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By 4th April 2017Uncategorised

2015.1.Coal race sequence 1

Lets cut to the chase. Listen this is not quite what you probably think!

What are you carrying and eating this coming easter bank holiday weekend?

I believe I am about as religious as the most average person. Yet I only discovered recently that the whole thing about having easter eggs, represents the celebration of Jesus leaving his tomb, or be it showing an empty tomb. No there is much more… I seem to be getting more sentimental, like for example what Christmas really means, for me to start really taking a non commercial interest and by the way most of school assemblies went in one ear… I am not going to go on about the marketing and corporations pouring us to a near chocolate death to heaven since 1911 today. However it is important I feel to know why we may be eating these things and perhaps even have a sense of purpose for what things may represent, even in our modern day times.

The United Kingdom is such a diverse, exciting and albeit a unique collective of countries, hence I guess why tourism keeps us afloat. And like most of you know, us Brits go to and take part in some strange, crazy, fun and sometimes let’s say ‘special’ events. Because of what easter really means and with chinese whispers through the centuries hundreds of festivals and celebratory events have popped up. Namely like the one with yours truly strutting his stuff in those blinding, sexy, locomotive green shorts. The event is the World Coal Carrying Championships (WCCC) in the very welcoming and super friendly village of Gawthorpe, Ossett, south Yorkshire. Held every year on easter Monday seemingly since Yorkshire coal mining began. http://www.gawthorpemaypole.org.uk/?page_id=592

This coal saga and race is a dirty game, for the last five specific training weeks with a coal sack i have being covered in coal soot. Its driving my girlfriend Caroline nuts with spending up to an hour in the shower post training. Then she’s telling me i am still black and can’t come to bed until I am properly cleansed (it reminds me of being back in the marines scrubbing off cam cream, or is it me trembling to my loving Segeant Major). Since i am living in south London and an outsider to the Yorkshire training lands (where virtually all the competitors, champions are from, secretly wanting to be one of the perhaps few first non Yorkshire men to win it out right) the neighbours think they are seeing things. One neighbour told me after a training session ‘haven’t the coal mines shut in the South recently.’ And ‘why don’t you carry clean coal, it’s also lighter’.

Whatever you do, I believe if you can draw inspiration and get personal meaning from your task it pushes you to drive on further. Even if that means you will be pushing your own type of tomb on a wheelbarrow, with you properly entering the garden this easter. BIG TIP! Wheelie bins are the best for solo coalsack training, to get it on your back. My inspiration for writing this blog made me realise of the symbolic nature that the coal could be representing Jesus on my back. Albeit I am putting myself through training that is crucifying me. I bet Jesus wasn’t far off 8 stone (50 kg the weight of the coalsack) since he was near starved to death before the crucifixion. Ok smart arses, yes it’s three days late because it’s Monday. Still whatever you do and or however many easter eggs you eat over the easter holiday, appreciate that it’s not about being greedy. Your tomb is in your own hands, so value what you put in you usually get out.


Live the dream

Lee Riley



85 % +  dark chocolate or organic raw cocoa is my vice. I love a rare Oreo but i am convinced its because its bad. It’s my mum Anne’s birthday on the easter Saturday, Caroline is baking her something chocolatey special (our, your little secret, shes not on social media, social media is still a special event for me too). I won’t be having any until after the race, if there is any left (Anne eats chocolate bless her like its going out of fashion, I am on a mission with her…) that’s my version of this years chocolate egg.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Duncan Smith says:

    Great piece Lee! yes I agree, Easter is synonymous with carrying heavy burdens, with Jesus carrying his own cross, a crushing weight, to his own crucifixion, with the crowds baying at the road side. You too will be carrying a heavy burden, an equally crushing weight, we will be cheering you on from the road side.

    Matthew Chapter 11: verses 28-30
    28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    God speed dear friend.


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