Tuesday, 5 April 2011


 Well it's good to sit and write this post having put myself through a tough hilly run this morning as illustrated by the garmin download.
 I'd written yesterday that I had been avoiding hills;  today,  time to put a hill session on the training sheet!  I would always write in hill sessions for other people yet not so often for myself. 
   Running from the house for a change I  lost height jogging down to the river  and  then essentially tackled  3 long drags  (a mini 3 Peaks! of Ikley) covering 8 miles in total.  Just the type of running I used to do quite regularly but perhaps recently I've been shielding myself from.   As the legs are now "mashed" again the rest of the week could well be as flat as possible.  
Meanwhile, continuing my look back into the heady days of the '80s......

1986......this week 25 years ago. Anglesey 30K .  Sun. March 30

   February's  Malta suntan,  acquired mainly whilst running that somewhat contentious marathon, had started to fade but the way the local hero had been encircled by a group of cyclists and for the second part of the race been driven to the point of extreme exhaustion was firmly carved on the memory.  Still 4th in 2:33.52 in unfavourable conditions boded well for the Bristol marathon on April 27th.
 With a "7" and a half marathon already ticked off in March I was looking for a long build up race and spotted a 30K race over on the  island of Anglesey just off North Wales on Easter Sunday, March 30th.   No idea why,  as the island is 110 miles as the crow flies (could a crow fly that far?)  but according to the local paper I was pre-race favourite!  I think they were going by the Malta run. Question was could I live up to the billing, as they say.   Surely some young local would fare better than me at 37?
 The 30K race was a new event attracting just 300 runners but combined with a 10K , starting at the same time,  it was to make pacing that bit more difficult as from the off there was no way of telling which race the leading runners were in.  
  As a group of a dozen or so nudged ahead I must have decided they were 10K runners and let them go. But as the race split at 6 miles I could see that quite a number had carried on and I would have all on to pull any of them back.   Reports state that one runner after the other tried his luck on the front as the group charged along the Menai Straits.
  They motored through 10 miles in 54 minutes and through the half marathon point in 70.42 but they weren't going away now and I was on the hunt! 

  The newspaper report describes that I was now "rapidly improving"  and "making a strong late challenge" but it was largely in vain.   I picked off a few but couldn't get anywhere near the race winner TEGID ROBERTS who is still running sub 40 10Ks as a M50 so must have been in his twenties.  Picture shows him crossing the line wearing a CND "ban the bomb" vest.
  They placed me 3rd in 1:43.17 behind local North Wales  Roberts and one D. Carter but John Potts of Birchfield , a veteran, was also in front so I was actually 4th overall.  A repeat of the Malta placing.  
 Without the race splits to go by I'll never know whether I made the wrong decision to let that pack go in the first 10K.   The race report certainly said I'd "misjudged the early pace".  But perhaps my pace was actually correct and the fact that I worked through to 4th illustrated that many had gone off too fast.  Who knows?
 What we did know was that  1:43.17 worked out at 3 x 34.26 10Ks which is 2:25.05 marathon pace.
So an excellent exercise as a build up race and well worth the journey to the North Wales island.
 The  race proved  that training was going well and Bristol could be a good one.

The following week it was time for something completely different.....the North Of England 12 man relay. Question was, could my club at that time, VALLEY STRIDERS, essentially a club of dedicated marathon runners and only a few years old,  conjure up a team to compete against UK's finest established clubs including some budding young track and field stars?

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