Archive for May, 2007

Vicki Runs the 2007 London Marathon

Some weird bloke showed Vicki his highly polished sword and helmet
As you may have seen in our news item, Vicki Burt from our Household Insurance department recently ran (and finished) the London Marathon, raising over £9,000 for the African Revival charity in the process. Here is her account of an amazing two days.

April 22nd has now gone by but two sprained ankles later, a couple of days off work and one trip to A and E will never let me forget such an amazing achievement.

Saturday 21st April

One day to go. I was feeling the pressure, the nerves but most importantly the excitement. Julie Carter her, son Tom and I travelled to London in the early hours of the morning armed with the company credit card. GREAT…. the Ritz I thought, but Holiday Inn we got! It was a long day of tiresome travelling on trains, the underground, our feet and then finally a cab. We all did quite well not to get lost; we even managed to direct the cab driver to the hotel in his own territory…. AND he was a BLOKE!!!

Later in the day we travelled to EXCEL to register for the Marathon, get my running number to which when I received a red running number that I was to start at the Red Start (obviously) but having previously thought I was to start at the Blue Start…what a twit!

I signed the ‘Impossible is Nothing’ wall with the words ‘Vicki Burt going for GOLD’ However I later realised that this was far from the truth. It was amazing to see everyone the day before race day going through the same emotions that I was. From that point on…26.2 miles was sinking in!

We arrived at the hotel tired, exhausted and ready for some grub. A 3 course meal was on the menu, but a couple of glasses of wine was for Julie! Anyway after stuffing our faces it was time to get some well-deserved sleep, as it was an early start to the morning.

Sunday 22nd April

Race Day. 5.30am. AAARRRRGGGHHH!!! Thousands of thoughts were playing havoc on my mind. The day was finally here. After having a big breakfast we boarded the bus to take us to the ‘correct start’.

9.45am. Start Time. As we all crowded together the camera from high above studied us and we all cheered and waved in such excitement. We then began the gruelling 26.2 miles

The first couple of miles I was feeling fantastic, on top form and in great shape. The atmosphere was amazing and unmissable, something that will never be forgotten by any of the 35,000 runners taking part.

Then the heat started to get the better of me (sunburn to prove). However at mile 11 I saw Julie and some of my department who came to support me (thank you so much by the way). They were all cheering and shouting for me, which really lifted my spirits and willed me to continue running until mile 13 (halfway!)

Miles 14, 15 and 16 started to takes it toll me on, I ran half of each mile then needed to walk the other half to the next mile. I struggled to keep going and whilst I received a massage to relieve me ever so aching legs I thought about everyone who sponsored me, my department, all the supporters, the crowd cheering me on and African Revival. I soon got up and proceeded even through all my pain!

Miles 17 to 19 was pure pain but my only thought now was finishing the London Marathon. The crowd were the best, offering sweets for a sugar rush, various types of fruits and sandwiches, which all helped as I was starving by this point. Everyone was cheering my name (printed on my t-shirt) I felt famous!

From mile 20 to 25 I was forced to walk having now got blisters and swollen feet! It was in these last unforgettable miles that I befriended a rhino, a clown and a big hand! The last 800 metres had arrived…. they felt never ending but well worth it! I began sprinting to the finish line where I saw the familiar faces of my department once again, this time they were crazy with excitement knowing that just around the corner I would cross that important line.

Vickis Results

10K 1:09:25 Overall Position 34,242
20K 2:27:48 Gender Position 10,061
Half way 2:34:36 Age Group (18-19yrs) 48
30K 4:15:38
(Started to take its toll on me!)
40K 6:06:42
Finish Time 6:27:55

I am so grateful for being given the opportunity to take part in such an amazing event. For Adrian Flux and their much given support. I am forever thankful to those who took the time and effort to be there on the day for me, and everyone who believed in me! You all really helped me, without you guys it would have been very difficult to continue. This is such a huge achievement and the memories will last forever! I highly recommend this to all!

Breakfast of Champions - Vicki enjoys a pint of Strongbow as she shows off her Jim'll Fix It badge

Worthless Promises from Barclays and Churchill?

That’s what the Guardian says, anyway. (scroll down to 2nd story)

You’ve probably seen these home insurance ads all over the TV.* Barclays home insurance promises to beat your quote – if they can’t they’ll drop their price by up to £100 and give you £50. Of course it’s not nearly as simple as that. Reading the full terms and conditions you begin to get an idea of how complicated Barclays have made it. Rather than knocking the money of the premium, the promotion works on a “cashback” style basis, so you have to pay them the full amount first – which may well be more than your renewal – and then you have to remember to send them proof of your previous renewal offer. Finally you have to wait “up to 28 days” for your cheque to come back, go to the bank, pay it in and wait a further 3 days for it to clear. In the meantime Barclays have your money which they can earn interest on in the meantime. And of course, at each stage some people will forget to do one of the necessary steps and Barclays just keep the money.

But look what happens the second year. In their marketing spiel, Barclays say, “Next year if you remain claim free, we’ll promise to beat our first year quote.” But remember, the first year quote may actually have been more expensive than you were paying in the first place. And as the example in the Guardian shows, there’s a good possibility that Barclays won’t come near your existing premium anyway. Indeed, if the journalist had been dumb enough to go ahead with Barclays, he’d have been down £238 overall, assuming that Barclays only dropped their renewal price by £10 or so.

Then there’s the “Challenge Churchill” campaign. In respect of their claim the journalist found that while they did drop the price to match a competitor, they did not match the level of cover for his car insurance.

So the moral of the story is: beware of slick marketing campaigns. Check that no bizarre or onerous conditions are buried in small print, always check your level of cover, and if, when you phone up you find the deal isn’t quite as good as you thought it was, perhaps you should be very wary of proceeding.

Bollards again

The infamous bollards of Manchester have featured here before. And more than once too!

Here are some of the local scallies treating the traffic calming with the usual amount of respect.

Car in a Half Pipe

From the file marked ads we wish we got here, check out this one for the somewhat foolishly named Nissan Qashqai.