Published: July 26th 2010July 25th 2010
Number One on Stanby
How P number one on stanby please dont move
An early morning flight to San Francisco from LA, find the hotel go back down town and register for the marathon chill out at the expo and then maybe a nice pasta Tea at the Fisherman’s Wharf and early night in preparation for tomorrows Half marathon is the plan, easy.....Wrong.
We arrive at LAX in plenty of time (didn’t we just!) for the 10.40 flight where we queue up to check in which goes without a hitch till we try to check a bag and the computer wont let us. But Philip did say he was checking a bag so we call for help from the united staff who very kindly takes our ticket to check it and declares.
"You cant check your bag till 5 hours before the flight."
"But I am on the 10.40 flight and that in just over an hour.."
"your on the 10.40pm flight tonight man..."
And there in LAX the wheels beginning to fall off Philip booked us on the 10.40pm instead of am at home everything is 24 hour clock here when he booked it he made the most stupid of mistakes.
We have to be downtown
in San Francisco by 5pm to register or we cant run. They send us to queue up to see if we can transfer on to an earlier flight . The earliest avaible flight is 3.10 which will get us in at gone four by the time we get our bag and get down town it will be too late. The lady says we can go on standby which means you wait to see who turns up for the flight if there is a no show your on. we take this option and pray.
We make our way to the gate where the TV shows we are number 18 on a standby list with 3 spare seats no chance we try to sweet talk the lady but that gets us no where. We meet Jim who is number 15 who is going to miss his brother wedding and another marathon runner. Of the 18 on standby one person makes it on. we role over to the next flight some people drop out maybe book tickets on other airlines or go home but the lady bumps me and Jim to 7 and 8 but if 1st class people turn up or
At the expo
registred with21 mins to go
frequent flyers your back down the next flight is 12.50 by the time we get to the gate we are still showing at number 8 and there are 11 spare seats game on then the TV changes we moved to number 5 get in but there are only 3 seats left nooooooooo. The next flight after this is 1.54 the last chance. three people get on at the last minute another seat comes up and there in LAX at remarkable act of kindness Jim who is off to his brother wedding who we have bonded with and told him about our adventures offers us his seat the man who was a stranger till two hours is prepared to miss his brother wedding to let me run a half marathon we point blank refuse. the stewardess who has heard all this promises me she will do everything to get me on the 1.54.
"son your number one on the list and your staying there I don’t care IF Obama turns up."
We wave Jim goodbye and watch the plane taxi off in the vain hope it will be back no luck its the 1.54 or bust, we try to ring the expo but no one is answering the phone. our bag has gone to San Francisco on the 10.40 so our race kit is there somewhere we hope we will have to find it later. IT is now three and half hour till the expo shuts we are 330 miles away and no idea where are luggage is. This is not good.
We track to the next gate and fix eyes on the tele we are showing number one on standby but there are no seats so someone needs not to show . Philip considers locking someone in the toilet but I m sure that a federal offence. We stare at the TV, Philip has not been this obsessed with watching Text on a TV since 1994 when Everton nearly got relegated and Philip was glued to ceefax on the Thursday night waiting for the Oldham v Tottenham score. the page flicks to adverts then takes and age to come back we are still number one but Boarding has started.
Then there is a call Philip Howard to the desk we race over where a beautiful beautiful lady smiles and tell us we are in and gives us a boarding pass . Philip then breaks Fii regulations by clamouring over the desk and hugging and kissing the United airlines lady who laughs and wishes us good luck
By the time we land in San Francisco we are an hour and half from the end of the expo and still need to find bag get some money get a taxi and get down town. Locating our bag and retrieving it eats into another half hour we give up on a cash machine and jump a taxi hopefully he will take credit cards he doesn’t but he agrees to stop on route. the traffic is heavy and going slow we ask if there is anyway round and Philip tells the Taxi driver our story.
Again a perfect stranger comes to the rescue he says he is blown away by our story and vows to get us there we now feel like were in a mad mad world racing downtown in a taxi we find a cash machine and get money when we turn round the taxi has gone with our bags passport and everything! but then Miguel comes running round the corner shouting us to get going he had to go round the block as we get stuck in traffic the driver get more stressed than us it is now 4.20 and forty mins to go eventually the expo comes in sight traffic is heavy our new hero tells us to get out and run and he will meet us!
So we rush in join the queue and register with 21 mins to go where we and joined shortly after by Miguel the driver and our bags if every a taxi driver deserve a tip its this man. He refuses and says give it to bobby's charity man. my wife will shit when she hears this story. Philip hugs him and I think his bottom lip is going.
So Philip has a half marathon tomorrow but the challenge was getting here we crossed datelines and battled stupidity we have been meet with stunning acts of kindness after today a half marathon will be easy even if we haven’t run since the Full marathon three weeks go, being in San Francisco never felt so good