Birds Eye View - Nice country park: Shame about the toilets

PUBLISHED: 11:48 25 March 2010 | UPDATED: 13:14 02 June 2010

AS I write the column this week I am feeling fairly chilled out as I have just spent a few days in Nottingham with my middle son Aaron and his new wife Louise. I went for Aaron s birthday and treated him to a wine tasting event, which was fun. The follow

AS I write the column this week I am feeling fairly chilled out as I have just spent a few days in Nottingham with my middle son Aaron and his new wife Louise.

I went for Aaron's birthday and treated him to a wine tasting event, which was fun. The following day we went to Sherwood Forest and the combination of the spring sunshine, snowdrops and spending time with family left me feeling very relaxed.

I came home on Saturday, knowing the following day I had to run for Sport Relief so no indulgences in the food and drinks department.

My Sport Relief event was at Milton Country Park and I had decided to run three miles, although it has to be said that I was hoping that on the day I would managed four, or even five.

There was a one-mile course so on the day runners or walkers could decide how many times they completed the circuit. I don't know who the organisers were, but they were friendly and helpful and there were lots of families and children taking part, which created a relaxed atmosphere.

I set off and after about five minutes realised I was overdressed. As I have mentioned before I do feel the cold so I always over compensate and wear lots of layers. I did manage to continue running and take my jacket off, but I still had a t-shirt and sweatshirt on.

The first two miles were tough, but by the third it started to feel a bit easier but I was just too hot and decided to finish at three miles in a time of 37 minutes (take off two minutes for dodging pushchairs) which is okay.

Although my progress is slow I do have to keep reminding myself that a year ago I couldn't run three miles without stopping several times to rest, but I still can't imagine having the strength or stamina or mental will power to run more than an occasional 10k.

I keep going because I am enjoying the challenge, the fresh air and however sad it sounds there is something very rewarding about crossing that finishing line and being handed a shiny medal by someone who will usually smile and say 'well done' and all the training and slog suddenly feels very worthwhile.

I do have the utmost respect for marathon runners and people like Sarah Fairhurst who I hear is running 16-mile training runs in preparation for the London Marathon at the end of next month.

Running is about physical and mental strength and Sarah seems to have gallons of both. Sarah, is running to raise money for CLIC Sargent and if you want to sponsor her or donate to the charity there are details below.

I had never been to Milton Country Park and will definitely go back again, but I do have one complaint. I needed to use the ladies toilet before the race and I have to say that I have rarely come across such filthy public toilets.

I went to the V Festival a couple of years ago and in my opinion the toilets there were cleaner, although it has to be said there wasn't the same powerful mixture of smells at Milton.

Every single toilet was blocked and I was cursing myself that I hadn't brought any disinfecting hand gel as I really didn't want to touch anything. It was disgusting and whoever is responsible for the upkeep of those toilets should be made to use them for a week or two.


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