how much he enjoyed them but he was equally quick to tell me if he didn't like something - such as when I experimented by putting text over photos.

Sandie is an amazing lady who, despite coming to terms with such a sudden loss, found time yesterday to phone me to thank me for featuring Brian on the website. She completed the Parish Walk in 2001 (she said she couldn't have done it without Brenda Charlton's company) but it remained one of Brian's ambitions to get the whole way around.

I wasn't looking to re-starting the blog this morning on such a sad note and in the knowledge that that Brian would not be among the daily visitors to this morning.

You can read the tributes to Brian (or add your own) at


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Just a few bits and pieces

Its been a few days since I wrote anything although I don't feel the need to make excuses.

I think that Karen Kneale, who used to have to input all of the Parish Walk entries into the computer but now only has to do the manual entries, was hard at work at the weekend as the number of entries has shot up.

There is likely to be some duplication at the moment between the manual list and the online list if the online list now includes the manual list! I'll try and reconcile the numbers before too long.

I remembered what the other "celebrity engagement" for Robbie Callister was - he is to open Laa Columb Killey in June. For those who don't live on the Isle of Man (or do live here but have made no effort to get involved in the community), "Laa Columb" is the annual parish festival of Arbory. Whilst the organisers plan to involve as many people as possible from their own parish, they also open up the sports (which have traditionally included a road run and a race walk) to the world. Its held on the last Saturday in June.

The event is held in a field near to Arbory Church. If you don't know where Arbory Church is you shouldn't be doing the Parish Walk!

My main focus, as far as athletics is concerned, for the next few days will be on the Easter Athletics Festival.

I was one of the first to enter the 10km run but last night I made the decision to withdraw. In the past year and a bit I have developed exercise induced asthma and although I now have an inhaler I was obviously not getting it right last night. Its always on the short sessions that I have problems. I tried to go a bit faster than usual but ended up running along the promenade on a 2 x 1.7 mile session at over 7 minute miles. I ran 20 miles at under 6.30 recently so I clearly had a problem again. I don't fancy spending all day Friday preparing for the 10km only to suffer in the same way.

So I shall be out with my cameras on Friday as well as Saturday afternoon as planned. As well as uplifting video to YouTube I'll be making a film for the prize presentation and I may manage to get a few copies onto DVD. Isle of Man College will not be producing a video this year and although mine will not be as professional as theirs, hopefully it will record as few memories as will the digital photos.

I'm also planning to photograph and film the Manx Mountain Marathon on Saturday morning. I'm planning to film some of the earlier stages this year.

All the above is of course subject to the weather. Which is a nice way of linking two of the stories above. Adrian Cowin, who provides the weather forecasts for most of the local events, is also chairman of the Laa Columb Killey organising committee.

Back to Robbie Callister. I have seen him a few times lately and am grateful to him for answering an SOS to do some work on our holiday cottage at Port Soderick. Just when I was about to start cleaning for our first guests of the season (we are pretty well full until the end of September - see ) I noticed some water damage. I'm going to be working there on a couple of nights this week.

I'm meeting Robbie again next week though when I am filming him for a special feature for the website.

Thanks to Stuart Gerrard, I am able to attend the Sports Awards dinner this Thursday. Watch out for the photos.

Lots of things to do with the family this weekend too but at least they will be spared my cooking for Sunday lunch - we are off to that excellent restaurant at the Welbeck Hotel run (should that we walked?) by Michael and Irene George. You'll have to read Michael's blog for the next few days.

Happy Easter.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Latest feature - Jock Waddington

I've just published the fourth article on a featured walker. This month it is Jock Waddington.

I decided to pick on him this time last week. After exchanging emails we had a chat after the 20 miles on Sunday (I was running, he was lap scoring).

I haven't much of a chance this week to prepare the article but I could feel the pressure of wanting to keep the momentum going with the website.

I managed to do some late night trawling for old photos of Jock last night and it was an early start this morning to draft the words and research the statistics. I then sent Jock a draft before work this morning and I've now made the final changes.

As always, I learnt a lot about the featured person and enjoyed doing it. I hope that you enjoy reading it.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Women do it better than men - again

In the last 9 days, my unofficial analysis of the entries show that women are continuing to get their entries in slightly faster than men.

There have been a further 31 online entries in the past 9 days including 16 women. Women now make up 122 of the 266 online entries.

Will they catch the men up at this rate?

Here are the 31 new names:

Andrew Corris
Andrew Willoughby
Andy Green
Antony Quayle
Carly May
David Goldsmith
Helen Lyall
Jeff Black
John Horton
John Staines
Judith Abell
Kate Bottomley
Kelly Sherratt
Lesley Chappell
Maggie Richardson
Mark Johnson
Martyn Anderson
Melanie Christian
Nigel Hart
Patrick Horton
Rachael Perry
Rachel Cuddy
Rosemary Brereton
Samantha Chappell
Simon Dunn
Timothy Fee
Timothy Martin
Tina Cowper
Trudi Halsall
Victoria Tomlinson
Wendy Rolland

Add yours as soon as possible please.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Dutch like blogs as well as clogs

A quick review of the statistics for my various websites show that 94% of the visitors to the site are from the UK (I'm afraid that includes the Isle of Man for most computer issues), 2% are from the US (probably looking for walks in Paris!), 2% from the Netherlands and 2% from other countries.

But the blog only attracts 89% of its nutters from the UK, 1% from the US and 1% from miscellanous countries. The remaining 9% are from the Netherlands. The walkers obviously like their blogs as well as clogs.

We get double, double Dutch here.

Some of the people who view this blog have noticed that I usually update it at lunchtime but I didn't intend to today. I was supposed to be in England but due to the severe weather Manx2 cancelled their plane to Leeds Bradford.

At least I now get a chance to stretch my aching limbs tonight for the first time since the 20 mile run on Sunday.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Wayne Rooney to mark the pitch for local football match

I'm probably exaggerating things to make a point here. There are probably a lot of highly paid professional sportsmen who put something back into the grass roots other than spit. But I'm trying to get across the importance of everyone doing their bit for the sport. In athletics, they usually do.

As an example that Parish Walkers can relate to, course record holder Sean Hands was lap scoring for about four hours at the 20 mile run on Sunday morning (along with loads of equally important volunteers).

The Parish Walk still needs helpers. The contacts are on the front page if you can spare some time to help.

But there is a short term requirement.

The Easter Festival is one of the show piece athletics events on the Isle of Man and it is so good to see hundreds of young people taking part. Manx Harriers have issued an urgent appeal for helpers and Paul Jackson has tabulated the requirements on the website so that people can select from a range of roles that take up varying amounts of time on different days. Please spare a little bit of time from your Parish Walk training.

Have a look at

I hope to see you at the Easter Festival. Who knows, there may be someone famous there. Nigel Mansell is on the Island the day before. Nigel, could you spare an hour on Friday evening to marshal the junction near your old home?

Monday, 10 March 2008

Young Farmers Concert

Judging the teams at the young farmers annual concert is just one of a number of "celebrity" engagements that Robbie Callister has acquired over the next few months.

He is also has an engagement of the primary school at Castletown and I have forgotten what the other one was.

He is training hard for the Parish Walk, however, and judging from what I saw of him on Saturday afternoon looks in good shape to perform well again. He is making his almost annual trip to Spain in April as part of his preparations.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Robbie Callister to judge

Robbie Callister will be judging this year. I'll tell you more tomorrow.

I officially gave up walking nearly 25 years ago so I am hoping that I won't be walking tomorrow. I'm planning to run in the 20 miles at the NSC - my first race on the Island since the first weekend in November for various reasons.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Not junk mail

After writing about email earlier in the week, it was somewhat embarrassing to discover, when I cleared out my junk mail from the junk mail folder in Outlook, that an email from Kerry Sharpe dated 24 February to tell me that she had set up her blog had been sitting there.

It explains the further delay but I'm pleased to note that her blog is now up and running.

Go the link on the front page to read it. Please give her loads of encouragement and feedback- but no junk mail.

I've not had much time for websites during the past few days, or even email, and the time I had set aside at lunchtime today has just been taken updating the databases from the HSBC Securities Services Manx Harriers open.

So I'm closing now.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

3 times a day and women are best

Online entries have increased by 21 in the past week - 11 women and 10 men.

Here is the latest roll of honour:

Amanda Butler
Amanda Haxby
Andrew Ferrer
Brian Connolly
Dan O'Connor
Jo Standish
John Robinson
Karen Horwill
Louise Conlon
Mike Crompton
Neil Teare
Nichola Creer
Nick Firth
Nikki Kinrade
Penny Thursfield
Ronnie Kelly
Shaun Wilde
Sophie Cowley
Ste Jackson
Susanna Gamage
Suzanne Kennaugh

Women now account for 45% of the entries to date or 106 out of 235.

Keep those entries rolling in.


Monday, 3 March 2008

Email - love it or loathe it?

That is one of those questions they ask in the profile section of the Business Pages in the Isle of Man Examiner - you know the one that people volunteer themselves for to promote their businesses and make references to how they like to be at their desk by 7.30 (when actually they are never there before 9).

Well I love email and I think it has so many advantages over other forms of communication in that each person can respond at the time that suits them. The only problem is that sometimes we send an email to someone thinking it is the only one that person will send and have unrealistic expectations about the speed of response.

I manage my email at home (and I receive tons because have my fingers in lots of pies) by getting any easy ones out of the way first or then anything that is just interesting.

I then try and find time for the emails that require research or a more measured response. The problem is that then I receive more emails, do the same thing again and sometimes I take ages to reply to some people. Sorry guys.

But I am applying the same principle to Michael George's question about why did I not go back to walking. He says that I am a club standard runner but was an international standard walker. The answer is really easy and in the question.

My body couldn't handle to the training I subjected it to in the early 80s (more about that another day). Having achieved about as much as I could have done as a race walker other than my under performance at 50km, I had no inclination to walk around considerably slower than I had in the past because I was training 30 miles a week rather than the 100 miles that took me to my best performances.

As a runner, however, I still have scope for improvement. On a good day I still believe I can improve my marathon time of 2.43 and so it is much better challenge to try to do so. I would also like to think I would have been considerably faster at running had I been training for long distance running events at my peak. I ran 70.59 for a half marathon off virtually no running training in November 1981, which is good club level stuff. I was 7th best over 50 in the UK at the marathon in 2006 so I would like to think I was nudging towards national standard for my age though Michael.

I'll get back to the harder questions another day. After clearing out some of my emails.