Tag Archives: Portsmouth Marathon

Happy New Life

I had a moment just now when I brushed past a parallel me from a previous life.

Our village primary school grounds had been badly flooded, and the local media had turned out to report the story.

As I walked past in my woolly hat and muddy boots, with two even muddier dogs, I said a cheery hello to former colleagues, thinking in times gone by I would have been with them, the other side of the fence, interviewing the local councillor and rushing back to the office to edit the piece for the lunchtime news.

As I walked on up the hill, a reporter from the local BBC radio station I used to work for drove past. At the same time one of my neighbours was walking down the hill to help with the clean up. He called out: “Thanks for the book Jo,” my turtle story, I’d given his two boys for Christmas.

My past and present writing worlds meeting on the same page, within the same paragraph.

And I walked on without a trace of regret for what I have given up, to become who I am.

Logging in to my computer there was a message from a school asking if I would read my turtle story with them later this month, photos of me dressed as a Christmas parcel running in the recent Portsmouth Marathon, and queries to sort about community events I organise and the charity work I support.

In emails I sign myself as: Writer, runner, fundraiser.

It’s taken a while to feel that description fully fits, but yep, that’s who I am, that is my happy new life.

Happy New Year in whatever life you are living.

A final piece of news, Runner’s World are going to do a piece about my running and how it helps me cope with my OCD. Here’s that picture from Portsmouth, because, yes I am a bit mad as well…

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How to make maximum impact – wear a box over your head!

Have you heard the one about……

……the cardboard box running a marathon?

All boxed up ready for the off!

All boxed up ready for the off!

I think I heard every possible gag there was when I took part in the Portsmouth Marathon yesterday in festive fancy dress.

Having run as a Christmas tree last year, passing lots of elves and santas, I thought I’d try to be a bit different again this year. Hence when a large parcel arrived through the post a couple of weeks ago, my first thought was – ideal running costume!

And so I lined up at the start in a large box covered in Christmas wrapping paper and gold ribbon.

The friendly, amusing puns started immediately: “You’ve got your costume all wrapped up.” “Don’t get boxed in will you!” And, from groups as they overtook: “Let’s play pass the parcel.”

A spectator called out: “You should have gone first class,” to much laughter from those around. And at the halfway turn, one of the marshals commanded: “Make way for a special delivery.”

The box itself worked remarkably well as a costume apart from one or two slight design faults. I expected a buffeting by the wind, but didn’t realise before setting off that I couldn’t actually see my feet, which led to me falling over on an uneven stretch at mile 17.

I was like an overturned beetle, all flailing limbs. Other runners rushed to my aid. It took three of them to get me up.

A rather boring stretch of road was livened up by group of children who chanted: “Present! Present! Present!” Several times drivers tooted and waved, and a passing bus driver hooted his horn.

Battered and bruised, but this box made it.
Battered and bruised, but this box made it.


There were lots of encouraging shouts of: “Go Parcel! Go Box! Go Present! Awesome costume!”

And from the guys quite a few expressions of: “I’d like to unwrap you.” Hmmm……some more appealing, than others!

One of the oddest, but sweetest comments was at about 500 yards from the finish line, when a lady called out: “Well Done Parcel. I’m so proud of you!”

And the moral of this story is – this Christmas forget expensive fashion, designer labels, costly cosmetics.

You can still have a laugh, enjoy yourself, make other people smile, be friendly and…..yes, you can still be chatted up – even if you go around with a box over your head!

This was the 3rd Portsmouth Marathon I’ve taken part in. It’s an terrific event, very well organised, friendly helpful marshals, fantastic atmosphere – a real fun way to kick start Christmas. And I’m not joking!