Friday, 25 September 2015

Cross Country but not as we know it

Well it's that time of year again, with the cross country season kicking off this weekend at Tanfield and the first fixture in the North East Harrier League.  Unfortunately though I will not be running it due to on -going problems with my right calf.  Although, I have started running again.

The calf problem also prevented me from doing the GNR and is also the reason why there have been no blog posts since the beginning of the month.

Although the conditions should be fairly good for the race at Tanfield it won't be long before we are faced with the muddy courses we are all familiar with. Unlike the one at the Masters World Championships which I ran in Puerto Rico back in 2003. The course was alongside an idyllic tropical beech and the race was ran at 6.00am to avoid the heat of the day, on a flat, lapped course with the only obstacle a small tree trunk which you had to 'jump' or should I say step over.

For the record I finished in 8th position in the M45 race with a time of 29.09 for the 8km course.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A touch of serendipity

It is a little while since I posted anything here.  This is due to the fact that unfortunately, not much has been happening on the running front.

Firstly, I picked up a calf injury which resulted in missing nearly 3 weeks of running.  I then managed to get a couple of very easy short runs in before I was off on our family holiday to Santorini.  For the first week I managed an easy three miles every other day.  Keeping as far as possible on the flat.  The second week I found some hillier routes, especially the trail up to the Spring of  Zoodochos Pigi (spring of life).  But towards the end of the week I was having difficulty putting any weight on my left foot, which resulted in a further 3 days without running.

Now back at home, although my left foot is still giving me some problems I am again running and hopefully I can get into some sort of shape for the Great North Run a week on Sunday.

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Having read 'Running with the Kenyans' on a previous break I decided that this year's holiday reading would include 'The Way of the Runner' by the same author, Abharanand Finn.

 In this book he investigates how Japan, with its in depth distance running talent (52 Japanese men ran sub 2.15 for the marathon in the year following the 2012 Olympics, while only 12 Americans and no UK athletes achieved this) cannot translate this into global success.

One of the main area's Finn identifies as a cause for this is the massive emphasis the Japanese place on ekiden events.  Which are just about a national obsession , with massive TV and media coverage.  Particularly the Hakone event (see my post of 12th June).




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And a touch of serendipity..............

Kanagawa station
It may not be obvious from this blog but I do have other interests, other than running.  One of them being Ukiyo-e.  Over the last few years I have built up a small collection of 19th century Japanese woodblock prints and have two examples from Ando Hiroshige's 53 Stations of the Tokaido Road.

As mentioned in my post of 12th June Ekiden is the Japanese term originally referring to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communications by stages.  The view from the end of each stage or station is what is these pictures show.

Kuwana station

However, it was only upon reading 'The Way of the Runner' that I discovered that the route of Japans most popular ekiden, Hakone, follows the route as portrayed by Hiroshige in his Tokaido Road series.

The two pictures of the prints to the left, of Kanagawa and Kuwana are from my collection.