28 January 2014
James Toland, the club’s current Social Secretary and former goalkeeper, is taking part in the Manchester 10k later this year.
by Rob McPherson
If you know James you will be aware that he isn’t one for running – never mind running long distances.
With a history of knee trouble and a football career between the sticks, James has rarely had to venture outside the penalty box. But he is now prepared to go outside his comfort zone by pushing his body to the limit – and he is doing it all for charity.
James has set up a page so that people can donate towards his chosen charity – the Albert Kennedy Trust.
“My charity is one that is massively important to the LGBT youth in many cities, including Manchester” says James. “It offers support and housing to those being persecuted because of their sexuality and may have been kicked out of their family home due to being gay. Some will have suffered abuse. In today's day and age this is a travesty but still happens.”
As an ardent Manchester United fan, James is looking forward to passing Old Trafford on his way to finishing the course in his aim of under one hour. Having had a number of operations of his knees, James is taking his exercise seriously to ensure his body can take him around the course.
“The training is going well. I am trying to look after the knee so it gets me through and working on strengthening the muscles around it, so I think (hope!) it holds up fine.”
“As an ex goalkeeper my running skills were non existent and so, when I started a month ago, I could barely get to 1k but can just about stagger to 5k now. There is still a long way to go as it takes a decent effort to add each extra kilometre, and once I get to 10k at a struggle, I will need to work on my pace and stamina so I don’t look a complete mess by the time I finish on race day! I was inspired by the fact that, post retirement, I needed a focus to keep fit, and the chance to combine that with raising money was a fantastic opportunity.”
The Manchester 10k takes place on 18 May and starts on Portland Street (close to the junction with Oxford Road) and finishes on Deansgate.