At the beginning of the year I set out 14 challenges I wanted to achieve during 2014. This was a fairly obvious one given the focus of attention on Glasgow in hosting the 20th Commonwealth Games.
This week has been pretty hectic but we’re taking a day off from watching the Games today. On Tuesday my son and I took the shuttle bus up to Cathkin Braes, a wooded parkland to the south of Glasgow with great views looking right over the city. We got prime track-side positions at ‘Double Dare’ for the ladies mountain bike event, where riders negotiate a series of tight hairpin bends down a steep hill. While the 10,000-strong crowd was fairly well dispersed around the 5.5km track, there were several ticketed zones including Double Dare which were the best places to watch the action. The atmosphere was great – lots of cheering, cowbells and encouragement for the riders during their six laps of the track.
We walked up the hill and into the woods after lunch for the mens’ race. The wooded section was fast and allowed us to get right up the track to watch the action !
We did our best to dodge the showers and managed to walk around half of the track; we still didn’t see the start/finish line. With all the walking and the train journey home we were exhausted by the time we got back.
Yesterday I went with my son to watch the boxing quarter finals at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. We’d never been to see boxing before – this was a spur-of-the-moment decision when I unexpectedly found myself at the front of the online ticket queue early one morning – and were excited to see that the spectators were seated really close around the ring. I guess the venue seated around 500 people with everyone having a great view.
The atmosphere was electric. The crowd were warmed up with several ‘Weegie Waves’ before the boxing got underway (think ‘Mexican Waves’ but tartan instead of sombreros).
There were huge cheers for all the home nation boxers, one of the first being Scotland’s Joe Ham who was narrowly beaten by England’s Qais Ashfaq. Stephen Lavelle was over the moon with his victory over India’s Amritpreet Singh (and he showed it !) while Nicola Adams, the Olympic gold medallist, took the loudest cheer after she comprehensively defeated De Silva from Sri Lanka. Special mention has to go to Benson Apochi from Nigeria who did a backflip in the ring, a little victory dance and then donned a Celtic shirt on the way out !
All in all, this was a great couple of days. We’re back to Glasgow on Friday evening for the athletics finals at Hampden Stadium, one of the final events before the Games’ closing ceremony. I’ll do one further post soon with my reflections on Glasgow’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games.
I’m using my 14 for 2014 to help raise funds for the Naomi House Children’s Hospice in Hampshire. Naomi House cared for little Chiara, the young daughter of a friend and ex-work colleague who died of an incurable brain tumour on the 21st January. This case study tells the moving story of how the life of this energetic three year-old was tragically taken.
Naomi House clearly made a real difference to the last few months of Chiara’s life, and that of her family, and so this is why I want to use my 14 for 2014 to raise awareness and additional funds for the great work that they do. If you have enjoyed reading my blog and feel inspired in any way please consider giving a donation to this extremely worthwhile charity.