Airs & Grace Rundown: London Marathon, 3rd October 2021



Early alarm, I hate mornings, darn it,

Best get some gel on my newly shorn Barnet.


All fresh experience for this Marathon newb,

Off we go to the Oxo Cube.

Newly shorn Barnet.

For a man more accustomed to Hampstead Heath,

His London Marathon began in a field in Blackheath.


Having missed the start time prediction Holy Grail,

Starting at the back, felt like a snail.


Start Zone Six adorned my Dickie,

Surely someone’s taking the Mickey.


Running alone for the first couple of miles,

I’m finding this easy; lots of Sandy Lyles.


As I romp along, 6 minute miles, grinning,

The crowds bellow out, “keep going, you’re winning!”.

Passing the Oxo cube.

Three miles in I catch an earlier corrale,

Runners everywhere start to affect my morale.

34405 was on my permit,

More time on the kerb than my preferred Kermit,


But just as I feel I’m running in rewind,

I catch a glimpse of a familiar behind,

‘Straussy’ on his shirt, that’s him, yes, Sir Andrew,

Slapped him in the Chaminda, I promise, it’s true.

“Come on Straussy, lad!”, the limit of my talking,

Former England captain, why is he walking?


I try to keep pace, but crowds continue to build,

To keep ambitions duly fulfilled.

As halfway approaches, behind target, a smidge,

But a beautiful sight as we reach Tower Bridge.

Thirteen to go, keep going I oughta,

As we cross The Thames, the Fisherman’s Daughter.


This is too slow, same pace as my jogs,

As we roll on to The Isle of Dogs.

Time to speed up for this little dwarf,

As we rise up a Jack and Jill towards Canary Wharf.


‘All bets are off’ when you get to mile twenty,

30k down, for most that’d be plenty.

Still 10k to go to men like Pheidippides,

But what’s that pain coming from ‘neath my Biscuits and Cheese?

There’s sweat on my brow, my Vera Lynn damp,

When a familiar foe strikes, it’s the first nip of cramp.

How can this be, surely not my fault,

I’d tried to prevent this with five tablets of salt.


Alas, no joy, so we’d better not shirk,

Time for DB to summon Captain Kirk.

Along The Embankment, with a massive Box of Toys,

Huge encouragement from Twisted Twirls and  Rob Roys.


Time for some mantras, ‘Knees Up Mother Brown’,

You’ve nearly completed a lap of Old London Town.

As others around me start running quite sloppily,

Collect 200 pounds, it’s like a game of Monopoly!

A quick butcher’s hook down at auld chalk farm.

A quick Butcher’s Hook down at auld Chalk Farm,

Just one mile to go, no cause for alarm.

What time will we finish, I just don’t know when,

Right now it is time to turn right at Big Ben.

We approach the finish, there’s no time to talk,

As us runners head down the renowned Birdcage Walk.

Past the home of Baked Bean, The Mall and finish in sight.

26 down, one final turn right,
Past the home of Baked Bean, The Mall and finish in sight.

As I cross the line, as happy as Larry,

I see Mr Thwaites, our good friend Gary.

In under three hours, we’d made it, I swears,

But tomorrow I fear the Apples and Pears!

Over the Patsy Cline feeling very hairy knees with myself


By David Bentley (2 h 45m  5s)

Race Rundown: Great North Run, 8th September 2019

Dropped off at 9 at St James’ Park,

To have a crack at this half marathon lark.

Sunday morning what could be more fun,

Than a trip to the Toon for the Great North Run?


I follow the crowds and head to the start,

With ever increasing beating of heart.

Six months of training to try and break 80,

Pressure on shoulders feeling quite weighty.


10.35 and who is this marra?

“Introducing five-time champion, it’s Sir Mo Farah!”

Fifty-odd thousand all in fine fettle,

Now’s the time to test ya mettle.


Off we go, down the A167,

A nice downhill start, feels like I’m in heaven.

As the gradient settles, our pace slows,

We cross the Tyne Bridge, no sign of Red Arrows.


As we pass a sign saying “Settle into your rhythm”

Who is this in front? Looks like a magician.

Should I heed the message? To do this I’ve gotta,

For the next 30 minutes I follow Harry Potter!


We get to mile 6, turn left down Leam Lane,

This is where the fast starters begin to feel pain!

As gaps open up and we start to fragment,

The sensible ones enjoy a nice downhill segment.


As the ninth mile begins, the course starts to rise

And I feel an awful long way from any finishing prize.

Lungs starting to burn and my pace has just slowed,

Now for the ‘start of the race’, up the old John Reid Road.


We arrive at the twelfth, the last uphill mile,

And just as I think its time for a smile,

Light at the end of the tunnel? A hint of Davy lamp?

Now what is that twinging? “S***, f***, it’s CRAMP!!!”


With 2 to go, one last water station,

In need of some magical inspiration.

Surrounded by men, who is this tiny vixen?

It’s Wonder Woman, world record holder, it’s Aly Dixon!


The twelfth mile is a killer, after the aforementioned sup,

‘cos the hill takes you up, up up and up,

Until that is you reach the last roundabout,

Then it’s a pretty steep descent which gives the old quads some clout!

Round the final bend I’m driven, surely time for a smile,

a sign to my left says I’m in the last mile.

But it’s wiped of my face, my calf continues to pinch,

The last ‘4 laps of the track’ will not be a cinch.


Nearly there, don’t be panic-stricken,

This is the time when the crowds start to thicken.

Inspirational Aly, my God did I need her,

this girl, Wonder Woman, is playing cheerleader!

With 400 to go amidst the burgeoning crowd,

The atmosphere’s great, increasingly loud.

My legs are still twinging, I just cannot shake it,

But it’s the final lap, “COME ON YOU CAN MAKE IT!”


As I cross the line, all sweaty and smelly,

There’s a cameraman, I’m on the telly!

I promise I was on there, maybe you did see me,

Just after Steve Cram talked about Aly doing a ‘Fabio Borini’!

I had made it in time, was it worth all this saline?

You beauty! I have, 1 hour and 18.

And though they may say “forever on the hips”

I’m off to Colman’s for well-earned fish and chips!

By Dave Bentley


Race Rundown: RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail Race 10th March 2019

Tommy Cooper summed me up well when he lamented “I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure”. The RunFit Hartlepool 5k Trail pre-race literature stating “Entries close at 9.30am on the day of the race” was both blessing and curse.

Unable to decide between the above race or 10 miles of Big Stu’s 8am fields of mud I decided to let my body clock decide my fate. A 7.48am awakening meant my decision was all but made for me; a trip to the motherland was in store.

As always, I left home in plenty of time, only to be scuppered by a journey that was blighted by more red lights than Roxanne’s.

09.29 – I’m in – runner 821, a number somewhat high given the 104 entrants.

U naccustomed to arriving so early, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself, so, given my aching limbs from yesterday’s lope to Cowpen Bewley, coupled with the somewhat sub-Saharan temperatures of the north east coastline an all too rare warm-up was on the cards.

As 10am beckoned, we left our shelter of the village hall in varying degrees of undress; a last minute decision to deglove from me.


A start to match the organiser’s humble persona: unfussy; understated, unlike his RunFit posse’s hoodies with their lurid, Stabilo Boss-esque tangerine hue.

I underestimated the cold today and struggled to run with this load to warm. The North Sea air wicked heat away faster than my body could replace it. It wasn’t a pleasant coldness but it was the kind that made you try to run faster and brace your head against the wind. No matter how warm the blood in your veins, your face got frozen just the same.

“Where are my gloves? Anything for one of those hoodies!” Puddles galore. Cold water seeps into my shoes, stealing the heat from my soles just as fast as the wind steals from my face. For this short blast up Butts Lane, the icy wind and the freezing puddles are my nemesis. Suddenly, good news; the uphill stretch is over. Surely it’s all downhill from here. For now, at least, it is.

I’m one of three out front. Down Dolly Lane, a fast stretch – more folly, insane. As the veritable ‘coaster ends, we rise again toward Nesbitt Hall. The cold now forgotten as my lungs scream like an asthmatic fish out of water. Sod the gloves, “inhaler please, marshal!” The good news… three has become two.

Hall hill complete. A sharp right into a field. Stuart’s Sunday sessions should stand me in good stead. Another right-hander and it’s onto the steep descent of Nesbitt Dene. Underfoot it’s more slippery than a well-known Ceddesfeld politician covered in Iraqi oil. More good news comes from the shoes. My ‘trails’ bite the ground like a puppy’s incisors. My opponents road shoes cannot cope. As we cross Bellows Burn, finally, daylight. The hapless Hartlepool Harrier hindered. Hope.

An unfamiliar position. I’m about as used to winning as Theresa May in a Common’s Brexit vote.

More up. Steep steps, we egress, back to Butts. Keep going. KEEP GOING!

Home stretch, down to the ‘Old Monk’s’ finish funnel. Time to open up. Time to replace last year’s silver with gold. KEEP GOING!!!


It tastes so sweet. The post-race cocktail of Lucozade, digestives and jelly babies was followed by a soupçon of umami from the oven-warmed pies. Quite a spread.

It is, however, “not the quantity of the meat, but the cheerfulness of the guests, which makes the feast”. Joyous faces abound in the Hart Village Hall, all revelling in their own small victory against a spiky little course.

I say “little”, but at 5.9km it’s rather a long ‘5k’!

This race was a metrological and meteorological disaster, but in Andrew Lilley, RunFit Hartlepool have a true leader, a man on a mission, a man with a plan to improve the mental and physical health of his orange army through running and other sporting activities. Whilst his tape measure may have failed him, his organisational and inspirational skills are second to none.

I love RunFit’s events; I think you will too.

By David Bentley

Race Results

You can enter one or all of their future Trail Races Here ? ? ?

10k 26/05/19

Half Marathon 29/09/19

10k 27/10/19