....Well that is how the saying goes when one has a punishing time, and I have heard a number of times spectators utter "What sin have you committed?" or "You must be paying penance...." . My reply is "I am carrying your burden of disregard to your environment. If you care about it - stop spending on useless things. Stop consuming resources like there is no tomorrow. Forests are being wiped out because of our lo"  Deathly silence follows after......

I guess many challenges can appear tormentous, but then there is another saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". Twist that thought for a minute and one challenge can seem absurd to one and doable to another. Our minds combined with social etiquettes can limit and obstruct us from growing, when really what can seem extreme is just a matter of a mind shift.

I find myself entering a marathon because one organiser out of 9 accepted my absurd request to take a tyre with me.  Now in comes the realisation that in order to attend the event there are a number of challenges I will face:

1. America is big and foolishly assumed that there would be a direct flight from one State to another. However flying in the States is like taking a bus or train in the UK. I discover there is no direct flight to the place, instead I will have to do a stop over, using an airline (United) that I know has had so many hickups in the past that I might not arrive there at all. To ensure I have a good level of stress, I will need to catch the last flight of the night from my stop over station.

2. If all goes well I will arrive in West Virginia at 23:33 and if my baggage comes out on time, I will be able to pick up my rental car before mid-night or otherwise find myself trying to hitch a ride as the car rental will be closed by midnight. (yes I have attempted to see if I can hook up with anyone else - but who wants to give a ride to a gal with a tyre?)

3. If all is still going well and I get my car rental, then I should be able to arrive at least by 2am at Williamson, assuming I don't get lost and the GPS does not fail me.

4. Unfortunately I've not been able to find any accomodation as I've been told a number of times "There is a big event happening over the weekend!" Instead will now see if I can just pull up into the venue's car park (apparently is closed for the event) and sleep there for a 5am registration. This would be useful as I could register and then get one more hour's kip before the race starts at 7am.

5. I figure if no-one talks to me and the signage is adequate - all I have to do is expand physical energy. I should be okay. Breakfast? Well I will have enough fat to burn from having eaten the last couple of weeks. Or otherwise if I remember, I will have shopped beforehand and bought some bread/cake to devour before the event.

6. After the event I will attempt to have a short rest before driving back to the airport to take a series of flights out of the US so that I can work the next day in the UK. So apologies to my readers. I will be writing my next entry on the 19th June due to work and probably trying to recover from the dreaded jet lag.

I feel uncertainty but will continue to think Country Roads......

Now Bring it on! Sing it out Johno....
Ready to start at 08:07
Organisation: Good
Volunteers: Were excellent and very supportive
Finisher's Goodies Bag: Mug + technical t-shirt + medal - excellent value
Water/ Food: 2 main water points. Gels given after each lap.
Facilities: Many public toilets sited around the park
Runners: Became supporters and were always encouraging....although not sure about the marriage proposal! (Runner to TG: I'd propose to marry you if I weren't already married!)

This is the first running of the Richmond Park Marathon by a group of guys using it as a platform to raise funds for the Tadworth's Children's charity. It is also Landy's first marathon (see Landy's profile in About Tyres)and TG's twentieth marathon with tyre; one fifth of the way to 100.

Route Description: There is a 5.2 mile lap to start with with a steep hill (Sawyer's Hill) that begins from a path that divides 2 lakes. This is followed with 3 laps that contain 2 more steep upwards hills. The first hill could be slightly bad depending on the whether you took a left path up Heartbreak Hill or a right path (The Hill of Doom - has a steep end). The second hill (Petersham Hill) is horrible but bearable. Other than that the route follows gravel and grassy paths and is either downhill or flat.

Expect to see deer, swans and ducks, as well as humans keeping fit - biking, running or walking.

TG & Chamey accompanied by Peter in the first lap
Due to the thought of hills TG decided to take a friend Chamey - who made his first appearance riding on TG's harness in the London marathon. TG reckoned 4 legs more would help her up the hills or help her carry the hefty Landy.

Going up hills are always hard, however these ones were surprisingly bearable compared to Where Raven's Dare. Where Raven's Dare was a marathon that saw most runners walking up steep mountains of hills and some runners walking down the mountains for fear of falling. When one mountain/hill was finished it was pretty much immediately followed with another. The hills in this marathon were quite literally "a walk in the park" - Yes TG walked up every hill! - and were followed by flatish terrain.

After the first lap, TG began to feel hungry and wolfed down 2 mars bars and a gel. Before the race, TG had walked out the door without eating breakfast. Mornings aren't really her thing! Note to TG - prepare a breakfast bag the night before.

On the second lap, TG met up with some friendly faces. Their encouraging cheers would only temporarily distract TG from her hunger. However TG seemed to draw on the happy energy to help her complete her second lap.

On the third lap, TG began to regret bringing Landy along. Landy being bigger, meant he had more rubber. More rubber meant more friction and more weight up the hills. Really TG's anguish was due to her needing fuel and thus the thought of Sharon's (TG2) promise, days earlier, to save TG a flapjack kept TG moving round the third lap.

Finally up Petersham Hill a mini-fetchpoint was waiting. Once through the metal kissing gate, a mini "Fetchie" handed TG jelly babies. But it was Sharon's flapjack that brought the biggest smile to TG and kept her going for the next 3 miles.

Soon TG would be doing her final lap, but not before passing the finishing flag. She watched runners veer off into a tunnel of supporters and head towards the Finish but she still had to complete her fourth and final lap!

Hungry again, TG could only dream of another of Sharon's flapjack on her final lap. Knowing there was a high probability that mini-Fetchpoint would have headed home,  TG sucked on 2 more gels to keep her going until the end. TG, Chamey and Landy completed the event at 15:55 that equates to a total time of 7hrs 48 mins; 10 minutes better than London which is a flatter course!
At the end, everyone wanted to play with Landy. He flirted with all - daring them to take him for a run.
....And he found himself 3 more young apprentices, who will one day become Tyre Girls themselves!

The next marathon will see TG arriving at 2am for a 5am registration and then 7am start. We (the tyres) are pulling straws to see who will go with her on her next adventure to check out the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys.
I did do this marathon and took a friend with me to help me climb the hillsI Will have time to write this up by the end of Sunday 22nd May :-)  In the mean time I have updated the tyres' profiles ;-)

Be back soon.

TG xxx

Rec, Landy and Red with the latest TyreGirl - Mabel
Above photos, you can see Landy pretending he's a skirt. Can only think he might have a little bit of Scottish steel in him. TG might very well be wearing him up the grisly grassy Petersham Hill. The Hill of Doom will be a piece of cake compared to this hill. (there are 3 big bad hills on this route)

Landy is a 15 kg tyre, as big as a small truck tyre. Unfortunately (well really fortunately) the paths are not wide enough to accommodate a larger truck tyre and TG has to continue with her alter ego after the marathon, going to work immediately after pretending nothing has happened!!

Am to work in the States for a week in June. So I thought to myself this would be a great opportunity to participate in a US marathon. Got onto a website that lists all the US marathons and emailed many of them with something like:

"Dear Organiser,

I would like to particpate in your marathon and would like to take my tire along with me......<details of tyre given and my experience with dragging tyres and reasons for doing so>.

Would you be open to this and provide me with the opportunity to do so?"

.....yes I ensured I used the US spelling of tyre.

I did expect some rejections. After all there are UK events from the LDWA that do not like the idea of a tyre being dragged. Those that have said "No" have cited that I would either damage farmers' crops, cause land erosion, or get in the way of the runners and thus health and safety reasons. For all the US events that I have contacted, I have been rejected or event organisers have refused to respond to my emails. Those that have replied have given similar replies plus path ways being too narrow, the trail being too loose.

My tyres typically weigh 10kg, and slide on the ground, having less force impact on the ground compared to an average human-being weighing 60kg running along and "smacking the ground" with 2 times their body weight. My tyres are 60cm wide. I am 56 cm wide.........and I must accept that some worlds are on a very narrow path and some worlds are more embracing.

My mind drifts back to New York marathon, 2007. Had spectators yelling at me to take off the tyre and run the marathon properly. On the US runnersworld site, there were a good number of "runners" who were not only against the tyre, but also against the rhino, the lighthouse man.......and in fact any runner that was running for a cause in an outfit that would make the event harder for themselves. Quote from one forumer:  "That's a wasted place that a 'serious' runner could have had." ....and all other forumers on the thread backed him.

The London marathon in comparison is way more relaxed. Spectators are fantastic and encouraging. There are so many ciostumed characters who bring a smile to many and it really is one big festival with millions being raised. The UK events both big and small that have accepted me, have had fantastic organisers who have had a good sense of humour. They have all made me feel very welcomed. Singapore has also been very welcoming and will always be fantastic.

I am lucky that I have 2 countries who accept and tolerate my madness to challenge myself.

Perhaps one day I might find a US event who would be amenable to the Tyregirl! ;-)

An hour after publishing this post and having given up (after all I have written to about 10 events).............one organiser has responded with a Yes!..... Hatfield and McCoy WOO HOO!