On Sunday I attempted and completed the Bupa Great Manchester Run in a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes and 46 seconds. It was just shy of my 1h 15m target, but my excuse is the strong headwind on the last 4k.
What an experience! During training there were times where I was running for about 20 minutes and my shins and calves were stinging and I was thinking to myself how on Earth was I going to run 10k. When you're out on the track with all the other participants, and the crowd cheering you along, and the bands and DJs playing for your enjoyment, it becomes a whole lot easier.
When I crossed the finish line, I felt a great sense of achievement and still had the adrenaline going, thinking I could run another few kilometres. Glad I didn't though! I am still feeling a bit stiff now; over 48 hours later.
Of course the reason why I ran 10km on a Sunday morning was to raise money for Christie's Cancer Hospital in Withington, Manchester. You can still sponsor me by visiting my justgiving page, especially if you were waiting until I completed the run before donating money.
Will I be back to do it again next year? Who knows!
On 4 June, Europe goes to the polls to elect members of the European Parliament, and the fact of the matter is that the major parties are unlikely to loose or gain many seats. The very real threat is that of the British National Party gaining it's first MEP.
"So what?" You might ask. "The BNP will clearly only be a minority party and the vast majority of people won't be interested in what they have to say."
"Yes," I reply, "but if they were to gain a seat then they'd have access to funding. For example, they could claim for staff of up to £250,000 a year!"
These staff can obviously do whatever they like with the money they earn, including donating it to a political party. Essentially, your tax will be going to fund an openly racist and fascist party.
Because of the way the European elections work, the BNP only need a small rise in the percentage of the vote to win a seat. Because the Euro elections have historically low turnout, there is a very real possibility that the BNP's share of the vote will substantially increase by only getting a few thousand more votes.
The National Union of Students are supporting a campaign by Searchlight called Hope not Hate. The NUS, and I, believe that getting out the student vote in these elections will stop the BNP from gaining elected office. Remember; when students vote, racists lose!