Monday, April 23, 2007

The run up to the marathon

Well, so much happened last week that I couldn't keep up with it all. There were interviews with the Press, a Press Photo Call at the Thistle Hotel by Tower Bridge in London, a live interview on BBC Radio London & a filmed interview with BBC South East Today.

On friday morning, 4 London Marathoners who each hoped to get a Guinness World Record on Sunday met in the Press Area of the FLM suite at the Thistle Hotel, Tower Bridge, London. Captain Sally Orange (or maybe Fizzy Orange is a better name as she is a Physiotherapist in the army) intends to be the fastest marathoner dressed as a superhero (Supergirl in her case), Gary Speakman wants to complete the fastest marathon dressed in full fireman's uniform (this included his fireman's boots, very heavy jacket and carrying a full tank of oxygen) and Angus Macfadyen wants to complete the fastest marathon on crutches (he had a terrible accident last year which left one of his legs in plaster for many months so he is raising money for the victims of landmines).

Here we all are dressed in our costumes to face the Press photographers. We've been joined by Ian Sharman who wants to complete the fastest marathon dressed as Elvis and Lesley Isle who already holds the record for the oldest heart pacemaker (25 years).

Lesley proudly holding her certificate from the GWR people.

Here I am showing my knitting to Amarilis Espanoza, the Communications Officer from the GWR team. She was laughing loudly as we'd just had to run towards the cameras while they clicked away and it was the first time she'd actually seen me knitting whilst I ran!

Sally Gunnell, Matt Dawson and Dee Caffari pose for the cameras. It made me chuckle when one of the photographers shouted out to them "pretend you know eachother!"

There are a few more photos on the Press photo website

After the photo shoot we had a few hours to spare so I went to the marathon EXPO in the Excel centre to collect my running number and timing chip. Thankfully it wasn't too busy there so I had a little look round at the various stands and then headed off for a bite to eat.

Next it was back to the Thistle Hotel to meet up with Sally Orange so we could go over to the BBC studios on Marylebone High Street for a live radio interview with Bob Mills (standing in for Danny Baker).

Mike had gone there already and was waiting for us in the reception area. It took ages to get there as the traffic was really bad. Bob had already been talking about "marathon widows" and had people phoning in about their experiences of supporting their running spouses. As we were about to go in he was talking about a lady who had phoned in to talk about supporting her husband in the New York marathon. She said she thought she was going to NY for a nice holiday but spent all her time dashing from one vantage point to another to get a good view of her husband, pass him his special drinks and cheer him on. Bob said that the non-running spouses are the real heros and as he said that Mike was nodding and giving him the 'thumbs up' sign. Well, that served him right because he got ushered, rather reluctantly, into the studio to join in the interview. We had such a laugh. Bob was very funny and had me in stitches all the time. The 20 minute slot flew by as we all joined in the light-hearted banter. Both Sally and I were given time to talk about what we were doing and our charities and it was a very worthwhile exercise. I was thrilled that Mike got to take part in it as well as he's been such a fantastic support throughout all of this.

This article appeared on the BBC website and here's a link to the article on BBC South East Today BBC South East Today The film spot went out on the Friday morning and lunchtime news but was cut down for the evening session. One of our neighbours spotted it and very kindly recorded it in its entirety for us so we saw me and my knitting in all our glory! Another neighbour phoned to say that he was sitting having his brekkie and couldn't believe it when I suddenly appeared on-screen running along our lane!

The lady from the BBC who came to interview and film me was Susana Mendonca and she came armed with a gigantic tripod, camera and microphones. She took so many shots from different angles that I couldn't possibly put them all on here so I've selected a few from the photos Mike took. She filmed me sitting knitting outside at a table (which is where she interviewed me too).

Then again inside - I think the caption should be "oh my, that's a big furry thing!" She spent ages filming me, from every angle, putting on my running shoes and doing up the laces.

In the middle of it all I got a call from Garinda from BBC Southern Counties Radio. Malcolm Wicks, the Science Minister, had announced that he thought people with Alzheimer's should be 'tagged' and she wanted my reaction to it (I've been interviewed by them several times before so she thought I could give my gut reaction). I hadn't heard about it so I had to go off and find out what he'd said which you can read about here make some notes and be ready to do a live interview at 5pm. Whilst I was doing the interview, Susana busied herself by filming some knitwear I'd produced and a couple of photos of my mum (I really wanted people to see her because it makes everything more real.

Then it was back outside to film me running backwards and forwards along the lane. By this time she'd been with us for about 3 hours and the cats were peeping out of the windows at us because it was their teatime!

After that we went into the field again and I ran backwards and forwards again many, many times. This time I was being watched by the horses who came galloping over because it was their teatime too. I think Red's saying "Look at me, I'm gorgeous, now have you got food in that camera case?"

Next Susana wanted to do her own 'piece to camera' where she summarised what I'm hoping to achieve. She wanted me to run around in a very small circle behind her whilst knitting. It is very hard to run properly in a tight circle and I felt very silly and Mike and I were getting a bit giggly by now because it was quite surreal - it was like a sketch from Monty Python! Finally, she filmed me doing some stretches, again from every different angle.

There were articles in The Argus and the Battle Observer (with a photo on the front cover!) on friday. Both these articles lead to more phone calls and some more donations from local people. All good stuff and great publicity for the Alzheimer's Research Trust


natalie said...

Superb, well done.
What will you knit next year?

gilraen said...

Good for you, we were cheering you on, in spirit :)

Aknita said...

Congratulations and very well done! Alzheimer's is wreaking havoc within my family at present, and highlighting the work of the Alzheimer's Research Trust in such a high profile way is brilliant! Well done again!