Monday, 30 September 2013

Redcar Half Marathon

I have had an on/off relationship with this race throughout my time of running.  The course has changed on a number of occasions over the years and having last ran this race in 2008, this was another new course for me.  I have a number of good memories from the numerous times I have ran at Redcar.  It was at Redcar that I last broke 70 minutes for the half marathon (16 year ago), but the one thing that always seems to spring to mind when anyone talks about Redcar is the wind.

1st place Paul Pollock

Yesterday, the weather conditions where bright and sunny with a stiff breeze.  Not the strong winds of previous years, so I was expecting a decent run.  I must admit though I struggled, going to pieces over the three mile stretch from miles 7 to 10, between Redcar and Marske, as the course headed directly into the breeze.

2nd place Andrew Wiles

Admittedly I probably started a little too quickly and as a result after 4 miles found myself falling back through the field as the more conservative starters filed past.

3rd place Ian Harding

Prior to the race I was expecting to run between 1.28 and 1.30 with 1.30 being a poor but acceptable result.  In the end I completed the course in 1.29.30 to finish in 96th position, so within my target.

The race was won by Paul Pollock of Kent AC in 67.05, with Andrew Wiles of New Marske (70.17) in second and Morpeth's Ian Harding 3rd in 70.55.

First lady was Shona Fletcher of Richmond and Zetland Harriers in 1.21.33 for 25th place overall.

4th placed James Bulman of New Marske was 1st M40 in 71.19 with Neil Byrne (79.49) first M45 and New Marske's Paul Gamble - Thompson first M50 (1.21.09)

While my category, M55, was won in 1.28.43 by Quaker Running Club's Brian Martin for 83rd overall from John Marshall of Heaton Harriers (1.28.56) in 85th place.  With me being 3rd M55.

For photos - thanks to Francesca

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Is technology ruining our sport.....

......... Or am I just becoming a grumpy old man?

It may seem strange to suggest that technology is having an adverse effect on athletics and running in particular.  Especially with the improvements in running tracks, advances in running footwear and clothing and improvements in timing systems to name but a few.

During the seventies runners were split between the elite and the club runner, with the latter, in a lot of  cases, being looked upon as slightly strange.  Then during the eighties, there came the 'running boom'.  I was probably among the first wave of 'running boomers' to join an athletics club and as such was educated in the training methods of the time.  Which if you had to sum it up in a word, would be mileage.

Following on from the boom, running became more popular and the concept of the fun run took off. The result is that now distances such as 10km, half marathon and the marathon are almost seen as a right of passage with the emphasis placed upon completion rather than racing for place and time.

Returning to the original question then, advances in technology running alongside this increase in participation has seen a number of flash points.  The most common of which being the wearing of headphones during races which has resulted in some runners being disqualified and some race organisers attempting to ban there use during the race.

But now there seems to be a new problem - the smart phone, and in particular the 'selfie'. Organisers of this years Hong Kong marathon are campaigning against entrants taking photos of themselves during the race.

The reason for this campaign follows an incident at the start of a 10km where a woman stopped to take a 'selfie', dropping her phone she stooped to retrieve it causing a number of runners behind her to trip and fall, including the eventual race winner.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Great North Weekend

It was that time of year again - Great North Run weekend.

As usual on Saturday I headed down to the quayside to watch the City Games while on Sunday I ran the Great North Run, chaperoning one of the celebrities.  This year I had the pleasure to accompany former Premier League Referee Mark Halsey.

The Great North City Games:

Great North Run:

Another great weekend!

Thanks to Francesca for GNR photos - More photos can be found at

Friday, 6 September 2013

Picture this........

Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me.  But picture this.......

As I approached the 15 mile mark, behind me,  a sense of tranquillity descended along the banks of the Tyne. The sun was melting into the sky, casting a deep red glow across the burnished gold of the corn fields.

Or, for those of you of a more practical mind.  The sunlight had travelled a longer path through the atmosphere than earlier in the day and had therefore been scattered by particles of dust causing the red sunset.

Either way I was knackered.

Setting off from the club early so that I could get my long run in last night rather than on Sunday the plan was to run 20 miles.  The first 18 at an easy pace with the last two at tempo.

Things were going well and I was enjoying the run but as I clocked up 14 miles I suddenly felt very tired.  Whether it was just general tiredness or my mind trying to convince me that I did not really want to do the tempo section I am not sure, but the next couple of miles were a real struggle.

Then approaching 18 miles my feet seemed lighter and my stride lengthened and the two miles tempo passed without any problem.  In fact by now I was feeling so good I decided to add on another couple of miles.

So at  22 miles a good evenings running

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Marathon training

Normally my 'running week' follows much the same pattern with sessions on a Tuesday and Thursday,  a long run on a Sunday interspersed with recovery or steady runs with possibly an additional session on a Saturday.

However, I already know that other commitments are going to cause a great amount of disruption to this routine over the coming weeks and with the marathon looming upon the horizon it is going to take careful planning to get things right.

To this end I will be doing this Sunday's planned 20 miles tonight.  Having already upped the mileage this week in anticipation of not getting much running in over the weekend I must admit that this evenings session is going to be on heavy and tired legs.

I am also going to find it difficult to fit in any races but the Redcar Half Marathon on 29th September is looking a good possibility.