Run, you bastards, run

Sunday sees Birmingham’s first half marathon, starting from Perry Barr and winding it’s way through Aston and Newtown, a quick detour up to Bearwood and then finishing in town. Most excitingly they’re getting to run over the overpasses and through the Queensway tunnels, an experience that you would be advised against trying when the roads aren’t specially closed for you. Cool as the tunnel running is, it’s created a hilly course where it would have only naturally had quite gentle slopes.

Here comes the pain (_) by v1ctory_1s_m1ne on Flickr
Here comes the pain (>_<) by v1ctory_1s_m1ne on Flickr

I don’t understand how the race can be billed as ‘A Race Against Climate Change’, I simply don’t see how it helps in any way. Excpet to get the sponsor’s name next to the words ‘against climate change’ on lots of web pages. If they were that worried they would have insisted on the start of the race being properly accessible by public transport, the Alexander Stadium is on a couple of bus routes (that will be dirverted off the course I assume) but its nearest train station (a couple of miles away) doesn’t have trains at that time on a Sunday morning.

That said there’s plenty of fun to be had, sitting warm in the Barton Arms for example with a pint and watching tired people run past, or for the more geeky watch as Oliver Westmancott uses his iPhone to track his progress. Interested as I am in geo-location stuff, I won’t be running with my iPhone. For top geekery I would expect a runner to tweet their progress, maybe one for Dave Harte (Digital Birmingham man, and inexhaustable runner). Come on Dave, bluetooth headset, and twitterfone should be easy.

While I doubt they’ll have empoyed Jimmy Saville, Central’s website is prommising live coverage.

In related running news, entries are now open for the 2008 Pantomime Horse Grand National [pdf] (BiNS won in 2006). Due to our poor show last year, we’ll be looking for new runners — get in touch if you have legs like Shergar.

4 comments for “Run, you bastards, run

  1. 25 October 2008 at 12:48 pm

    It’s such a shame that the ‘climate change’ tag has been treated a bit indifferently. I suspect that the complexity of organising the race itself has resulted in the question “how can we get 9000 runners not to use their cars?” being given little consideration. Of all the races I’ve done in this country (tons of them) it’s only the London Marathon that actually gives it serious attention. There you have no choice but to use trains or buses as there is no provision for car parking at the start. The main thing about tomorrow though for the organisers is not buggering up the start or the finish and making sure stewards prevent angry motorists encroaching on the course. If they get that right they’ll have done a really good job all told.

    For my part I’ll do some pre and post race tweets to capture atmosphere and announce my finishing time. I’ll be the skinny bloke in a Bournville Harriers turquoisey top – please yell at me. Minor correction to the above: I would so love to run through Queensway tunnel but it’s actually just Lancaster tunnel (long enough though). The others are the flyovers/underpasses on the A34 and the short tunnel under 5 ways island.

    Good luck to all running it.

  2. 27 October 2008 at 10:13 am

    Yes I thought that climate change tag was a bit odd. I used to be quite committed to the whole saving the planet thing but these days i just thing its become a bit of an obsession in the political classes. I worry when things become convention.

    Of topic, can i just say what a great blog this is. Very enjoyable and a good read for us locals.

  3. 27 October 2008 at 10:37 am

    Thank you Mr Local, have spotted your blog recently too – reading with interest.

    I was speaking to a member of the local Friends of the Earth group on Friday, they’re really uncomfortable with the EDF-ness of the “race against climate change”. i’ll try to dig a bit more.

  4. karen
    28 October 2008 at 3:12 pm


    I ran the race and it was well organised I thought, but yes the ‘race against climate change’ bit was uncomfortable for lots of reasons. Not as uncomfortable as my aching thighs and calves, blisters and bruised toenails are now, but still uncomfortable. Everyone runs a spnsored race for their own reason not to make a slightly obscure point about climate change. Then for runners drinks why couldn’t they have used paper cups of tap water like the old days, not thousands of half-wasted plastic bottles? But mainly, EDF are the French nuclear company and they want to look green, fluffy and corporately socially responsible for when Gordon Brown lets them build the next nuclear power stations in the UK. Was it Gordon’s brother or brother in law that works for EDF?

    My partner and I ran it in white boiler suits with anti-nuclear symbols on them and can be seen on the video crossing the finishing line (a few mins into the 2 hrs15 to 2 hrs45 section), unfortunately looking more like a pair of grubby and exhausted white teletubbies than a slick environmental message to the sponsor… ah well, never mind – we enjoyed it.. or something…



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