Saturday, 8 January 2011

Cheerleading Chappies and Wildlife Waging War

It was a beautiful, bright sunny morning as Paula and I headed out for our 12 mile run today. That didn't last long. Mind you, it could have been worse as we weren't splashed and soaked like I was yesterday and actually, with a little cloud cover and a light chill in the air, the weather felt perfect for running.

Settling ourselves at a leisurely chatting pace, we mused on a variety of topics as we ran the first two miles of our route: how far away the marathon is now, how mad we must have been to sign up for it, how much petrol costs these days, how to avoid chocolate and cheese... you know, normal topics of conversation.

Passing an accident at the traffic lights, we commented briefly on how awful it looked, and continued past. When not a mile later, we passed yet another traffic accident at the next set of lights.
'That's odd' I speculated, 'Two very similar traffic accidents so close together.'
Paula just looked at me, then nudged my arm sharply. I looked at her quizzically.
'You were swinging your arms across your body.' she answered. 'I was correcting your form.'
I immediately adjusted my arms. However, I was still stewing over the traffic accidents; I just couldn't shake this strange feeling that it had something to do with...
'Do you think those accidents could have anything to do with the squirrels?' I blurted out.
I had chanced a look in Paula's direction as I asked the question, and I could see from the look on her face that I wasn't the only one to have thought this.
The look she carried with her when she answered me, was loaded with such weightiness and solemnity, I wondered how she had the power to continue running.
'It has to be.' she stated, 'Two traffic accidents in the space of less than a mile... I don't see how it couldn't be the squirrels.'
She's right of course. I don't know how they did it, but I know it was them; who else could it have been?

We continued on our run by putting the squirrels out of our minds; we had to as, with a little under 10 miles still left to run, we'd never have completed it if we'd carried the weight of our new-found knowledge.

Thankfully, there were many exciting happenings along our route to help us forget about the war waged on Manchester by the squirrels.

At mile 5, we came across the most excited and energetic workmen I have ever met; their elation at seeing two women running, chased us up the road: 'Go on Girls!' they cheered, 'Keep it up! Don't stop! Run girls, run! You're looking great!' Pulling pom poms from behind their backs, they broke into a full chant and dance routine ending with a Pyramid stunt: 'Paula and Maggie are number one; We know they can run, run, run! Go Maggie, Go Paula... Run! Run! Run!' Amazing!
... Okay, so the last bit only happened in my head, but seriously... their enthusiasm was so great, we were quite tempted to stop and ask if they fancied popping down and supporting us at the VLM!

At mile 10, we passed a runner with a camelbak, compression socks, and a face full of seriousness, putting us to shame; Just after that we passed a friend from running club; at 10.5 miles our good friend Charlotte gave us a tumultuous toot on her car horn - provoking an over-enthusiastic response from us! - And at 11 miles, a car, completely at random, gave us another encouraging hoot.

So the end of our run left us feeling refreshed, revitalised and re-energised. But more so, we had experienced the true spirit of humans; the camaraderie and compulsion to stick together and encourage each other that makes us great...

Squirrels: You don't stand a chance!

Distance: 12 miles
Weather: cloudy and mild
Feeling: fun!
See my run here.
Days 1-7 Janathon: 34.2 miles (Woop Woop!!)


  1. Another great blog!!love the workmen cheerleaders and the supportive hoots!!people don't realise how much of a lift it is when they do that!!keep up the good work and I hope you get more hoots along the way,xx

  2. Ah - I always thought the cars tooting at me were taking the pi$$ out of a fat woman running. There I was, at best ignoring them, at worst swearing at them for there infantile behaviour when in actual fact they were being nice to me. I take it all back.
    Great run and you're doing really well to be at 12 miles with 4 months to go...I predict a sub 4 hour marathon at this rate!

  3. Cars hooting? I never get that unless I walk out in front of one of them. Once, a group of teenage boys gesticulated at me from the safety of their car, but no hoots. I did pluck up enough courage to run past a large group of lady runners once who were then a little raucous, I sped up! Brilliant post, Manchester squirrels are obviously a much harder bunch than the soft southerner variety that we have here. Good run too.

  4. Great running ladies well done! Who was the mystery club mate who didn't get a name check and were they running?

  5. Thanks everyone, it was a great run...

    Di - it's funny but after all the enthusiastic hooting, we found ourselves talking about how you'd needed some of that as you had neared the end of your challenge!

    Carla - We don't always get the nice ones... we've had some odd comments on our runs, but they all sounded like happy toots, I definitely like to think mostly people are genuinely giving encouragement :-)

    Jenks - we might have harder squirrels, but at least we have happier drivers!! I'd forgotten, but there was also a boy who literally 'roared' at us from his passing car... that was a bit weird, never experienced that before!!

    Pete - it was Alistair! He was running too, we passed him in the opposite direction, which was good as he would also have put us to shame otherwise! :-)

    Thanks Chris... Great job on your impressive weekend of a range of exercise! So far, in extending my range, I've managed to fail to buy a bike!!! :-)

  6. What a great post - though I am worried at the thought of the squirrels plotting our downfall. There are rather a few of them in our local park, and what if they enlist the help of other small animals? They could get our hamster involved... he's already inside the house! Arghh!! :) Glad you got the extra encouragement... and I cant let a nod towards the price of fuel go by without saying "Yes, you're right... it's bloody expensive"!

  7. Maggiee, as always love reading your posts! I'm always amused, entertained and often chuckling to myself!

    Oh, and good run too!!

  8. 12 miles...superb! Going going Maggiee!


Thanks for reading... feel free to leave me a message. Maggiee x