Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Raindrops keep falling...SALE 5 MILER 2011

 Whilst trying new races each year is great for keeping the running fresh and aiding motivation there is  less chance of "visualization" or mental rehearsal.  Unless of course the  race route has been "reccied" prior to the event. 
  But yesterday's SALE 5 miler is familiar and so it was possible over the weekend to think  through prerace warm up  and  how to run the race itself as aspects could be fairly predictable.   The event, promoted by Sale H. and ably organized by Dave Rogers and his loyal helpers, many old teammates from the 1960s,  was the second of 5 in the Manchester Parks Race Series.  It would be my 4th journey through to Manchester in the month of May.  A bit of a "binge" of racing,  but  needs must.
 Plan was to arrive in good time to confirm to Dave R. that I had not broken down on the motorway and that the race prizes were safe and secure in my car.  This would ensure I had time for the now seemingly necessary 3 mile warm up to open the old lungs up and  awaken stiff legs.  But.....chat.....more chat. ....and  time is quickly running out.   I manage 2 miles. More chat and time runs out for the planned strides and stretching.
Preparation failure, again!
 Stepping onto the rain soaked track for the start  I am conscious that the new adidas Tempo shoes are really slippy on the tartan; so caution necessary on the 2 laps of the track. I line up as planned wide left to stay out of trouble.   The rains continues to fall as we exit towards  the centre of Wythenshawe Park.  I'm well down with over 100 in front including several team mates who I have visualised I will try to overtake in the first 2 miles.  Through the puddles and over the short muddy trail  and my targets are lined up in front. First mile marker past in 6.55.  Not great but they are coming back.  Another 6.55 and as  planned I'm going through but it's hard work ; feeling the strain.  6.58 third mile. (?) Thank G. the wind has lessened but it's still affecting the breathing.
  Through half way the chest  becomes looser  and with a 6.41  fourth mile I've "ticked off" all on my "wish list" and am rapidly catching one young Sale Harrier who turns out to be the 16 year old son (Ben) of club stalwart BILL FOX.    My words of encouragement  produce a response and we race almost shoulder to shoulder  where the narrow course allows for the last mile. 
 he skips through the puddles and opens up a  two metre gap.
 I have again visualized that on reaching the track I will try to really concentrate on relaxed form for the  final  clockwise lap and really give it a go against whoever.  As we hit the tartan I try to "get the drop" on my young rival and open a gap which I aim to hold to the line.......

and with 50 metres to go I think I can do it but I've played my cards too early.....young Ben decides that  having already been beaten by his M55 father that he is not letting a grey haired old wrinkly beat him as well  and unleashes his final charge which sees him come flying past.
Compare my flat footed style to his youthful gait.  Well done Ben!
   So 34.10. Just 6 seconds slower than last year which I'll take given the muddy sections.  82nd of 200.  3rd in M60. Well beaten again by rejuvenated Francis Day of East Cheshire who ran an impressive time of 31.04.

 At the sharp end, ANDI JONES (24.36) (in adidas green above) had a good tussle with Leeds City's SIMON DEAKIN (24.38) and  team mate, MARTIN GOSTLING  third in 24.39.   Keeping it in the families, Andi's wife, Sale Harrier, DONNA JONES  won in 29.01 with ALEX GOSTLING second in 29.15.

Being a "home fixture"  there was a pretty good turnout of members led in by junior CALLUM ROWLINSON (27.28) whose father Gary I have to thank for a great set of photos.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Alan Buckley unopposed in Colne 10K 2011

  Comprising of  12 very diverse races featuring demanding road circuits,  some testing fell and trail course the PENDLE & BURNLEY GRAND PRIX  requires a great commitment throughout the summer particularly as 10 races count towards the final awards totals.
  Now  celebrating it's 25th anniversary,  this year's Grand Prix continued last night with the 4th event on the list,  the Burnley Lions COLNE 10K.   Grand Prix entrants topped up by others,  entering on the night,   made up a field of 165 facing the fairly testing,  undulating course on a very cool, grey overcast May evening.  Perhaps good for running but far from ideal for
  The 10K is another COMPLETE RUNNER sponsored event and having set up the start and finish bamners,  I  installed myself at the half mile point to take some pics.  Minutes past 7 the leading runner came into view and flashed  past with no other runners in sight!  Leeds City's ALAN BUCKLEY  had  made his intentions clear from the gun.  "Catch me if you can.....I'm waiting for no one!! " His 100% commitment was rewarded with a new course record of 31.44; 13 seconds inside the 1993 mark of Craig Metcalf.
  The leading lady was not so conspicuous.  International Tara Kryzywicki had won the first 3 races but was missing this one and unlike previous years the race failed to attract a leading lady not involved with the series itself.   
  With a 10K P.B. of 29.30 and a 30th place in the National Cross Champs, 36 year old Alan was simply in a class of his own last night and passing me on lap  2  had stretched his lead to  3 minutes;  more by the end.

A bit of a wait before first lady JAYNE BUTTERWORTH of Skipton appeared: picking up the F45 award as a bonus.   Her time being 43.51

The COMPLETE RUNNER , Nelson branch,  was represented by manager JOHN HENRY and his able assistant SCOTT BAIRSTOW.   Scott was having an "away day" from his usual haunts on the fells of the north,  enjoying  and performing creditably in his debut 10K;   inside his race target but aware of more speedwork to improve in future events.    

Last duty of the night , and a chance to thaw out, presenting the prizes ............

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Running the elements

 For the last two track sessions I rather settled for 300s on the basis that the ever present Lancashire gusts would have least effect on the time and effort by doing the 100 recovery on the back straight into the wind.  But I felt I had to bite the bullet today and revert to a longer rep; settling for 1K efforts with 200 interval recovery. 5 reps  to be done in total.  5 K of effort.
 In a perfect world, the track designer for Seedhill, Nelson would have had  say conifers planted
years back when the track had been put down.  Planted strategically as at Longford Park, Stretford to create a natural barrier against the elements.  But as we know it's not a perfect world and the track must be one of the most open around.  
 Back in that perfect world  it should of course be possible to run the K reps at 5K pace at best, 10K pace at worst. This means targetting at least 4.16 but I calculated adding 5% allowing for the conditions and Sunday's race; pushing the target back to 4.30 approx.   Perhaps 5% is too generous an allowance? You tell me!
 Quite clearly it depends on whether the reps are done solo, in pairs or in a group.  Solo there is no one to hide behind.  In a pair of similar ability it's  clearly best alternate leading into the wind.  In a group similarly the pace can be shared. 
  I recall pace sharing in a race on the Fylde coast one year; the Windmill Half Marathon, in which each individual in a group of 6 took it in turn to lead as we headed back into a gale blasted by sand off the Lytham beach.   A running chain gang!
  But back to today,   was that 5% correct?   Well, just about but based on the average.
            4.35        4.35       4.30      4.25       4.23
 Another race this weekend. The SALE 5.  Second in the Manchester Park Race Grand Prix.  It's on Monday so that gives me one more following today's reps compared to last week. Nice one. Looking forward to 4 days relaxed running.
  Speaking of "relaxed", in "running the elements"  today  I was particularly keen to stay relaxed, maintain good form in order to save energy.  I may have leant into the wind a tad but generally I'm trying to not run "like a question mark" which seems to be the case with many super veterans with heads down looking at their feet, backs bent, arms redundant.
  I've often stated there are "no marks for style" in races but quite clearly the arm action of even some of the UK's best runners, sorry Charlotte P.,  you would not want young beginners to copy.
Not so much a nice rhythmical pendulum action with the arms rather than "run trying to punch yourself on the chin with alternate fists".  Not good.
 Many readers will remember the extremely versatile New Zealander ROD DIXON.  Olympic Bronze medallist over 1500 metres in 1972  he later ran 2:08;59 in winning the New York City marathon.   As director of coaching with the Los Angeles Marathon he has produced several neat videos including one which deals with use of the arms.  Put on a pair of gloves before watching....


Monday, 23 May 2011

Seeking shelter....Pontefract Half 1986

 Gale force winds up to 70 m.p.h. continued to wreak havoc across the north  today and Ilkley was not immune.  So it was a case of running canny this morning; seeking shelter along the tree lined river bank then heading up through Middleton Woods which form part of Sunday's ILKLEY (Harriers) TRAIL RACE. The event began as a 2 lap 8 miler, then reflecting the change to metric became a 10K. 
 Following some objections from Sunday morning drivers it then "morphed"  into a trail race,  modified several times.
  If you fancy competing for the first time you can check out  photos of the latest
route on the Ilkley Harriers club website.http://www.ilkleyharriers.org.uk/  under "our races".   This year's race has been moved to Spring Holiday Monday.

1986.............a look back at this week 25 years ago.
 3 weeks had passed since the Bristol Marathon and it was racing time again.  Roger Norton, a former Oxford Blue and well known Yorkshire athletics reporter, was race organiser of the Pontefract Half Marathon started in 1983.  Pat and I used to sell "mobile" at the event and of course, if only to get my run in, I would do the race, often without sufficient warm up.  The word had gone around the Valley Striders club that the individual and team prizes were excellent so the boys in white and black turned out in force.
  The race was won by David Wilkinson of former  Bradford club, Airedale and Spen Valley (ASVAC) in 68.54 . David was a frequent winner of local races in this period  but sadly passed away at a very young age.   Second was fellow Mancunian and new V.S. member Brian Eden (69.26) with  Duncan Gaskell (ASVAC) 3rd in 70.06.
Duncan is now one of several "managers" who bring athletes out of Kenya to compete on the roads and tracks of Europe and America.   Paul Pickup, Malta marathon winner was 4th.

  Valley Striders other counters were John Convery 8th, Keith Cludery 11th, myself 14th (73.18),  Mike Abbs 22nd, Martin Hopson 23rd and Steve O'Callaghan 25th.
So a good day for our Leeds club with 7 in the first 25.   Blog follower Martin Lister was 27th in a fine 77.50.  

But the most famous participant without any doubt was a former local South Kirkby  pit worker, DJ and TV personality, Jimmy Saville: frequently seen in races throughout the country in this period, raising money for various charities.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

SALFORD 5K..well blow me down!

The contrast between today's SALFORD 5K in Heaton Park, Manchester (titled as it was put on by Salford Harriers)  and last week's Gt. MANCHESTER RUN  could hardly have been greater.  Last week starting in several waves throughout the morning almost 38,000  partaking in a fabulous celebration of running over the very manageable 10k distance; led home by arguably one of the greatest distance runners of all time, Halile Gebrselassie.
 Today just 85 toed the line ready to battle with the continuing strong winds sweeping across  the country.  However,  the field did not lack quality as one of Yorkshire's finest, CARL  THACKERY  of Hallamshire Harriers had made the journey across the Pennines.
  For those not aware of some of his feats......46.26 for 10 miles on the road (Brampton to Carlisle) ,  61.04 for Barnsley half marathon  and still UK record holder for one hour covering 20,855 metres.   Now 49 Carl finished second today in 16.40 with 5 M40s occupying the next 5 positions.
  My expectations?  Not great.  Still weary from last week,  the strong winds to cope with, the half mile hill in the second mile,  I was thinking nearer 22 than 21 minutes.

  Trying to keep the first K well below 7 mins pace produced a 4.12 then we turned the corner to face the hill, hitting a wall of wind which saw the speed plummet showing well above 8 mins. Nevertheless I was picking a few off  as we passed Heaton Hall and coping reasonably with a 4.23 but the 3rd K showed at 4.56 !

Despite the course having  levelled off towards the  Commonwealth Games Bowls  Centre shown here. 
  The 4th K in 3.36 proved the inaccuracy of the K marker placings.   A final surge in 4.18 brought me home in 21.40.   Slower than the second half of last week's run.  
  3rd in the age group; beaten by the same guys who beat me in May 1st's Alex Park.  Some consolation  in seeing that they too were well down, one by 54 seconds.  It was hard work for all.
  All the post race banter  echoed that thought but as already stated it was the first race in the Manchester park Series (1/5) and could not be put off whatever the weather.
  Next race ...the SALE 5 MILER.  Wythenshawe Park. Spring Holiday Monday.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Finishing a race like Billy Mills!

As I had to deliver to the Nelson Complete Runner branch on Wednesday I thought I would maintain the track routine despite  still feeling pretty weary l after Sundays 10K.  In the past I would have done a session on the Tuesday without thinking about it even but things are a bit different now.
 The westerly wind was just as strong as last week and is really beginning to **** me off , sorry becoming quite vexing. Still ,I went through the motions with a set of 300 reps doing   12 as opposed to just 8 the Tuesday before the Manchester event.  I won't bore you with times;  let's just say it wasn't poetry in motion.
 I was on the track legally this week,  going at 4,  and it was a bit busier.  One of the lads down there asked me if I had done the Great Manchester Run again  and  did I  pull anything,  side stepping runners in the last kilometre like 2010?
  I said, No,  all had  gone well this year but as last year I  felt like BILLY MILLS at the end going through the field.  He looked at me quizzically.
 "Who's BILLY MILLS?",  he said, "Does he run for Clayton?"
 I replied, "No, he was a native American who won the gold in the 10,000 metres  at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics."
 Older readers of this blog will no doubt recall the last minutes of that race and recall that it was at the time a major upset as the field included hot favourite Australian Ron Clarke, the Russian Bolotnikov, and New Zealand's "one armed bandit", as I called him, Murray Halberg.  Mills  won in 28:24.2 then went on to run in the marathon (14th in 2:22)
 It is interesting to compare 2 versions of the last moments of the race.  The  actual coverage
with commentary from two American commentators, one who was sacked afterwards for his over exuberance, and  how it was reenacted  in a film of BILLY MILLS' life , "Running Brave"

In another video on Youtube Billy Mills talks about his preparation for the race over the previous months and relives that memorable last lap. Very inspiring!
 So if you are racing this weekend, as you reach the last quarter mile....think of  the finish put in by BILLY MILLS in that 1964 Olympic final and go for it!!  Have a good one. I'll be looking for a good performance from Julia Armstrong http://www.runningtolearn.com/
in the Edinburgh Marathon and a category win at the very least.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Running to and from.....

 Sunday's race certainly made for a large withdrawal from the energy bank which was only to be expected.  But that's what 100% effort, 100% adrenalin driven  racing is all about, isn't it? Omelettes, eggs and all that.  
 Needless to say  a drop to 9/10 minute mileing on the trails on Monday and yesterday  compared to  6.52 average in the Manchester 10K.
 I  have entered the Manchester Parks Race series,  so unfortunately I'll have to don the
racing vest again this Sunday for the first event .   Another  week off would have suited better.
The series is great value at £15 for 5 races with the first event being a 5K organised by Salford Harriers on the hilly Heaton Park course.
 So yet another visit to the venue of my racing debut  as a young teenager.   Sunday of course served another  large dollop of nostalgia with the part of my warm up and part of the race
route itself recovering sections of my "to and from runs" school to home (and reverse).

 I first started the "run home and run back" routine in the upper 5th (form 5 or year 11 as I think they call it now).  The rest of the lads in the year  would head down to the St. Bede's College playing fields ,  a mile or so from the school ,for rugby or football.  When I was younger I would do the same;  finish at 4 and it would be past 5 by the time I made it home, taking two buses to cross from South to North Manchester.
 But  from the age of 16 , with the consent of the P.E dept. I was allowed to change and run the 7 miles home;complete with primitive "rucksack",  mum's nylon stockings wrapped around the metal buckles to help prevent rubbing! 
 Advantage being I would arrive home around 3.30:  but of course I would have to run back the following morning.   This run would inevitably turn into a much harder effort.  Half a mile from home I would run past queues of workers and school children waiting at he bus stop ready to head into Manchester ;  many were keen to see if  I could beat the bus over their 4 mile journey into the town centre.
 In those days it was very, very rare to see a person running, not like today,  so these morning races were somewhat of a novelty.  Of course in those days the 'buses at that time of the morning were "standing room only" and tended to struggle on inclines.  So on most mornings with frequent traffic lights it became a game of leapfrog.   The bus would hit traffic, I would go ahead; then it would come flying past.  The heavily laden bus would hit an incline, I would go ahead; then it would come flying past.  The bus would stop at lights, I would go past. You get the picture. On occasions bus drivers would even pass through red lights to stay ahead!
 Reaching the town centre school mates coming off trains from as far as Bury and Rochdale
would be boarding more buses for the second part of their journey to St. Bede's College
and the fun would carry on.  This routine continued once or twice a week into the sixth form.
 I didn't do particularly well in my "A" levels!. Perhaps I was too tired to concentrate or was it the fact that besides all the training and racing,  I was a frequent visitor to Manchester's dance clubs for my dose of Tamla Motown and Northern Soul.
   The "run home and run back" routine was part of the training schedules of many runners including the very best.  It was excellent "time management" , I suppose,  leaving the evening free for family; although I'm sure some put in a third run with their club on a Tuesday or Thursday!
  I'm not sure if many runners are continuing the "to and from" run tradition.  Perhaps places of work still don't have showering facilities. YOU tell me.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

MANCHESTER 10K....headphones, t-shirts and baggies

Some running gurus would suggest that more mature veterans like myself (with history) can expect times at least half a minute slower than the previous year.  Add to the ageing process the set back of the turn of the year piriformis problem  and I thought for today  if I could get any near to last year's Great Manchester 10K time of 42.28 I would have to be pleased.
  Training has gone well since Easter
when I recorded 42.59 in the Salford 10K but with a strong headwind to be fought against on the way out to Old Trafford and Salford Quays plus of course a sardine can full of weaving runners to cope with  a revised forecast was that I might be happy to settle for  around 21.30 at 5K and then hope to pick in the second half.
  As planned I parked  easily,  well out of town and jogged into the town centre, managing my normal 2 mile warm up.  I secreted  my warm up gear near Bootle Street Police Station and took the opportunity to ask a passing policeman if they had found my bike which I reported stolen there back in 1961.   A totally blank expression until he realised I was only joking.  He walked away muttering something about the "nutter on the bus!"
  Then the most difficult part of the event...trying to find a gap in the barriers to get onto the course where apparently thousands had been assembled and stood getting pretty cold, some
for over an hour!    I  eventually managed this and weaved across the mass of runners doing the "mass musical warm up" , broke through on the other side and continued to jog, stride and stretch until 5 minutes before the gun at 10.34.  After the introduction to the crowd of the likes of HAILE GEBRSELASSIE , of course.
  The first K is as expected.  Elbows out and  a fight  to stay on the feet with bandits coming from behind and cutting us up like boy racers.  Club vests are as sparce as the cups in the Arsenal and Chelsea trophy cabinets .   No familiar faces. Plenty of headphones, t-shirts and baggy shorts apparent however.
4.18 at 1K  so spot on 43.00 pace. So far so good.  We hit the wind as we reached the Chester Road but  the field spreads and there are now good gaps and running is relatively  unimpeded. Good to see clubmate STEVE GAVIN cruise past and forge ahead to record  a great time of 40.12.
  We swing right past Old Trafford, home of course to Manchester United and pass 5K almost spot on in 21.33.  (4.18  4.18  4.17  4.20  4.16 on my watch)   Now the fun begins:  dozens are dying on the uphill section back past the football ground.   It's overtaking time!  A 4.13 followed by a 4.19 . There is a danger at this point of settling into the pace of those around but I'm spurred  by other fast finishers and rally with a 4.10, a 4.15 (slightly uphill) and charge for the line with a 4.10
  So 42.39.  A PB 5K for the year of 21.06 for the second half!
Reasonable progess from that Salford 10K and certainly a time I'd have readily
accepted when I jumped off the treadmill in extreme pain on Christmas Eve after less than 2 minutes!  Amazing how resilient the body can be whatever the age.
  Think I might have to pay for next year's entry however as I was just 5th (of 285) in the age 60-64 age group as opposed to 3rd last year.

  On the other side of the Chester Road central barrier, as we headed out, it was great to see  Preston's  HELEN CLITHEROE  leading on the way back , to finally win in a P.B. of 31.45.  A courageous piece of front running from gun to tape!
  No real problems after 7K for the great wee man HAILE;  all credit  though to GB international CHRIS THOMPSON for giving it a good go.
  So that was the GREAT MANCHESTER RUN over for 2011. Now a series of other Manchester races which will be slightly lower profile.....with a few more club vests and  fewer headphones!

Saturday, 14 May 2011


38,000 are said to be entered for tomorrw's big race with Haile Gebrselassie, Craig Mottram, Chris Thompson, Sergiy Lebid etc leading our orange wave out at 10.34 a.m.  For us lesser mortals down the field it'll be  a case of elbows out and hope for the best in the first mile or so until the field thins out a bit.
  The leaders will have no shelter from a strong westerly on the way out to Old Trafford and Salford Quays but I'll be looking for some young fit guys to shelter behind and as last year come through (hopefully) on the way back.
  Many would say just run and enjoy it but I've actually had an unusually good ease down for this one with just 4, 4, 3, and 2 mile runs since Tuesday's track session.
  So all set for the race until ....Friday  night when I think I had a reaction to something I'd eaten and suffered extreme palpitations which kept  me awake until 4.a.m. this morning. Typical just when I needed a good night's sleep!  Hopefully won't impact on tomorrow's race which will be my 134th 10K but hopefully not the slowest!
  I'm going over solo tomorrow morning so the plan is to park well out of town and run in as the warm up.  As last year I'll be covering part of the route (7 miles) I used to cover on morning runs to school.  So it'll be a nostagic warm up once again.  Just have to find somewhere to hide my warm up gear whilst I'm racing!  
                 TV coverage starts at 10.00a.m. BBC 2.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


If my wife Pat was a comedienne  and had a reet strong Yorkshire accent she might have quoted the words of the famous song when I came in on Tuesday  night from the JACK BLOOR RACES .
 You know the one...........
 "Wheear 'ast tha bin sin' ah saw thee, ah saw thee?"
(Trans. Where have you been since I last saw you, last saw you?)
 "On Ilkley Mooar baht 'at."
(Trans. On Ilkley Moor without a hat)
 Except with the constant threat of a rain shower I actually kept my cap firmly on all evening!
  The Jack Bloor races, for junior and senior runners, which THE COMPLETE RUNNER  is proud to sponsor,  help raise finance  for the Jack Bloor fund  which continues his work in helping those lacking the means to achieve their aims in the outdoor.   Jack Bloor was a pioneer climber , fell runner  and orienteer.   206 runners  turned out to race and support the fund.  Read more about the aims of the fund at http://www.jackbloor.co.uk/
 ILKLEY BREWERY , http://www.ilkleybrewery.co.uk/ also sponsored with every runner receiving a bottle of their finest .   

 The evening started for me at 5p.m. an hour before the junior races with the erection of our  start and finish banners. 

Following the 4 junior races in which we marvelled at the simply fearless descending skills of ones so young it was time for the main event.

3rd. place Leeds City runner, CHRIS BIRCHALL, leads the snake of runners up the first slope.

The COMPLETE RUNNER was represented by SCOTT BAIRSTOW  running here in the white vest of WHARFEDALE HARRIERS

Just over 38 minutes later GRAHAM PEARCE  (no.86)
came roaring down Ilkley Moor with TOM ADAMS
(207)closing fast.  But Graham reached the stream just before the finishing funnel first and just managed to fight off Tom's late charge to win
38.09 to 38.11; though it looked closer than that. 

A.C. won the ladies race from teammate RENEE SAXTON with local Ilkley Harrier EMMA BARCLAY 3rd. pictured here, showing excellent uphill running form.
So a hard evening's work on the moor for the 206 hardy competitors but a relaxed one for me. The final pleasureable task being that of presenting the prizes to the winners in the Senior Race and I still had my hat cap on!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


MONDAY .........
  As you might appreciate, having lived in Ilkley for over three  decades and running every day, it's not always easy to come up with new routes to keep the running fresh.   I've managed this over the years but find myself driving out to run very often nowadays to discover pastures new.

 I tried a new route yesterday which required only a short drive ,across the River Wharfe. I was keen to get the feel for a run which  would be a testing long uphill drag but runnable, with good underfoot conditions.  Basically from the bottom of the pic  above to the top!    A mile uphill approach ,on the road, unfortunately  then 1.6 on trail with a very conspicuous target to aim for in the distance; what I imagine is a grouse shooters' hut.  
 The run proves a good  testing workout for the old legs ansd should make for  a  nice change to hill reps  at any time of the year.  
TUESDAY................last speed session before the GREAT MANCHESTER RUN.
  The sight of the Runners Pack for Sunday's run  being pushed through the letter box predictably reawakened  some  butterflies in the stomach.    A much different build up to the race this year with Easter so late.  Last year there had been 2 races in the last fourteen days prior.  This year, following the Alex Park 5k, I set myself the task of 3 speed sessions with two days between each.   I'd survived a mile rep session and a 1/2 mile rep session leaving myself just  a moderate volume session  to finish off the build up today.

  Being Tuesday, it should leave adequate time to recover before Sunday.   It was back to Nelson track for this last session and as is usually the case there was a strong westerly to cope with...
witness the ragged Union Flag on the neighbouring cricket ground!
  The strong wind made the choice of session very easy then.   8 x 300 metres running the bends and walk/jog the back straight into the wind for recovery.   The target pace for these was 20/21 minute 5K pace and this was achieved ....76.5   75.7   73.8   73.2   73.6   73.7   73.1   72.2  ....but by the 8th rep the legs, particularly the hamstrings after yesterday's hill climb and last week's sessions, were telling me quite clearly.....enough is enough!!
   Just 4 easy runs now ...an easy period which I think I have earnt!

   Tonight I'll be happy to watch others ascending and descending,  on  this side of the valley, the much steeper side,  in the JACK BLOOR fell race.   Time to go and put the start and finish banners in place, as THE COMPLETE RUNNER is sponsoring the event.   Results and pics tomorrow....all being well.

Sunday, 8 May 2011


 There is a school of thought which would propose that all speed work is run on grass surfaces.  When I was a teenager and had no access to a track in North Manchester I would use a superbly manicured piece of grass in Heaton Park, very often barefoot.  I used to put park benches into position to act as steeplechase barriers.  
  The surface down at the local school playing fields pales in comparison with the park surface and although the track marked out for the summer term would be appear to be a tad over 400 metres but it does save a journey to Lancashire and is useful to have available.
  I was down there on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  Saturday,  it was my penultimate speed session before the Great Manchester Run next Sunday.  With that 5K last Sunday,  followed by 6 x 800 on Wednesday I decided 3 x mile would be sufficient.   And so it proved with 3 efforts which could best be described as "unspectacular".  7.37  7.30  7.13
.....averaging 7.26.....46+ 10k pace.  Going to need to see a faster pace than that next week.

  Today,  Sunday,  a rare easy day for me.  I was able to enjoy a much more leisurely visit to the grass track.  Just a warm up and cool down with 15 year old GEORGIA MALIR, daughter of my good friend Sally.  Georgia has already represented West Yorkshire Schools on the country (see picture) but is attempting  to run for the county on the track over 3,000 meters. So today she ran a solo 3K as a rehearsal  for the first stage, the Leeds City trials. I only had to shout out the lap times.   It would have been good  for us to have been able to have given  her more  help; but mum had just run a leg of the Calderdale  Relay and I'm just too slow now!
 Having run an impressive 5K debut of 19.13 on the road last Wednesday,  she ran very much to prediction  despite lacking opposition in windy conditions,  recording 11.12. 
   This young lady has inherited her mother's positive characteristics.    A love of running, a determination to improve and succeed, a willingness to learn and the knowledge that  ultimate success in the sport does not  come without effort and application.  
    I look forward to much success from her in all branches of the sport . On the track, on the country, on the road and on the fells.  A true allrounder in the making.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Talking with Terry podcast

  As many readers  know,  I love nothing more than the sound of my own voice!  (In truth now I'm no longer in the shop I spend many days just  talking to myself.!)  Anyway, if you like listening to podcasts,  check out a very pleasant conversation I had recently with the delightful JULIA ARMSTRONG. 
  Julia jogged " out of the womb"  and basically has not stopped  running since!  From an early age her dream was to pull on an England vest. A dream which was achieved by her 19th year representing her country in cross country races in Glasgow and Manressa, Spain.  As  with many of us she was lured towards the marathon in the '80s winning the Dublin marathon in 1985 and followed up that feat with a fabulous PB of 2:36:31 in the London marathon of 1986.
  Julia, when not writing books (Running To Learn), writing blogs,  writing magazine articles (for Running Free magazine)
and healing via her counselling, still performs at a high level. She is currently ranked at 4th  UK with her 5K time of 19.28 and 10th with her half marathon time of 90.52.
  So when there's nothing on the tele , you've done all your more important chores and are at a very loose end you might wish to check our podcast Talking with Terry which can be found by scrolling down on Julia's fine blog   http://www.runningtolearn.com/
                         Hope you enjoy it....if not, don't let me know!

FRIDAY.  I think we've all done a training run that we regretted.....................
Today was one such run.  Every morning I look out of the front window to check out the weather and check out the way the flag on the local church is flying to assess the direction and strength of the wind.  I look across to the skyline ridge opposite and of ten think that traversing the ridge would count as a good trail run.  Wrong!
  I should have known better. I have run up there in the Round Hill trail race. But I think when we're concentrating , in the heat of competition,  we're so involved sometimes we remember the good bits and forget the awkward bits.  The trail was just too rocky for my old legs; legs already fragile from Wednesday's canal speed session and a pretty tough trail run yesterday.  The scenery and isolation is fantastic but the intensity of concentration required  to stay upright is such that with the head down most of the time, it just cannot be enjoyed very much at all.   Minutes later my concentration does lapse, I do try to survey the late morning scene, clip the top of a protruding rock and  have to react quickly to maintain my balance and stay on my feet. If I had suffered a "nasty" fall, I  am in a totally isolated location and haven't told anyone where I planned to run and I have no ID on me.
   Turning off the stony track didn't help either as I rapidly lost height on a path which went down and down and of course what goes down ...let's just say it was hard work regaining the ground.   Perhaps if I hadn't been so tired it would have been better,  but the a further lesson is don't just check out the distance to be covered on gmap-pedometer check out the terrain button as well!
   Interestingly (?) there was a lot of burn heather on the moorland up there but,  unlike other parts of the UK which are aflame due to wanton acts of arson,   I think I witnessed the results of controlled burning.  The deliberate burning done by moor keepers to prevent the heather becoming too long and lank which apparently reduces  its nutritional value.  Done between  Autumn and Spring  only the heather is burnt leaving the wet peat below relatively cool. As opposed to this week's uncontrolled arson fires which are burning both heather and the dry peat below.   Very difficult to put out.
   The local WEST YORKSHIRE FIRE SERVICE  have reportedly been working very hard extinguishing heather fires on the moors near Halifax.  They must have known that  several hundred runners are counting on them to salvage Sunday's CALDERDALE RELAY.  A race already postponed from last December because of snow.   Good luck to any readers doing the event. 
   Running past I thought the burnt heather conjured up quite a nice image......


Thursday, 5 May 2011


May Bank Holiday Monday and  as the sun continued to honour us with its presence, the crowds flooded into Ilkley to view the town's carnival parade and then on to enjoy all the fun of the fair on the fields by the River Wharfe.
  I chose to avoid the masses and headed into the seclusion of Middleton Woods,   within minutes of the hoards but into another world altogether.   A world of natural beauty provided by the humble bluebell,  so called but  quite clearly are more of a lavender shade,   which at this time of year provides a spectacular carpet  of colour throughout these local woods. 

   The trek up through the woods was the highlight of Monday's recovery run after the Alex Park 5K.  Tuesday it was back to the tarmac  with an undulating 8 miler  and yesterday  it was back on the canal for more speedwork......6 x 1/2 mile. A return to Sunday's 5K pace.  The traffic free towpath is dry and fast at the moment so provides a pretty good , time saving alternative to the track and mid week is fairly quiet but  overall I  think I prefer the  safety and accuracy of the track.
1986.......looking back to this week 25 years ago

  Ten weeks prior we were in Malta for the Malta Marathon (Feb.16).   A frustrating 2:33.52 4th place effort,  hampered by strong winds and irritating local cyclists.  With 5 races in between, including a half marathon and a 30K (1:43.17, 2:25.20 pace) it was time for another weekend away for another 26.2 mile adventure.   This time  jouneying down to stay in Bath to compete in the BRISTOL MARATHON.  As I would know no one in the race I had no idea how it would go in terms of position and judging by the terrain it wasn't going to be flat .  But  based on that Anglesey 30K a sub 2:30 looked like a logical target. I had to be positive.
  By  the end of  Saturday night I was feeling anything but positive, however.  We had gone down to the west country with friends and I recall sitting in a pub at 7 p.m. thinking that the food was fine and we should stay.   But, no, it was decided that we should go into Bath and find somewhere "nicer".  So we walked, and walked, and walked and walked.  No where seemed to be just right. Meanwhile I was becoming more and more irritable as my pre-race meal was not happening! Finally, around 10 p.m.  we sat down and ate.   The red wine was good, I recall.
  The race started on the Downs and I positioned myself on the front line ready to give it a go from the off.   The gun went and a runner "shot out of the blocks" as if doing 100 metres.  His running style however would hardly win any style marks  but I immeditaely recognised it.   Maurice Cowman, of Westbury Harriers, turned and said something along the lines of, "There's always one nutter going for glory, isn't there?"
  I replied , "that's no nutter, that's Trevor Hawes and we won't be seeing much of him this morning!"   I was right.  Hawes ran away and never came back, winning in 2:22.35.   Cowman had a go for him though and actually caught him at 14 miles before he pulled away again. Cowman recorded  2:23.43 for second.   I pulled through as usual for 3rd in 2:28.25  passing veteran Ron Pannell who ran 2:29.35 at the age of 49.   It had been another solo experience though,  much the same as Malta.
  For my efforts I won a "ghetto blaster" which I spotted in a local eletrical shop the following morning priced at £105.   Probably the highest value price I ever won.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011


  I call the Open Athletics ALEXANDRA  PARK 5K the 'civilised 5K park run' because unlike 5K events held as part of the now national "ParkRun" scheme,  which tend to start at 9.00 a.m., this one starts at  the more leisurely time of 11.30 a.m.  A time which even makes our 75 minute journey no problem.   It's held monthly and costs £2/£3 to enter as opposed to
weekly free Parkruns.  Numbers have reduced as the competing Parkruns have become more popular but 74 participants was sufficient to provide competition from front to back.
My next race the GREAT MANCHESTER 10K  will have slightly  more in it. 37,999 to be precise now that PAULA RADCLIFFE has withdrawn, sore throat and chest infection reportedly or has she learnt that I'll be turning out again?
 At the sharp end  at the Alexandra Park race  was Sale club mate DAVID HOWLETT  flashing around in a solid and relatively unopposed 16.48.   Regular participant ARTHUR WALSHAM of Salford  who can boast countless veterans medals nationally and internationally and a marathon best of 2:21  blessed us with his presence. Approaching 81 he ran 36.29 with 2 young ladies behind.
 Neatly postioned between Good Friday's Salford 10K and that  Great Manchester 10K , Sunday's race  was chosen to serve  essentially as a tune up/build up race.  Based on my 42.59, deducting a minute and dividing by 2,  I had in mind a "satisfactory" predictable time of 21:00. But whilst it would be by no  means a "training run"  there  would be no taper for this low key race. So perhaps  I was being  optimistic.
 The strong winds which plagued the previous day's 3 Peaks were still in evidence in the Manchester Park but fortunately would only hamper us for  a  stretch on each of the 3 laps.   The midweek track session and subsequent runs had left the hamstrings sore but a good 3 mile warm up  oiled the wheels  and by 11.30 I was "good to go"!
  I planned to just race without worrying about the K spilts. I would just try to ensure that the Garmin, monitoring "  pace per mile, was showing below 7.00 throughout.

  Usual race scenario. I set off as fast  as seems reasonable only to be drowned by a wave of runners; the majority of whom I  would  work like stink to pull back over the second and third lap.   But the hares do provide good incentive and the sub 7 mile splits are achieved with 6.51  6.55 and 6.45 (plus 38 secs)......for a 21.11 clocking.  
  All in all a useful speed exercise and far faster than the alternatives,  slogging around Nelson track  12 and a half times or  hammering down the canal running  solo at what would result in just tempo pace.
  74 in the field and I finished 3rd M60.  I'll be aiming to repeat that position a week on Sunday in that field of 38000  mainly because most local M60 "stars" won't pay the entry fee;  ten times the cost this low key race.
  Do you think they will use the money saved on Paula's non-appearance to reward the leading veterans?  Now that would be novel , wouldn't it?


Monday, 2 May 2011


 Let's face it all races are challenging to some extent.  I raced a guy yesterday in his '40s running his first ever race. It was only a 5K but he ran himself to sheer exhaustion, collapsing on the grass on finishing,  crying out for water. But at no time in the 22 minutes he was running was his ability to finish in question. 
 The 3 PEAKS RACE is a somewhat more of A CHALLENGE!  Faced with ascending the 3 summits of PEN Y GHENT, at 694 mts, WHERNSIDE at 736 metres (having passed the famous Ribblehead viaduct) and finally INGLEBOROUGH at 723 metres over 23.3 miles it truly is a trial especially with a cut off target before the final ascent. 
  Back in the '70s when I ran it 3 times, one as a "reccie" and twice in the race itself the field was very much a mix off fell and road enthusiasts.  On Saturday the swing was very much to fell runners but the race is really somewhat of a hybrid  race:  miles of good  runnable stretches with 3 very hard climbs, shunned by fell purists as lacking tussocks and bogs whilst still attacting many more frequently seen on tarmac.
  Conditions were very much as forecast  last Saturday with very bright sunshine but marred for competitors and spectators alike by a chilling, gusting easterly wind.  Strong enough to make running "perilous in places" as one runner reported and had watchers like myself seeking shelter in hollows in the fields or behind the charteristic dry stones walls of the Yorkshire Dales. 
  In 1977 387 started, 352 finished, 35 retired with 63 non-starters.  This year the race reached capacity at 999 entrants,  762 of whom started with 676 finishing.  On a slightly different course, JOHN CALVERT  of Blackburn won in 2:51.04. This year TOM OWENS of Shettleston won  in 2:53.54.  But this year the gaps at the front were considerable.   My 3:13.07 in 1977 was only good enough for 49th place.  This year it would have been good enough for 12th place.  So  great to see the  tremendous increase in the numbers with an appetite for this very exacting challenge; much the same as with road racing  but  no impact on performances at the sharp end.   

ANNA FROST,  labelled as unattached,  but a well known face on the World trail scene as a New Zealand international ,was first lady in 3:30.00.  I could find no ladies in the 1977 results.
  So not a race for the faint hearted or ill prepared particularly in such testing conditions.  1977 was much the same except we didn't have gales to contend with.  The following year we faced torrential  horizontal rain; such is the nature of the area and obviously the heights reached.
 One thing that struck me significantly on Saturday was the amount of food being consumed as I watched at the Hill Inn as  runners faced the final summit.  A veritable picnic was going on!!
The ubiquitous gels and  "Go Bars", bananas,  jelly babies etc. I just recall scoffing jam sandwiches 20 minutes before the start, settting off feeling somewhat bloated, but can't recall taking in anything after that.  No doubt recovery took longer but lack of on route consumption didn't seem to hamper us much.
  Yesterday....more to follow....I passed a runner carrying a 500 ml. bottle of energy drink around a 5K.....challenging or what?!!
  Plenty of friends and locals turned out of course......
The final challenge.....Ingleborough