Running and I go back a long way – 26 miles and 385 yards, in fact. I ran the first ‘modern day’ local race in the 1980s, the Bolton Marathon, in 3 hours 45 minutes and who can ever forget the delights of the infamous incline fittingly called Plodder Lane which greeted runners after 24 miles, just as they were nearing exhaustion.
I organised the first Piccadilly Radio Marathon with ex-United commentator Tom Tyrell and I’m sure many of you can remember (not!) my classic one hour documentary to commemorate the occasion, ‘From Athens to Platt Fields’ in which the best advice from runner Jim Peters was, ‘You will never run a fast marathon if you can’t run a fast mile.’
The legendary Ron Hill led the ‘Four Hour Club’ in that marathon, guaranteeing that any listeners who ran alongside him would finish the race in less than four hours, the target of many runners. And indeed they did, as Ron led them over the line in 3 hours 59 minutes, saying running at that slow pace made it his hardest marathon ever.
I ran the Piccadilly Radio Marathon the next year in the very credible time of 3 hours 19 minutes and that including an unscheduled seven minute stop at a house on Princess Parkway for reasons I won’t detail here. Breaking the 3 hour barrier was the next challenge in the Liverpool Marathon but injuries overtook me and the moment was lost…
In 1985, in the middle of all of the above, I ran the London Marathon in 3 hours 28 minutes 28 seconds on a red hot day in the capital. And that doesn’t take into account the 20 minutes it took me to cross the starting line as there were no fancy chip timing devices in those days!
I ran in memory of my mother who died of cancer when I was just 10 and thanks to the generosity of the Piccadilly Radio listeners, where I was working at the time as Tim Grundy’s producer, I raised £10,000.00 for the Neil Cliffe Cancer Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.
Twenty seven years on, minus the moustache that inspired the 118 118 campaign and with a new hip and old knees, I have been persuaded by the young women in the office to make an appointment that my body can’t keep by taking part in the 10k Bupa Great Manchester Run on Sunday 20th May.
My targets have changed somewhat in the intervening years. My aim is to finish before sun down on the Sunday and I am looking to raise a minimum of £200.00 for The Christie, which is Havas PR’s chosen charity this year. But I’ll still be running in memory of my mum. All donations welcome at http://www.justgiving.com/Brian-Beech