Since my last blog in February I have enjoyed 818 injury free miles of running. Ive run 5 road races, 1 track race and a park run. I've run my fastest 5km since around 1995/96, joined a new training group and entered the Chester Marathon in October.
Here goes a quick whistle stop tour of the last few months races.
24th March - Thirsk 10 Mile Road Race. This was definitely a "game of two halves". After hitting half way in 27.55 the turn onto the Thirsk Road was like going into a wind tunnel and the early fast pace slowed considerably. It seemed the only person unaffected by the wind was Alyson Dixon who stormed through the field in the second half to finish in 8th place with a fine 57.10. Aly was using this as a build up race to the Brighton Marathon where she went onto record a superb 2:31.08. I ended up 13th in 58.13.
29th March - New Marske 10km. One of the local race series and a run that I can literally step out of my door and I am at the start line. Actually its a few minutes jog away but you get the picture! Fairly decent conditions with just a slight breeze meant some decent times so I was happy with my 34.45 as a "starter for the season". 7th place overall and 2nd Vet 40. It was also a welcome return to the original "stray" path course that we have all missed in the last 18 months as a result of regeneration work. as is often the case in these sort of races I was left to curse my lack of sprint finish as I moved into 6th with about 200m to go only to find myself overtaken again by a "younger" rival! Its great being a vet at times! Mental note to self...work on your sprint finish!
17th April - the second run of the New Marske series and another breezy night! That said my 5km of 17:01 for 4th place was memorable for the fact that unlike the previous race my sprint finish was not needed as I managed to put a decent gap between myself and 5th place (who happened to be the "younger" rival who outsprinted me three weeks or so earlier...progress! - Sorry Andy C if you read this!).
28th April - Sunderland Half (not quite) Marathon. Well enough has been said about the fact that this was short by 0.1 miles or so. Human error happens sometimes and other than that this is a decent event and well worth having in the local calender. I was very happy with my run of 75:12 which was probably worth around 76 minutes had we not taken a "short cut". The last three miles were 5.44, 5.45 and 5.41 miling after a few miles battling into the wind and through the inclines of Barnes Park. In fairness to the organisers they admitted the error, have apologised, kept people up to date and I understand have cut a deal with the London Marathon to ensure good for age times were still able to be used using this race albeit adjusted for the short distance. I'll be back next year (using my 25% off of course!).
12th May - Sheffield Half Marathon. Entered as an after thought following Sunderland. I was warned about the course profile and was generally pleased with my run of 75.40 for 16th place. The finish was a bit of a tough one and the final hill before coming into the Don Valley was one climb too many and I died a death coming into the stadium approaches. I have raced twice before at the Don Valley in the 90s in 6 stage relays and should have remembered those inclines and stadium approaches! Mile 12 was hard (5.55) and Mile 13 was even harder (6.07). These were my slowest miles of the race by some way and the sub 75 slipped away from me! A lot has been said and written about the Don Valley being knocked down but to be fair it has seen better days and the vastness of the stadium just isn't viable in the long term if it isnt hosting top class athletics. Im sure the Sheffield Half will continue and its certainly a race that I will be doing again!
Final race update...phew!
2nd June - Middlesbrough 5km. Finally a race that was perfect conditions, flat course and a top class field! Finished 20th in 16.29 which was my fastest 5km since around 1996. In music terms the top 10 albums in 1995 included Robson & Jerome, Oasis, Michael Jackson, Blur and Pulp! I seem to be running well and this was a "B" race for me. Splits were 5.16, 5.18 and 5.21. Even managed a sprint finish with an average 4.43 per mile for the final run in (obviously the Chariots of Fire music hit the right buttons!). Well done Dom Shaw of my own club New Marske Harriers who won the race in a cracking 14.43.
Despite this being my fastest 5km since 1995, a Vet 40 pb, my third fastest age graded run of all time and 2nd Vet 40 on the day it seems Run Britain are not convinced that this was a good enough run to move my rankings. Prior to Middlesbrough my Run Britain ranking was 1.0. Afterwards...still 1.0 and no movement! Interestingly of the top 25 across the line 20 recorded pbs and the other 5 recorded seasons bests. A sign of the times we live in that some people's first thoughts were that the course must be short! I'll settle for the fact that conditions were perfect and the course was fast (my Garmin recorded exactly 5km!).
Technology is a wonderful thing and we all love (and hate at times) our Garmins and GPS watches, chip timing and text results. I still remember the days when we had to cue in funnels to have our numbers recorded manually, you left a self addressed envelopes for the results and you waited for the post to come to see if you had officially recorded the time you hoped for. How times have changed when you don't even have chance to do your warm down before your phone beeps and your time and position is confirmed! This was a race where the second counted..... I'll take the chip time of 16.29 thanks...sounds so much quicker than 16.30!
Come on Run Britain give me some credit for that race performance!