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