UK Run 9 : Leek

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Date : 13th July, 2019

Number of runners (total to date) : 3 (6261)

Time : 1h 9’ 34”

Run map and details :

My grandmother died of cancer. My uncle Mark died of cancer (at the tragically early age of 49). My mother died of cancer.

Cancer is our family enemy.

So, when we all met up in Leek for a family reunion, it seemed appropriate for us to do one of Run the World’s 250 x 10 km runs. (I’m fundraising for Cancer Research ; 250 runs is equivalent to running 2 500 000 metres – which is a metre for every one of the UK’s two and a half million cancer sufferers. )

Caroline, Mark’s daughter, Charis, my sister, Matthew, my brother, and I set off from the Peak Weavers hotel.

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Charis walked but the rest of us ran north up King St, turned right onto Broad Street and almost immediately came to the Leek Oatcake Shop.

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For anyone unfamiliar with this local delicacy, oatcakes are like savoury pancakes and, contrary to some misguided opinion, are best eaten with poached eggs.

Back to the run. Matt’s one request wrt the route was that we should run somewhere flat. So Caroline immediately led us to the local park – which must be just about the hilliest park I’ve ever been to outside of the Himalayas. She then took us back through the famous Market Square

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to Leek Cemetery where our grandparents are buried.

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A cemetery which also happens to feature the steepest climb in the whole of the Peak District…

After 5 km Caroline peeled off, satisfied that her work was done.

Matt and I caught our breath and reviewed our options for the 2nd 5 km. We could have run to our grandparents home on Cheddleton Heath road. But that was a little too far.

We could also have run towards Stoke, home of the mighty Stoke City FC. The club where my cousin Nick had a youth trial and, in so doing, became something of a hero to his football mad cousin.

Now, in recent years it has become fashionable to disparage Stoke’s long ball tactics and their dedication to the concept of football as a contact sport. However, Nick’s trial was in the 1970s when Stoke won the 1972 League Cup with a line-up of Gordon Banks ; Jackie Marsh ; Mike Pejic ; Mike Bernard ; Dennis Smith ; Alan Bloor ; Terry Conroy ; Jimmy Greenhoff ; John Ritchie ; Peter Dobing ; and George Eastham. (I thought John Mahoney played but Wikipedia tells me otherwise.)

At the time they were, I think it’s fair to say, “By far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.”

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Enough reminiscing. Back, again, to the run.

We eventually decided to run to what we think of as the Leek Show grounds (aka Birchall Playing Fields). I’ve never previously seen it without thousands of people, multitudes of sheep being chased around by sheep dogs, fairground attractions, home baked goods, random bits of farm machinery, competitively oversized vegetables – and my grandparents handing out prizes. (For the avoidance of doubt, those are not our grandparents in the photo below.)

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Turns out that there’s also a running track there so Matt and I ran round that a few times in the setting sun

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before heading back to the hotel and the reunion dinner with Dad, Sylvia

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Auntie Diana, Brian,

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Nick, Amanda, Caroline, Charis and Matt.

A wonderful run and a wonderful weekend. I hope to see as many of you as possible in London on 4th July, 2020 for the UK, and final, leg of Run the World!

For Granny, Mark and Mum. And Grampa and Stevie. And all our other lost but not forgotten family members.

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If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research :

Please like / follow Run the World on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter because it would be great to stay in touch and because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!



About Run the World

I'm running 10 km in every country in the world - a total of 205 countries - by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. I'm doing the Run the World challenge to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and to raise money for cancer research following the death of my mother from cancer. If you'd like to donate to Cancer Research - - then I know they'd be very grateful.
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