Carl Walker’s Marathon training column - part one

Carl Walker
Carl Walker

I’m Dr Carl Walker and I am running the Brighton Marathon for the fantastic Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice.

In order to make as much money as possible for the hospice, the Herald have kindly agreed to host a regular column on my training, which focuses on the work of the Hospice and my running encounters around our fantastic Worthing and Adur district.

As part of this endeavour, I’ll ask some local people on each run to take photographs of me with the Sussex scenery and Chestnut Tree top as l do different routes around through our beautiful area. So, if you see a chubby man in orange coming toward you with a phone camera you’ll know what to expect. Many thanks for anything you can give to this amazing charity.

Today’s first training run was on the South Downs way, just above Steyning. My first hill run consisted of running down to the river Adur from Steyning Bostal and then up the path toward the youth hostel above Shoreham.

I thought I couldn’t possibly lose. Well, the beauty didn’t let me down. It started out foggy at the top of the Bostal, as you’ll see from my photograph kindly taken by passers-by Bob and Rose, from Lancing.

It turned into a lovely day, with stunning views of Steyning, Shoreham Harbour and Worthing. What let me down were animals, well particularly wasps and cows. I ran past a wasps’ nest that seemed to have survived the inclement weather. After a couple of their advanced guard stung my ear and hand, I was minded of the Michael Caine film ‘The Swarm’ where people are attacked by crazed bees. It’s amazing how visualising the headline ‘local man stung to death’ in the paper can put a spring in your step. In short, I legged it.

Finally, I came to the hill. The hill that leads from the river up to the youth hostel starts as a rough track, before segueing into a grass field and finally a road. It’s interesting in that it’s about the only place in North Shoreham where, on account of the steepness, runners are a bit faster than cyclists.

And, it’s the kind of hill where you really had to remind yourself of Chestnut Tree’s amazing work because, at one point, my lungs were impolitely asking me, and then screaming, that I needed to imminently reconsider this regime of training.

Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding out for a hero’ rather incongruously made its way into my MP3 player and rubbed further salt into the wound. ‘Holding out for a slowly moving bag of panting man boobs’ would have been more appropriate.

Anyway, Bonnie just about got me up the hill at which point some disinterested cows eye-balled a fellow heavy, panting mammal. It’s going to be a long four months.

So, folks, the reason I’m running and the reason that The Herald have been kind enough to let me write this blog is to raise money for Chestnut Tree House and for the children and families that they help so much. If you can, please go to the link below and give whatever you can to this fantastic organisation.