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Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes

Remember visiting the fun fair, how exciting it was, throwing weighted darts at giant cards, or trying to Hook-a-Duck, or chucking ping pong balls into goldfish bowls? We all wanted those massive prizes, the huge cuddly toys or brilliant games (which were probably just empty boxes), what we actually ended up with was a goldfish. I remember wining one of those treasured scaled animals and my son, imaginately called it 'Yum'. When he finally poassed though we didn't eat him to find out.

Well, Joe Morrell (you know him, of the University of Cumbria physio and now athlete of the Ten in Ten fame), bought 'home' (Shackleton Lodge) a bag of ice last night. Only it looked like the bag in which you carried the goldfish you won at the fair in. The joke was uttered not once but twice. Joe's 'goldfish' winnings are actually shin splints. Well, says Matt Whitehead, if you are going to run ten marathons, but has now coined the hilarious phrase 'play stupid games, win stupid prizes', it really could be a Vic and Bob sketch show.


At the moment I think our team 'winnings' include shin splints, pulled hamstring (not as tasty as pulled pork), strained calves (nothing like steak), blistered soles (nothing to do with over-cooked fish), sore achilles, shredded quads, oh and Rexy's sore bum (which luckily he won before he got here).

Day 6 is an unusual day, I can't quite remember my day 6 last year (other than the fact I know it was hot, much like today), it was tough and after today as last year my mood was dulled by the thought that there are still four more marathons to go until we win even more 'prizes'. What I do remember, is the first year I stopped drinking (2016), my friends and I took a trip to the Munich Oktoberfest. Not such a strange place for an alcoholic to go, but quite a weird journey for a recovering one to visit. It tested my mettle. But during our three day trip we visited one of the many side stalls and fun fair attractions, one of which was a football stall. You had to score three penalties by placing (by kicking it from a distance of 12 yards) the football into holes cut in to the 'goal', my mates were aghast and 'impressed' when I achieved the feat, also taking the opportunity to remind me I'd never scored a single penalty during my football career. For all of that skill and guile I won a pack of Top Trumps but no goldfish.

The heat was getting to us today, half way round my cap was absolutely sodden and try as I might I just could not grind through the gears and finish the marathon in the buoyant spirits I had the previous days. It seems to have affected everyone.

Tomorrow we go again, and it's a big like ever increasing circles (since we are running around a lake) of pain, or descending through the various levels of Dante's vision of hell. I'm being dramatic, it is not that bad. Although, that statement doesn't quite do it justice either. The Brathay Ten in Ten is a challenge, if it wasn't called a challenge it would be called an 'easy'. How many marathons have you run? How many half marathons have you run? How did you feel after? Well, however you felt, just think you've got to run another tomorrow. Ingeniously we came up with a plan (which almost worked) to 'try' to get out of running today. We penned a letter to Dr Katie from my 'Mum'. You know those notes you used to write yourself just to try to get out of gym or another class you didn't like. It took me blooming ages last night, writing with my left hand in an effort to add some authenticity and originality to the idea. It has been remarked that I only need me to amuse myself, which seemed to be the case as I raucously fell about crying with laughter at my own daft joke. A few of us were 'in on it' so when I passed the envelope over there were a few knowing looks and boyish smirks and giggles. Needless to say it didn't work but to let the cat out of the bag Tony put me up to it 'Miss'.

The brevity, the comedy, hopefully helps to lighten our loads, we are all carrying 157.2 miles in our legs. I think my shins are starting to go; I hope not. Sam and Áine are on top of my niggles, aches and pains. I've trusted them and Dr Katie so far, and look where it's got me. A much better place than last year. For the record last year at this stage I'd posted

2018 2019's times

4:03 4:30

4:13 4:31

4:21 4:29

5:47 4:25

6:15 4:21

5:44 4:26

31 hours 23 26 hours 2 minutes

Amazingly, I am still relatively fit, a lot of what's going on is in my head (hope my maths was okay, please don't check). So here's a challenge, which I hope is a win-win. Donate and I'll try to keep the pace up, two things here, either I injure myself and you get to enjoy my misery for another 104.8 miles, or you will spur me on to greater things and I'll be indebted to your encouragement. Surely, there are some out there that want to see me in tears again, but hopefully more that want to see me succeed ...

Nearly forgot to mention, I hit Brathay Ten in Ten gold. Just before Newby Bridge we hop over a bridge crossing the railway line for the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway. Today, I got to race the train and with a brief 'sprint' managed to get to the zenith of the bridge as the train passed underneath puffing it's steam upwards in my general direction. I was happy as 'Larry'. In fact I thought this minor victory and bolt of fortunate lightning would help my mood as I struggled through the next hot and sticky 13 or so miles.

Whilst here, the students from the University of Cumbria also help to put together the goody bags for the marathon on Sunday. Apparently 2000 were to be done today, the tentative link here is to the disciple Philip who was involved with the feeding of the 5000.

Today's marathon is dedicated to a young man, who's birthday is today. I knew him as a kind boy, fun, intelligent and well loved. Unfortunately, he and his father have not spoken in about 13 years, due to hurt, circumstance, a protective parent and grandparents. All these years there's been a draught, as the door remained ajar. Today's run does not make up for 13 years of absence but I want to recognise the fact that I'm trying to be a better person, a better human being, a better parent. Today is for you Angus, my son, Happy Birthday.

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