Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Mrs Tnfive Runs With Mo Farah

The Great North Run 2013, where (strictly speaking) Mrs Tnfive ran with (ok, behind!) Mo Farah

Newcastle's Tyne Bridge on the eve of the Great North Run

So, the morning I had been anticipating with dread was finally here. Sunday 15th September 2013, the day of the Great North Run. I eagerly pulled back the curtains to reveal a grey, wet, miserable Newcastle dawn. Typical! The previous evening had been calm, dry and beautiful. It was clear that the make-shift poncho I had fashioned from a black bin liner was going to be utilised. 

The start line was a good 2 mile walk away from my hotel, so I was going to need some calorific fueling to see me through my day. Being the serious athlete that I am (er hmmm) I had packed a pot of porridge and a banana for brekkie, all to be washed down with a glug of energy drink and a Mars bar. I know, that sounds really bad doesn't it?  Black bin bag in hand and an extra Mars bar for luck, I set off at 8:30am to follow the herds of runners to the starting point.

On arrival at the slip road which led down to the A167 I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people that had turned out to take part - some 56,000 of us. I had a long walk to my starting pen as I was near the back of the throng of runners that were slowly filling up the dual carriageway. As I filed past the faster runners who were nearer to the start I noticed a familiar looking face and after a few seconds of racking my brains to remember where I'd seen him before, I realised that it was in fact former Olympic athlete Colin Jackson preparing for an interview.

Former athlete Colin Jackson

No sign of Mo at this stage however, but I'm pretty sure he won't have had to stand in the rain for over an hour. Nor will he have had to queue up with the rest of us to use the portaloos! (If you're reading this Mo, please feel free to correct me).  As the starting pens filled up, an air of nervous excitement began to descend. Not long now 'til the off! Discarded water bottles rattled around the tarmac in the breeze and bin bags floated through the air like black plastic kites. I wasn't the only one who had made herself a fetching refuse sack poncho that morning!

Suddenly a flurry of movement up ahead heralded the start of the mass warm-up and before I knew it I was calf stretching and ankle twizzling with the rest of the herd. The enthusiastic fitness instructor on the big screen was interrupted only by the BBC coverage of the elite athletes' starts - big names in athletics such as David Weir, Priscah Jeptoo and Haile Gebrselassie. Inevitably, the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the one and only Mo Farah. I'm glad he got a head start because I wouldn't have wanted to show him up by speeding past him. (In my dreams!)

With the elites underway, the rest of us mere mortals began to slowly shuffle inch by inch towards the start line. Those among the crowd whose bladders could no longer contain themselves were climbing the barriers and legging it up the embankments at an alarming rate. Many a tree had a watering that's for sure! Not me though, I was raring to go and there was no stopping me as I inched towards the big blue starting gates.

Ponchos at dawn

Like a flock of sheep being herded by a sheepdog, we all ran through the gates and off down the dual carriageway in the direction of the Tyne Bridge. So many onlookers were lining the streets shouting words of encouragement, and as we all ran through our first tunnel the echoing calls of 'oggy oggy oggy, oi oi oi' were truly uplifting.

I won't bore you with a blow by blow account of every single step along the way, but before I fast forward to the end of the race I just want to reiterate the point about support and encouragement. For all those people who lined the streets, for all those giving a friendly wave or an encouraging smile, and for all those friends and family who had wished us well prior to the race, I just want to say thank you, and that you will never ever know how much your support means to us sweaty, red faced runners. Without you we would surely want to throw in the towel at mile one. Thank you.

Ooh, I'm getting all emotional now! Better do a quick fast forward.........

So, the end of the run was approaching and my legs were burning and chafing (thank you St John's Ambulance for the vaseline!) and the thought of running any further was becoming quite torturous. Until.........the Red Arrows put in an appearance! Roaring overhead they put on a spectacular display of aerobatics, trailing red, white and blue smoke in their wake.

The Red Arrows soar above the Tyne Bridge
near the start of the Great North Run

I could barely take my eyes off them as we ran up the steady incline of the A1300. In fact, they were such a welcome distraction that before I knew it I was nearing the brow of the hill and then joy of joys.....my first glimpse of the sea! Not only that but a huge flashing sign with 'Last mile' lit up like a Christmas tree. What a relief. At that point euphoria began to kick in and I felt so happy I could have almost sprinted that final stretch of the race. 

I might have come in a paltry 33,384th but as I crossed that line I would like to bet that I felt every bit as good as the guy who came in 2nd. Mr Mo Farah. And, I even got a medal! Just like him.

Bet he didn't celebrate by stuffing his face with this little lot though.........

Naughty but nice....

By Mrs Tnfive

Love the raincoat!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

The New 5 a-side visit the Nou Camp in Barcelona

Mr Tnfive reports on Barca's opening game of the season against Levante


Last Sunday, TN5 made their first ever visit to the home of Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar and the rest. The temptation to see arguably the greatest player ever, in possibly the greatest team ever (even if they are not quite at the level of 2 or 3 years ago) at home at Camp Nou was too much to resist.

With tickets about as easy to get hold of as rocking horse poop, I was ecstatic to be able to purchase two seats at 60 euros each for my son and I. We were all set. Neymar's debut, Messi back to his best, Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi in midfield, surely we'd be in for a treat. One thing I really wanted to see was Messi scoring at the Nou Camp. As he scores almost every game, surely we wouldn't be disappointed.

On the day of the game we made the short trip on the Metro towards the stadium. As we came out of the station the crowds were already gathering. A short walk later and the stadium came into view. The Nou Camp in all it's glory. Taking in the atmosphere, we made our way to our gate and once through we went up and up and up. And then we reached our entrance. As we stepped out the tunnel, the pitch and full stadium came into view. Only half full at that time, but WOW! What an image. A magnificent view of a magnificent arena.


As kick off approached, the ground filled to capacity and the singing started. Although we don't speak Spanish, my son and I were able to join in the singing and clapping with the rest of the crowd, he was loving it! Then out came the players, to a tremendous roar. No Iniesta, no Neymar (both were on the bench) but there was Messi, Xavi, Fabregas, Busquets, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alex, Pedro, Valdes and Adriano. We sat back in anticipation of what was to come.

Opening fixtures are often slow and cagey affairs as teams look to find their feet. And we had to wait a while for this one to get going - two minutes! Inside 100 seconds, Barca had carved open Levante for Alex to tap home. We were underway. But would I get to see my Messi goal? I didn't have too long to get my wish. 10 minutes later it was 2-0 and a clever ball through to Pedro was pulled for another tap in, this time by the master Messi. It won't go down in his top 10 goals of all time (probably not his best 100) but I had seen Messi score, and no one could ever take that from me. It was 3-0 shortly after, with Dani Alves finishing after Fabregas effort was saved. The game as a contest was over, but the way Barca played was like watching fine art in motion.

The Great Man - Messi

Pedro made it 4-0 with a fine finish from an exquisite Messi pass, before Messi treated us to a 2nd from him - this time from the penalty spot. It was carnival mood as Barca created chance after chance. Just before half time was the icing on the cake. Xavi, one of the reasons I wanted to see Barca before the great man retires, got on the scoresheet. I wanted, and almost expected, to see Messi score but seeing Xavi score was a real bonus for me. 

6-0 at half time. Although the game was over, Barca still pressed and created more chances. Neymar and Iniesta came on to great applause (two more I can tick off and say I saw play) and it was 7-0 soon after when Fabregas set up Pedro for his second. The quality of Barca when in possession continued throughout, although there were to be no further goals. 7-0 it ended. Both my son and I had experienced a magnificent spectacle that will live with us forever. If you're ever in Barcelona, make sure you take in a game. If you're not in Barcelona, make a special trip to see a game! It is worth every penny.

And when this great team does eventually fade, when Xavi hangs up his boots in the not too distant future, when Iniesta, Fabregas and the rest call it a day, when (or if) Neymar goes on to be a legend, and when the greatest player ever (in my lifetime anyway) finally hangs up his boots, we can both always say we saw them play at the Nou Camp and it was very, very special.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Challenge Yourself With www.tnfive.com

Find out how you can boost your confidence today

At tnfive.com we are not just about football. We believe in making life as fulfilling as possible, whether that is through sport or academic study. We support the growth and healthy development of young people through any form of hobby or interest. With this in mind, we are challenging members of the tnfive community to challenge themselves. 

Why are challenges important?

Mrs Tnfive on a charity Firewalk
Challenges of any kind can help to build self-confidence and self-esteem. Both are vital ingredients for the well-rounded individual. When we overcome obstacles that we thought were difficult or even impossible, our confidence and self-belief grows immensely. You may remember as a young child trying to learn a new skill. Did you learn overnight? Probably not. Were there tears and feelings of frustration as you battled to get to grips with the task at hand? Undoubtedly. Did you feel phenomenal once you had mastered your new found skill? Absolutely! Nothing worth doing is ever easy, but that feeling of getting over one of life's hurdles makes it all worthwhile.

Achievable goals

So who are we to tell you you need to challenge yourself? Well, we are just like you. Ordinary people. However, we just try to be that little bit extraordinary at times by stretching ourselves in ways we thought would previously be impossible. Over the past ten years between us we have racked up over 95km in charity runs, a tandem skydive and we've even walked over burning hot embers for a charity firewalk. Now don't worry, we're not expecting you to do the same sort of things! All we ask is that you set yourself a small, manageable goal and go for it.

Some good examples of achievable goals could include:

  • Running a mile non-stop
  • Scoring a goal in your next competitive football match
  • Getting your best grade ever in a subject that you find difficult
  • Eating healthily for at least a month
All of the above are simple challenges that can be achieved if you put your mind to it, and can be worked towards in your daily life. You don't need to drag yourself over hot coals to prove you are a superstar. Just choose a sensible goal and with determination you will feel your confidence and self-esteem soar.

Coming in to land after a 10,000ft skydive

Share your achievements

Don't forget to let us know about your achievements so that we can share them with the rest of the tnfive community. Simply email your story (along with an optional photo) to enquiries@tnfive.co.uk and we will publish your achievements, however large or small.

Good luck Tnfivers! What are you waiting for? Get set to achieve your goals today.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Online Soccer Games

Can you get on to the www.tnfive.com scoreboard?

When you're not on the football pitch taking part in your very own TN5 league, why not try out your skills on our online game?

Can you beat the game with no name?
www.tnfive.com now has its very own interactive game! Catch the balls in the goalie gloves and score points and extra time. Be on the lookout for the special TN5 footballs - catch these and you can score big points! However, you MUST avoid the danger balls at all cost, or risk losing lives AND precious time.

Don't forget to submit your score to be in with a chance of making it onto the www.tnfive.com homepage. See if you can beat other players in your area!

What's the Name of the Game?

But what's the name of the game? Well, that's just it..........there is no name yet. That's because we're giving YOU the chance to name it. See our 'Competitions' page in Player Zone for more details.


Be a winner with www.tnfive.com

 It's competition time at TN5!

How would you like to have the honour of naming www.tnfive.com's brand new online game?

The game with no name

The aim of the game is to catch the balls in the goalie gloves as they fall from above, and score points and extra time. Players must be on the lookout for the special TN5 footballs - catch these and you can score big points! However, you MUST avoid the danger balls at all cost, or risk losing lives AND precious time. Scores can be submitted at the end of each game, so players can be in with a chance of making it on to the High Scores table on the homepage. It's a great chance to beat players from rival areas and teams!

So what do you think the name of this surprisingly addictive game should be? Email your suggestion along with your name and location to enquiries@tnfive.com by October 1st 2013 and we will pick the best one. The winner will have the honour of naming the game and will be be announced on our Facebook page and on Twitter. 

Make sure you are following us on Twitter (@thenewfiveaside) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thenew5aside).

How YOU play TN5

We want to create the ULTIMATE TNFIVE experience!

Although TN5 is based on a 3-team mini tournament format, there are no rules about changing the rules! As long as your games build in to your very own league of individuals, you can bring in whatever rules you like. 

Below are some great examples of how other leagues have adapted the rules to switch things up. Why not send us your 'rule change' ideas to enquiries@tnfive.com explaining why it makes your game more interesting. We will continually update the suggestions, so keep checking for new ways to  improve your TNFIVE experience.

Tell us how you switch things up


'We play 6 minute games, but for the last minute (after 5 minutes of play) the referee introduces a second ball! It makes it a very frantic last 60 seconds, everyone has to be far more alert and it's far more difficult to close the game if you are winning'
Zak, Pudsey


'We play first to 2 goals, or a maximum of 6 minutes, winner stays on. However, in the last 2 minutes we have a powerplay where any goals count double. Therefore if someone is winning 1-0, a goal for the opposition means they win the game 2-1. It's amazing how often a team is leading, then suddenly they've lost and they're off the pitch!'
Jenna, Bradford

Football Tips

Hone your soccer skills

TN5 is a great new way to play 5 a-side football for players of all abilities. But why not try to improve your football skills outside of your TN5 league?

Share your techniques on www.tnfive.com

Below are the best methods and techniques used by other TN5 players and coaches. Some you can do as an individual, others with friends or team mates. We will continually update the list, so keep checking for new ideas. 

Remember to send us your own ideas and what works best for you and your other www.tnfive.com league players. Simpy email enquiries@tnfive.com


Indoor practice ideal for beginners

'I found this youtube link to be a great little introduction to getting a good feel for the ball for my son, and something he could easily practice at home indoors'
Dave, Leeds


Teaching kids to head the ball PROPERLY

'Heading is one of the last things kids tend to learn, and largely shy away from. Often underestimated,  but it involves as much technique as passing if it is done right. Although a little wordy, the drills in the link below are a good way to get kids started on how to head the ball PROPERLY!'
Neil, Wakefield