Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Ageing well!

Last week I attended a conference with work with the main subject of ageing well.  My own interest in this area is around keeping people physically active as they move towards the age classed by the public sector as "ageing".  Incidentally this is now seen as 50!  Just 10 more years for me until I hit this benchmark!

How appropriate then that my first edition of Masters Athletics pops through the letterbox today courtesy of me joining the BMAF (British Masters Athletics Federation).   A "masters" athlete is now classed as 35 and over.   Its a good read and full of stats about masters athletics, a report about the recent Masters International Cross Country in Bellahouston park and details plenty of races to look forward to next year.

It made me think of the ageing well conference I attended where physical activity is just a small area of the bigger picture but in my "humble" opinion a vastly underrated one.   Flicking through the magazine it made me realise how great our sport is where "masters" in their 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond enjoy all levels of competition.   How about these British Best Road Race performances detailed in the magazine.....

Male Vet 60 5km Record stands at 16.19 (Mike Hagar)
Female Vet 50 5km record stands at 17.06 (Fiona Matheson)

Male Vet 50 10km record stands at 30.35 (Tecwyn Davies)
Female Vet 50 10km record stands at 35.15 (Fiona Matheson)

Male Vet 50 Half Marathon stands at 66.42 (Martin Rees)
Women Vet 45 Half Marathon stands at 73.06 (Joyce Smith)

Male Vet 50 Marathon record stands at 2hrs 24.58 (Derek Lawson)
Women Vet 45 Marathon record stands at 2.32.48 (Joyce Smith)

I could go on......Ageing well?   I am opting for running any day over bridge clubs, knitting circles and day centres!

To prove my point I showed a picture of supervet Malcolm Renyard (Male 65+ winner in Glasgow) to my wife...

Q:  How old do you reckon he is then?

A:  38?

Need I say more.............

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

7 Days in the life of a runner!

The last seven days for me has been a good week for me with some quality sessions in.   Last Thursday I managed a decent track session of 5 x 2km @ Half Marathon pace.  A very pleasing session in tough conditions.   This was followed up with a treadmill tempo of 4 miles @ 5.30 pace earlier this week as icy roads meant steady running only was possible. 

Tonights track session was one of the best of the year for me with a 20 x 400m session in the bag.  The intention was to run this at around 10km pace and limit the recovery to 1 minute.   In the end I went much quicker and averaged more like 3km pace for the 400s.  Especially pleased with the second half of the session where I managed to hold the session together despite the increasing fatigue in my legs. 

Congratulations to Sharon Gayter who tonight smashed the World Record for running 7 days on a treadmill by running over 468 miles in less than 7 days.  Now if it was me doing it I would be on my cool down now and reflecting on the glory of being a World Record Holder, catching up on sleep, watching a bit of Corrie on V+ and eating copius amounts of pasta to aid recovery!   Not a chance with Sharon she wants to smash the record and is continuing up to 12pm tomorrow. 

I reckon Sharon is going to continue until she hits the 500 mile mark at least - maybe a new version of the Proclaimers "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" might be in order to celebrate

Sunshine On Leith

Please help Sharon with her chosen charities and donate here....

Well done Sharon!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

How much do you love treadmills?

Love them or hate them a treadmill sometimes has it's advantages.   Personally I would rather not use them unless the weather is so bad it makes an outdoor run not an option!

This week I have done one session on the treadmill.  A four miler with a starting speed of about 15km/hour.  Every minute I upped the speed until the last mile where I hit about 17.5km/hour.   Finished the run in 23.51 which I was quite pleased with...better than braving the cold and wind outside.

So three reasons why I dont particularly like treadmills....

1.   They usually involve either waiting for someone to finish or involve a guilty feeling that someone is waiting for you to finish.
2.   Indoor running just is'nt outdoor running!  I get bored easily on a treadmill despite six TV screens to watch!
3.   Lack of air, variation or scenery!......I could go on....

Imagine then spending the next 7 days on a treadmill......This is an extract from Sharon Gayter's website....

Sharon set off on her record bid this morning at 11am supported by a good crowd and officially started by Councillor Brenda Thompson. TV crews from the BBC and ITV, radio crews and newspaper reporters were all in attendance to cover the event launch.

After less than 7 hours there was some drama when the treadmill equipment failed. Sharon was almost due a meal break but the food was not ready so unfortunately some time was lost from the schedule while a back up machine was organised.

By 9pm Sharon was back on track, in good spirits and feeling comfortable having completed 70.89kms.

Current record for the furthest distance run by a person for 7 days on a treadmill is 753km set by Lee Chamberlain on 18th – 25th July 2009.

My record attempt will begin at midday on 14th December and finish at midday on 21st December 2011.

The event will be held in the Olympia Building at Teesside University and is open to the public.

This is a charity event as well as a record attempt so please support Sharon on

All I can say is Wow!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

North East Cross Country Championships

A proper cross country course was the order of the day...plenty of mud, lots of climbs and great competition.   Fair play to the organisers this was a cracking good course in a great venue at Cramlington.

Really enjoyed the whole atmosphere and the challenging course.   Felt like I ran a lot stronger race than previous week at Croft and worked my way steadily through the field throughout the race.  Enjoyed a good battle all the way round with fellow club mate Vic Brudenell who proved too strong on the final lap and finished eleven seconds and one place ahead of me.    Despite my best efforts to shake him off he is in great form at the moment after his recent 33.23 Abbey Dash success.  For me it was all about the "Vets" and 5th place vet sounds ok to me but offers a bit of "room for improvement" as I look forwards to 2012 and a push to get a "vest" at the British and Irish Masters International in November 2012.    Probably an outside chance at the moment but who knows.....

Vets in front of me were Ian Twaddle (13th), Stewy Bell (23rd), Phil Sanderson (24th) and Vic Brudenell (31st).   Ian and Stewy both represented England at the recent Vets International so I have targets to aim for.  Two of the runners behind me also raced in the recent International although one was a Scottish International and was in the Vet 45 category.  Food for thought though I wonder if I have any scottish ancestors?

Winner of the senior men was New Marske Harrier Ricky Stevenson while Rosie Smith was a clear winner of the Senior Ladies race.   Results.....

Good team effort as well from fellow North York Moors AC runners as we fielded a full senior mens team and placed 9th overall.

A few weeks of random training for me now with the focus on the start of Marathon training in January and the remaining cross country races of the season as well coming thick and fast in the new year.

Well done to local athlete Mark Shaw of New Marske Harriers who competed for Great Britain in the European Cross Country Champs and finished 17th in the Junior Mens Race and was part of the Gold Medal winning team...fantastic!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Chasing a legend at Croft!

Its been a while since my last blog so here is a quick update of the last two weeks.....Decent training but nothing spectacular, bit of a cold but not enough to stop training, weekend away in Center Parcs, christmas shopping, kids playing football and decision made to enter the Marathon of the North on May 6th in Sunny Sunderland (hopefully not too sunny though!).

Marathon training will begin officially on January 2nd.  An 18 week programme is primed and ready to kick into action.  Looking at the programme it seems a few tweaks will be in order from my current training which is higher in quality and lower in mileage to get to a position of higher mileage with a bit less quick running.  I am sure though once I get in the swing of this programme the longer runs will not be so easy and the fast runs will be challenge on high mileage.   Although I have done a few marathons before this will be the first one where I have followed a set programme so need to be disciplined to keep to the programme and not get distracted by too many "A" races!

This weekends Cross Country at Croft was one that I was not particularly targetting as it comes less than a week away from the North East XC Championships.    Warming up at Croft was more a case of "keeping warm!" as the wintry weather seems to have kicked in.   After a mile or so warm up I sat in my car looking at some of the poor juniors who were finishing their race in the sleet and some were obviously not happy as the conditions seemed to be deteriorating!   I was thinking long sleeve top, gloves and hat was the order of the day....the next 30 minutes or so the weather was changing as much as my mind and in the end I ditched the long sleeve top for a short sleeve top and vest and in the end as the sun appeared it was business as usual and decided to race in vest only...the hat and gloves stayed though!

Given the nature of the course a fast start was necessary to get the athletes off and also from a running point of view the twisting course meant a fast start was in order to get a good position.  My start was not good and I ended up much further down the field on the opening lap of four that I would have hoped for.   My main rivals (on the Veteran front!) were Gary Grounds of Billingham Marsh House and the evergreen John Hunter - the legendary Loftus runner who recently featured in Athletics Weekly's Top 100 "harriers"....those runners who have given the sport so much service over the years and remained loyal to their club.   As someone who has (and continues to be!) a top class runner John has been there, done it and has many a T-shirt to show for it.  

Opening lap and John Hunter is in my sights but no Gary Grounds...I wondered if he was running but had apparently almost missed the start and had to catch up.  By the second lap we were running together both chasing John who had a decent lead on us both.   Going into the final lap Gary had pulled away from me and was successfully eating away at John's lead.   By the middle of the fourth lap Gary was pulling clear of John which left me to try and do the same!   In the end I finished 9 seconds behind John which is probably the closest I have come to beating him!   I'm sure if John can remain injury free we willl see a lot more from him this season and a message to those in front of john today would most definitely be "watch your back!"

The Legend that is John Hunter!
1st place went to Marc Scott of Richmond and Zetland in 28.09.  Richmond and Zetland also won the tam event with good placing of 1st, 6th, 18th, 19th, 27th and 28th. 

1st Vet 40 and 9th overall went to Gary Grounds with 30.06, John Hunter 10th overall and 1st vet 50 in 30.14.  I was 11th overall and 2nd Vet 40 in 30.23.  Full results at:

Strictly come cross country with the Reverand!