It always seems to be at this time of year when the sponsorship emails start flying around at work. They are more prolific this year than usual, perhaps as we’re all being inspired by the forthcoming Olympics.
One of my colleagues has just completed the London marathon in under her four-hour target, with which she is obviously delighted. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I texted to congratulate her on her finish time which I’d seen on the marathon’s live timings website, and she replied to ask what her time was as they’d not even confirmed it to her yet!
She is also about to get married, and I’m still not sure how she’s managed to fit in marathon training, wedding planning, work and any sort of remaining life over the last few months.
My husband’s best man returned from Everest a few days ago. He has been in training for a year along with a number of colleagues who went to Base Camp together, in support of two men who climbed to the top. I think they need to rename Base Camp, as having looked into it I understand that it is in fact over half way up that huge mountain, at around 5,500 metres. Referring to it as Base Camp rather undersells that particular achievement in my view. They have raised over £500,000 for charity too.
Another somewhat madcap idea is my firm’s Olympic torch bike relay between its UK offices. Members of each office will be cycling to their nearest neighbour. Manchester has the leg to Sheffield, which I really don’t fancy having been to university there and crossed the Pennines in struggling cars on many occasions.
The organiser has attempted reassurance by emailing to say that he’ll plot the flattest route possible, but I don’t believe that there in fact is one. In addition, it snows en route to Sheffield, or there is a pea souper fog, every time I go there. No thanks.
The only attraction of the Manchester-Sheffield office cycle for me would be the chance to shatter or confirm a real-life urban myth on arrival in the city of steel. I was informed at a meeting in Sheffield last year by a local solicitor that Kennedys’ Sheffield office has an amazing feature – a helter-skelter style slide. He seemed entirely genuine in his enthusiastic report and I therefore enquired on my return to Manchester. My colleagues looked at me with a mixture of ridicule and pity as they announced that I’d obviously been taken in by this delightful but ridiculous story. I wouldn’t let it go though, and we eventually had it confirmed by our Sheffield-based finance team that it is true. However, the lady in question said that she had never partaken. I can’t understand that at all, as I think it would be brilliant to finish an otherwise ordinary day at the office by hurtling down a slide in a most unladylike fashion to land in a giggling heap in reception. I’m sure it would be good for the blood pressure too, if you’d had a particularly challenging day. But its appeal is not quite enough to convince me into requiring my fairly ancient bike to do anything more stressful than take me for a local picnic or pub lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
I am though committed to my almost-annual Manchester 10k which takes place in a few weeks now. This will be the sixth time I have run it, and I have again organised an office team to enter the business challenge event, so 12 of us are taking part. The firm has kindly paid our entry fees on the basis that we will each raise at least an equivalent sum for the firm’s charity this year, which is War Child.
I enjoy arranging the team entry for various reasons, the main one being that it gives me an opportunity to talk to various people around the office with whom my path might not otherwise have crossed. In addition it’s a great way to be nosey, because as organiser I am able to see bare details about team members including their birthdates. I have thus discovered that I am the second oldest entrant, which gives me a perfect excuse for not sprinting round. I was shocked to see that our youngest team member was born in 1989 – I initially wondered whether she was in fact old enough to work. Now I’m really showing my age!
I experienced a race of a different kind last week when I received instructions at lunchtime on Monday on a new case in which there was a day-long detailed assessment hearing tabled for 10am on Thursday. It turned out that the insured client had failed to notify the case to their professional indemnity insurers until this very much eleventh hour. I had to digest the information which followed at a rate of knots. With some mental sprinting and plenty of teamwork involving the client and costs draftsmen, we managed to box it off before close of play on Wednesday. Roll on the next challenge!