Monday, 11 June 2018

A race against time

Due to on-going problems with the bursa behind my left knee and the shin / ankle problems on the other leg I was marshalling instead of running this years Blaydon Race.  Stationed on Scotswood Bridge I watched as Chris Parr of Gateshead Harriers lead the field towards Blaydon.

Chris Parr leading the way
First Blaydon Harrier - George Rudman

Chris was overhauled in the closing stages of the race eventually finishing 3rd in 26.48 behind John Beattie of Newham and Essex Beagles (26.41) and Carl Avery of Morpeth.

Not having ran, now for just over two weeks and with my partner in crime Catherine also suffering with injury problems it is now becoming a race against time for us making the start line of Endure 24 in 3 weeks time

Thursday, 31 May 2018

A step to far?

Is there ever a good time to get injured?  If so, then this is probably not it.  Having steadily increased my mileage over the last three months, the injury curse strikes again with only 1 week until the Blaydon Race and 4 and a bit weeks until Endure 24.

Although I was not quite where I wanted to be, daily mileage of up to 35 miles may have taken away what speed was left in my legs but was giving me a good base for the Endure 24 in Leeds.

Now with shin splints which cause my right shin to swell if I walk / run any sort of distance further than half a mile and a bursa developing behind my left knee.  It looks as though I have taken that step to far.

I am now relying upon, ice, Ibuprofen, taping, stretching exercises and swimming in a bid to make the start line.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Did you know?

It seems as though everyone and particularly those with an interest in sport,  know that Roger Bannister was the first person to break the four minute mile.  Which is not surprising for such a mementos feat.  But, how many people are aware that just 23 days later, on 29th May 1954, Diane Leather of Birchfield Harriers became the first woman to run a mile in less than 5 minutes?

Her time of 4 minutes 59 seconds was not recognised as a world record (unlike Roger Bannisters sub 4) and is still not, but only as a world best. 

The reason being that the IAAF ratifies all world records in athletics and in 1954 did not recognise the mile as a distance for women (and did not do so until 1967).  In 1954 the longest internationally recognised distances for women were 800m and 880 yards.

This race at the Midlands Women's AAA Championships had not been Diane Leather's first attempt to break the 5 minute barrier.  In fact she had also attempted it 3 days earlier, on 26th May at Birmingham, where she narrowly missed out, with a time of 5.00.02.  There is a Pathe News film of this attempt which can be viewed here

I don't know about the race when Diane Leather ran the first sub 5 minute mile. But, it is interesting to note when watching the 'Pathe' footage that unlike Roger Bannisters sub 4, there were no pace-makers used and that she pulls away from the rest of the field midway through the race.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

A Wolds record?




I'm heading back down to the Yorkshire Wolds again.  This year is the 34th running of this half marathon, which is held in conjunction with the Bishop Wilton Show. I first ran this race in 1987 and then every since 1990, making this my 29th (race was cancelled one year due to foot and mouth epidemic).  I am not sure if this a record number of times someone has ran this race as I believe there is one other person who may have ran it a similar number of times.

Either way this has definitely got to be one of my favourite races

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Mirror Mirror - and Fangs for the memory

Lets face it there is just no fitness trend, superfood, supplement or single technical innovation that will halt age-related deterioration.  A fact that is hammered home each time I pull on my running shoes or look into the mirror.  Some would say that these are two activities that I perform too often.  Of course I dispute this, the latter, if I do over indulge is only because I don't recognise that old bloke looking back at me.

At one time turning 40 would be perceived as having one foot in the grave.  I remember receiving a birthday card that said 'Don't grow up - It's a trap'. A trap it maybe, but a trap that can be skirted, as most of these age related declines can be delayed and possibly reversed through regular intense exercise.

Although a study from the Office for National Statistics concluded that people aged 40 - 59 are the least happy and most anxious in society (they also concluded that this trend started to reverse as you entered your 60's - so I'm now obviously running that road to happiness). Countless studies have found that exercise can help to improve wellbeing.

And, according to Sport England the biggest increase in sports participation in the past decade has been among the 45 - 54 age group and running is up 97% among over 55's.

Whether these people are all new to sport or returning to sport following a lay off, as they have a little more leisure time perhaps (family grown up) or may have had a health scare, for example, is unclear. But the ranks of those of us that have tried to maintain our participation are definitely being added to by these 'new comers'

In his book 'Play On' Jeff Bercovici explores how aging athletes stay at the top of their sport, defying the perceived limits of age and points out that some professional athletes actually live longer than the general public.  Such as Tour de France cyclists having an average life span that is eight years longer than the norm.  The book claims that looking into the world of elite athletes is like looking into the future for the rest of us.  As the world of elite sports use tools and technology most of us have not even heard of yet.

Of course, getting older does mean that you have to adapt your training to suit and train as they say 'smarter' and Bruce Tulloh's book 'Running at 40, is worth a look at.  Although I haven't read it, I notice he also has a book 'How to avoid Dying - For as long as possible'.

Mind you in 'Play On'  Jeff Bercovici also looks at some of the more extreme things some  do to maintain longevity.  Such as soaking in hot red wine or drinking young blood!

So if you should see me attached to the neck of a young lady ..............

Tuesday, 17 April 2018


As a runner I would never consider myself to be 'a miler' (PB 4.44).  But the mile is an iconic distance and one I believe should be preserved and promoted  within athletics.

I have posted in the past regarding re-popularising the Mile.

 In America there is a national movement called Bring Back The Mile, whose aims are to inspire Americans to run the Mile as the premier event in the sport, increasing interest in and media coverage of the mile.

But, the Mile shouldn't just be for Americans and should be promoted throughout our sport.  I am not advocating that the Mile should replace the 1500m but compliment it.

And, now Sebastian Coe has suggested re-introducing the Mile back into the Commonwealth Games...... "to create and celebrate our own heritage, because often we have events that are the bedrock of our history".

Currently just a suggestion, you can give your views via Twitter using the hashtag #bringbackthemile and hopefully we will see the Mile being raced in Birmingham and even possibly a number of other high profile events along the way.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Stop - Let me off!

I just cannot seem to get off this round-about of injury and illness. 

Good Friday's Elswick Relays saw me race for the first time since last July.  I ran last leg for the Blaydon Veteran team and although my time of 15.20 for the 2.2 mile leg is not fantastic, I did thoroughly enjoy actually getting out there and doing it.

However, since then, an interval session on Tuesday evening has seen a reoccurrence of my hamstring problems and to make matters worse yet another heavy cold have both combined to curtail my mileage over the last week.