There’ll be no PB this time, but I’ll love the atmosphere

Rick will be lining up on Sunday for the Great South Run
Rick will be lining up on Sunday for the Great South Run
England manager Gareth Southgate

WORLD CUP COLUMN: Thirty six years on, when WILL we get it right?

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This weekend will see me doing my sixth Great South Run. Every year I have got slower and I expect this time to be no different!

It seems a long time ago when I first took part, back in 2007. I crossed the line back then in 1 hour 31 minutes and really must have been going some to do that time.

Come Sunday and aided by a brisk easterly wind on the seafront, I may well actually get to the finish line.

I remember the last few hundred yards, getting quicker and almost sprinting over the finish line.

On reflection, I’d really paced the run well.

By 2011, my time was up to 1 hour 50 and no doubt I was a few stone heavier too.

Would I ever be able to return to those glory days?

I’d lost two-and-a-half stone by June this year and my running was coming along very well. I was up to a regular 10km.

Then the summer of disaster. Chicken pox in adulthood is, I can confirm, very nasty.

I couldn’t run for two months. Even slight exercise made me feel ill.

Then came the injuries. I slipped holding my nine-month-old daughter, breaking my little toe and jarring my shoulder.

Then I trapped a big toe in my pyjama trousers, tripping up and painfully falling on my right knee.

I also managed to crick my neck, giving me whiplash that took a few trips to the physiotherapist to sort out.

So as you can see, I’m a bit of a disaster area.

Last week I felt I had no chance of getting fit enough in time.

But this week I feel more confident. A nine-mile run convinced me I have it in my legs and now I’m preparing myself for the big day.

I’ve got cod liver oil and glucosamine tablets for my joints, Deep Heat for my muscles and liquid gels for energy.

Today I’m hobbling about with sore knees and calves.

But I feel that come Sunday and aided by a brisk easterly wind on the seafront, I may well actually get to the finish line.

One thing I do know is I won’t be setting a personal best, but I will be enjoying the day and the atmosphere this incredible race brings.


The so-called ‘racism row’ that seems to be simmering under in this year’s Strictly is just a little ridiculous.

The first contestant went as no-one outside of London even knew who he was.

EastEnders actress Tameka Empson went the following week because she proved to be as annoying as her character in real life.

Last weekend BBC presenter Naga Munchetty departed. Could it possibly have been because she wasn’t that good?

Yes, Ed Balls is rubbish. But don’t we enjoy watching him look dafter than fellow Norwich fan Delia Smith doing the half-time entertainment!

I do hope Judge Rinder doesn’t go this weekend, otherwise the accusations will be of homophobia.


The Beer & Buses event on the Isle of Wight last weekend was a soaraway success.

More than 70 vintage buses delivered people to 63 pubs on 11 routes.

For me and my friend though, it wasn’t plain sailing. Halfway through my driving duties on Saturday, the bus accelerator jammed open whilst climbing out of Ventnor with a full load.

I safely unloaded my passengers at the next village and sped back to base with the engine revving wildly.

The next day, my friend’s old Provincial single-decker bus failed to start. It was outside my folks’ house on a residential street, blocking a bus route.

But salvation arrived in the shape of a large hammer to the starter motor. The moral? Don’t buy an old bus