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.