Sunday, 30 May 2010


 There must have been some sore knees in Ilkley this morning after a day of prayer aimed at banishing Saturday's murk and bringing back the welcome sunshine for the 3rd running of the ILKLEY TRAIL RACE. An event which has evolved from the Ilkley 8 mile road, the Ilkley 10K road race and the Middleton trail race.   The course seems set now,  yielding no complaints as far as I am aware and once again nearly  300 toed the line (mind  you that took some effort but I'm very persuasive!) for the 11.30 a.m. start.  Leaders included runners from as far afield as North Devon, Sale and the London club Ranelagh.

The Ranelagh athlete Sam Perkins battled well with local Ilkley Harrier, Tom Adams but he eventually pulled away for a clear win. 

Ilkley Harrier SALLY MORLEY was never really
threatened after the first mile with Bingley F50
SUE BECONSALL coming through to take second place  

Check Sally's hair ....which gives an indication of the strength of the biting wind as she descends back from Denton Moor. No doubt welcome for hard working runners but particularly uncomfortable for freezing picture takers.        Female "masters", over 35,dominated the event. Only 2 under 35 in the top 30 to finish.   Only 15 altogether of over 70 ladies who turned out!  

Sally Morley and Tom Adams kindly posed for a quick shot after the prize giving...................

My turn tomorrow...........SALE banners to put and take down....just race!

Saturday, 29 May 2010


 A very busy May Bank Holiday racing weekend kicked off on Friday night over in Lancashire with the Complete Runner sponsored Colne10K.   A small field, mainly club affiliated, were blessed with bright sunshine, cloudless skies for the undulating 2 lap course, cooled by a fresh north westerly breeze which had spectators reaching for another layer.
  Race winner ALAN BUCKLEY,  of Leeds City,
seen here already well clear approaching the end of the first lap, had a confidence boosting run after his London marathon disappointment.   Marc Hartley, formerly of Burnley but now running in the colours of Staffs Moorlands A.C. was second.

   SARAH RIDEHALGH of Accrington Road Runners,   in yellow vest to the right here,
was unchallenged after the initial couple of miles with plenty of male company to ensure that she still remained competitive.   She added this win to the Lancashire County track 5k win in 18:22 at Blackpool as well as the county cross country title in the winter.
Truly a versatile lady who looks set to be challenging for veteran awards from October 2010.   
   Second place  in the ladies went to AMY GREEN, Keighley,  past winner in 2004, 2007 and 2009 and Pendle Grand Prix winner on several occasions of which this Colne 10K is a part.

  Pat and I were on hand setting up the company start and finish banners and giving out the race prizes afterwards.  This shot shows Alan and Sarah proudly wearing their Burnley Lions 10K t-shirts firmly held down by my good self so they don't run away before having the photo taken!
  I have run this one before but on this occasion was giving it a miss in favour of my own club's 5 miler on Monday.

  But as it was,   we had a much more able  replacement in the form of Nelson Complete Runner manager, JOHN HENRY,  who enjoyed a good tussle throughout with Amy Green prevailing in the end in just over 40 minutes.  John's race night began at 6.30 when he closed the shop door, only 30 minutes before race start!    He demonstrated to many of his customers that he not only knows about selling shoes but knows how to use them!

For me training wise, it was the second of three easy days for me this drizzly cool Saturday morning.   Same tomorrow,  probably before the local ILKLEY TRAIL RACE for which I hope the sun will return as I'm back on start/ finish banner duty!

Friday, 28 May 2010


  I made an "away" visit to the Carnegie track in Leeds on Wednesday evening to check out a speed session set for a young female runner of 4 x 1 mile.   Luckily 3 gentlemen from another local club whose session had been cancelled elected to support her in her efforts.   The group was quite well matched and worked hard to bring the best out of each other.  Her last mile reps had been  5.52  5.51 5.52.  So I'd have been happy with similar times having added the fourth.   With group support she averaged 5.44!  Collective power rules!
  Whilst timing for them I was able to observe a session being undertaken by a young man aged 15 who ran 800 metres in 1:54.79 last week.   Doing my track sessions alone I rarely see sprint work like he was doing over the short distances  and the main thing that struck me was the speed of his arm drive.  Phenomenal.   As previously concluded not a major factor for my races above 10K but something to keep working on with more 5Ks being run and to allow me to maintain my sprint finish! 
  So returning to my home  Nelson track today for my short rep speed session I focussed hard on trying to increase my  arm cadence,  especially after the first lethargic rep in 73.   To be honest I'd have been happy
to see the rest around 71/72 the way I've been feeling but........ pumping those arms!........ I managed...........
   70.1    70.2    69.0    69.5    68.9    67.8    66..2.    (38.30 10K pace..........nice one as they say.)
 Only 8 reps but the best set of 300s for a long time.  On a day when it was so cold I nearly kept my warm up gear on altogether!   No need for protective sun gear on this May Thursday.

  Friday...........heavy rain overnight has cleared and there's hardly a cloud in
the sky whilst the breeze still has a chill in it.  If I was racing today I'd be thinking about sun protection.  We know about losing heat through the head but it still amazes me the number of bald or shaven headed runners......they tend to be male (!)....who don't protect their heads with a white mesh cap.   Similarly  it surprises me the number of runners who will race screwing their eyes up in the brightest sunlight or run for miles with an unsect in their eye rather than wear a pair of sunglasses which don't have to be expensive.    A common sight  in longer races particularly in the past was to tie a white "hankie" around the neck to keep the sun off the back of the neck.   Rarely seen now. 

                                        And of course............keep using the cream! 

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The reservoir's leaking!!


Regular readers may well remember this  shot of the Swinsty Reservoir taken late last year with a typical gale whipping across it.  Plenty of water then for your baths, showers, cooking ,drinking etc.
  No thoughts of drought or water conservation at that time of year........

  This is the reservoir showing the same spot from a slightly different angle taken yesterday Wednesday
May 26th.  I was quite amazed to see the difference
and felt compelled, on the relaxed pace run, to stop and record the difference.  My immediate thought was we could do with some rain very soon and I kid you not ...within minutes it started spitted.... it didn't last but it did make me smile.
  The run went very much to expectation.  3.30 minutes faster than last week when recovering from the 10K....64.58 down to 61.27.

The lowest parts of the ribs were sore again at the end of the run.  So much so that I bit the bullet and phoned the health centre and managed to get an appointment within the following hour.   No problems detected at the time and my own conclusions are a combination of bad posture when working at the computer and dehydration.  The body needing water like this reservoir does.  I saw the doctor at 4.30 and all I had taken in yesterday  was a cup of tea and a glass of juice!   An extreme day but I really must try to drink more water .........and less lager!   I'm having a blood test Friday morning just to ensure as a further precaution.

What a difference a day makes.......

   Even given the circumstances, Sunday's 10 miler was so confidence deflating that I decided to extend the planned 8 back up to 10 and "get back on the horse" so to speak.   So it was back to the canal.  No hills, no stiles, no streams to jump across, no stony trail, no overgrown pathways, no traffic.  10 rhythmical miles with just a couple of road intersections to be aware of.
   But no "it was a hot one....." this Tuesday morning however.  Case of "What a difference a day makes..."
as a very cool and forceful north easterly made the outward 5 less than comfortable.  At least the towpath was all but deserted with no weekend bikers hurtling by without warning or large dog walking families.  I did have the sunglasses on however, but with a yellow lens in just to keep the flies etc. out of the eyes.   The white cloud firmly keeping out the sun today as the temperature plummetted by over 10 degrees.
  A look at the excel sheet for last year's training showed that this week last year I had run this same route in
splits of 44.07 and 42.05 for 86.22.   So it was a case of seeing how Tuesday's effort would compare.
I turned just slightly slower in 44.44 the wind being a factor but returned slightly faster in 42.01 for 86.45.
9 minutes faster than Sunday!  The canal run served to prove that normal service has been resumed to a large extent  and certainly boosted the confidence.  All being well I'll do a track session before the weekend and race on Monday hoping for a performance not too distant from last year's.  
 I wrote yesterday that a couple of drivers had slowed down on Sunday and made reference to the lunacy of running in such temperatures and I had replied it has to be done if we race in high temperatures.  I can't ever recall not racing because of the heat and in fact have often said I love that warmth on my back.  
 The most memorable race for heat was the 2000 FRECKLETON half marathon.  Two previous 1/2s that year had been 79.23 (Barcelona) and 79.44 (Doncaster). I was 51 running with Bingley at the time.  I recall saying before the race I was looking for a similar time.  But with a 2 p.m. start and temperatures in the mid 30s  the event took it's toll.  Times went out the window as survival became the order of the day.  I was ten minutes down rnning 89.08; but at least I ran all the way,  the winner Darren Hale of Salford Hrs. had apparently walked and jogged the last 3 miles  but was so far ahead he managed to hold on recording probably the slowest winning time on record of 75.05.  Ron Hill's record of 64.45 set in 1969 still stands to this day. The Freckleton is one of many races on flat fast courses which "sells out" well before the closing date; this year being no exception.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


  Monday.  Start of another week, with thoughts of a 5 mile race in 7 days time.  But still fresh in the mind is yesterday's undulating 10 miler.  As I wrote, probably my slowest 10 ever on the road.  A major dent for the confidence even factoring in the heat,  ceratinly mid 20s late morning and the roller coaster route. 

 We're not in a rush to get home particularly so head off on the trail behind us hoping I'll feel up to at least 4 maybe more.
  Straight ahead is the Troutbeck Tongue. If I reach that far it'll be a 6 which would be a reasonable start to the week.
  The very stony uneven trail isn't great for weary limbs but is at least a lot drier than the autumn winter months when water pours off the slopes to the right.

  As I leave the stony trail and drop down to the road leading to the farm the pace picks up a touch but it's a bit of a slog ; but I manage the dry grassy slope between the trees on the right without stopping and head off on the trail to the east of the Tongue.
  The will is saying keep on going and make it a 6; but the body is saying don't climb any more, turn back and make it a 5!   Mind overcomes matter and at the next gate I turn back for home.

  I feel more at home now even if the road is rather rutted.  This INGS BRIDGE is exactly 1K on the flat valley bottom farm road and the whole road is exactly a mile.   So perfect for speed work!
 So a weary 5 but better than last Monday which was only 2 testing the strain at the top of the right leg which seems to have cleared up but may rear it's ugly head when I try to run fast later this week.
  Hope you all survived the brief English summer we enjoyed at the weekend.  I'm sure a lot of you compromised your training plans. Well done to those who didn't and survived and of course those who ran the Edinburgh marathon!

I must credit today's photos ........check out Dave and Edith Brown's Walks On The Lakeland   Fells. (Troutbeck Tongue Walk)  I wish I could say I'd taken them but not so!

Monday, 24 May 2010

It was a hot one........!!

  There was only one song in my mind as I set out on the planned 10 mile run yesterday from Staveley between Windermere and Kendal in the Lake District.  Rob Thomas's SMOOTH on Santana's album Supernatural
   "Man, it's a hot one, like 7 inches from the midday sun, well I hear you whispering the words to melt everyone, But you stay so cool......."

Cool I was not!  I had hoped to enjoy an out and back flat run alongside the river but being away for the weekend and not having chance to "reccie" the route, it threw one hill after the other at me as the temperature soared.   So much so that more than one passing car queried my sanity running in such conditions. My reply being that we have to race in hot conditions so we have to train in hot conditions. The roller coaster run took me 95 minutes: probably my slowest ever 10 mile on the road.  In contrast my wife, Pat,   was up and out by 8.30 a.m. ran 3 on the trail then sat afterwards on the deck in her pool of "effort".  She did warn me but I never like deviating from the week's plan.

The very tough 10, following a 6 on the trail the evening before brought the week's total to 43.  But no real quality in the miles as that Manchester 10K had taken it's toll  and certainly yesterday's heat did nothing to bring a spring back into the stride.
The reward wasn't bad though later in the day.   A couple of pints of cool, refreshing lager overlooking the marina at Bowness On Windermere.   Certainly a view to break into a sweat for.


  Thanks to all those who took the trouble to have a guess at the number of race t-shirts in the 2 piles last week.   The guesses ranged from 51 to 125 but with his estimate of 99  Phil McGeever of Horsforth was nearest to the correct answer of 95 plus the one I was 96.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Now if you train hard, you just might........

Now you see if you train hard enough, win Olympic titles, set world records and travel the world winning lucrative road races you could end up owning a hotel with a view like this!   The spectacular view is across Lake Hawassa in Ethiopia (no I didn't take it!) where Haile Gebrselassie has opened his new Haile Resort.   A luxury hotel on the shores of the lake about 4 hours south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. 

As part of the events for the opening his team including GB marathoner Richard Nerurkar who is based in Ethiopia ,organised races over 21K 7K and 1.5 K, EVERY ONE Races as they were called.  The Elite mens race was won by Wilson Chebet in 63.13.   This shot shows the great Paul Tergat with the first 3 in the mass event proudly wearing their FASTRAX t-shirts part of our contribution to Haile's race.
Americans present at the event included New York Road Runners president and CE0 Mary Wittenberg and colleague Chrissy Odden. This shot shows Chrissy sharing the experience with a local young lady; perhaps a future star in the mould of Tirunesh Dibaba.  The American's smile sums up Haile Gebrselassie's comment,                                           "If people are happy that's the most important thing I need to hear" 
Are you happy with your week so far?  I'm happy to know that I gave it my all in Sunday's race!  and the race video just received confirms it; not a pretty sight, but then I had just overtaken 250 hadn't I?
Following the 2 mile tester on Monday,  I covered (a word carefully chosen!) 5 miles on Tuesday and ambled around the 2 res run 6.5 mile trail run Wednesday in just under 65 minutes.   I made no real effort to push the pace  and was not surprised with a time 6 minutes slower than a week ago.   Yes, racing does takes it's toll! and I think that's the case whatever age you are.   An evening run for a change (Thursday) and at last felt some warmth in the conditions.  A road 6 in which the fatigue is ebbing away whilst points of soreness are still apparent. 

And finally, a shot of Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat as most runners view them......from behind...!!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


  So, yet another souvenir race t-shirt to add to the pile following Sunday's Great Manchester 10K.  I don't know about you but the only time I tend to wear these mainly cotton, basic, t-shirts is immediately after the race for the cool down or a long sleeve version for gardening in!  With a rail full of technical, wicking t-shirts to choose from I just don't train in cotton t-shirts.
  We did give a whole load of other t-shirts to an overseas charity appeal connected to the Ilkley Trail race but still I kept hold of my hard run for race t-shirts.   I keep promising myself that when I move into a house with a room to spare I will line the walls and make a massive permanent impressive display. Can you imagine the dust? But it would save on decorating costs. I say display but in truth some of the designs on the front of the shirts are pretty basic.
  Anyway,  have a look at the picture here and guess how many t-shirts are piled up.  Email your answer to me. If you don't know my email address you'll find it on  the ABOUT FASTRAX  page of     or just add as a COMMENT if you're a follower.


I'll send a FASTRAX "COOLXTEX" WICKING, TECHNICAL T-SHIRT for the nearest guess.




Best of luck!

Update...entries are flooding in or should that be trickling in!  You still have time.  Winner will be announced and contacted on Monday.    No one is spot on at this moment. Could it be you?

Monday, 17 May 2010


By the time I had crossed the line at yesterday's Great Manchester 10K , the elite runners tent was empty, so I sneaked in ,sat and took the chip off my shoe which I had attached via the laces rather than trust the tags that had been provided. Who should come in but the great wee man himself Heile Gebrsellassie having just finished his post race interview with Jonathan Edwards from the BBC.   Having now run 128 10Ks without seeing any improvement since 1983 I was just going to ask him for some tips when he was whisked away. Shame!    Here he is having just crossed the line for his latest victory yesterday (thanks Manchester Evening News)

As I exited the finishers' area further down the line I caught up with my young shaven headed rival. He of the noisy, heavy black trainers.  
  "Well done young man, but you would have done even better wearing a pair of proper running shoes"
  "Oh, hi,  you kept me going, I couldn't have an old b***** like you beating me"
  "Why were you wearing those clumpy heavy shoes?"
  " I'm not a runner. I'm a boxer. I usually wear big black heavy boots, so these feel light to me"
  "How often do you fight?"
  "About 6 times a year.  I get paid £3000 per bout" 
You would have thought he could have afforded a decent pair of running shoes on that basis!

With a chip mat at the 5K point on yesterday's 10K course I was curious to compare my running of the race with others running similar times.   So I checked for how many I had overtaken in the second half; given that my splits were negative; going through 5K in 21.23 and coming back in 21.06 for 42.29.
  I stopped counting at the 45 minute mark with what I suspected proven.   I had "overtaken" 250 in the second half of the race, including a few in the later waves!   Including several who I recognised as having "cut me up" in that first kilometre yesterday.
The tortoise had it's day!

It was more like snail's pace on todays jog to assess the collateral damage from the Manchester race.   Wearing a neoprene sleeve around the thigh strained at that 8K point I was happy to cover my minimum "training run" distance of 2 miles; happy that no serious damge had been done and happy to live on to fight another with or without a young boxer for company and without any tips from the legendary Ethiopian.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mixing it with the Manchester masses

Race day (again!) .  The Great Manchester 10K run.  A major televised event with 36,000 tackling the out and back course setting off throughout the morning from 10.35 in colour coded waves. 

  There is little conversation between myself and Pat on the way through on the hour long journey; an indication of my nervous state ,no doubt.  As planned she stops 2K from the city centre, "throws" me out and I walk,  along the route I took in the mid '60s running to school.   Much has changed.   Cinemas now are huge fruit and veg shops, a vast array of exotic merchandise spilling over the pavements.  Buildings flattened for new out of town shopping centres. 
  My pace is significantly slower than my ghost of the past but at least I'm able to still  compete nowadays.   Some consolation! Race assembly for our first wave is 9.00 but I aim to be nearby at 10.00.  I finish my warm up on Brazenose Street.  The building which housed the Twisted Wheel club, one of the "homes" of  Northern Soul is no more.  Shops, cafes and restaurants there now; part of a pedestrianised area.   I hand my warm up jacket and tights to Pat and head off to join the masses.   Now 10.15 a very loud and vocal warm up is already under way. I duck under the flaying arms and nudge up as near to the chip mats as I can and hope to catch a glimpse of the elite athletes including Heile Gebrselassie who I think might just have the edge on me today!

  With the benefit of the warm up slipping away I join a stream of runners exiting to try to maintain some jogging as late as possible.   I meet young Cara K. from my club. We wish each other well but I can't help thinking that today will be hers.   Back with the field I stand for the last minutes with another clubmate, Andrew Bean. He's going for a sub 40 minute clocking.  Again, we start to cool on the chilly day as the north westerly continues to bite.   And then we're OFF!

  Straight away I realise I've not used my prerace inhaler but fortunately I used my combined on leaving home so hope all will be OK.   Focussing now on staying upright. Elbows are at shoulder height extremely wide. Countless passing runners run into my rather sharp bony arms;  needs must, some of these guys look twice my weedy size.   The course is uncomfortably winding in the first K yet still the 1K opener of 4.20 is disappointing,  I know that to break 42.00 minutes it's going to be tough. Total concentration is necessary as even at this early stage we are running into the backs of others virtually jogging; meanwhile other runners are darting through from behind like a car thief in a police chase.  The only word for it is intimidating!
  We turn onto the wide Chester Road and realise just how cold and strong the wind is.  At least from 5.5 K it will be behind us.  We turn down Matt Busby way, named after the legendary Manchester United manager and on past the Theatre Of Dreams, Old Trafford.   A 4.14, followed by 3K in 12.47 brings me to 5K in 21.23.......42 mins. looking an impossible task. The following wind would have to be gale force.
  We swing back up to the Chester Road.  Several of my team mates from the '60s are on the course marshalling.   Dozens now are slowing rapidly, all over the road.   A few are coming through.   But at no time in the race has a group developed where we are all together running at the pace for the same goal as you would tend to get in a "normal" race.   On my shoulder now is a tall, shaven headed young man.  He thuds along wearing extremely heavy black street trainers. I look up to him and ,smiling, ask him to keep the noise down!   He looks at me quizzically,  fiddling with his ipod.   I'm still overtaking with Ks at 42 mins pace.  a 4.12, 4.11 and anothr 4.11 but I'm still swerving past slowing runners.   Just 8K, one swerve too many,a sharp pain at the top of my right leg almost brings me to an abrupt halt but not enough to stop me altogether,  I shorten the stride and try to hold on.  But the final charge is somewhat subdued.  A cautious 4.18 then a final push in 4.11.

  So the hoped for 42 did not materialise.  42.29.   Consolation was a M60 category placing of 2nd / or 3rd (TBC) of 229 in the category, 881 of approx. 36,000.  5K time was confirmed at 21.24 so with a negative split of 21.06 not too bad.  As Heile Gebrselassie said in his post race interview, there are "Good days and bad days!", complaining about the cold and the wind. 
  Would I run it again? Not too sure.  Certainly a sharp contrast to the Salford 5K with just 100 in it. Low key at it's lowest!.  But perhaps next year the weather will be kinder. I will be familiar with prerace build up, knowing where to park, knowing where to warm up, toilets, timings etc. the sense of trepidation will not be anything like it was today going to an unknown massive event: and hopefully will not strain my sartorius!  Just as long as Nike pay for my entry (Thank you, Adam Sutton)
 Value for money?  Judge for yourself.  A massive organisational exercise closing down half of Manchester for most of the day plus a goodie bag..........

Saturday, 15 May 2010


  On the few occasions when I am in either of the Complete Runner shops I will generally ask customers how their running is going. It's amazing how  frequently they will say that they are training for the Great North Run, usually months away, and ask me in turn if I have ever run the 13.1 race from Newcastle to South Shields.   Not surprisingly they are surprised when I say that I have run over 100 half marathons but never the Great North event.  I explain that I am not prepared to pay the high entry fee when I know that a significant proportion of it goes to bringing over foreign athletes.  I appreciate that these mass participation events take a great deal of money to stage, but the practice of filling up the sharp end  with invited foreigners with all the expense involved has in my humble opinion  been a factor contributing to the relatively poor standards evident in UK mens endurance running. The entry fee for the Great Manchester Run is £35.
  Call me a hypocrite then but when I was offered a FREE entry , thank you Nike!, into the Great Manchester 10K I was quite happy to accept it.  The main incentive being the opportunity to run through the centre of the City and beyond along roads which I covered as a teenager running the 7 miles to school.  It will be good to run the10K tomorrow without fear of being targeted by traffic and heckled from passing buses by classmates! 
 Starting from near Manchester Town hall (pictured above) the  race route will take us past theTheatre Of Dreams, namely Old  Trafford,  home of course of Manchester United,  onto and past the Imperial war Museum with views over to the

LOWRY theatre 
 and Salford Quays....................

before swinging back into the city centre, hopefully with still evident north westerly behind us for the run in. With thousands in the event it will certainly be a contrast to the 100 who contested last week's Salford 5K in nearby Heaton Park.

The  bulky race package  arrived and it informs us that they  are setting runners off in waves , dictated by predicted fiinishing time, from 10.35 a.m.   Colour coded numbers correspond to your wave start.  Orange,  white, blue, green and pink.  I'm in the orange wave fronted by the elite runners, based on a predicted time of 42 minutes.   I have yet to work out how far back to position myself based on last year's results.     I think it's a nationally televised event so ignore those sub 30 minute guys at the front and see if you can spot me wearing the vest that was made up especially in the factory on Wednesday afternoon.
  I've just run the easy 3 as planned and as usual on the day before a race feel less than 100% but to be honest I can't remember many of the 700 or so races I've run when I really felt up for it!   The main thing that is concerning me is the logistics of warm up,  dumping warm up kit etc with thousands running.

Friday, 14 May 2010


After yesterday's rather lethargic, lacklustre 300s rep session on the track  I set off for a jog along the Leeds Liverpool canal from Foulridge Wharf on the way back from the weekly Nelson shop visit   To be honest I had no definitive distance in mind. 3, 4 or 5 depending on how the legs felt with Sunday's 10K in mind.   Must admit I wasn't feeling that great. But.............
  Having gone  about a mile I spotted Mark Brown of Clayton Le Moors Harriers walking in front on the towpath and I could hardly  jog past without a word.   With me easing down to a very slow jog and him accelerating to a quick walk,  he told me how he had been suffering with the dreaded plantar fasciitis since January 2009  and was still struggling after having spent hundreds of £s trying to get it sorted.  He said that he did have "orthotics" but at the time had been doing a great deal of hill running wearing Walsh fell shoes which he couldn't fit his orthotics into.
   However, he was concerned about my training run and within a couple of minutes we were jogging along together back to his home near the canal.   Mark, who only has use of his right arm, represented Great Britain in the 5000 metres in the Paralympic games in Athens in 2004 finishing 5th.  in a time of 15:21.5.   I hope to see him back on the roads of Lancashire in the near future and wish him well.
 The diversion off the canal to Mark's home and a loop around Barnoldswick before returning to the canal resulted in  a leisurely 6 which I can't say I would have completed without Mark's company in the middle.
  The plan now is an easy 4 miler off road this morning (Friday) in bright sunshine (!) (but I'm not expecting much of an increase in temperature) and then just 3 on the grass tomorrow to complete 3 easy days before Sunday...........

  It's no secret that I've been saying for a long time that I would like to see some of the prize and expenses money being diverted from foreign athletes to UK athletes at the London Marathon. .  I finally got around to writing to ATHLETICS WEEKLY and they published the letter in which I put forward the argument for cash team prizes (5 to count )  of £25,000, £15,000 and £10,000 for 1st,2nd and 3rd mens and womens teams, convinced that such incentives would create a positive buzz in the changing rooms of our leading clubs around in the autumn and see several squads of good club runners battling for the cash in the spring.
It's not a case of getting more people running; 36,000 ran the London.  I just feel that the UK's top runners need more incentive to elevate standards back to where they were in past decades. 
I won't hold my breath but who knows. The all time rankings show 14  UK runners under 2.10 but no one under that time since Richard Nerurkar in April 1997.

              Do you think that it's lack of incentive that's holding our top runners back?
 Or has our society changed so much from the '80s that it's impossible to put the effort in to produce times around or under 2.10 for the marathon?

Thursday, 13 May 2010


 The vest of our chosen running club is something that the majority of us don't have much say about unless we are involved with setting up a new club from scratch.  The design and colours are hardly the reason why we join, after all.  
 Supplying club vests makes up a considerable part of our FASTRAX business  and the production requires us holding fabric in a whole spectrum of colours as you can imagine.
 Increasingly however we are supplying sublimation printed vests which are multicoloured often with graphics or the more traditional hoops. In contrast to my first harrier vest in the 1960s which was knitted using green ,white and red cotton thread.
   With new machinery installed at the factory I was keen to see latest developments for myself ; particularly as the factory offered to make up a SALE HARRIER especially for me on a "while you wait" basis. How's that for service!
 The process started on Tuesday afternoon with Alistair,head of our FASTRAX  graphics dept. in Ilkley preparing the layout of the vest front and back on the computer.  We based the design on my original '60s vest and added  the club name as Yorkshire folk keep asking me what club I'm running for now!

By the marvels of email the design was processed in Kent and emailed back up north ready for printing at the factory.   This shot taken at 1.30 on Wednesday afternoon, shows the sublimation paper for my vest coming out of the printer and drying. I was a bit concerned about the shade of green but reassured that it would be lighter than shown!

 The paper was then  transferred to the printing machine and front and back panels of white Fastwik fabric were then laid onto the paper prior to entering the transfer machine.

                                                        Minutes later from the rear the  printed panels emerge from the machine and after separation the panels are taken to the machinist for sewing up.  The green is indeed
lighter and spot on. 

So by 2.30 I actually came away with not just one but two new club vests; one to wear and one in the wash !  Just 24 hours from start to finish; and no panic about being ready for Sunday's race.
The Spring Hall track is only minutes away from the factory so it was handy for getting in this week's track session.   With the recent two 5Ks and last night's work on the cold, damp moor the warm up confirmed that it should not be a full session and that I should leave more in the tank for Sunday.  So instead of 16 x 300 as last week I opted for just 8, which felt like 16; the times being only similar and certainly no where near that last one last week.  Now where did I put that paracetomol!