Running with a spring in his stride.

Spanking new Stablemate Val “the Gov’nor” Govender smashed an incredible 19’04” off his lifetime best at the Manchester Marathon with an excellent 2:56:59—at 54 years of age, no less. Get in, Govender! 

The twoscore-and-12-years-young medical rep just kept running (like his cinematic icon Forrest Gump) until he passed the post 953rd/14,184 overall and 40th/930 M50. 

Awaiting his fate at the back of his wave, Govender gazed at the masses ahead. A cool breeze washed over him and goosebumps rose as he stood in anticipation … Bang! … And they were off.

Passing enemy territory.

The Stable News’ man of letters, Ally “the Chin” Smith, had just sent “Gorgeous” Karl Gloster on his way when he saw the Gov’nor charging home: 

AS: How’s it goin’, Gov’? A super run today, bud. How’d you like it? 

VG: Started easy and worked my way into the race, catching up with the sub-3 hour pacer around mile twelve. 

At 20, I picked up the pace, leaving the pacer’s group behind. However, a bad cramp in the upper calf (under the knee on the left side, at mile 23) really hampered my progress. 

Picked it up again at mile 25 and managed a nice kick at the end.

Done and dusted.

Overall, the race was really enjoyable, and I felt I managed it well. Not impressed with the road surface, though, and I would be hard-pressed to do this race again. 

AS: Yeah, Manchester City Council should get their finger out and sort out their potholes. If Rob Calhoun ran this race, he’d have plummeted to his death, ha-ha. 

Anyway, glad you got round in one piece. Sub-3-ing and a near-as-makes-no-difference PB of 20 minutes. 

Anything else planned? 

GV: Only my club’s five mile race on June 24. Nothing else booked as I begin the journey with Coach Stazza. 

AS: Nice one, Gov’. I’ll away and chase up more Stablemates and see you after. 

GV: Sounds good. Cheers, Ally. 

The News tracked down Coach Stazza at the Circus School of Ireland, up in Cork. As he balanced on a 10-foot tall unicycle, juggling bowling pins, he said: “Oh hey, yep, I’ve got this thing. Ooo .. OK … Instead of a cycling proficiency course, Jellybaby thought it would be a good idea for me to get my balance on one wheel instead of two! So here we are … Plus, she is always saying I’m a clown, hahaha!  

Oof … Nearly lost it there … Erm, yeah, Val the Gov’nor … What a superb run, building slowly from the start and gaining as he went and blasting below three hours … Superb … I’m sure my mate Lenny McLean won’t mind the pinching of the nickname … Or will he? I better ‘drop him a line’ to smooth things over. Well done, Gov’; I’m off to convene a séance with the Guv’nor, ha-ha.”