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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Yorkshire Marathon 2015 (Week 1 of 12) - Adidas Thunder Run

Yorkshire Marathon - Week 1 of 12

Mon 20/7: (am) 4.0 miles @ 9:10/mile
Mon 20/7: (pm) 4.0 miles @ 8:58/mile
Tues 21/7: 4.0 miles @ 8:41/mile
Weds 22/7: (am) 4.0 miles @ 9:02/mile
Weds 22/7: (pm) 4.0 miles incl Golden Acre Relays (2.75 miles @ 5:50/mile)
Thurs 23/7: 4.0 miles @ 8:32/mile
Fri 24/7: 4.0 miles @ 9:36/mile
Sat 25/7: Adidas Thunder Run (62.1 miles @ 8:00/mile - 3rd Mixed Pair)
Sun 26/7:


Total Mileage - 90.10 Miles



Time for another 12 week marathon build up :)

With The Yorkshire Marathon delivering my all time PB of 2:47:34 in 2014 it is a course with pleasant memories, so hopefully 2015 will also be kind with the weather conditions and then, who knows, there could be a chance of something similar resulting from this year's event.

The Plan

As would be expected by now, the plan as such is very light on detail - Lots of racing at lots of distances and backed up by a base of short 8:00+ min/mile runs. 

A plan summed up in one short sentence wouldn't sell many magazines!



Sat 25th/Sun 26th July - Adidas Thunder Run 24hours, Catton Park (3rd Mixed Pair, 20 laps, 200km)

There are certain things that neither Hannah nor myself are very keen on:

1. We don't like mud.
2. We don't like off road.
3. We're not interested in ultras.

So how on earth did we end up last weekend taking part in a muddy, off road 24 hour relay event?

There was certainly no intention to, in fact the idea was to enter the Wimbledon Half Marathon last Sunday. However, a few days before Thunder Run we noticed a post from Clapham Chasers stating that they had a spare team entry.

As usual, when the question was posed by Hannah my successive answers were no, no, no, no, no, what is it anyway?

A few days later we were lined up at Catton Park as a Mixed Pair with the team name Deli's Dawdlers.

What's in a name?

Deli was an ex racehorse (not a very good one by all accounts) who for the last few years has been Hannah's equine pal.

However, at 24 years old it sadly became inevitable that his innings was coming to a close. The picture below was a couple of weeks ago while he was enjoying his last treats of Polo Mints and apples and looking very happy into the bargain:


With two relay events in a week coming up, Golden Acre Relays and Thunder Run, requiring team names, Deli's Dawdlers was chosen as being very appropriate.


The Race

When we turned up at Catton Park on Friday evening it felt like we were blundering into something we really didn't understand but everyone else knew exactly what they were doing.

Our thinking was that we would at least get some decent mileage in over the 24 hours. We reckoned that we should be ok to get 5 laps each of the 10k course completed giving a team total of 62.1 miles and 31 miles each. 

Anything after that would be a real journey into the unknown. After having a quick glance at last year's results it seemed that almost without exception lap times really fell away as the event progressed. With this in mind our main objective was to not get broken and if it started to become a real struggle we would just call it a day.

Unlike most races the one thing that wasn't going to be in short supply was time - there was tons of the stuff, 1,440 minutes to be precise. We rarely run for more than 200 minutes so we were unlikely to utilise 720 minutes each without undue suffering. In other words, there was no rush - we just decided to run to feel at about the same effort level as our training during the week and just see what happens.

The scene was set:

(Pic courtesy of Ian Schofield)



The Airedale Dodgers were definitely ready (Alun Griffiths, Chris Healey, Moi, Hannah, Tracey Healey, Grampus) :



And at 12:00 pm on Saturday the event got under way:



Even though it was sunny and hot the course was muddy and slippy for the first couple of laps before gradually drying out as the laps passed by. Hannah steadily working her way around the twisty hilly course in the early stages :


24 hours 14 minutes (and 200km) later :


So what happened in between?

We didn't attempt any double laps, although it was contemplated at one point, so it was a case of alternating single laps throughout.

Laps 1-10

After the first two laps finding our feet so to speak we were surprised to see how consistently the laps were ticking over. The first 10 laps (100k) passed pretty smoothly but this was the point when things were expected to start getting tough.

Laps 11-14

After 10 laps we were advised that we were actually in the lead by 18 minutes. Although that was interesting news it seemed likely to be a very temporary state of affairs considering that we were nowhere near halfway yet and we had no idea what we were going to do from here on in.

Nevertheless we ploughed on quite happily and by 11:46 pm 14 laps had been completed and the lead had grown to an hour. Laps 13 and 14 had been a bit slower as it was now darkness and we had little experience of tip toeing through tricky tree roots and such like with just head torches to light the way.

During lap 13 Hannah had started to struggle with stomach issues, the legs were fine but fuelling was always going to be a bit of guesswork.

Since we had no intention of suffering unduly and the fact that we didn't think we would be able to use the full 24 hours anyway we decided to have a break during the hours of darkness. 

Laps 15-20

We didn't set an alarm, just slept until we woke up. 7 hours later we woke up with the intention of doing a lap each to round the event off.

Hannah went off and knocked off lap 15 in 49:50, clearly rejuvenated after a good night's kip.

Waiting for the changeover the news came that we were now in 8th position. That didn't seem too bad after taking the best part of 8 hours off!

Enquiring whether Hannah had now had enough I got the response 'there's 4 hours left yet'. 

Ok, on we go then :)

After the 5 laps from 15-19 had all taken 49:xx, the last lap was begun at 11:25 am.

Apparently we were still showing as 7th on the leaderboard (although Hannah's last lap wouldn't yet have been accounted for) so it was just a case of enjoying the last lap to round off a nice round 100 km each, the highest mileage either of us would have managed in 24 hours. The thing we felt most chuffed about though was that the legs still felt fine for both of us.

The 20th lap also took 49:xx to finish off a very consistent morning of 60km.


Feeling very happy with our efforts, after finishing I got an urge for a big fat burger (obviously not before the celebratory Guinness though). As the results screen was next to the burger queue we had a glance to see if we had improved on our 7th position at all.

There and then there was one of those 'blimey' moments. Somehow during the last 2 laps 7th had become 3rd and we ended up getting to stand on a pallet in a muddy field :)

For a proper blundering, naive approach we probably did ok :)



The whole process was made much easier by these guys, being a team of 6 I think they felt sorry for us and ensured that coffee and snacks were on tap when needed between legs. It really helped :)

Chris Healey, Sue Gregson, Rachel Parker, Alun Griffiths



Which meant that between legs we got to do this :) :



Congratulations go to Claire Spencer (Female Doubles - 22 laps) and Chris and Christina Singleton of Team Fastrax (Mixed 8 - 36 laps (new record)) for podium topping performances:




Congratulations also to John Robson and Terry Midgley ( team name John Terry) who also completed 20 laps on their first effort as a duo but managed to complete their 20 laps some 4 hours earlier than we did.

Would we do it again?

We probably wouldn't rush to do Thunder Run again but the concept certainly became slightly more appealing after last weekend. Maybe a 12 hour event next time?


Next Week:

Next week will probably involve parkrunning at Falls Park in Belfast, followed by 'Running Blind' at Stormont on Saturday afternoon (Me running blindfolded, can you imagine? :p ) and then the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon in Dublin on Sunday.

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March:  11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile
6th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:58/mile
7th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:05/mile
10th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 6:20/mile
13th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
14th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:02/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
21st Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:31/mile
25th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
26th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:11/mile
27th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
27th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:15/mile
28th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:42/mile
1st Jul: 1.0 miles @ 5:11/mile
5th Jul: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
9th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
11th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
12th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
18th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
18th Jul: 6.21 miles @ 5:43/mile
19th Jul: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
22nd Jul: 2.75 miles @ 5:50/mile
25th/26th Jul: 62.1 miles @ 8:00/mile







Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Potteries Marathon 2016 - From Limavady to Stoke in 10 crazy days!

Potteries Marathon 2016

One potential use of a blog is to use it to show the results of experimentation, others can then avoid making the same mistakes themselves or, if they so wish, employing any positive snippets to their own advantage.

And in that vein the 10 days leading up to the born again Potteries Marathon were anything but conventional and produced some surprising results!



Those 10 days involved competing no less than 7 times over the following distances:

1 Mile
5k
10k (twice)
10 Miles
Half Marathon
Marathon

A recipe for disaster perhaps? Or at the very least a weary trudge around the Potteries Marathon at the end of the sequence?


Thurs 25th Jun: Around the Bridges 10 Miles (Limavady NI) 59:31 (4th)
Fri 26th Jun: Ards Half Marathon NI 1:21:02 (6th)
Sat 27th Jun: Enniskillen parkrun 18:30 (1st)
Sat 27th Jun: Dromore 10k NI 38:50 (6th)
Sun 28th Jun: Run For Paul 10k 41:34 (4th)
Weds 1st Jul: HPH Summer Mile (Leeds) 5:11.1 (6th Ht12)
Sun 5th Jul: Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (6th)


Hannah -

Thurs 25th Jun: Around the Bridges 10 Miles (Limavady NI) 1:02:36 (1st)
Fri 26th Jun: Ards Half Marathon NI 1:23:19 (1st)
Sat 27th Jun: Enniskillen parkrun 18:53 (1st)
Sat 27th Jun: Dromore 10k NI 39:55 (1st)
Sun 28th Jun: Run For Paul 10k 40:40 (1st)
Weds 1st Jul: HPH Summer Mile (Leeds) 5:12.5 (1st)
Sun 5th Jul: Potteries Marathon 2:57:27 (1st)


Our good friends over in Belfast, Mark and Janine Ramsey, had suggested a few races that fitted together quite nicely to make a fun filled 4 day visit to Northern Ireland. It just happened that it was the week before our next marathon, ie Potteries, but that was no reason to miss out on some new exploring opportunities.


Thurs 25th June - Around The Bridges 10 Miles, Limavady (59:31 4th) (Hannah 1:02:36 1st)

I could not have even have had a wild guess as to where Limavady was before this race appeared but we were certainly glad we found it after having a brilliant evening thanks to the Springwell Running Club.


Conditions were perfect and the course was nothing worse than mildly undulating so it felt like there might be an outside chance of a sub 60 in the old legs if the early stages felt ok.

29:20 at halfway and then, despite a bit of a sting in the tail in the 10th mile, a finishing time of 59:31 justified that initial optimism :)

Gary Keenan (far left), president of Athletics Northern Ireland, had nothing but praise for this event ..... and quite rightly so.


Nobody left this race feeling hungry:




Friday 26th June - Ards Half Marathon (1:21:02 6th) (Hannah 1:23:19 1st)

This promised to be a real struggle around the hills of Newtownards after having run a hard 10 miler 24 hours earlier.

In reality though the concern about a potentially messy second half just served to make the approach towards the first half more cautious than usual. A bit achey on the early climbs but slowly but surely the legs started to respond and the final outcome of 1:21:02 was about as good as could have been expected even if there hadn't been the race the night before. This was not an easy course!

Hannah bringing it home to secure back to back wins over 24 hours:




The evening was topped off nicely with a spot of rehydration in the delightful company of (from left): Karen McElroy, Janine Ramsey, Your truly, Jennifer McAteer, Mark Ramsey, Martin Brady



Saturday 27th Jun (9am) - Enniskillen parkrun (18:30 1st) (Hannah 18:53 1st)

At 9am the next morning we were treated to a very scenic Enniskillen parkrun. Another testing course but the setting and the post run coffee venue were well worth a visit:




Saturday 27th June (12 noon) - Dromore 10k (38:50 6th) (Hannah 39:55 1st)

A quick trip up to Dromore and it was time for the 4th event of the weekend just a day and a half after the 1st.

Very much a repeat story here in the sense that a very cautious start allowed the legs to come strong in the later stages. They were tired now but for the 4th event surprisingly intact :)



Sunday 28th June - 'Run For Paul' 10k, Delamont Country Park, Downpatrick (41:34 4th) (Hannah 40:40 1st)

This was a masterpiece in race organisation by the legendary Mags Mathieson.

With just 2 weeks from idea to race day this event brought the NI running community together in double quick time to raise much needed urgent medical funds for Paul Brannigan.

It was an undoubted success and a cracking day all round.

The inspirational duo that is Mark and Janine Ramsey:


(From left) Mags Mathieson, Hannah, Paul Brannigan and Max Mcroberts:



Finally we got Mags to the pub to reflect on a job well done :)


And the reason why Mags is rather well known, and hugely popular, in NI running circles:

https://www.joininuk.org/mags-volunteering-journey/


Wednesday 1st July - Hyde Park Summer Mile, Leeds (5:11.1 6th Ht12) (Hannah 5:12.5)

The Hyde Park Summer Mile is now in it's 5th year and just keeps getting bigger and better. This year was a sell out with 13 heats of 15 runners tackling the 2 lap course around Woodhouse Moor.

Over the 5 years it has also been noticeable just how much Hyde Park Harriers has grown as a club. So much so that in Heat 12 John Robson (just visible in the shades) and myself were caught up in the middle of a proper club burn up. Hannah is also in the mix too but just out of shot running wide.

A thoroughly enjoyable event with the one and only Sam Dooley at the helm, supported by an army of HPH volunteers.

The race itself was very surprising, delivering the fastest time of all the 5 years. After the weekend in Northern Ireland that certainly wasn't expected but it provided a good indication that recovery between races was coming along ok. Hannah also pulled off her fastest run at this event with 5:12.5.



Sun 5th July - The Potteries Marathon 2016 (2:52:40 6th) (Hannah 2:57:27 1st)

So now for the 7th event in 10 days. We knew it was going to be lumpy but what we experienced has got to be the hilliest road marathon that I've experienced out of the 50 or so completed.

It was pretty hot and humid too by the second half so, all in all, a challenging set of circumstances.

So did it turn out to be as much of a struggle as it might be reasonable to expect given the build up? Absolutely not, it was one of those days where the legs just seemed to lap it up but, as Hannah neatly summed it up, you could never take the handbrake fully off because running the course blind and knowing there were numerous hills ahead required an element of holding something in reserve.

Talking of hills, it was mentioned in one course description that there were 28 'significant hills' and the overwhelming response to that from those that ran was that that sounded like an understatement.

It would be easy to assume from Ben Fish's winning time of 2:26 that the course was relatively easy but Ben was quick to point out that he felt his performance was right up there with his 2:19 PB.

It isn't totally clear where these photos were taken of Hannah (2:57 1st lady), Kelvin Dickinson (2:57 1st V40) and myself (2:52 1st V45) but I think they nicely sum up the spirit in which this event was approached - nice and relaxed with a real feel good factor:





And just for amusement, the photo above in the 2015 Potteries Marathon was of the same chap as the one below in the Potteries Marathon 22 years earlier. That day produced a time of 2:48:58 on a kinder course than the new incarnation. If only 4 minutes is lost in the next 22 years........... :)


This was the approach to the finish at the Brittania Stadium clearly showing the enthusiasm for bringing back this event. We were all quite surprised at just how much support there was all the way around the course, a factor which will probably go a long way to making sure this race is back for good.




There were lots of twists and turns lots of ups and downs and lots of reasons why this should have gone horribly wrong.

But all those ingredients served to make the finishing time of 2:52:40 and 6th place overall all the more sweet ....... and incredibly surprising!

As for Hannah's eventual result :)

The feel good factor of this event continued well into the afternoon and evening, (from left) Mark Ramsey, Janine Ramsey, Hannah, Myself, Kelvin Dickinson, Caz Hall


It was interesting that Mark had what was undoubtedly his best ever marathon performance (3:46), just 1 minute outside his PB run at Manchester earlier in the year, a course touted as the flattest in the country.

The interesting aspect of this is that Mark also competed in most of the NI races with us last weekend and yet bounced around the Potteries hills with a broad grin on his face.


2015 Marathons:

2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)


2015 Marathons (Hannah):

2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:52:40 (1st)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:54:26 (2nd)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:07 (26th)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:57:08 (5th)
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:44 (1st)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:57:27 (1st)


Discussion Points:

Considering normally accepted marathon training principles, this last 12 months (and especially the last 6 months) have been a revelation about how thoroughly enjoyable marathon running can be by looking at things a little bit differently.

2015 has consisted of:

1. No LSRs at all - in fact there have only been a couple of occasions of training runs in double figures. In the past, 5-7 x 20-22 milers in a build up have often resulted in miserable falling apart experiences.

2. The 7:00-8:00 pace range has been avoided completely, both in training and racing. Obviously this would be relative to individuals but this equates to avoiding, say, marathon pace + 30s to marathon pace + 90s. The difference that I have noticed is that this has really improved recovery between races and also eliminated a lot of the little niggles that I used to experience.

3. The last 5 weeks between Kent Roadrunner Marathon and Potteries Marathon have consisted of nothing other than 4 mile training runs at 8:00/mile+. There have usually been 2 per day but all at 4 miles. Obviously this isn't suggesting that you can just run 4 milers and then have an enjoyable marathon but that is what we have used as the filling around the marathon building blocks below.

There's always something to learn :)


Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March:  11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile
6th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:58/mile
7th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:05/mile
10th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 6:20/mile
13th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
14th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:02/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
21st Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:31/mile
25th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
26th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:11/mile
27th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
27th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:15/mile
28th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:42/mile
1st Jul: 1.0 miles @ 5:11/mile
5th Jul: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile




Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)


When this blog started, which was about the comeback in 2008, it was fully expected that by 2015 it would all have been about how much time was being lost each year as the ageing process took hold.

But since that doesn't seem to have been the case just yet a new target has emerged. While looking for races the table below was stumbled upon. It lists the longest time spans between first and last sub 3 marathons.

The first reaction was to go 'wow' at the thought of someone running sub 3s 39 years apart. But then it started to become even more interesting to see that only 48 people are known to have surpassed 30 years.

The first provable sub 3 for myself was Brussels Marathon (2:52) in October 1985 and it therefore came as something of a shock to realise that Potteries (2:52) last Sunday was 29 years 9 months after the first one.

You never know what might happen from here on but hopefully the last sub 3 hasn't been run just yet and so it will be interesting to see if, firstly, I could get on that table and then, secondly, to see how far up it can be achieved.

It looks like the British record stands at 35 years 182 days and is held by the highly respected prolific runner, and Runner's World coach, Steve Smythe.

As for 39 years - that's a long long way into the future :p 

Longest Time Spans Between First and Last Sub-X Marathons

Men

Sub-3:00 
39y188d  15 Apr 1974 => 20 Oct 2013   Doug Kurtis (12 Mar 1952,USA) 
38y271d  02 Jul 1972 => 20 Mar 2011   Dave Elger (29 Aug 1953,USA) 
37y122d  17 Jun 1973 => 17 Oct 2010   Mark Lohman (18 Apr 1958,USA) 
 37y101d  25 Nov 1973 => 06 Mar 2011   Rich Walker (09 Apr 1956,USA) 
36y305d  16 Jan 1977 => 17 Nov 2013   Terry Permar (09 Jun 1954,USA) 
36y269d  05 Dec 1976 => 31 Aug 2013   Antonio Arreola (24 Aug 1959,USA) 
36y158d  07 Nov 1976 => 15 Apr 2013   Reno Stirrat (19 Apr 1954,USA) 
36y110d  10 Jan 1976 => 29 Apr 2012   Don Demetriades (19 Dec 1960,USA) 
36y 48d  26 Feb 1977 => 15 Apr 2013   Doug Jacobson (08 Apr 1956,USA) 
36y 25d  03 Feb 1974 => 28 Feb 2010   Hideko Kita (28 Sep 1952,JPN) 
35y327d  05 Nov 1978 => 28 Sep 2014   James Garcia (30 Jun 1958,USA) 
35y280d  15 Jul 1978 => 21 Apr 2014   Gary Allen (29 Jan 1957,USA) 
35y182d  23 Oct 1976 => 22 Apr 2012   Steve Smythe (18 Mar 1958,GBR) 
35y175d  26 Oct 1974 => 19 Apr 2010   Kerry Green (05 Apr 1954,USA) 
35y 90d  25 Feb 1978 => 26 May 2013   Roger Wyllie (22 Oct 1959,CAN) 
34y363d  21 Apr 1975 => 19 Apr 2010   Dennis Kurtis (01 Nov 1953,USA) 
34y133d  23 Apr 1966 => 03 Sep 2000   Don Ritchie (06 Jul 1944,SCO) 
33y351d  05 May 1979 => 21 Apr 2013   Chris Finill (31 Dec 1958,ENG) 
33y330d  19 Oct 1980 => 14 Sep 2014   Bob VanLangenhoven (14 Apr 1962,USA) 
33y232d  20 Apr 1980 => 08 Dec 2013   Kirk Mueller (29 May 1961,USA) 
33y190d  10 Sep 1977 => 19 Mar 2011   Terrence Stanley (05 Sep 1952,USA) 
33y189d  29 Jul 1979 => 03 Feb 2013   Vladimir Kotov (21 Feb 1958,BLR) 
33y137d  19 Apr 1934 => 03 Sep 1967   Johnny A Kelley (06 Sep 1907,USA) 
33y 51d  14 Jan 1979 => 05 Mar 2012   Steven Schuman (18 Jul 1962,USA) 
32y364d  19 Apr 1910 => 18 Apr 1943   Clarence DeMar (07 Jun 1888,USA) 
32y363d  19 Apr 1967 => 17 Apr 2000   Laurence Olsen (14 Nov 1946,USA) 
32y234d  25 Mar 1973 => 14 Nov 2010   Heung-Ju Moon (14 Feb 1949,KOR) 
32y191d  30 Apr 1978 => 07 Nov 2010   Orlando Pizzolato (30 Jul 1958,ITA) 
32y149d  08 Jul 1979 => 04 Dec 2011   Mark Murray (1962,USA) 
32y113d  25 Feb 1979 => 18 Jun 2011   Dennis Wallach (19 Jul 1957,USA) 
32y 95d  13 Jan 1979 => 18 Apr 2011   Budd Coates (06 Apr 1957,USA) 
32y 92d  06 Dec 1959 => 07 Mar 1992   Barry Magee (06 Feb 1934,NZL) 
32y 67d  12 Feb 1977 => 20 Apr 2009   Rob French (14 Jul 1958,USA) 
32y 51d  20 Aug 1978 => 10 Oct 2010   Lee Pollock (07 Sep 1952,USA) 
32y 11d  04 Apr 1981 => 15 Apr 2013   John Loftus (USA) 
32y  9d  04 Dec 1949 => 13 Dec 1982   Keizo Yamada (30 Nov 1927,JPN) 
32y  8d  02 Dec 1979 => 10 Dec 2011   Brian Baker (27 Jan 1962,USA) 
31y339d  05 Nov 1978 => 10 Oct 2010   Greg Skopec (18 Nov 1961,USA) 
31y329d  04 Nov 1979 => 09 Oct 2011   Peter LaGoy (21 Jul 1959,USA) 
31y270d  14 Mar 1976 => 09 Dec 2007   Kaneo Hikima (11 Sep 1954,JPN) 
31y268d  04 Mar 1979 => 27 Nov 2010   Bob Schwelm (03 Jan 1959,USA) 
31y242d  22 Sep 1979 => 22 May 2011   Kevin Hesketh (05 Apr 1954,WAL) 
31y172d  27 Oct 1979 => 17 Apr 2011   Nick Sirs (04 Jan 1957,ENG) 
31y 16d  19 Apr 1971 => 05 May 2002   Don Slusser (31 Oct 1951,USA) 
30y362d  20 Apr 1953 => 20 Apr 1984   John J Kelley (24 Dec 1930,USA) 
30y244d  16 Aug 1980 => 17 Apr 2011   Mick McGeoch (15 Aug 1955,WAL) 
30y129d  07 Nov 1982 => 16 Mar 2013   David Haaga (25 Jul 1961,USA) 
30y 76d  12 Jul 1969 => 26 Sep 1999   Colin Youngson (27 Oct 1947,SCO)

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Kent Roadrunner Marathon - Race Week (Week 4 of 4)

Week 4 - Race Week



Mon 25/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:53/mile
Tues 26/5: 3.1 miles @ 9:42/mile
Weds 27/5: 6.21 miles @ 8:43/mile
Thurs 28/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Fri 29/5: 4.0 miles @ 9:00/mile
Sat 30/5: 27.0 miles incl Kent Roadrunner Marathon (4th) 2:53:34 (26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile)
Sun 31/5: 4.5 miles @ 9:01/mile

Total Mileage - 55.02 miles




So race day arrived for what promised to be a race with an abundance of eccentricity - cow themed, mid race showboating arena, free beer, the hugest medals in history and a record field of 400+, half of whom were wearing the eye catching Roadrunner vests.


Sat 30th May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 - 4th (Hannah 2:53:44 - 5th )

The scene was set - 17 laps (minus a little bit) of the 2.49km Gravesend Cyclopark was the mission:




All tense and nervous awaiting the start :



At 9am on Saturday morning, otherwise known as parkrun time, off we went:



The early pacesetters included Simon Newton in about 4th resplendent in his Union Jack Roadrunner vest:


The Race

In terms of pacing this marathon the benchmark was that 10 minute laps (9:30 for the slightly shorter first lap) would lead to an overall time of 2:49:30. The idea was to use the clock at the end of each lap primarily as a lap counter but also to compare against the benchmark of 9:30, 19:30, 29:30, 39:30 etc to get a rough idea of likely finishing time.

This was Radio 2/Radio 5Live's Vassos Alexandra who was very complimentary about my cow head :)



The course is a game of two halves, one side of the Cyclopark being downhill and the other, yep you've guessed it, all uphill. It is probably an 800 metre or so climb on each lap and is not an insignificant climb at that. For some reason though it seems to flow quite well.

The laps ticked away at just over 10 minutes for the first ten laps and then drifted a little towards 10:25-10:30 as the heat noticeably increased in the later laps, giving a finishing time of 2:53:34.

The unique nature of this event though is that there is always something of interest going on around you, from Elaine Brassngton's attempt to complete her first marathon to Simon Newton attempting to win his first marathon (both of whom were successful by the way).

Meanwhile I spent the race being chased by a fast cow:




Simon bringing it home for the sweet taste of marathon victory in 2:40:42 and setting a new course record into the bargain:




The unusual nature of this event meant that you had no idea of what position you were in and it really didn't matter. As many said on the day, it is just one big social outing with a bit of a mad professor type Race Director :)

From lap 2 onwards the 400 or so runners are spread all the way round the 2.49km circuit and it is very difficult to know who is on which lap. This probably is the feature that goes a long way to giving this event it's 'inclusive' tag. It doesn't matter what your aim/target you will feel just as much an integral part of the race as anyone else.


My own gut feeling was that my finishing position was maybe 7th or 8th but it turned out to be a pleasantly surprising 4th. Because of the sea of Union Jack Roadrunner vests and the equally ubiquitous cow themed silliness/nonsense I had no idea where Hannah was on the course.

But yet again it couldn't have been closer, a mere 10 seconds in it as she crossed the line in a new course record of 2:53:45 - and that is despite her doing a cartwheel in the showboating zone mid race.

I'm not sure that she quite gets the concepts of 'efficient running form' and 'racing line' :p

(Evidence supplied by Ian Berry):



A cartwheel in the 2nd half of a marathon? I ask you! If only she'd take this game seriously ;) :p

Class photobombing of the Ladies' Winner :)





Hannah and Simon with their huuuuge trophies and heavy bling:




Here we are with Race Director Ian Berry who couldn't take the smile of his face all day long, even when grovelling around on the course picking up discarded rubber bands :p

Two interesting things about this pic -

1. By far the most interesting of course is the amazing randomly generated numbers ;)

2. In the first 5 months of this year the 3 bods in the pic below have already completed a combined 16 marathons, all of which have been sub 3 - 

Hannah (5) 2:50-2:57
Ian (6) 2:44-2:52
Steve (5) 2:48-2:54

There may just be something in this regular marathons idea, something I would have dismissed out of hand a couple of years ago!





Is this an event to be recommended?

Absolutely not! It's rubbish from start to finish and the race director is a miserable sod into the bargain.

More to the point, all the discounted first 100 entries have already been snapped up for 2016 ..... and I haven't entered yet! So if you're half tempted to enter next year's event - don't! Well, not just yet anyway ;)



Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March:  11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile




Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)


Next:

The next marathon will be the Potteries Marathon in 5 weeks, followed by the Yorkshire Marathon in 19 weeks. There will probably be another one in the meantime but they will be a bit more spaced out than the recent ones.

As the next build up will be pretty much a re-run of this build up to Roadrunner it probably won't be blogged but will resume for Yorkshire.