Mick 'n' Phil - Members of the Month April 2007
Fetch says: Hi Mick. Thanks for taking time out of your busy running calendar to answer some questions for the members of Fetcheveryone, who've voted you guys our Members of the Month for April 2007.
Mick says: Bless you all. Not just for choosing us, but for giving us our lives back. I feel rather proud and tearful!
Fetch: [hands the boys a hankie]
Just John asks: How many races have you done now?
Mick says: We’ve done 22 full marathons with a PB of 4:03 set at Abingdon in 2006, and 132 Halfs, with a PB of 1:43, set at Tewkesbury in 2003.
LorraineS: which marathon that you haven't done yet, would you most like to do?
Mick says: To be truthful... the dream run would be FLM, going off behind the wheelchairs, regardless of weather, heat or anything, to smash 4 hours. The crowd behind us would just drive me on... but it’s not the end of the world.
Buzzard's Sis asks: My 3 children love to run with me and William thinks it is great fun when I am running with his chair. He would really enjoy a big event and I am thinking of an easy, flat 5K with a great atmosphere to take them all too and run (very slowly). I guess I have several questions but: i) could you recommend some easy events to start with that have a great atmosphere. ii) Do you have any training advice? I find it really hard work to push him for long (and always think of you and how amazing you are when I try)
Mick says: We just don't do short stuff, so i can only suggest you surf the net for races that have fun runs, or summer evening series like Silverstone 10k, which is 2 laps. As for training, I was lucky - I had 25 or so sporadic years running and racing before taking Phillip. I get very little running in outside of actual races. When running, I have drinks and nibbles on the back of the chair. The chair itself has a seatbelt for Phillip, mountain bike levers attached to chair handles and I wear York Weight lifting gloves, along with fingerless woollen gloves underneath ... it works a treat. The biggest thing is being positive and keeping mentally strong
Mikuro and Hoaxster ask: Mick - Do you ever sneakily hop on the back of the chair when going down hills, like supermarket trolley dodgems?
Mick says: Sorry NO, I never hop on going down hill. It's hard enough and sometimes dangerous enough as it is, and I often have to switch to Lightening Fast Reflexes! Going down hill can be actually far more painful than going up.
Clumsula asks: Do you have time to do anything else, apart from run?
Mick says: Oh yes… there's plenty to do in life – but I wish we could run more. Like a Half and a couple of 10k’s every week.
Fat Dave says: Do you have a justgiving page or something?
Mick says: We are considering having some sort of online donation page for anyone who might want to help a little to keep us on the road, as it can be expensive.
Maclennane: Would you consider removing the cow-catcher from the front of the chair, just for the FLM?
Mick says: No friend, it all stays as it is. I am annoyed and offended that the organisers of FLM have not allowed us to compete – but we’ll just carry on doing our thing.
Balham Bouncer asks: Is Phil ever going to let Mick win a race? I have noticed that Phil crosses the line first EVERY time. How much do you train, and when you do, how often is alone and how often is with Phil? If you agreed to run in a mankini, do you think Dave Bedford would let you into the London Marathon? What's been your absolute FAVOURITE race or race experience?
Mick says: He's a little terror is Phil, isn't he? He never lets me win a race, he always get's there first. One time (can’t remember which race) I did plan it that i would just swoop to the line before him, but I nearly went arse over head doing it!! But seriously, so long as Phil’s happy, I really don’t care. I train very little, and mainly on my own – just don’t have time otherwise, as my sick wife also needs a lot of time. My favourite type of race has to be gruelling and hilly as hell. Try the Great Langdale Half. If you don't like hills…STAY AWAY. The HILLS are HILLS, MEN are MEN & SHEEP are SHEEP. There's no room for the boys or part timers… they simply will not survive. Our favourite race atmosphere has to be the Reading Half.
Fetch says: I couldn’t possibly publish what Mick said about the possibility of him wearing a Mankini!
Buzzards Sis asks: What is your favourite post race or tough training session treat?
Mick says: Our treats are salads, bananas, yogurts and caramel wafer bars.
Fetch says: I can also vouch for the fact that the boys are keen on beef paste sandwiches and a nice slice of cake!
LorraineS asks: do you ever run with your MP3 players on?
Mick says: No, I don't ever wear anything that could impair my hearing. That's not saying I don't think any of you should not... that's your choice
Gobi asks: being a legend, how do you cope with all your fans?
Mick says: I love our fans, they make me feel real good after years nursing our son. I just try and make them feel good and human as well, and try to get them to see we are all one regardless.
Fetch says: Jangles and Plodding Hippo both asked some unusual questions about Micks choice of underwear, and how it smelt. I’d just like to clarify that I have absolutely no idea what any of that is about – but I’m quite happy to remain ignorant. Here’s Mick’s response:
Mick says: My knickers and socks smell real foul of sweat and Vaseline BUT, they cushion me just so beautifully. i just wear ordinary pants and socks, which ever i find i feel most comfy in. It's such a laugh about this it really is. It DOES NOT bother me, or offend me at all. Over the years on my own, i'd suffered so bad with blisters, and sore crutch bleeding.. it was unbearable. NO MORE THOUGH. LOL ROFLMAO until I PMP. That Hippo is just being plain damned funny, sitting there laughing her silly arse off.
Balham Bouncer asks: Have you spoken to Dick and Rick Hoyt? They have done a number of the major marathons in the USA, and are mega celebs. Check out: http://www.teamhoyt.com/ They have been accepted as a great part of Boston and New York marathons. An interesting comparison...
Mick says: No, I’ve heard about them, but that's all. They are leaps and bounds better and ahead of us… but we are happy. And besides i 'm not keen on swimming anyway!!
LorraineS asks: does Phil need a new chair every 500 miles?
Mick says: No Phillip’s wheelchairs are pretty good...This Titanium one is tough
Siamese Pete asks: What happened at Wokingham this year? I saw you at the start and waited patiently for you guys to hurtle past me, but it didn't happen - felt really pleased with myself until I found out you didn't run. I consoled myself with the thought that I almost ran in a race with a couple of legends!
Mick says: We had to pull out of Wokingham after the first mile loop – I was just too ill with gastric flu. But we cheered and watched best we could - after all, all of you are our lives and our inspiration. The following week, we clocked 4.52 for 5 laps of Draycote Water.
Clumsula asks: Do you have to work on your upper body in training, must take some strength getting both of you moving
Mick says: No, I’m reasonably strong. I wouldn’t win world's strongest man though LOL. I just keep pumping away when running. I occasionally work out on punch bag, and martial art shadow pushing and kicking. I just know that all this is make or break - it's that simple it's do it or don't.
Yazoo asks: You guys have been, and still are, an inspiration to thousands of people up and down the country. Who inspires you to keep going?
Mick says: Seeing Phillip happy is the most important thing – it’s what drives me on; but equally importantly, all of you.
Fetch says: We all know that Mick ‘n’ Phil are not allowed to enter FLM, but GordonG and Trumpton Riots also asked the lads if they’d encountered problems with other races.
Mick says: I have been refused entry to several road races.. even though we ended up just following the pack and staying away from finish line. Several 10k’s won’t allow us, because the organisers think the course is too hilly. I just love the way they think they know me, and what I can do. I think they must look at me and think “skinny little man” – never judge a book by the cover, because one day it just might flatten you! But life has to go on, and we do plenty of races, so it’s disappointing, but not the end of the world.
Trumpton Riots also asks: What is your fave distance? Most important question - are you going to sneak your trainers into your case to get a couple of cheeky runs in when you go on your cruise?
Mick says: Oh yes... I'll use my new clean fresh smelling trainers for running on track on ship! My favourite distance is Half marathon, or 15 milers. The distance gives me time to think, time to race, time to sweat, time to give it your all and give it hell.
Lucky the cat asks: Have you ever had a crash whilst running? It must get a bit tricky going down steep hills. And if so, did the police get involved?
Mick says: Yes, we had to ditch the chair on the Great Langdale Half in Cumbria. We skidded down hill - it was either ditch or hit a car. Also, at the Worksop Half, I looked back up a stretch of road to see this glorious view of hundreds of runners coming behind. What did I do? Lost the chair, Phillip hit the hedge, and I fell on my arse in the ditch. We spent the next three miles laughing so much, I forgot what we were doing there in the first place. But… nothing needing police involvement – as a matter of fact, in nearly all the races we’ve run, the police have been so kind.
Jock Itch asks: Ok Mick, So it must be real difficult looking after Phil and I think you have everyone’s total support and admiration here. What keeps you motivated in difficult circumstances mate?
Mick says: Well, that's easy. The pure LOVE of what we do, and cherish doing, whatever the weather conditions. The pure LOVE and cherish in our hearts we have for each and every one of you FELLOW runners, regardless of your ability. For if it were not for all of you we couldn’t achieve this. It's all of you that motivate me - you all inspire me to LIVE again, LET alone run. I have never fully recovered from my son's illness. But just seeing you all at races gives me hope and keeps us going. I’d like to give a special mention to Plodding Hippo and Gobi, two of our longest-running friends - I've never forgotten them and never will. There are so many of you, some I know now and remember, and some i still can't think who's who, but BLESS you all!
Fetch says: And finally, Topcorner and Buzzard’s sis were interested to find out where the “Easy, Easy, Easy” chant came from...
Mick says: Running is so enjoyable, relaxing, mentally perfectly relaxing ... even quite funny at times. We were going along, giving it absolute hell, when some crowds cheered us on, so off the top of my head, I shouted it out. These days, they chant back – it’s just stuck, wherever we go. It's real fun, makes you forget any pain. Of course it’s not always easy – even the best of us get bad days, where we can put NOTHING together, so, you just treat it as a training run. But on a real good day, you can glide along knocking off the miles, just so majestically, you feel FREE, like you’re flying, and nothing can stop you. You just let rip, forget the pain and go for it.
Fetch says: That just about wraps it up. Sorry to anyone who's question got missed out – but I’m sure Mick will be delighted to speak to you if you can catch up with him. Thanks boys, and well done on winning this months title!
Mick says: [well nothing actually, they’re off enjoying their cruise. Take it easy, easy, easy, lads].