If you read Murray's blog that he posted last night on his Manx Athletics website, he mentions that he was helping Adam Russell from 3FM compile his Parish Walk programme and that Adam caught him out with one of his questions. Michael, Vinny, Dave W and I were in 3FM's office on Saturday morning to also be interviewed by Adam. Jane Foster was leaving as we arrived and mentioned that some of the questions had been difficult. Adam wanted to interview us individually, so Dave went in first, followed by Vinny, me third and then Michael.
When it came to my turn I sat down ready for the interview and Adam asked me about how I got in to walking. I use to work with Adam's wife Louise, so he knew about my earlier days as a fat lad and posed a few questions around this topic. He then moved on and asked the question about whether I thought I could win the Parish Walk and my answer was along the lines of I would be lying if I said I didn't want to win, but that I think it is too close to call and that if conditions are right there could be quite a few quick times, to which Adam replied "that was a diplomatic response".
So, continuing in that same vein, without including myself, my top 3 predictions in reverse order are:
- Richard Spenceley. Similar to me, Richard has improved year on year over the course of last 5 years and I would expect that improvement to continue. Whilst I haven't seen Richard in training or in any races since the End to End, due to the fact he lives on the mainland, I am aware he has been continuing to work on his technique and also recorded PBs over various distances. Richard showed through his blog last year that his training and preparation was meticulous, so definitely a threat.
- Michael George. Michael is the quickest walker in the race and I know from training with him how fit he is at present and hungry he is to win on Saturday. He has covered more miles in training than ever before and his stamina can't be questioned. Michael has been troubled with bouts of sickness in previous walks and if he can keep this under control he could easily win, with a very quick time.
- Vinny Lynch. Vinny is the most committed in training of all the guys I walk with and when he misses a session there is definitely a dip in the intensity. I was glad when Vinny made up his mind to enter this year's race, as I knew I would train harder having someone like him around. Whilst he will acknowledge that there are a few quicker walkers than him, in terms stamina he has few rivals. Vinny has the knack of keeping a consistently high pace in the first half of the race and then picking up in the second half, when those around him are lagging, as I know from bitter experience. He is leaner than he has ever been and after being second for the last two years he wants to go that one step further. It is for this reason, Vinny is my tip to win.
Will be trying to get some decent rest and sleep over the next few days, so I'm fully refreshed for Saturday. I don't need much sleep and have a nasty habit of waking up around 5.30am every morning, so we'll see how that plan goes. Apparently, if you don't sleep well the night Parish you shouldn't worry too much as the previous night's sleep is more important. Friday will be my last post before the race, with some final tips for the big day.