Tag: Stories

Jubilee Street Party in Wallasey

Monday, 4th June. On the appropriately named Queensway in Wallasey a community closed the street and came together in celebration of the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. This really was a massive street party. I spoke with the organiser Reg who, while being a Royalist, told me that it didn’t matter whether you liked the Queen or not. It was simply a great excuse to bring the street together and have a great day in the sun. I can’t argue with that. There was probably a mile of bunting on display here. There were flags on every house, window, and item of clothing. The Lord Mayor was there and someone even had corgis. Actual corgis at a jubilee street party on a street called Queensway. Unreal.

Reg Nagle - Street Party Organiser

The Olympic Torch Relay in Merseyside

Friday saw the Olympic Torch Relay arrive on the Wirral. I was in two minds about seeing it. On the one hand it is simply a guy holding a flaming bit of metal. Having been bombarded by adverts with athletes holding Subway sandwiches, showing off makeup products, and generally seeing every brand known to man try and cash in I’ve become a little tired of it all. But on the other hand the Olympic Torch Relay is potentially hugely symbolic and inspirational.

For the most part torch bearers are local heroes, people who inspire us to be better than we are. They walk with a flame lit in Athens that symbolises an event that is all about striving to do better in life. People pushing themselves to break limits, records and simply be the best they can. (Not sponsored by the Army). Pictured below is Brian Powell, registered blind. He carried the torch with his daughter. Do read his story. People lined the streets to see these local heroes carry a torch of inspiration. Hundreds met the torch at Woodside Ferry Terminal and over 20,000 were there to greet it in Liverpool. 20,000 were there in Chester too at ‘The Moment When’ event I photographed earlier in the week.

If you can look past the commercialisation of it all there’s some inspiration hidden behind it. Children’s faces light up. The torch bearer’s stories are very moving. Just like the giants people will be able to tell their children about the day they saw this. I really hope that people are inspired by the games being in the UK.

Egg run portraits

Every year the Egg Run sees thousands of bikers journey from New Brighton to Clatterbridge Hospital to raise money for children’s ward. Traditionally Easter Eggs were delivered but in recent years they’ve received over 3,000 eggs so they prefer donations. In 2008 they have raised over £25,000 for the kids and the run grows year on year. This year over 12,000 bikers took part. I spoke with a few.

Mr. T. Toner had a unique bike and a great spirit. He’s from Wavertree and plans to race his Piaggio around the TT circuit.

A local man and Triumph Legend rider.

Chris is a local biker from Spittal. He’s only missed 3 Egg Run’s since the start. He rides a Hayabusa bike.

Neil, from Chester, at his first Egg Run. He rides a Harley.

Post Liverpool Marathon update

 (Pete Carr)

On 9th October 2011 I ran the Liverpool Marathon for the RNLI. It was an experience like no other. If you’ve been following my progress over the past few months you will know that it hasn’t been easy.

After my first 15 mile run I could hardly walk. I had breathing issues due to a lack of electrolytes and I threw up. Right there and then I was ready to quit. I felt that my body was at its limit and I had made a stupid arrogant decision by entering the marathon. I spoke to the doctor and she knew exactly what was wrong with my breathing. I added electrolyte based drinks to my training and carried on. The next run was so much better and I felt like I could do the marathon.

Over the next few months my long runs were tough and I pushed my body on each one. I came back thinking “That was agony and I have to do so much more!” It was just a tough long slog. Weekends became all about one thing, the long steady run. I’d carb load on Saturday and run on Sunday. My diet was marathon focused, my reading was marathon focused, and my stress levels were constantly high due to not knowing if I was doing the right thing. I had guidance from friends but every long run made me think I wasn’t doing enough of something to make it easier.

Eventually though I resigned myself to the fact that 26.2 miles is an incredibly long way and well it’s going to hurt. Once I accepted that I kept plodding on. Mile after mile. Every time I passed 13 miles my legs started to ache and then hurt. Almost every long run resulted in me throwing up after. Eventually I hit 20 miles and that was the longest I would have to run in my training. I was happy… sort of. I could run 20 so if I needed to I could walk 6 miles of the marathon and be done. I wanted to do it in under 4 hours 30 minutes but after training I wanted to do it in under 5 hours. After a while I was happy with the idea of just doing it.

9th October. Marathon day. Oddly I wasn’t massively nervous. I had a good nights sleep, nice breakfast of bacon and pancakes and felt ok. I spent 4 months training for this day. Here it was. We arrived an hour early, just like the half marathon, but found it was so much busier than the half. I was never the sporty type in school and I was thinking “If only the kids from school could see me now.” Incredibly I bumped into one, who was the sporty type at school. We had a quick chat and wished each other good luck.

After a 50 minute delay we were off. I was running a marathon. It took a while to find my pace due to a huge amount of people running at various speeds but I settled into a grove. I’d set my watch for a time of 4hrs 55 mins which meant a pace of 11 minutes 15 seconds per mile. I could handle that, and I did for a while. The course took us through Birkenhead towards Seacombe where my girlfriend, Sam, had ran from the start to meet me. That was an amazing sight. After I settled in for the long run towards New Brighton. It was a strange run. Random people I had never met before were calling my name, saying “G’wan Pete.” and cheering me on. It was incredibly uplifting. Every other minute someone would personally cheer me on. Kids, parents, old people, cliched tracksuit wearing youths, everyone. Amazing! Along the way I saw Kay and her family and Richard from Fab Collective. I ran past the New Brighton RNLI station and waved to the people I was raising money for. I felt proud to be wearing a RNLI top. Onto New Brighton prom and I ran past Mark & family and again Sam :) Next stop the Birkenhead tunnel.

2 miles underground with no-one cheering you on. Hard work. But as they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Heading towards the Liver Building exit I could hear the Batala drummers getting louder and louder. Shades back on, bright light, lots of cheering and I was back riding a high. On to Castle Street with huge crowds, people cheering my name and again I see Sam waving. Yeah! Half way through.

Upper Parliament Street. I run a bit then walk it. I want to finish so I accept there are times when I have to walk. At the top I run again happy that the hardest climb is over. Sefton Park was very very very long. It felt like I was in there for hours and it rained. I was glad to be out. By this point I was tired and walked miles 22 and 23. I wanted to run to the finish so I needed that break.

Princes Avenue, mile 24. I could feel the finish line. 2 more miles, just 20 something minutes left to run. I could run that no problem. I’ve ran for 20 minutes before now. It’s easy. I ignored the fact that I’d just ran 24 miles, picked my legs up and ran. I ran down Upper Parliament Street with people cheering and calling my name. “Go on Pete!” Mile marker 25 and I nearly burst into tears. The final mile. Onto the home straight. I can see Liverpool One, the Albert Dock and the crowds became thicker. “Nearly home now Pete!” I was so incredibly moved by the support from strangers. It really carried me home. I get to Mann Island and see Tracy & Matt cheering me on, and also a photographer I know working for the event. I turn the corner to the finish line hoping to see Sam. The crowds were so thick it was hard to see her. I see her just before the finish line. Best feeling ever.

Across the line in 5 hours and 27 minutes. Under 5 and a half hours. I was happy with that. I had just ran a marathon. I wasn’t in pain. I hadn’t thrown up. Ok so I was a little stiff and finding it tough to walk but oddly running a marathon had been easier, or at least less painful than any of my long runs during training. I was riding such a high from finishing. Amazing.

So in total I raised £1,260.00 for the RNLI. Thank you all for your support. I couldn’t have done this without your donations, your cheers and without the amazing support from my girlfriend Sam.

New Brighton RNLI Hovercraft

There aren't many RNLI stations around the UK that have hovercraft. Due to the sandbanks around Merseyside there is one stationed at New Brighton.

I’m running the Liverpool Marathon on 9th October this year. I’m raising money for the RNLI and you can donate on Just Giving. I hope to raise over £1,000.

As part of my fundraising I plan to document the people I’m hoping the help, namely the New Brighton RNLI. Over the coming weeks I’ll be profiling the team and documenting their work. On Sunday I met the crew of the hovercraft who were: James Davis, Andy Liston, Simon Clithero, and Paul Wright who commanded the hovercraft.

I’m currently on week 10 of my training. On Sunday I ran 15 miles and it hit me hard. I did a 1 mile cool down walk back home and I honestly thought I would feint. I didn’t think I’d make it home. I got in and weighed myself. I had lost half a stone in water loss. I put my legs up to reduce the lactic acid for a bit. My hands and face had pins and needles and my stomach was like someone was sitting on it. I couldn’t catch my breath at all. After about half an hour I threw up and was finally able to catch my breath. The pins and needles eventually subsided. It was a real wakeup call to what I’m trying to do. For the first time in nearly 2 years I really feel like I’m pushing my body, and it feels like it’s fighting back.

The RNLI's New Brighton hovercraft station.
The RNLI’s New Brighton hovercraft station.

 

Two members of the RNLI prep the hovercraft for a morning training run.
Two members of the RNLI prep the hovercraft for a morning training run.

 

Two members of the RNLI prep the hovercraft for a morning training run.
Two members of the RNLI prep the hovercraft for a morning training run.

 

The RNLI hovercraft is ready for launch.
The RNLI hovercraft is ready for launch.

 

It's not an easy procedure to launch the hovercraft due to wind. The crew have to guide it down onto the beach.
It’s not an easy procedure to launch the hovercraft due to wind. The crew have to guide it down onto the beach.

 

The hovercraft reaches the entry point to the beach.
The hovercraft reaches the entry point to the beach.

 

It's quite a sight seeing a hovercraft move around the beach at New Brighton. A lot of people stopped to watch.
It’s quite a sight seeing a hovercraft move around the beach at New Brighton. A lot of people stopped to watch.

 

The hovercraft is properly inflated and powers up for a spin around the beach.
The hovercraft is properly inflated and powers up for a spin around the beach.

 

I was lucky enough to be invited on board the hovercraft. It was an incredibly smooth ride.
I was lucky enough to be invited on board the hovercraft. It was an incredibly smooth ride.

 

It was a beautiful sunny morning for the RNLI crew to train with the hovercraft.
It was a beautiful sunny morning for the RNLI crew to train with the hovercraft.

 

Members of the hovercraft crew in their gear.
Members of the hovercraft crew in their gear.

 

The hovercraft heads off towards Hoylake for a training mission.
The hovercraft heads off towards Hoylake for a training mission.