Monday, 30 June 2008

What did you make of that Alan?

This year's Pennine Challenge was not just a tale of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in extremely difficult conditions all for a local good cause and against all the odds. What I was honoured to be part of was so much more than that. You just had to be part of it to appreciate the amazing journey that this merry band of runners and cyclists made over 2 days.

I make no apologies for sounding sensational and over the top. Absolutely no way! For what I witnessed over 2 days deserves this kind of banter.

While we're on, let's chuck a few more superlatives in there and so deservedly get away with it. Let's say, for instance, if Alan Hansen were to give his opinions about the gruelling challenge on Match of The Day he would throw about words such as "Courage", "Heart", "Power", "Pace", "Resilience", "Strength" and "Dedication". It would be at this point that Alan Shearer would quip at "How the lads never gave in" and "deserved every accolade".

That wily old Scot, Hansen, would retort by saying how well organised we were at the back, how good our engine was in midfield and how lethal we were up front. That would just about sum up the 2008 Pennine Challenge Team of Michael Dunn, Ian Glasgow, Jim Patterson,  Steven Moore, Jonathan Dixon, Mark Cass, Carlton Fletcher and yours truly, Mark Allison.

Like any good team, we dug in when we had to! And when we dug in, we did it together as one unit.

For the most part, we never underestimated the opposition. For you underestimate this particular route in the North Pennines at your absolute peril. Sure enough, we had our low points. We had our injuries and setbacks. The team that was ultimately put out there to get a result didn't resemble the one in the lead up to the big weekend. For one reason or another the team chopped and changed.
But the team just went out there, played to a game plan and got the required result. We played a blinder really!

Of course, I should mention that every good team needs good support. And boy did we have good support. They were there just when we needed them, almost every step of the way. They fetched, carried, cheered, fed, watered, encouraged and provided for our every need. The support team were our ultimate reassurance. We knew that in difficult times they were just around the corner. (albeit that the corner was sometimes at the top of a steep hill!). We knew that we would be able to go out there and perform at our highest levels, safe in the knowledge that they would back us all the way, no questions asked! Ladies and Gentlemen, I pay tribute to the roadside supporters - Mandy Baker, Katy Allison and the legend that is John Brettell. Although, as legendary as John is, he can't work a camera all that well! Which is why the shots came out in black and white! And you thought we were just being artistic!!

Tune in soon for the remainder of the Pennine Challenge 2008 review!