Monday, 31 December 2012

Ending on a high

On December 12th I set myself a mini target, by way of saving something from what turned out to be a poor year for my running. The target was to reach 2012 miles for 2012, and I am pleased to say that 9 miles along the Derwent Walk this morning took my mileage for the year up to 2012.

So at least I have finished the year on a high and can now look forward to 2013.  Having already chosen my targets for the year (see No pussyfooting post October 12th) the first one, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, is up in just under four weeks time.

For the record the other targets are:

BMAF Cross Country Championships - March
Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon - (M55 course record) - July
BMAF Marathon Championships - October
Run the length of Hadrians Wall in 24 hours

In the meantime, all the best to everyone for the new year and I hope you achieve your targets

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Don't stop the world

The world can't end tomorrow.  I have a whole new training schedule for the new year!

The Mayans seemingly predicted that the world will end tomorrow.

21st December 2012 is the end of a five, 125 year long cycle in the Mayan long count calender.  This has led some to believe that the end of the calender signifies the end of the Mayan fourth world.  The fourth world being the world that the gods built for humans to live in.

Well, if they are right then not too many people will be reading this after today.

But, if by the end of the world they mean the end of society as we know it - then I look forward to meeting you hunter gather types in the hills,

Happy Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Walk and run

With the cloud stubbornly clinging to the tops of the hills this weekend saw us in the Yorkshire Dales. With our impending trip to Kilimanjaro now only 6 weeks away it seemed like a good idea to actually do some walking.  The result was that 5 of the 7 heading off to Tanzania in January headed for the 'three peaks' this weekend.

Leaving Horton in Ribbledale on Saturday morning we headed up Ingleborough via Gaping Gill.

 Considering the time of year we could not really ask for much better weather.  The tops of the hills though had some snow and quite a bit of ice which slowed things a little.

Ingelborough completed by lunchtime, Whernside was next on the agenda.

Sunday, however, we reverted to type and ran 9 miles which included climbing Pen y Ghent.

All in all a smashing weekemd

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A mini target

Last night's training turned out to be an 8 mile run with 15 minutes at tempo, rather than the planned interval session.  The reason for the change was down to one of safety.  With the temperature below freezing and paths icy and slippery, we decided we would have more control and therefore be less likely to fall/become injured by doing a tempo session.

Whether this sense of security was purely psychological or not I am not too sure and is open to conjecture.  But, the session passed without incident and was therefore a success.

The weekends activities in Hartlepool are still obviously having an effect as my legs were still feeling on the heavy side.

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog will know that things, this year, have not gone quite as planned.  One of the things that have not met my expectations for the year is my overall mileage.  Currently standing at 1873 miles for the year, it is somewhat short of what I expected.

So, as I result, I have set myself a mini target of reaching 2012 miles for the year.  In the past this would not have been in any way difficult, or indeed a worthwhile target. But today it is something to aim for as the 139 miles required over the next 2 and a bit weeks is in excess of what I could achieve on my current weekly mileage. 

For the record my biggest ever weekly mileage was 116 miles - those were the days!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

"Mud, mud, glorious mud"

I think the next line of the song is "there's nothing quite like it for cooling the blood".  However with the temperature hovering not too far above freezing, the cooling properties of this veritable mud bath was not going to have to be called upon.

Summerhill, Hartelepool was the setting for yesterdays 107th running of the North East Cross Country Championships.

I had ran at this venue on two previous occasions and knew it would be a tough and testing course.  As we toed the line I headed to the middle of the pack, as we stood Penguin like, huddled from a cold breeze coming off the nearby North Sea.

Then as the gun sounded, I was seduced. whether by the call of the Siren just off the nearby coast or by memories of previous good runs here (2nd in the VAANEE Cross country Championships in 2001), who knows.  But, the result was that I went off harder than I should have,

At the end of the first of four 3000m laps I was closing down on training partner, Luke,who had gone off even faster, and was feeling pretty good.

However, as I forded the stream for the second time and started up the next climb, I was reminded of just how fit (or unfit) I currently am.  Although I managed to maintain things for the remainder of the lap, I started to drop back during lap 3, before going into free-fall on the final lap as everyone I had worked hard to pass over the previous 3 laps all came back past me.

Hopefully, they had time to admire my impressions of Bambi on ice as my legs turned to jelly.  The course and conditions took there toll and there were numerous fallers.  Surprisingly I saw none on a short, steep downhill section about three quarters of the way around the lap.  Which was so muddy and slippery the only thing to do was to adopt the tactics of a Lemming.

Coming into the finishing straight, which was about 60m along the side of a football pitch, I was passed by two other runners sprinting for the finish.  Initially I had the unfamiliar thought of 'just let them go, I'm knackered' but a split second later I was giving chase and although I held off one of them the runner from Durham Harriers got the better of me.

With a finishing position of 190th in 55.48 it was not the best of runs by any means.  But a little later as I sat in a semi vegetative state with a restorative cup of Green Tea in hand I realised just what a grand afternoon I had had.

The race was won by Andrew Wiles of New Marske Harriers in 39.48, from Leeds City's Carl Smith in 39.52.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

"We come from the land of ice and snow"

Winter is once again back with us and as I skittered and slid my way around a six mile loop last night, the words of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song sprang to mind.  Unlike in the song, there are no hot springs here abouts but a nice hot bath to soak in post run was more than welcome.

View across Gibside
Sunday Morning
Sunday morning had dawned bright sunny and very frosty and the Derwent Walk seemed to have attracted a host of runners.

Although I struggled over the final three miles, I was happy with my total of 17 miles for the day.

Overnight Sunday and into Monday morning the snow arrived and although we did not have a heavy covering the cold temperatures throughout the day ensured that it had frozen by evening.  Making the footpaths quite treacherous.

So it was a steady but stuttering run on heavy legs to start the week off.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Why run so far? and Keep on running

Why run so far?

If you check out the video of the last quarter of an hour,or so, of last years Fukuoka Marathon, it features the race between two Japanese runners for second place.  And, what has caused me to write about it is the route taken by the guy who eventually finished second.  Given the choice he seems to have taken the longest route possible and despite some big breakaway's was hauled back by his own undoing as his fellow competitor always takes the shortest route.

Since a Marathon (or any other race) is measured by the shortest route a competitor can be expected to take, then this guy is running well over distance.  Remember this is only the last 15 minutes or so of the race.  If he has followed this tactic throughout, How much closer would he be to the winner, who finished 2 minutes ahead of him?

The video can be found atJapan running news

Keep on running

This morning I read a tweet from @EightLaneNews and @MichaelEJHunt both about the same topic:

"If you run too much you die..........apparently"

Digging deeper the Eight Lane News website had a story about some recent research.which is also being covered by Runners World.  read here.

My view after reading the articles is very much the same as Runners World, Eight Lane News and Michael Hunt and that I will take my chances.

Is this another case of  "lies, damned lies and statistics"?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bits and pieces

Last weeks training was nothing but a hard slog.  I felt tired and lethargic and was well off the back during the group training session on the Thursday night (8 mile run with 15 mins tempo then straight into 3 x 3 min with 2 min jog recovery).

This week, however, things seem to be turning around.   Last nights session went very well (7 mile run with 6 x 2 min with 1 min jog recovery), and I don't think it was because it was an 'easier' session.

 (I don't think there is really such a thing as an 'easy' session).

Looking back on why last week was such an effort.  I am, rightly or wrongly, putting the blame at the door of my preparations for the first of my 2013 targets - trekking up Kilimanjaro.  As in the space of 7 days I subjected my body to 6 vaccinations (Yellow Fever, 2 x Hepatitis B, Rabies, Typhoid and Diphtheria/Polio/something else!), and I still have another 3 to come. I am starting to feel a bit like a pin cushion!

Outside of running, one of my other passions in life is beer (I do enjoy a good pint or 3).  Although I rarely drink heavily prior to a race I have been known to have a little tipple. So it came as some dismay when yesterday I read Rob Hadgraft's blog Diary of a Clapped-Out Runner which details results from some recent research which suggests that although a pre-race beer may not be a good idea for the male population, it may actually be a good for women runners.

Further to yesterday's post about Geordie Ridley - His brother Stephen Ridley was Mile Champion of England.  He started racing in 1854, in which year he raced '2 well known pedestrians' around Newcastle Town Moor racecourse, with 6000 spectators looking on.  He won by 40 yards.

His other achievements included, in 1861, finishing 4th in a race in Sheffield, and in 1871 winning the One Mile Sensation Handicap in Gateshead, where he gave fellow competitors between 50 and 180 yards.

Compared to today, apart from major events, you are more likely to have 6000 running rather than watching. Also, races back then tended to be for wagers and heavily linked to gambling.  The handicap race, probably as a result, also seems to have been a lot more popular than today.

Although, locally, there are still one or two handicap races about.  For example, all of the North East Harrier League cross country races are handicapped, with runners running from one of three packs (Fast, Medium and Slow) and there being a two and a half minute handicap between packs.  Also this Sunday's Blyth Sands Race is a handicap race.

Source of info on Stephen Ridley:

Gannin' to Blaydon Races! The life and Times of Geordie Ridley by Dave Harker

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Race reports in a song

Probably, like most of you reading this post I am quite an avid reader of race reports. The main sources for these reports are Athletics Weekly, and other blogs that I read.

But how about race reports in the form of a song?

Blaydon Race 2012

I have mentioned Geordie Ridley on a number of occasions while writing this blog.  All in connection with Blaydon Harriers running of the Blaydon Race in commemoration to Geordie Ridley's famous song 'The Blaydon Races'.

But, Geordie Ridley was a famous Music Hall performer in the North East in the 1860's and wrote and sang a number of  songs about popular topics of the day.

These topics included sport.  Mainly rowing, bare knuckle fighting and foot racing (Pedestrianism).  One such song was a report of a foot race between John Hogg of Gateshead and Joseph 'Tout' Foster of Swalwell.

The race being for a wager of £50 was won by John Hogg.

It may be a little difficult to understand for any of you reading this, who are not familiar with the Geordie dialect, but the song and details of the race are                                                

Hogg and Fosters Race

Tuther seturday neet aw saw a grand foot race alang at the Victoria grund,
         Between Tout Foster and Joe Hogg and the stake was fifty pund;   
Thor was lots of cheps gettin on their bets, thor was little odds on Tout,
The cabs wor stanin at the gate, aw saw Joe Hogg luik oot

Anaw says gan on Joe maw canny lad, thou has cliver style
Yell lick the Tout without a doot, this quarter of a mile

The gate was opened, and sic a rush, thor was hundreds flockin in.
An'Jinmmy Reay amang the crood says 'Hoggy's sure to win'
'Hoo can he loss' says Jimmy Dodds, 'the Ship will float the neet!'
Says Marky Hall 'we'll hav a rare blaw oot wi' tripe and haggish meat.

The first ever Hoggy ran, it was wi'one the name o' Gilly,
Up at the Grapes for five aside, his backers drove him silly;
And aw mind he wun a handicap and a hurdle race likewise,
And at the Easter wrestling, last year, he pulled off the first prize.

He lick'd one o' the naym o' Miller twice, and Philipson in Newcassel;
And a deed heat he ran Geordy Wildbore, noo he there thor eyes did dazzel;
Then here's success to Hogg, Rowan and White, and Belley to likewise,
Fra' ten miles tiv a quarter Gateshead can all the world surprise,

Noo Hoggy had a trainer bould, Tom Norvel was his neym,
They tuik their breethins at Primrose Hill, on the Friday neet cam' heym;
Man, Joe luik'd vary fit, he seem'd to be runnin' fast
And when he wun their Neddy sung " Joe we've put it on at last'"

George Ridley's Local Song Book

Well you never know following my next race I may put my race report to music!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Blaydon results and family update

Further to my post from yesterday.  Results from Saturday's Harrier League race can now be found here

It was once again another bumper field in the mens race with 460 finishers, which when you consider that the ever popular Brampton to Carlisle race was also being held this weekend is a great turnout.

My official time on Saturday was 32.30 for 137th place.  One minute and 5 seconds behind my nephew Shaun.

Whilst on the subject of family members.  As well as trying to get back on terms with Shaun, perhaps I need to keep an eye on what is happening behind me as my sister Catherine turned in a pb performance of 48.59 in yesterday's Abbey Dash!

photos by Anita

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Family bragging rights

Family bragging rights this weekend go to my nephew Shaun, running for Tyne Bridge Harriers,who finished about a minute ahead of me at yesterday's Harrier league cross country race at Blaydon;

The course at Blaydon is short and fast but yesterday for me it seemed long and slow! For some reason I just could not get going so the race, which was ran in perfect conditions, turned into nothing more than a hard slog.

As yet I can't find any results but I recorded my own time at 32.26

Pictures by Francesca

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Club night

Still feeling heavy legged from Sunday's 18 miler, last night was one of those evenings when I was finding it difficult to muster the enthusiasm to do the planned session.  On the programme was an 8 mile run with a session of 5x4 mins on 2 min jog recovery.

Running the 8 miles was not the problem but the thought of the session was by no means getting me excited.  Under my 10 day cycle I could afford to put off the session until Thursday and still fulfil my targets for this period, just in a slightly different order.

 But Tuesday night is club night at Blaydon Harriers and one of the advantages of running with a group is that there are times when they can motivate you or even hold you to account.  Last night it was Paddy.  Moving the session back to Thursday did not suit either him or Luke, another member of the group, as they are both racing at the weekend.  So 5x4 mins it was.

And, what a great session it turned out to be!

Running from Blaydon, along Scotswood Road, around the Newcastle Business Park and back again.  The first two efforts were with the wind behind us but with the remaining efforts predominantly into the wind things got a little tougher.

Although I found it difficult to 'get going' at the start of each effort I still managed to average 5.45 pace over each of the four minutes - so am well pleased with that.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

That can't be right, surely?

Last night I read an article in the Running Fitness magazine which reported that a recent survey carried out of over 2000 people claimed that 56% of British women and 31% of men believed it would be impossible or difficult for them to run 100m. Thats run, not sprint.

100m!! I could believe, perhaps, say 10km, but 100m?

Conversely, an article in last weeks Athletics Weekly which briefly described the history of the North East Harrier League emphasised how participation in cross - country in the North East of England has grown over recent years.  With the last meeting at Cramlington, just over a week ago, seeing a record field in both the men's and women's races, with 425 senior men and 179 women competing.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A cold wet day in Preston

Having been away for a few days I have not had the chance to post any updates.  So briefly, Last weekend, while most runners I know were heading for a cross country race at Cramlington and the first race in the North East Harrier League.  I once again headed south to Preston.  This time for The Preston Guild Half Marathon which was being held in conjunction with the Town's first ever marathon.

As seems usual when it comes to weather prediction, when it is forecast for poor weather the prediction turns out to be correct.  The Half Marathon started in damp overcast conditions, 1 hour behind the full marathon, which soon turned to heavy rain.  However, the weather did not dampen the spirits of the 2000 plus runners who toed the start line.

The Start

Not having really got the training in (at 38 - 40 miles a week) for a 'half' I decided once again upon a cautious start.  The aim was for 6.55 minute miles, with a target of a 1hr 30 min finish.

The Start

However, a downhill start meant that despite trying to hold back I reached the first mile mark in 6.14.

Still feeling comfortable at mile 2, I decided to adjust my target slightly and look to run sub 6.50 for each mile.

Gary Pennington

Although the course could not be classed as a hilly one, it is by no means flat, and has a few tight turns.  On two occasions rounding a set of cones and doubling back on yourself.  Reading an article following the race it transpires that one of these sets of cones stretched further than was intended.  This resulted in the race being 200m longer than it should have been.

2nd Place
Mathew Thompson

From a personal point of view I was happy enough with my performance, finishing inside my target with 1.28.56 for 53rd place and incidentally my fastest half marathon since turning 55.

My time was, however, only good enough for 6th place in the over 55 category with Paul Muller taking first M55 in 1.20.02 and 12th place overall. 

The over 55 category was obviously stronger than the M50 category as only 2 M50's finished ahead of me.

As usual my finish look more like
 an entry into a gurning competition

Full results of the race can be found here But the leading results were:

1st Gary Pennington - Preston Harriers - 1.13.57 (Also 1st M40)
2nd Mathew Thompson - Southport Waterloo - 1.14.59
3rd James Hilton - Wigan Phoenix - 1.16.07

With regards to the Marathon, that was won in 2.21.33 by Ben Fish of Blackburn Harriers, with Thomas Abyu (Salford) second in 2.29.35 and Preston Harriers' Gethin Butler, third in 2.32.07.

Thanks to Francesca for photos

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

No Pussyfooting

No Pussyfooting is the title of an album by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno which I bought way back in about 1973, if memory serves my right.

No Pussyfooting, I have decided is going to be the slogan I take into 2013.

Normally, people review their achievements at the end of the year and use the information to set targets for the coming year.

Well, certainly for the last two years, due to injury, illness and my tendency to be side- tracked, any targets I have set myself have been, for want of a better way of putting it - fickle.

Things seem at last, to be starting to move in a positive direction with regards to my running.  So rather than wait I am setting my targets for 2013 now.

I have decided to split my targets into A and B races, with any other races I do being treat as C races and used as part of my build up to the A races. 

Also because I like to do something different now and again and hence often become side tracked I am building this into my targets for the year also, classified under 'other' I will have an A and a B target.

I have also kept the number of targets down to a minimum but also tried to structure them in a way that will compliment each other and allow, as far as possible, for the training to be progressive.

So no more pussyfooting about - my targets for the next 14 months are:

A Races:

1 The BMAF Cross - Country Championships - March 2013
2 The Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon - July 2013
3 The BMAF Marathon Championships - October 2013

B Races:

The Blaydon Race - June 2013

Other Targets

A target - Climb Mount Kilimanjaro - January 2013

B target - Run the length of Hadrian's Wall within 24 hours date TBC

Monday, 22 October 2012

An argument for more evening races?

Could this be why I always seem to run better in training than in races - I mostly train at night!

A recent study by Parry,Chinnesay & Micklewright, published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology claims that you feel as though you are running faster in the night-time darkness than during the daylight.

When running at night, in the dark, objects further away are not visible to you and you have only close-by objects to use as reference points.  You therefore, get a greater sense of speed compared to running in the daylight.

I think I shall have to have a look around for some evening races this winter - put the theory to the test.

I remember a few years back that there used to be a series of 5 mile races held in the dark winter evenings around an industrial estate in Newton Aycliffe and I had some pretty good results then.  The first one I ran in 25.04.  However, the course was found to be short and re-measured.  The second race on the re-measured course I did in 25.11 (still my pb for 5 miles).

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Nice weather for ducks

Last night, as I had agreed to pick my daughter up from Hexham Railway Station and I only had a short recovery run planned for the evening I decided to have a change of scenery and combine the two.

Luckily I managed to squeeze the run in between the as ever heavy rain for an enjoyable 4 mile plodge along Tyne Green and the banks of the River Tyne.

The recovery run following on from Tuesday.s 6 mile progression run with a mile warm down.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Feeling heavy but not too old

Following the unplanned 14 miler on Wednesday, last nights session was a 'good paced' 9 miles from Blaydon around Newburn Business Park and back. 

I must admit to feeling rather heavy and tired this morning so a shorter run is on the cards for this evening.

I am frequently asked by (non - running) aquaintances questions like, when are you going to stop runing? Aren't you a bit old to still be doing this? Why do you still race at your age? and such like.  So I was quite interested when I noticed a debate on The Runningbug website on whether it is foolish to try to run faster when you are over the age of 40.

 If you want to vote on this question you can do so here

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A timely reminder

Although not a massive total, last weeks mileage was a significant increase on what I have been doing.  The aim, this week then, was to consolidate those miles with a similar mileage for this week .  Followed by a slight increase next week.

But things don't always turn out how you plan them.  The last few days have provided excellent conditions for running.  So much so, that last night as I set out for my planned easy 6 miles, I was seduced into extending the run to 14 miles (with 1696ft of ascent and descent).

Road to Whittonstall
It was a perfect night for running as I chose a route which took in Ebchester, Whittonstall, Stocksfield and Hedley-on-the-Hill, before returning home to Medomsley.

When it comes to clothing , whether it be for day to day wear or for running, I tend toward dark colours, particularly black and blue and this created a bit of a problem last night.

As I tried (unsuccessfully) to bang the miles in before darkness fell. I found myself on the narrow, unlit country lanes between Hedley and Ebchester in total darkness.  Much to the consternation of a couple of drivers who happened to be using that route.

View from Hedley with Newcastle in the distance

A timely reminder then, as the nights draw in, that it is  time to break out the reflective and lightly coloured running clothing.

That said, it was still a very enjoyable run.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Perceived effort

Perhaps we should spend a little time considering who will be watching our training sessions as well as where we carry them out Journal of Perceptual and Motor skills

Friday, 5 October 2012

Its an evolutionary process

My journey, this morning, from bed to bathroom was a pretty good dramatisation of the ascent of man and my body's way of letting me know that I have significantly increased my training load in a short period.

Following a hard workout in the gym by way of a recovery session on Monday, 11 miles of which 7 miles were at tempo on Tuesday and last nights 10 miler with 4 x 5 mins, separated only by a steady 4 miles on Wednesday and I am starting to feel heavy and tired.

But, this is the start of yet another offensive, aimed at 'getting back'.  So although it will be shorter runs tonight and tomorrow, I will be rounding the week of with a 16 miler on Sunday.

In the grand scheme of things not an epic week mileage wise but it will represent in the region of a 40% increase on the weekly mileage I have been doing of late.

Following a wasted summer, running wise. The intention is to have a good solid winter and hopefully some improved race performances in the new year.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Preston Guild 10km

Wet but mild conditions met the runners for yesterdays Preston 10km.  This years race was run on a slightly revised and remeasured course around Preston Town Centre and nearby parkland, but still included the steep climb between 8 and 9 kilometres which has proved to be my nemeses on my last two outings in this race.

Although I have turned out twice (Yorkshire Wolds and GNR) since my little health issue over the summer this was really my first time at trying to actually race since the incident..

I started off steady in what was a bumper sized field for this years race but soon found myself among familiar faces from previous visits to the area.

Although I dropped back slightly after the second mile I managed to pick things up again and work my way back up the field.  Hitting the hill at about 8km I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to climb it more comfortably than in previous years. But ' the sting is in the tail' as they say, and it was coming off the top of the hill that I started floundering with the result that I fell apart over the last 1000m or so, dropping at least a half a dozen places, to finish in 44th place in 40.02.

This gave me third M55 behind Joe Swarbeck and Red Rose runner Ken Addison (39.59).  The race was won by Preston Harriers' Robert Alllack from club mate Gethin Butler in 33.14.

The ladies race was won by Claire Bruce.

So, now its once again, back to the drawing board to add a bit more structure to the training along with a few more miles which will hopefully lead to faster races.

photos by Francesca

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tueday Training

Turn out for the club, Tueday training session was lower than usual, last night.  Probably due to the heavy rain and the resulting flooding.  But an intrepid 5 manged to make it, of which four of us decided on an 8 mile run around Newburn and Scotswood Bridges with a 20 minute tempo run in the middle.

However, our agreed starting point, in Newburn, for the tempo section had to be delayed due to the flooding.

Main road through Newburn
Despite the added obsticles it was a very enjoyable session.

photo by Chroniclelive

Monday, 24 September 2012

Need to get my diary organised

As I spent the weekend in Preston yesterdays run was a change of scenery.  With a run through Avenham Park, alongside the River Ribble around Fishwick Bottom Nature Reserve and back to Preston City Centre.

River Ribble from Avenham Park

This is where I am honest and admit that this was not the plan when I decided upon heading to Preston this weekend.  My original intention was to run the Preston 10km.

Only one problem - I was a week early, the Preston 10km is not until next Sunday.

As a result of believing I was racing on Sunday my weekly mileage was also down on normal with only 36 miles in for the week.

Well at least I know where I will be this coming Sunday.

Friday, 21 September 2012


Suffering from a definite case of DOMS meant that this evenings run was at a gentle pace, mind you the route from Medomsley through Broadoak and Milkwellburn Woods and back did involve over 1000ft of ascent and descent, over 9 miles.


Since I was taking it easy I decided to take my new camera for a spin also:

Monday, 17 September 2012

Running someone else's race

As I have done for the previous 6 years, I did yesterday's Great North Run as a chaperone for one of the celebrity runners.

Yesterdays partner (victim) was BBC's Countryfile presenter Adam Henson.  Adam had never ran a half marathon before (or any other event for that matter) but had ran as far as 10 miles in training.  Aiming to finish in under 2 hours, his ideal target was a 1.50 finish. We agreed that we would just set off at a pace with which Adam felt comfortable and I would monitor the time.

The GNR is a downhill start, and a first mile in 8.03 (just over 1.44 pace) meant we were already ahead of schedule so the pace eased and the next mile was covered in 8.41.  However, Adam was feeling comfortable and miles of  8.15 and 8.17 followed and this included the drag up to Heworth.

The pace kept pretty much the same until we reached a flatter section of the course and miles 7 and 8 were knocked out in 7.41 and 7.38.  We were now starting to pass quite a few of those who had flew past us at the beginning of the race.

We were  now, however, fast approaching unknown territory for Adam and the long drag up John Reed Road. So, we again backed slightly of the pace, dropping back to roughly 8 minute mile pace.  Adam was looking strong though and once we hit the road along by The Links and only a mile to run, the pace was picked up again, for our fastest mile of the day at 7.35 and a finishing time of 1.46.28.

For me it was an enjoyable Sunday morning run with some pleasant company.  Adam seemed pleased with his time and hopefully enjoyed the experience.  To be honest, I feel he could have ran a couple of minutes faster but we opted for a cautious approach.

Hopefully he will return next year and a new pb.

Thanks to Anita for photos

Saturday, 15 September 2012

GNR weekend - City Games

Yes, it's that time of year again and The Great North Run is upon us once more.  As was the now annual Great North City Games on the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides.  As it was last year it was a competition between GB and USA and similar to last year it turned out to be a win for the USA.

 Highlights were, Mo Farah who, after deciding not to run tomorrows GNR, duly won the 2 mile race in 8.40.

 Berbard Lagart of USA ran well to hold on to win the 1 mile in 4.01.62 just holding off Britain's James Brewer (4.01.81). While the women's mile race was nearly a blanket finish, with the lead changing hands between four different runners in the last 30 metres.  The eventual winner being USA's Brenda Martinez (4.34.99) from Hannah England (4.35.56), Anna Pierce (4.36.44) and early race leader Jenny Simpson (4.37.17).  Julia Bleasdale , moving down  from the 5000 and 10000 she ran at the Olympics had a great race and was in the lead as the runners came of the Swing Bridge finishing 5th (4.38.89)

Meanwhile in the sprints Jason Richardson won the 110m hurdles (13.41); Jeneba Tarmoh the Women's 100m (11.17); Men's 100m Dwain Chamber (10.04); Women's 150m Anyika Ouuora (16.70): Men's 100m Wallace Spearmon (15.13).

Chris Tomlinson won the Long Jump, while the Pole Vault went to Mary Saxer.

A great day of athletics and the perfect prelude to tomorrows GNR.

Full results can be found here