News has just come through from Roiter’s Sports Correspondent, Lilly-Ann Thomson, the famous woman Australian fast bowler, that first time marathoner, Gerry Falla, is competing in Guernsey. This will send shivers down the spines of the elite field, as Gerry’s training distances and times have impressed a growing band of international runners.
Lilly-Ann reports :
“ Gerry comes from Guernsey, a small sleepy island, on the right hand side of the Atlantic. Before starting running, some five months ago, Gerry was a member of CLAWS, the local Cigar, Lager and Wine Society, a closet group of weary bankers and financiers. At one of the Society’s meetings in January, Gerry met a ‘personal trainer‘ from a fishing village just north of Aberdeen, who happened to be at the meeting, recruiting for his own society, ASA – Alive at Seventy and After. At the end of the meeting and although in a comatose state, Gerry made the pledge to change his decadent ways, but as his fellow members have said, he has paid the price. His CLAWS membership has lapsed, his blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels have all dropped dramatically. CLAWS president, whose real name cannot be mentioned for legal reasons, but is known affectionately within the society as Plumbob, for obvious visual reasons, said to me “Gerry has changed out of all recognition. He told me the other day he had just been for a short run of ten miles – ten miles – I couldn’t even walk ten yards. He must have lost a stone and a half. His wife was telling me she thinks they have a king size bed now and Gerry has had to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes !! That ASA society has got a lot to answer for – they’ve even changed his diet. He now eats fruit and vegetables, pasta and fish. I’ll tell you what – if he wants to be a member of CLAWS again, he’ll definitely have to change his ways”.
After I left Plumbob, a man who obviously enjoys his food, cigars and drink, I thought I’d better track down this personal trainer. I found him running the coast roads. I grabbed a bike and caught up with him. He told me – “I joined ASA about thirty years ago, when I was forty, with a waist-band to match – I was about sixteen stone then. They convinced me I wouldn’t last long so I signed up for a life of fitness, running, sensible eating, well-being and free of stress. Since then I’ve managed to get about sixty people to join our society. Gerry was the perfect recruit and boy has he done good. We’ve run at least four times a week together for some time now. We’ve done the long runs, the hills, intervals, fartlek and tempo runs - we did twenty miles together last Sunday with two weeks to go before the Guernsey Waterfront Marathon at the end of August. We’ll run together and cross the line together – no ifs, no buts. What happens after is up to Gerry, health and fitness is up to the individual, but I’m pretty certain Gerry won’t be going back to his old ways. For me it’s a life style of being fit, sensible eating and drinking – and I enjoy all three. Did you hear about Plumbob by the way – dropped down dead from a heart attack, only forty seven. Must go now, angels are about to cry on my tongue, a pint of Guinness is calling”.
With that, he ran off into the distance – I couldn’t keep up with him. Mind you, since my cricket days, I’ve put on a few stone. Luckily I got his telephone number ! “