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The Manchester 10K challenge: Team Graham vs. Team Simon

The Bupa Great Manchester Run is just one month away and runners across the region are in their final stages of training for the big day on May 18th.

Our own versions of Cram and Ovett, Graham Allchurch and Simon Belfield, are leading two teams into battle on the streets of Manchester. Both #teamGraham and #teamSimon will be running for various charities and good causes, hoping to raise as much money as possible. Here are links to the JustGiving pages for team 1 and team 2. Get donating!

We asked both guys a few questions about their preparations for the 10K and their reasons for taking part.

Simon Belfield

Why I'm running the 10k

I’m running the 10k for several reasons. For a long time I’ve never really pushed myself to achieve something such as running a 10K, and with one coming up on my doorstep and I-COM looking to get involved, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to prove to myself that I could achieve something very worthwhile and for a good cause. I will be running the marathon in aid of Headway Brain Injury Charity, which coincides with another reason why I wanted to run.

Headway Brain Injury Charity is a charity very close to my heart after my auntie sadly passed away a couple of years ago due to an unforeseen brain aneurysm. It showed me just how important these charities are in caring for people who have sustained brain injuries and have been lucky enough to survive, so running the marathon is a way to push myself whilst also supporting a great cause and remembering my auntie.


At the moment my training has consisted of a fairly rigid plan that I have been trying to follow as closely as possible! As someone who would prefer to sit and vegetate it’s been quite the struggle, but I feel like I’m getting there. The next steps before the race are to begin to up the length of my routes to start hitting that 10k on a regular basis before the big day, and trying to stay away from bacon butties and McDonalds!

Graham Allchurch

Why I'm running the 10k

Well, the main reason is that I wanted to raise money for CLIC Sargent, a wonderful charity that helps children and young people who have cancer, as well as their families. I don't like to be too explicit but my 18 month-year-old cousin sadly died after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, and the charity was there to help her and her family cope as much as possible during that awful situation. I've done some fundraising for them in the past, but nothing for ages, so I thought now's a great time to do it and a great cause for which to do it!

I've also been looking for a reason to get properly fit for a while. I play football but that's just a bit of sprinting and kicking, isn't it. As I've only ever been reasonably good at running short distances, I thought I’d test myself on a bigger stage and get fitter in the process. Plus everyone I know who has done it in the past has said what a great experience it is.


Look at my video - what do you think?!

In all seriousness, it's difficult. I've never tried/wanted to run four times a week, but that's what I've had to do for the last three weeks or so. I've learnt some interesting things about my body and mind though, such as:

The point at which I *genuinely* believe my calves are going to snap,
If I pretend I'm the guitarist playing on Edge of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks it distracts me for long enough to forget that I'm on the verge of a heart attack.

The whole I-COM team are getting behind the guys and girls taking part in this year’s 10K and we’ll be cheering them on (doughnuts in hand) as they pass the I-COM offices on Portland Street.

Here’s a bit of inspiration for our runners, we salute you!