Monday, June 28, 2010

My first finish of the Parish at my second attempt and I was so pleased that the training paid off!

Firstly, congratulations to Jock on a hatrick of wins and to everyone else who either finished or achieved their goals. Commiserations to anybody who didn't quite reach their aims but (just like me last year), there is always next year.

Now I do need to say a few thank you's and this list is by no means exhaustive and apologies in advance to any one that I miss out (I will try not to make it too much like an oscar speech). For all the race walking advice and encouragement from Manx harriers - Alan Callow, Bridget Kaneen, Liz Corran, Steve Partington and my postman and 2 times Parish Walk winner Graham Young. For all the training tips from numerous walkers including the top 4 finishers this year, my team mates and many others in the race. On behalf of every participant, to the organisers and army of helpers that put in a massive effort working tirelessly behind the scenes. (I'm starting to well up now). To Bernie Ball and Keith Wilkinson who, throughout the last year, have never once missed an opportunity to take the p*** out of me for stopping at Jurby last year - motivation enough in itself to keep going. To Sara for her cross training advice. To Murray for the fantastic coverage of the Parish Walk and Manx athletics in general and for letting me loose on the P.W. website and to my fellow bloggers Angie and Dudley. To Kerry 'Have you never heard of Dioralyte' Mackey for last minute dietry advice. To everyone over the past 6 months who has given me encouragement and chatted with me about the blog and the walk.

And of course the biggest thanks of all goes to my family. Training for an event like the Parish takes up an awful lot of time not just on the day or a few days before but for me effectively 18 months and during that time, I have had fantastic support from all my family, never better than on the day itself with constant support and encouragement. My finish really was a team effort.

For me, the walk went better than expected! Having never walked beyond about 45 miles, it really was unknown territory. I set off at a reasonably fast pace and was surprised in the early and mid stages how I was maintaining my pace and feeling fresh. It wasn't until I reached Lezayre that I really hit any trouble but at that point, I slowed right down and began to hit problems. However, despite feeling exhausted and with pain in my feet, legs and back, there was not one pain bad enough to make me stop and I knew in my mind that I was going to finish - I'm a bit of a stubborn bugger at times, ask Sally. So I carried on to Maughold at a slow pace and I realised then that I had not passed or been passed by any walker since the top of the Sloc and somewhat unusually for me, there were no female walkers ahead of me. That soon changed as I was overtaken by the leading women and soon there was a spring in my step again as I had some nice derrieres to follow. That got me through to the moon over Laxey Bay and then on to the finish - what a fantastic feeling.

A final thank you to the people of the Isle of Man for making the Parish Walk what it is. Just like the TT races, I can't imagine anywhere else an event that relies so much on community spirit could take place.

For me, the last 18 months have been a journey... from couch potato to elite international athlete (well Parish Walk finisher at least). I told myself during the walk - NEVER AGAIN.

As you can see, I'm now back in training for Parish Walk 2011!


  1. Congratulations Dave - a brilliant performance. I referred in my blog to you being a 'first timer' - apologies, I forgot you reached Jurby last year. One thing is sure, you will never stop there again now. I need to shake your hand on Wednesday.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Cheers Dudley. I was sorry to hear that you didn't get the whole way round but there's always next year!! I enjoyed your blog. See you on Wednesday.