Simon has joined us before, at Market Drayton, he was our green clad goalkeeper in a sea of red shirts and we'e delighted to have him join us formally.
On June 29th, he took on his first race as Shabba - the Tamworth Gate Gallop - a 10k off road race.
Our Roving Reporter caught up with him to see how he got on...
I entered this race as part of a series of runs up to and including the Birmingham Half that I committed to do at work to raise some money for Macmillan Cancer Care. I’m now up to £805 on this and saw this as one of a number of longer runs that I wanted to try and bank to prove I could run a decent distance. Market Drayton was another of these runs and the one that made me want to join this brilliant group!
Being 20 minutes away it suited me geographically and offered something a bit different (mainly trails and cross country – including the gates / stiles) I also managed to get SuperDaz to agree to join me whilst he was drunk on holiday and paid his entrance before he could change his mind.
On the morning of the run I got into the usual pre-race plan (I have been trying to put one together on Darren’s advice) and was awoken at 5:40 by my son Charlie, and then watched Ben and Holly’s little kingdom for the next 3 hours.
I picked Darren up at 10:15 and spent the 20 minute drive talking about his post holiday fitness and my growing concern about shin splints. We duly arrived and met up with Tigger and a few of the guys from the West Bromwich Harriers, the atmosphere was good and the fun run was finishing as I took off my tracky top and unveiled the famous red of the Shabbarunners for the first time in race conditions – A very proud moment!
Daz and I decided to get a before and after Shabba photo and this led to Darren picking possibly the least able photographer in the whole place – Mr Shaky Hands as we called him took 9 photos and didn’t manage to get us both in the same shot once! He then called over wife who took 6 more, most of which are extreme close ups of my (or they could be Darren's) nostrils – we got there in the end and it was time for the 11:15 start.
I ran the first lap of the field with Lee from West Brom Harriers, he remarked how quickly Darren had gone off, from where we were we thought we heard him shouting “I’m running again – whoo hoo!” then we headed into a course of single lanes through the Amington countryside. The course was mainly trail and took in a cornfield that reminded me of those horror films where something is lurking out there and the victims run like mad in the wrong direction to get away!
It was a really nice place to do a run and whilst not many supporters on the route there were loads of marshals who keep the motivation going, I even got my first ‘Come on Shabba!’ Another proud moment.
Between miles 3 and 4 I picked up a heavy breather who didn’t feel he wanted to overtake me, I sped up… he sped up, I slowed down.. he slowed down… I slowed down more and thankfully he went past me. I then caught him up at the water station and went past him, guess what… he caught me and was getting more like a dirty phone call by the yard… that was enough and I decided I had to get away from him and made a burst that left him to entertain some others around him!
The rest of the race went without incident, I managed to get over the 5 or so stiles without falling or embarrassing myself and then came into the final stretch for which I did a reasonably quick last half a kilometre. It was good to see Daz clapping me in and once I’d finished I joined him and cheered Nikki and the WB Harriers as they came into finish.
Today wasn’t about a good time, just to get some good miles in and I was very happy to finish in 52:30, this is 2:45 off my Market Drayton PB but I felt comfortable and feel the hard work is starting to pay off.
On going through the goody bag I discovered the usual water and energy bar as well as a bottle of cologne (I think this was a first for all the runners!)
There were only 3 of us there today and only 2 in the Shabba Red but I can assure you we still ran that town and I had a really great day!
If you'd like to sponsor Simon, you can find hs fundraising page here.