Friday, 20 June 2008

Bye bye

Not much to show for a fairly hectic day.

Still not got the front page ready but have just removed the update my entry section and reference to registration.

I'm signing off this blog. I hope that you have enjoyed it over the past 7 months. Not sure whether I will do the same next year or not - this is probably not a good time to decide.

A new blog will be appearing within the front page to bring you news but it will only be around for about 2 days starting now.

Good bye.

Must buy a belt

I was hoping to have the design of a new website for the race tomorrow ready by now but I lost of all of my little creativity last night and ended up going to bed early. I had intended to watch a match of Euro 2008 for the first time but although I had a small TV on above my desk, I didn't get the chance to watch the most exciting match of the tournament so far.

Since getting up this morning I have checked the statistics for yesterday and see that 791 different people visited the website and there were more than 3000 page hits. I still find this amazing compared to the early days when, back in 2001, I had to convince people that there were benefits of putting information on the website!

I've continued my daily early morning running routine every day for 65 days but am going to struggle to fit this in over the the next few days. So I'm doing a hard 10 miles at the NSC this morning (I have taken today and Monday off work) and then I'll do another long run on Monday. Sunday's short burst is going to be the hardest due to lack of sleep. Tomorrow will probably be a quick jog down to the NSC with camera in hand.

Its still a little early to start my run today as I need to get some more liquid in but I need to tidy up the site before I do more on the PW site.

This morning will involve setting up the computers for tomorrow and this afternoon I have a meeting with Richard Jamieson when we are going to plan for tomorrow - technical stuff, choosing our photo stops etc.

I need to get a few things in town this morning including a belt. My get fit campaign has seen me loose a stone and a half and I am nearly down to my old racing weight of 1981 and 1982 - but my trousers don't stay up anymore!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

My interview

Here is my Manx Radio interview from last night.

Graham Young to start Parish Walk

Although it is in the programme I had not picked up on the fact, until I saw it on Manx Radio a few minutes ago, that Graham Young is to start the 2008 Clerical Parish Walk.

Here is the link: It mentions that he won the 1971, he set a record that was to last until 1979, but of course he also won it 21 years later in 1992. Graham is one of the Isle of Man's best ever athletes and is best known for winning the 100km championship in 1981 and finishing 4th in the 1974 Commonwealth Games.

Sometimes my advisor and motivation, sometimes a deadly rival, sometimes a colleague on a number of athletics projects, Graham could also have walked much faster in the Parish Walk had he thought it to be important at the time of his greatest achievements. I'm sure that he won't need a microphone to make himself heard at the start!

In the 1978 Parish Walk Graham Young (right) helped me to victory. He walked the first half of the course with me chatting and putting the world to right. Note the total lack of spectators in Peel.

Three years later and he was not quite so happy as I took victory in the TT Course Walk in possible the most dramatic race in the history of the event which in those days was far more important than the Parish Walk. I had knocked 10 minutes off the record the previous year (5.37) and built up a lead of 7 minutes at the top of the mountain. As I was faster than in 1980 I was sure I had in the bag. But Graham never gave up and came to within 10 seconds at the finish. We knocked a further 8 minutes + off the record which still stands.

Left School

Last year's office was provided by MSM who also back up Robbie Callister

This time last year I was delighted to have the opportunity to work overnight close to the finish when Craig Hodgson from Manx School of Motoring allowed be the use of their office near to the Sefton.

Craig kindly offered to make the same facility available to me this year but thanks to the Civil Defence my facility will be right at the finish this year. I still really appreciate the gesture,

Chris Moon on the radio

Chris will be on 3FM some time after 8:00 am on Friday (Kevin Ford) and on Manx Radio some time after 3:15 pm on Friday (Bob Harrison).

Weather forecast

We are so lucky to have Adrian Cowin providing our own weather forecasts.

Weather forecast by Adrian Cowin

Almost had you starting a day early

With so many changes to the website in the last 24 hours and trying to keep things current, I almost started the event a day early. For half an hour this morning I had the event starting "tomorrow" on the front page!

Great committee

The Clerical Medical Parish Walk has benefited from the stability of a long serving committee and its always worth reminding you who you should be thanking for maintaining the very high standards of the event:

So three cheers for:

Raymond Cox, Elizabeth Corran, Karen Kneale, Allan Callow, Kevin Walmsley, Martin Lambden, Winston Liu, Tracy Cook, Debbie Walmsley and Geoff Walmsley.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Temporary front page

I've spent a good deal of time this evening sorting out a temporary front page to focus on the check in over the next couple of days.

I have finally publicised something that I had hoped to do some time ago - big screen TV coverage at the finish thanks to Colebourn.

You will also see that I have announced my team for Saturday. Fell runner Richard Jamieson will be with me throughout the day in the 4Hire van while son Ben Lambden heads straight from exam week at university to the ferry on Saturday afternoon and joins us to produce the finish line production in the evening.

I'm running out of time. Talking of which it is over 17 hours since I wrote my first blog this morning and the day has included a short hard run at 6.45 this morning and the Steve Jacobs mile tonight. I'm knackered!

Website hits increase further

There were a pre-race record of 529 different visitors to the website yesterday. More people (67) had a glance or more of this blog than ever before in a single day. I'm still not sure if the visitors to the blog are mainly the same group reading it daily or whether a larger group are visiting less often, say once a week.

I've had a publicity poster on the front page of the website for a talk tomorrow night for over two weeks. Crossroads Caring for Carers are promoting an evening with Chris Moon, one of the competitors in the Parish Walk, tomorrow evening. You can read about it at and if you are hoping to attend you should take action.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Lapping it up

I remember when my son Ben was little and we went out to watch the Parish Walk (I think it was 1992) he asked "How many laps they did". When it produced a laugh he repeated the question to everyone we met (I hope that he doesn't read this!).

Well you may have heard that Bethany Clague is going to do two laps this year. I try not to repeat stories that are available elsewhere but if you have not seen Michael George's blog that carries the story follow this link:

Website hits increase as countdown continues

395 different people accessed the website yesterday - that's nearly twice as many as the previous Monday (204) which is usually the busiest day of the week.

Three or four years ago I would be have been happy with that number the Monday after the event.

There were even 61 different people who accessed this blog yesterday which is close to the record of 66 two weeks earlier.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Tried to broadcast live from Woodbourne Park

Part of the jigsaw of preparation I have mentioned a few times in passing involves setting up my laptop to enable me to broadcast photos, videos and reports from around the Parish Walk course at the weekend.

Thanks to Manx Telecom I will have a card to enable me to do this without the need to return home each time I want to upload photos.

They provided the facility last year but I wasn't able to make the most of it because I tried to use the Laptop from the boot of my car with bright sunshine pouring onto the screen.

This year the organising committee are supplying me with a van from which to work from - more about my plans and my team in the next couple of days.

Today I met up with Darren Shaw from Manx Telecom at 5.15 to have the card installed but unfortunately their 3G network was down and so he couldn't test it before I left. So I tried to test it myself in Woodbourne Park tonight - hoping that Michael George (he lives in Woodbourne Square) wouldn't see me alone with a laptop in a park and think that Marie had finally had enough of me and my computers!

Unfortunately I still have a snag with the setup but I'm sure it will be resolved tomorrow.

Nigel's quote from his Comrades Marathon experience was picked up by Manx Radio and published at within two hours of it being written. Oh, the power of the internet and the forum.

By the way, the fact that I am back publishing this from our house proves that I haven't been thrown out. I have been trying to do plenty of housework and odd jobs, however, to ensure that the locks have not been changed on Sunday when I return from 24 hours of computers, cameras and the Parish Walk.

Getting it right first time

I had a number of silly mistakes in my output yesterday, including the blog post below.

If you were one of the first people to read the feature on David Collister last night then I apologise for the number of spelling mistakes and typos. Sometimes I get someone else to proof read such articles before going live but I was getting tired and wanted to clear it off my list last night. I had a re-read first thing this morning and made some corrections.

As sometimes happens, I also had some hassle copying the video of Sean Hands from my 1995 Sony Viewcam analogue video recorder, which I have reverted to as my main video, onto my PC. Both ends of the recording are clipped slightly and there is also a very small piece lost. Sean responded to one of my questions that "I respect all of the other walkers (the bit that was lost) but particularly Robbie".

It was great to see Nigel Armstrong doing so well in the Comrades Marathon yesterday (the 54 mile run in South Africa). Nigel is a top class athlete and was in great shape for the race and predicted a time of 8 hours to 8.15. He may have "only" finished 815th (there were around 11,000 taking part!) but he was spot in with his time finishing in 8.06.16. Considering that he had never run that far before and that so many things can go wrong that is a pretty sound prediction.

At least someone gets things right first time.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The cat is away but no time for the mouse to play

Marie has been in Dublin this weekend joining the 85,000 people watching the Neil Diamond concert at Croke Park and no doubt exercising her credit card in the shops.

The first time I ran in the London Marathon (1995) she went with me but after being accused of keeping me awake with her coughing and ending up sleeping in the bathroom (and then not seeing me on Tower Bridge because she was too busy talking to some other Manx people) we decided that it would be best if we took separate spring breaks.

So I have had my "boys" weekend at the London Marathon each year, whether I run or support the other runners. She has normally had her "girls" weekend at the Grand National but this year decided to do something different.

But instead of partying I was in bed early last night to prepare for a tough 20 mile training session this morning (I was pleased to run a couple of minutes faster than in the 20 mile championships in March and this was with a 7.30 start) and other than reading the papers and looking after Robbie, I've spent the rest of the day on the PW website doing a couple of the features I have been planning for some time.

I hope that you enjoy the video with the fastest ever walker and the feature on the most prolific ever finisher.

As I have said before, the featured walker section is supposed to represent a cross section of the walkers and characters and is not just a ranking list. So if you felt disappointed that I didn't feature you or your friend, don't despair as I might feature you next year. If you didn't want to be featured and thought that you had escaped you can wait until I get you next year too!

The mouse is off some cheese and some more sleep. Training every day and doing these websites is getting me trapped.

David Collister feature

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Final featured walker

If all goes to plan, the action on the website will be fast and furious for the next 7 days (and a bit!).

I've been working on so many ideas that just need to fall into place now.

I'm meeting up with the final walker to be featured tomorrow at 5.30 and hope to have the feature online tomorrow evening. He or she is a particularly experienced walker but won't be passing on their training tips.

I'm also hoping to do another video feature on one of the top walkers before the big day. I'm hoping the person selected won't be too shy as I have left a message on his answerphone.

Talking of selection, I'm putting together the music that I intend to use for the videos that we have penciled in.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Radio interview

I've been interviewed by Catherine Nicoll of Manx Radio for the Shiaght Laa programme today.

I thought there must have been a mistake when they asked me to go on a cultural show!

Catherine was exploring the growth of the event, the increase in the number of female competitors, the place of the event in Manx culture and other issues.

It will be broadcast on the programme next Wednesday at 6.05 if you are remotely interested!

I wasn't sure if my nerves today were caused by the thought of going on the radio for the first time in a long time or the thought of running around Mooragh Park in a couple of hours time for the first time in almost a year.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

TV coverage continues

There had been some doubt that the TV coverage of the Clerical Medical Parish Walk would continue this year as the previous three year deal supported by the Department of Tourism and Leisure had finished.

Race director Raymond Cox has confirmed that the TV coverage is to continue this year although he has not been consulted.

I received the programme in electronic (pdf) format from the printers yesterday and so assumed that it was fresh off the presses. I've learned today, however, that all the entrants received their copies last week. That is good news in itself but hopefully my publication on the website is still useful to others who have not yet had sight of the hard copy.

Parish Walk Programme

Just a quick update this morning to publicise the publication of the the 2008 Clerical Medical Parish Walk programme.

The letter which is to be sent to all competitors is also available to download from . In case you have not seen the press releases, you will be able to view a walker's update via your mobile phone thanks to Manx Telecom's sponsorship.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Young Athlete good for old athlete

Usually when I attend concerts at the Villa Marina featuring bands from my era I return home to check on the Internet how many of the original band are still alive or in good health. It made quite a change, therefore, to watch Athlete on Thursday evening with son Ben (who has been home studying for his exams) and wife Marie. This old athlete really enjoyed seeing and hearing young Athlete.

Similarly, I think it is good for old athletes to compete against young athletes rather than to indulge in the veteran scene. Whilst the average age was not that low in the 10,000 metres track championships the previous evening I was prepared to take on any young athletes who were there. I'd rather finish three laps behind young athletes but in a faster time than winning in an old race.

I was more excited both before and after the race on Wednesday than for a long time. I have worked so hard to get fit in the past couple of months that if I didn't improve a lot on last year (40.02) then I would doubt if it hard been worth while. I was delighted to run 35.51 particularly as I ran badly and totally unrealistically taking the lead for a couple of laps around lap 10. I finished third.

I'm planning my preparation well in advance of my next marathon in Amsterdam on 19 October and have booked my travel and accommodation. I have entered with an "expected time" of 2.42 against my PB of 2.43.06. I'm going to have to take on the younger athletes if my latest dream is going come true.

I'm always planning a lot of things simultaneously. This takes me back to the Parish Walk. Only 13 days to go and I have a lot to do to deliver all the things I plan for the website. But first some sleep as I am going running soon after 5.30 tomorrow morning to fit in my new daily routine before catching a plane to travel to the UK for planning of a different kind, neither work or pleasure.

I hope to write whilst I'm away about some of the things I'm planning for the Parish Walk website before the big day.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Holland & Barrett

The following message is from race secretary Elizabeth Corran:



Monday, 2 June 2008

Goodbye Blackberry Lane

Most people who live in the Isle of Man find their routine disturbed by the TT whether it is for positive reasons such as their involvement as marshals and helpers or for negative reasons such as having to change their training courses because of road closures and traffic volumes.

It is the indirect effect that usually catches me out. More entertainment, less sleep and less time to spend on websites!

I always try and get one or two TT related pictures for the website - last year I was particularly lucky to be entertained by recruitment firm OSA from a tallship in Douglas Harbour where I could get plenty of Red Arrows photos.

This year my first night out was to see the Move at the Villa Marina. I was a big fan of the Move in the 60s and the hairstyles of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne who joined them in the early 70s to see out a recording contract before they made their debut ELO album together.

Roy Wood had slagged off the reformed Move as being nothing more than a tribute band which was a little harsh given that they had two founder members (Roy was not a founder member but he did write all their hits!) and Carl Wayne would have been with them had he not died!

The gig was a good one but with only 159 tickets sold, and I'm sure there were far fewer people actually there, you have to ask the question as to why the Department of Tourism continues to promote this sort of event with public money when other promoters can sell out in hours. Exactly a year earlier I had been watching The Who in Peel. The Peel Bay Festival was an amazing event but I always felt it would not be repeated which was why I made the most of it. I did not support a large public underwriting of the festival but if I had been the organiser I would have been asking questions about the Move concert.

The Move encored with "Goodbye Blackberry Way" which I thought showed a lack of local awareness - I was hoping that they would sing "Goodbye Blackberry Lane" - at least Roy Wood would not have been able to say that they had not done anything original then!

On Saturday afternoon I watched the TT from Bray Hill in the company of Michael and Irene George and we were joined later by fell runner Paul Sheard who had much better camera equipment than me for some decent shots. I was brought up on the TT course at Kirk Michael and used to get up for all the early morning practice sessions from the age of 9 and was marshaling by the age of 16. But my conscience has been troubled many times by the accident rate and particularly by the lack of awareness of the accidents. I love watching the action but I could not bear to see an accident and the two are too closely matched. On Saturday, one of the riders well known to athletes came as close as I have seen to having a major accident without doing so.

Traditionally athletics competition on the Isle of Man has been put on hold but in recent years the 10,000 metres walk and runs have maintained an interest for those who can't bear not to compete.

I plan to be there on Wednesday night before resuming my TT social life at the end of the week.

I'm still doing my early morning training sessions but a little less of my late night web sessions. So I think I'll run up Blackberry Lane tomorrow morning. Or should it be Blackberry Way? Goodbye.