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.


  1. Work is 22 miles away, so I can't really. Having said that, I did do it once as part of my marathon training, which was very satisfying.

    Having said that, we do have showers at work, and as a father of 2 small children with limited time for running, I try and make use of them by having a run during my lunch hour.

  2. I run the 9.5 miles from my office to home in the summer months once a week. As the route takes me though less desirable parts of South London I tend not to do it during the winter when it's dark.

  3. V posh showers at our place, Terence. 6 showers, lockers and a drying room. Sizeable running and cycling fraternity (and sorority, actually). I try to bike in at least once a week and run home (14m) on a Friday.

  4. My route is Keighley to Rawdon. About 14-15 miles. Getting a train to Shipley and running via canal, river, Esholt and woods is a great route. I do it on the bike mainly but have done the run on occassions.