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!


  1. That's brilliant Terry, well done!

  2. A nice report Terry, consistent splits and a good finishing time in such a big field. Do you actually check your splits at each mile/km. I'll click my watch but just run according to how I feel and analyse the results afterwards.
    Many races ban headphones, rightly in my opinion!
    I met Helen Clitheroe back in 2003 when she was presenting prizes after the Wesham 10K, a charming lady who's still running as well as ever - if not better!

  3. Why rightly ban headphones? I never even knew it was an issue until I've just read a few whining today. What do you people have against amateur runners too? It amazes me that you sign up for popular 10k races with 38000 entrants then complain about people being in the way, or wearing shorts *shock*

  4. I can't find in my report where I condemned the use of headphones. I have discussed this however in a previous blog. I do think their use detracts from the experience for the user. An opinion shared by many. But really I was simply illustrating the fact that club runners around my standard were thin on the ground. No familiar faces.
    I didn't "sign up" for it in the normal way. I won a free place having managed 3rd in the M60 age group last year. Having run it in 2010 I knew full well that in the first K runners have to have their wits about them. So I was well prepared for that. Again no complaint,simply a description of the start. A statement of fact.
    I saw several fall regretably.
    I have nothing against "amateur" runners if by that you mean slowers runners. I have always been happy to help and encourage all who ask for advice whatever their standard.
    Baggies? I sold dozens of them in the shops but us older types still prefer the freedom of "racing split" shorts. Again in the report just a comment on the change in style choice.

  5. Well done Terry.

    There's definitely a change taking place, when a 10k can attract 38000 runners and with a distinct lack of club runners. As for the 'amateurs'. Barring a select few, we are all amateurs anyway, perhaps only separated in the race by those who take it more seriously than others. As for the headphones. My understanding is that; all entrants should be able to clearly hear audible instructions from race marshalls or safety staff at any point during the race. Hardly likely with your ears blocked out.

  6. One thing about baggy shorts: as I'm sure you know, Terry, from selling them in the shops, there are a select band of very decent standard, "serious" runners who, for some reason, prefer the baggier shorts to lycras or "racing splits". I agree that you didn't criticise them in your post, however.

  7. Prefer the shorts with most of the legs showing. Gives me the idea that my legs are longer with a longer stride.