Friday, 25 November 2016

Save our track

Blaydon Harriers have been based at Shibdon Road, Blaydon since 1963, where we use an all weather running track.  This month it came to light that Gateshead Council are looking to replace the track with 5 a side football pitches.  A decision being made next month (December)!

Closing the track will deprive not just the 200 or so members of Blaydon Harriers who use the track for training, but also other organisations such as Ryton Tri, who also use the track, of a vital facility.

Blaydon Harriers cater for and encourage fitness and running for those from the age of 5 upwards.  So it seems odd, to my mind,  that the Council want to take away such an important and popular facility.  Especially when one of its targets as a Council is to promote healthy living and reduce obesity rates.

Gateshead Council's own website will tell you that 68.9% of adults in Gateshead have excess weight and that 'this is significantly worse than the England average...' and 19.9% of 10 - 11 year olds were obese in 2014/15.

Gateshead Strategic Partnership - Joint Strategic Needs Assessment states that only 27.1% of adults 18+ undertake moderate physical activity in the Blaydon Ward.  The 3rd lowest figure of all Gateshead Wards (the second lowest being Ryton - from where Blaydon Harriers attract a number of members).

I believe the decision to replace the track with football pitches is purely financial.  But will the 5 a side pitches attract the same numbers and age range of people?  If not then this could possibly have a detrimental affect on the health of the borough (and all the additional costs that will eventually bring) for the sake of a short term financial gain.

Gateshead Metropolitan Bourough covers an area of 55 sq. miles.  Do the football pitches have to be placed on top of the running track?  What about for example land half a mile down the road and in conjunction with the football club that is already based there?

Seemingly, it was suggested that as the  space needed for the football pitches would only take up the first two lanes we could still have the track from lane 3 to 6 - Eh?

And all this from a council which has a past tradition of supporting athletics

Please save our track!

NB - If you are on Twitter - I have posted a tweet 'save our track'  at @AlanDent2 - please re-tweet if you agree.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Avoid the wall

Most people training for and running a marathon will have heard of'' hitting the wall' and received the advice to "avoid going out too fast at the start".  Well in a study that looked at non-elite performances at the 2015 Chicago Marathon, data analyst Barry Smyth provides the data behind such sound advice.

 In this analysis, hitting the wall was defined as when a runner slows down by at least 33% in the second half of the race.

It was found that 50% of runners who hit the wall ran their first 5km as their fastest segment of the race.  However, for those who ran the first 5km as their slowest segment, they never hit the wall and on average finished 50 minutes faster than those who had started too quickly.

Possibly shades of 'The tortoise and the hare' here.

The study also showed that male runners tended to be 3 - 4 times more likely to hit the wall than women.

More details of the study can be found here

Friday, 18 November 2016

Not the Dead Sea Scrolls but Blaydon Backchat

You wouldn't have thought the excitement would have been as great as that generated by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls but I am sure that the unearthing of a few copies of Back Chat,  Blaydon Harriers' old newsletter from the 1990's caused as much interest.  As we sat huddled over them in the Black Bull following last nights training session and rediscovered past events and glories.

Obviously the main talking points were the race results and the times that we did (and why we can't run that fast now).  But also events such as the club relay following Wainwrights Coast to Coast route and of memories of former members who are no longer with the club.

On a personal note, there seems to a worrying number of mentions as to my sartorial habits - did I really dress that differently?

But from a running perspective, without boring you too much,  they detail some of my better performances.  Issue number 3 , September 1992, describes, for example, a successful June and July with the following results:

- Hamsterley Forest 16 miles - 1st in 1.33.08  (New course record by over 6 minutes)
- Tynedale 10km - 3rd
- Phoenix 14 miles - 6th
- Yorkshire Wolds half marathon - 1st
- Hamsterley Forest 10.5 miles - 1st in 62.40 (New course record)
- Hamsterly Forest 5.3 miles - 2nd

Ah those were the days!

As for my current running you can probably guess from the lack of posts on this blog that there has not been much to write about.  I have just about had to start from scratch and slowly build up over the past 12 weeks from very easy jogging.

 Last night I did my first track session for, what must be about, 4 years with 3 x 800m on 75seconds recovery, 2 min recovery then 4 x 400 with 75 seconds recovery and although I would have probably been better off timing the intervals using a sundial rather than a stopwatch - you have to start somewhere.

As far as my long term target of running 100,000 miles before my 65th birthday, I should reach 90,000 miles in about 2 weeks time, about 3 months behind what I had planned.  But I'm slowly getting there