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!

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