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Things To Do Before I Turn 50

  (also known as my "TA-DA" list as opposed to a "to do" list) It was my 49th birthday a few days ago and this got me thinking. Any birthday that ends with a zero always feels a bit like milestone or a landmark and, when I hit the big "five-o" in 2022, I don't want huge parties or celebrations but I would like to have ticked a few things off my low-effort bucket list.   I see these things as a way to improve my mental and physical health, plus a few slightly off-the-wall experiences that would make for great memories.  Start running again and include the following: Lead a C25K group again  Participate in parkrun EVERY week where possible  < ongoing (now parkrun Run Director too) Visit local landmarks whilst running  Train for a long race - building up from 5k > 10k > 10 miles > half marathon, with a couple of longer trail races mixed in  Lose a lot bit of weight Post more on Instagram or give the blog a bit of a reboot < ongoing Look at

The Grand National

Did you know that The Grand National sees forty horses line up in a bid to become the next winner of what is one of the UK’s most prestigious horse races? Taking place every April, the National is an event prominent in British culture with horses jumping over 30 fences.  You'll recognise some of the names of those jumps; Becher's Brook, the Canal Turn, and The Chair. 

One day, I'm going to attend the Grand Opening Day at Aintree so I can get dressed up and wear a big hat. I understand it's an atmosphere that has to be experienced in person because of the live music and entertainment alongside the actual racing. In the meantime, I've been enjoying these weird and wonderful facts


  • The first race was held in 1839 but started two hours late. The winning horse was called "Lottery";
  • The fastest winning time is 8 minutes 47 seconds, run by "Mr Frisk" in 1990 (the slowest ever time was the previously mentioned first race in a time of 14 minutes, 53 seconds);
  • The course is run at Aintree and consists of two laps of 16 fences for a distance of 4 miles 514 yards (just under seven kilometres). This is the longest of any National Hunt race in Britain;
  • Red Rum is the most successful horse. He won in 1973, 1974 and 1977;
  • Charlotte Brew was the first female jockey and she raced in 1977. Since then, 19 female jockeys have participated in Grand Nationals;
  • The 1993 race was declared void after a catalogue of disasters that started with a jockey becoming entangled in the starting tape, however many jockeys didn't realise that a false start had been called and carried on racing;
  • In 2011, the then owner of Blackpool Tower, Trevor Hemmings, owned the winning horse "Ballagriggs". This was his second win as he also owned the 2005 winner "Hedgehunter".

If you want to plan ahead for the next Grand National - or any horse racing betting you HAVE to let me know your method. Is it the same as mine or do you actually study form? Can you give me any tips? 

It's a family tradition here to "pick a horse" for the Grand National but we very much select based on name and colour rather than performance (something that I'm guilty of in real life too!).  I've actually won money in the past using this method and I had grand plans for spending my fortune however I think the maximum amount was £12. The thrill of the win was worth more than that, for sure.  There's usually a sweepstake at work too where we print off race-cards, rules and betting slips to make it a little bit more fun.  We always have half the entry fee as a "prize" and the other half going to charity. 

Have you ever attended a live horse racing event?  Is it something you'd recommend? Let me know in the comments about your experiences and don't forget those all important tips *taps nose*




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Image provided by horseracingphoto.co.uk and is licensed under a