When ‘Sports Personality of The Year’ airs on the BBC tonight I will know it is also time to stop pretending that Christmas is a long way off.
As someone who loves arm chair athletics, I am more than a little excited to see Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson Thompson – DAS and KJT to us sporty types – are literally in the running for the big award tonight. I am going to put off the Christmas decorations for just one more day and settle down with a small sherry, a large mince pie and a cheer of admiration to celebrate another year of sport.
It occurs to me that from the warmth of my cosy sofa, I can also run the inaugural Mama J ‘Good Sport of the Year’ awards. I can start small – I won’t pull in Gary Lineker or Clare Balding to present just yet – it could take me time to get this ceremony established and to get some sponsors. See what you think.
My nominations for this year are:
Best running buddies: I nominate my two die-hard running pals who manage to juggle the world of teaching (both geographers but I forgive them because this often comes in handy on a long run) and still squeeze in a silly o’clock pre-school run. They sometimes go all Top Trumps and manage to co-ordinate diaries to keep us training at the weekend also, Not only have they run me through divorce and bereavement, they also have an annoying habit of sharing persuasive information about new races we can all compete in and transport we can all share (I can’t even use our carbon footprint as a get out clause -I told you they were geographers). They are the reason why I have been arm-twisted into running Newport Marathon in 2020 even though I went on record after London to say I would never marathon again.
Resilience Award: I nominate not only my British Military Fit crew of fellow 6 am nutters, but our leader, Lee Scott, who has kept Brit Fit Bristol running through the dark Brexit months with the promise of some military stretchers, some exercise bands and a lot of rain and mud. Through tough love and blanket banning of the term ‘tapering’ he has kept us turning up twice a week and helped us embrace the burpee as our weapon of choice in the fight against the muffin top.
Sports Fuel Manufacturer: We all nominate James of James’ Chocolates because, as well as coming to BMF twice a week (see above), he is mad enough to have found a penchant for winning ultra mountain marathons (they are a thing, apparently) and keeps testing out new flavours of chocolate to fuel this new habit. I know that if he sees his name in this blog he will be sure to honour his promise to provide bespoke Christmas chocs at the Christmas Eve BMF session (that’s a thing too, but only if you are a ‘try hard’). Note to James: we know you found cheesy mashed potato the answer to your mid marathon slump on Snowdon recently, but we really like that more traditional salty caramel chunky bar we happily guinea pigged for you in the Summer #justsaying.
Best Yoga Teacher/Mentor: I nominate Ann-See Yeoh for introducing me to MyKindofYoga. It is actually Ann-See’s kind of yoga – and my goodness is she good at it – but she is far too modest to take any credit, so just keeps tirelessly birthing new yoga teachers and teaching us to take her calmness off our yoga mats and into our every day lives. Three years of yoga teaching and I am finding myself free from running injury (I’ve probably just jinxed this by typing it) and bouncing back more quickly after any running event I stupidly enter.
The Getting Stuck In Award: this has to go to any of our crew at the Sue Ryder Winter Ball last Friday who foolishly downed a little too much wobbly bobbly juice and gamely agreed to support the charity next October by running the London Parks Half Marathon in memory of my sister – just in case your memories of the evening are hazy FD, FS and FM (Favourite Daughter, Son and Man), I believe we have the Hawk Eye Technology to prove that you allowed that lovely Sue Ryder lady to measure you up for your running vests before dragging her onto the dance floor and grooving to ‘We are Family’. I know Sis would be very chuffed for she found running just as tough as you are all about to…
Best Running Club Award: should go to Clevedon Athletics Club for ensuring I am still a member 2 years on from joining and have often been seen in public wearing my yellow club vest although it makes me look sickly and jaundiced. CAC members are cheeky, committed and relentless and are the reason why I will be standing in the freezing cold, modelling a high viz jacket as I marshall the fun runners at our Boxing Day Run. (NB a great training event for anyone considering a Half Marathon in 2020 #SueRydercrew, or anyone needing to run off a chocolate orange or two).
Best Support Team: has to go to my family, friends and FM who just tirelessly encourage me out of the door to get on with running knowing that it lets me Forrest Gump my way through life’s little obstacles. Running often allows me to believe that I am moving forward even though I may just be running laps. If I hadn’t run 10 miles in freezing rain this morning, for example, I probably wouldn’t have seen the most amazing double rainbow arched against an iron grey sky, reminding me that this year has been doubly blessed as well as bitterly challenging.
Let’s hope that Dina and KJT are rewarded tonight. I wish they could share the big prize – now that would be sporting. In Mama J’s inaugural little award ceremony, I am finding it difficult to choose a winner and I haven’t really got the voting system sorted in time for this year. I think we will just have to accept that we are all winners and so instead I raise my sherry glass to Sis who we all miss from our support team. I’ll let Sis know when I’m next out running; she’s bound to be out there painting rainbows.