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29 October 2014
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Your weekend: Brass Monkey!
Start of the 2005 Brass Monkey
Start of the 2005 Brass Monkey

What do you do with your weekend? Got an interesting tale to tell us, then get in touch!

Nick spent an incredibly cold Sunday in January taking part in the 2005 Brass Monkey half-marathon in York.


Your weekend: Portobello Market

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Knavesmire Harriers

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Weekends are the time we get to do what we choose, to relax, to forget about work and study. But what do we actually do?

We want you to tell us about your weekends. Perhaps you do the same thing every weekend? Or maybe, like Nick, you've recently found yourself doing something completely different! Tell us about it!

"So how did I come to (voluntarily) take part in a half-marathon on one of the coldest days of the year?

Running is something I'm very new to. I've sort of dabbled in jogging in the past - normally when my penchant for eating cakes made such things necessary.

But running for the fun of it? That's only something I've discovered in the past few months. If any of you reading this are already writing me off as one of those fitness freaks, then you'd be wrong.

If there is such a thing as a right shape for running, then you can guarantee that I'm definitely not it!! Short legs, a tendency to pile on weight and a metal plate in my right ankle... The chances of me taking to running were pretty slim from the beginning...

Nick at the finish line
Nick finishes - all in one piece!

However, as the fetching pic shows (I've discovered it's impossible to look good whilst running!), taken to it I have. I'll never win any races, but the buzz of taking part in the Brass Monkey has shown me that there's so much more to it than that.

The weather for the Brass Monkey meant it lived up to its name!* Piercingly cold with frosty roads necessitated gloves and a stiff upper lip! The race is limited to 1200 runners, and all of these places were filled within 14 days of the entries opening in October 2004!

Lined up to start at York Knavesmire fluorescent yellow was the colour of the day, proving that the runners around me are those same people you see pounding the streets in the dark.

With a bang we're off! Only the level of crowding means that for the next half-minute or so we walk forwards, and finally start running as the faster runners snake away towards Bishopthorpe.

Half-marathon is the longest I've run, so I'm a bit worried about starting off with a flourish and ending in a pile. So I do what I do when I walk through York city centre on a busy day... I pick someone who's running the way I think I want to and tail them!

Chatting to other runners for me is a definite no-no, I need my breath to keep my body working. But others who are in better shape than me happily chat away. There's a high number of runners who belong to clubs, but there's also a fair few like me, running in plain gear with a supermarket top on!

I won't bore you with those long and lonely miles which made up the majority of the race. Thankfully, at various points along the route the friendly faces of the marshalls shout encouragement. The race is organised by the Knavesmire Harriers, so it's nice to know that the people handing you water and telling you to mind the speed bump have all been there and done it!

With the end in sight it's time to give it that final push, which is about the time I realise I've nothing left to give! Finally I'm through the finish, and after a couple of minutes of shuddering recovery, I collect my Brass Monkey sweater and down some orange squash.



Do you have a weekend tale you want to share? Perhaps you have a Saturday ritual, or a Sunday habit you're willing to come clean with! Get in contact by emailing

*The race's name, Brass Monkey, comes from the saying: "It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey"


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