Snow 1 – Me 0

Well, the bad weather continues here in Southport, making it pretty hard for those of us who get our exercise in the great outdoors.

Even so, for the third time this year, I today headed for the beach, there to plough through the ‘gritted by God’ safety of the sand dunes before turning around and heading back along the beach.

On the way there, I drove past several brave souls pounding the pavements, albeit fairly gingerly, and thought that they must all be quite, quite mad, to risk running on such icy streets.

And then I got to the beach, which, as you can see, is still covered by several inches of snow, with intermittent ice patches, and after a brief warmup, headed into the sand dunes.

Well, I’d gone no more than 100 yards when I hit a huge patch of ice that was obscured by snow and rabbit poo, resulting in me cartwheeling through the air and landing  with an appalling crack, which, being a bloke, I naturally assumed to be at the very least a fractured skull.

(Visually, if you saw the scene in the last Transformers movie where Optimus Prime finally crashes to earth from about 2 miles up, you can pretty much regard yourself as an eye witness to my little mishap today.)

As I lay there trying to catch a breath and working on my epitaph, an old dear who I had passed 20 seconds earlier came scurrying through the dunes, having heard me hitting the ground  from around 50 yards away. Naturally, she was quite concerned, but quickly realised that the awful cracking sound we had both heard was me shattering a 2 inch-thick plate of ice with my ribcage.

“Are you alright my dear?” she enquired sympathetically. I have to say, I felt such a burke, having managed to come to grief on essentially the safest running track on earth. All I could think of to say was the oft-quoted (but in this case true) Paul Simon line: “It’s OK, I’ve had first aid. Your dog licked me while I was on the ground…”

Not great, I admit, but the best I could do under the circumstances. And so, to all you fellow runners who are still risking life and limb in the current icy conditions, I have two small suggestions to make:

1. Don’t assume that just because you’re on a beach, there won’t be ice lurking somewhere.

2. Make sure you’re better prepared than I was and at least have a funny line ready for the ambulance crew.

FOOTNOTE: I was fine by the way. Nothing broken. Ran the last five miles quite slowly though. Thanks for asking…


Happy New Year from Southport

Well, it’s another New Year, and so, yet again, I find myself in resolution-making mode.

Having been injured for some time, I’m afraid that posting on TJBFS has taken something of a back seat, as I really hate to write about running when I’m not able to get out there and do it.

However, my sainted physio having put me back together again, my resolution is to both run and write about it at least 3 days a week this year (tired old body permitting, obviously).

And so, not only have I today entered for the 18km Ultimate Cartmel Trail Race in March, I have also dragged my hugely unfit (and indeed huge) body out along the beach, for a slow six miles through the dunes and back along the beach.

I’ve always prided myself that not only am I saving my knees by running this route every weekend, but that I am also proving my outdoorsiness by knowing this occasionally treacherous stretch of beach like the back of my hand.

Though, if I’m honest, my usual expedient to ensure that I arrive home in one piece is to follow the tyre tracks of the Rangers’ Land Rover, on the assumption that if the sand will hold that sort of weight, it should certainly hold mine: a theory I drunkenly explained to some friends of ours over a festive dinner last week.

Then, of course, they sent me the picture you see above, which was taken from a local website, proving that my ‘follow the tyre tracks’ theory may have the odd flaw in it somewhere along the line.

Whatever. It’s still a great course, and the perfect way to get myself in shape for a summer of running: even if I’m obviously going to have to give it a little more respect than usual…

So at the risk of sounding like a seasonal Roy Rogers: Happy New Year to you and yours, and ‘happy trails’ to you too.