Shrewsbury School

"Why I'm running the Shrewsbury Half-Marathon" by Mark Yale (S 1976-81)

Thursday 9 May 2013

This year's inaugural Shrewsbury Marathon and Half-Marathon on June 23rd will see a team of over 50 donning a Shrewsbury School vest, including staff, pupils, parents and Old Salopians.  Amongst their number will be Mark Yale, who will be flying all the way over from New York to compete in the event alongside his son Alex (S LVI).  We are grateful to him for agreeing to be the first contributor to a series of short articles from members of the Shrewsbury team that we will be featuring on the website in the build-up to the event.

Mark Yale

Mark is himself an Old Salopian (S 1976-81), and whilst an occasional runner with the Hunt during his time here, it was as an oarsman that Mark distinguished himself. As stroke of the first VIII that won the Special Race for Schools in both 1980 and 1981 (Shrewsbury did not race the Princess Elizabeth Cup those years due to A levels) and member of the Great Britain team at the World Junior Championships in those same two years, Mark experienced sport at a very high level as a Salopian. As evidenced in the construction of The Yale Boathouse, Mark's keen interest in the sport and the School remains, and we are delighted that he will be joining the School's team for the Half-Marathon.

Better be ready for it...! What is “it” I hear you ask. Surely not the Shrewsbury Marathon?  Well, actually not exactly, although I do recommend some training.  “It” is the benign scepticism, mild disapproval and questioning of sanity that every registered runner of the Shrewsbury Marathon and Half-Marathon on 23rd June 2013 is sure to experience from spouses, relations, friends and passers-by in the coming weeks up to the great day itself. With this in mind I thought I might provide some ammunition in the way of thoughts to stay these Jobs' comforters, and simultaneously hold off misgivings during those training runs on a cloudy morning.

Why would anyone in their right mind run either 13.1 or 26.2 miles through the highways and byways of Shrewsbury on a Sunday in June?  The answer is because they can. In doing so every runner, supporter, well wisher and organiser is participating in something immensely positive.  I have run NY City Marathon seven times and Boston once, and the reason each time is the same. Rain or shine, because I want to be one of those people who love to continue to prove something to themselves, to raise money for charity and do good in the community. Marathons have widely been described as “Everyman’s Everest” and I reckon this is true.

Think about this expression of freedom and goodwill, played out time after time in the major cities and now country towns in the free world. Small wonder then that those who oppose freedom and goodwill, who have let their minds be overthrown by hate and bigotry should try to destroy and undermine such an event. That bile and religious fanaticism should boil over onto the streets of Boston last month, shows how much those who really think about how expressions of freedom should be crushed, are drawn to such events as these.

So... I run and will continue to run until I can run no more. My recent trail race was the North Face Endurance Challenge last weekend at Bear Mountain NY (just south of West Point) – Alex Yale (S LVI) will join the throng in June.  We were training together along the banks of the Arno in Florence during the Easter Holidays and he has been training with the Hunt this term along the Shropshire Way, only this week traversing the Long Mynd to Church Stretton.

Why not join us?  It's not too late to register; you might just learn something about yourself, and do some good as well.

Mark Yale

Shrewsbury School Marathon Team members May 2013

Putting their best foot forward... a few members of the School's Shrewsbury Marathon Team and supporters

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