Monday, 31 December 2012


Well, as I approach the end of a half century of  club based training and racing I am pleased to look back on 2012 with great pleasure, much satisfaction and little to regret.  
 Compared to 2011, which began struggling to recover from a piriformis problem (a real pain in the bum!) 2012 started much more positively.  December 2011 had seen a steady rise in quality and quantity following a calf strain at the end of November so the first few weeks would see 10 weeks of over 400 miles building a base to underpin the season of racing  to come.   fail to prepare...prepare to fail and all that!
 The aim would be to ultimately average 40 miles for the 52 weeks (2080); exceeding in weeks without races,  less than 40 for weeks without  a race.
 I had run 18 races in 2011; if I could avoid injury, something around that mark again would be acceptable.
Quality wise, according to the books, repeating 2011 times would be very unlikely but who knows? Perhaps I could defy old father time?!
 The key would be ensuring variation and moderation in the training to stay injury free!
Those then were the key aims.  No major races like the old days with the season punctuated by marathons. Just a solid season with creditable performances throughout.


 I successfully managed to avoid injury and this meant being able to enjoy my running on 362 days of the year. Just 3 Fridays missed due pressure of getting club orders out and some foul July weather!  
 Calling a halt to the season after the GUYS 10 (Dec. 2) meant that 4 solid race free training weeks would see the 2080 miles target being reached; a repeat of 2011.
 17 races in all were completed.  Several 10Ks, a few 5ks, a 10 miler and the Manchester Parks  5 race Grand Prix completed once again.  But no half marathon or marathon. A solid season.
 Staying free from injury no doubt contributed to times which were not too far removed from those of 2011.    
                                 5K  (2011:  21.11     2012:  20.59)
                                 5M (2011:  34.10     2012: 35.24)  ??
                               10K  (2011:  42.39     2012: 71.52)

64 in a few days times so well down the Power Of 10 rankings in the M60 but did manage 3 category wins in races and half a dozen second places . So reasonable in that respect.  Amazed that some M60s are running PBS when all mine were in 1983!

Regrets?  Very little really. It would be good to have some company now and again when training.  Shame that it would appear I can no longer make a contribution in club teams as I'm not good enough for open age teams and the vets M55 isn't really happening. Perhaps next year.

I hope that 2012 has been an enjoyable one for you and you can look back on your training and racing with pleasaure and satisfaction.  May be you find it  tiresome to talk about aims and goals which is fine but if you have fallen short of your intended targets hopefully you can look back and spot what and where problems occurred and avoid them happening again in 2013.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


                                      RIBBLE VALLEY 10K 2011

Monday, 17 December 2012

Safer strides to the end of 2012

  I appreciate that for some runners part of the pleasure of running offroad,  on trails and fell,  is escaping from the dreaded tarmac,  prancing childlike along  puddle strewn pathways  or sinking knee deep into peat bogs and having great "fun" extricating themselves. Great fun indeed!?
 Combating mud is so often  part and parcel of the cross country racing experience of course and thousands more pay huge amounts to take part in "challenge" races,  combating not just mud but even fire, oil and deep water.   Great fun indeed!?

 All well and good; each to their own. But  this year we've witnessed several "authorities"  trying to improve pathways or trails under their control to make safe or enhance the leisure experience for users; the majority of whom  can be described as "seniors".   Improvements not universally welcomed.
                           A recipe for much conflict.

The laying of stone slabs on Ilkley Moor over long stretches really upset many local purists, resulting in a litany of letters to the local press.  A lot of angst!
  I reported on improvements to the Lake Windermere foreshore (the

National trust) and  now Yorkshire Water have completed a mile and a half refurbishment of the trail around Fewston reservoir.
  I was loathed to take sides in the moor debate but it was great to be up there last week in wonderful, bright winter sunshine, running towards the trip point along a path that would have been  near to impossible last December.   The Lakes trail was really just an enhancement and the reservoir improvement means no longer suffering soaked feet just 5 minutes into a 60 minute run.
 So for me, the improvements are welcome.  At my age the safer (and faster) the surface the better!  And judging by comments made by walkers last week  they too welcomed the change.

Last week's 6.5 circuit of the 2 res formed part of a  good steady week of training totalling 43 miles as I work towards achieving the 2012 target of a 40 mile weekly average. 2080 in total.
 The tape is in sight but it will require two better than average weeks to achieve the total.
 I know from recent blog posts that others have been keeping an eye on their 2012 total. Whilst others take a more relaxed view; just runnng when and where they feel like it and having no desire to record anything.

 To me setting a yearly mileage target is the way of committing to a year of consistency; whether that commitment be  20 miles, 40 miles, 60 miles or 80 miles per week.  Of course, I believe that  which of those figures is chosen dictates the races to aim for; but again many set race targets whether they have one the training or not. But that's another  whole  area of discussion!

Monday, 10 December 2012


Dave Rogers and his dedicated team from Sale Harriers staged another great day of cross country racing on the waterlogged fields and trails of Wythenshawe Park last week.  The fixture was the third of 5 in the MANCHESTER AREA CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE for 2012-2013.  An area which,  curiously,  now appears to encompass Merseyside!?  
 Two short videos which hopefully give a flavour of the event........

                                                     SENIOR AND JUNIOR MEN

                                                    SENIOR AND JUNIOR WOMEN

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Hitting the Strid trail

  The start of yesterday's run was unexpectedly precarious as the trail path from the Res car park down to the level of the water was a 300 metre downhill ice run.  Fortunately I spotted the danger and avoided a nasty fall and unwelcome trip to Otley A.& E.  No problems thereafter.
An easy 5 miler.

  With snow hitting the north east I was half expecting conditions to have deteriorated in Wharfedale as well by late morning but it failed to reach us and lovers of the outdoors enjoyed yet another beautiful winter morning with clear blue skies. 

As long as the route was in an easterly direction; very pleasant!
But the journey turning back was another matter....bitterly cold.
 A couple of icing sessions took a lot of the pain from my old legs; legs sore from Sunday's 10 mile race at just over 7 mins. pace.  Legs which found 3 miles in 32 minutes on Monday somewhat of a challenge.
    Today I managed a steady 6.  Recovery continuing nicely. Ice is nice.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


 "The reason we race isn't so much to beat each other but to be with each other.
Christopher McDougall, “Born To Run”
 The quote above is another saved from those sent daily by Runners World US.   It highlights the social aspect of attending races; taking as read that racing involves meeting challenges of distance and time goals,  or being competitive against old and new rivals.
 I think now when I race  shoulder to shoulder in an event a bond is established based on a common goal  of completing the distance in the fastest time  and not so much as beating that person; mainly because the people I'm racing shoulder to shoulder with is younger than me.  It's very often a case of encouraging them so that we can keep going together.  Unless they are listening to music of course! 
 Friendships born of competition  have been maintained in my case throughout the decades. But of course less so as the years pass by,  for obvious reasons.  You might say not many are daft enough to be racing having started in the 1963!

One exception is a person I mention frequently on this blog, because he so often pushes me into second place, is Wesham's ALAN HUDSON.  I'm not sure exactly when Alan started racing but certainly by '68 when he ran 39th(35.49) in the Northern Cross Country behind my 9th (33.05)  
 We ran an easy mile together after Sunday's race and we concluded that rather than my life of sin and debauchery holding me back nowadays, it is more like that he is still knocking out 2 speed sessions weekly and running 50 miles per week often.
 As we finished our post race jog,  it was great to chat to JOHN WALSHE, significantly wearing a Ballycotton 10 race t-shirt.   I wrote yesterday my "love affair" with the 10 mile distance over the years.  Well John is well and truly married to this distance and rarely strays for a "bit on the side".
 He made a comment on yesterday's blog which I will publish here and I think this says it all....

Terry, It was great to meet you briefly yesterday. Although in the same age-category as yourself, I was a bit further back in recording 77:47 – although it still gave me fifth M60! I, too, have a love affair with the 10-mile distance and this was my 100th British ‘ten’, despite living in Ireland. Since my first in 1986 (at nearby Horwich) I’ve made an average of four or five visits a year seeking out the races at this classic distance. As you say, many of these are sadly no longer with us but I’m glad to have run such races as Michelin, Wimbledon and Cockermouth before they disappeared from the scene. My interest in the distance led to the formation of the Ballycotton ‘10’ in my home village, a race that many British clubs and individuals have been to. I can echo what you say about the declining standards – in 1993, when Ballycotton had just over 1,000 finishers, exactly 200 broke the hour. This year, with in excess of 2,600 finishers, only 95 did so. Anyway, long live the on GUYS 10 MILE 2012 REVIEW  

  John was down in the results as Eastleigh RC (Southampton) but runs for also for East Cork.  John has seen his BALLYCOTTON 10 race grow in number and status throughout the years.  31 runners in 1978, 82 in 1979, 150 in 1980.  Continuing to grow in number......848 in 1984....1000 in 1993.....1500 in 1999.
 Nowadays, the entry in capped to 3000 and with no shows etc around 2000 toe the line.
  Alan Hudson said that his club Wesham would be going over by coach for next year's event.   Another case of a race acting as a means of maintaining and perhaps establishing new relations and friendships within their own club.
 So if you are reading this, are training regularly but haven't raced for a while just what ......and who you might be missing!  


Monday, 3 December 2012


My love affair with the 10 mile race distance began back in 1974; a Saturday afternoon joint around Eccles in  Manchester. A race for which  for once I have no results.  It was a moderate standard, I recall. 
 Certainly not compared with the fast and furious YORK 10;  an event which was established in 1973 and was building a major reputation as one of best 10 milers in the North.  The 1976 running incorporated the Yorkshire Championships but in effect attracted a whole host of the North's top distance runners.
 No fewer than 13 broke the 50 minute barrier in a race won by my training mater, Dave Slater (Bingley).  Me?  45th in a time of 52.58. I was Bingley's 5th runner.
 In the years that followed my race programme would always include a few 10 milers There were plenty to choose from. Sadly most have ceased to be put on like the Chris Vose 10 and the Clitheroe 10. The (Rowntree Mackintosh) YORK 10 generally featured though; probably because we always sold at the event with the Complete Runner  van; which usuallly meant I had no warm up and was generally  last to toe the line.
I frequently refer to the standard of the 1983 YORK 10. That  year an incredible  322 ran inside the hour,   60 minutes for 10 miles. Yes, 322!   
 My 51.41, in a year of 4 marathons and several halves, was good enough for only 21st place. A time I only bettered once running 50.37 in Morecambe the following year.
 I continued to run 10s every year until recently with none in 2009 and 2010 and only one last year.
 So today there was a little bit of apprehension as to whether I could hold my maintain customary even pace for 10 miles as I normally do over 10K. Time, or should I say "times" would tell!
  The night before a race I always check out the BBC Weather prediction; mainly to help decide what to wear.  With a forecast of 2 degrees and bright sunshine, it would be a long sleeve, hat, gloves and , with my eye sensitivity,the mandatory sunglasses.
 Not having run a 10 miler for a while, I also consulted the RACE PREDICTION CHART.  This, from the Competitive Runners Handbook, showed that a 43.00 10K runner should be capable of 71.40 for 10 miles.
As my very recent 10ks have been 42.43 and 43.11 clearly a sub 72 minutes clocking should be achievable; demanding miles splits on or under 7.12.
  I would run with the Garmin but it would merely record NOT dictate  the pace.  It would be my learnt ability to pace the race and my competitive streak which would be the main determining factor.  It would not be a case of a "self fulfilling prediction" of running to forecast and no faster.

 The weather forecast proved correct.  As we parked up at the venue, the GUYS THATCHED HAMLET ,hotel and pizzeria, parts of the car park were under ice and the few hundred yards from the gun as we exited at 10.30 a.m., demanded care.  A slight rise took the field of over 300 onto the St. Michael's Road and we were away into the flat local countryside with the roads providing no traction problems and the sun now strong and bright in a clear December sky. The shades proving a vital accessory.
 The race mile markers and my garmin splits aren't in sync but it matters little. With the sun and the shades on I can't read the times anyway! It just feels OK. 
But still after 2 miles I decide to step up a touch and running shoulder to shoulder with PAUL BERESFORD  of Rothwell we start to overtake and pull some of the fast starters back.
 We pass a hardy runner  dressed for high summer. Skimpy shorts, race vest, no hat, no gloves. I ask him what he wears in July?  In contrast,  another is more than well protected with longsleeve and full tights but I wonder just when he is going to open and devour the 4 gel strips he has in his waist belt in a 10 mile road race. Amazing.       
   Not permitted in last week's Wesham 10K, today we pass many running wearing headphones.  Clearly they need faster music.
 One says he is listening to Meatloaf.  He was running like a Bat Out Of Hell but would he keep it up?  
 Very often races are billed "flat and fast" but turn out to have some undulations.  Not today.  This is as flat as you are going to get. I think how great it be to run it in the summer.
 The miles are knocked off one by one. The pace is relentless but still my Rothwell pacemaker has deserted me and is now several places ahead.
 We reach 8 miles and  as last week there is a Perry now just in front. But it's not dad Steve, this week it's daughter Jayne.  I catch her and hoped to tow her through to the finish.   
 With the GUYS facility now in sight , I've pushed on to rejoin and pass Paul and a runner resplendent in his Skins long sleeve and tights. I turn into the car park expecting to find the finish around the corner but I can see it's exactly where the race started...... at the far end of the car park. How convenient.
 Despite the potholes and  with the hamstrings now starting to feel quite fragile, I manage to hold off Paul (41.48 at last month's Leeds Abbey Dash!) 
but the Skins devotee is not going to be outsprinted by this aged wrinkly and makes a Lazarus inspired dash for the line to beat me. The clock indicates I'm going to be inside 72 minutes. So I resist the challenge and my hamstrings thank me for not responding.

 No surprise to me but several finishers are looking a bit bemused as a small round of traditional Lancashire cheese is handed to them at the end of the funnel. 
  Different.  A bottle of port as well would have gone down even better!
 Post race review of the garmin mile splits proves interesting.  
7.12   7.12   7.04   7.17   7.02   7.00   7.07   7.00   7.07   7.04 ....10 miles in 71.10.
Problem was I was only half way across the car park and didn't cross the line until another 41 seconds had elapsed! 
 So  the official time will be 71.52...........very much as predicted!  3rd M60;
109th of the 318 finshers.
 I'm quite pleased with this time but I warmed down with my M60 arch "rival" ALAN HUDSON who tells me he has run an outstanding 65.58  And M65 GEOFF CUMBER has run 66.44. Great stuff. 

    At the sharp end, BEN FISH (Blackburn) was well clear in front; running 51:52 with STUART ROBINSON (Salford) 2nd in 53.19.  SARAH RIDEHALGH (Accrington) was first lady, in 60:44.
 The standard? Well, it didn't quite match up to that 1983 Y0RK 10 with just 13 inside 60 minutes compared to 322. Those were the days!

Sunday, 25 November 2012


  There was a time in the dark, distant past when virtually all races were on a Saturday.  Picking out an Athletics weekly from 1967 9 races were advertised on the back cover,  8 were scheduled for Saturday afternoon. 
The 9th advertised "track, walking and cycling events" at a Monday Bank Holiday Sports event.  Then again, shops weren't open on Sundays in those days either.     
  Nowadays it's the nationwide traffic free parkrun 9 a.m. 5Ks which dominate the Saturday calendar plus,  of course, many  cross country events which uphold the Saturday racing tradition.
  Saturday road races seem few and far between but they do prove very popular as they leave Sunday free. Traditionally free for a "long Sunday" with club mates.  90 to 120 minutes of "conversational" running; much banter about the previous day's race, "scalps" taken,  praising improvement,  excuses for bad runs. 
 Will many be up for that after yesterday's WESHAM 10K?

 Certainly not me.  Something shorter, something safer and of course I'll be running solo as usual.
  Last Sunday's 13 miler took it's toll during the week and I had the choice between doing a track session or getting some speed back into the old legs with a race.  
  Didn't fancy my chances getting into the Salford Women only 5.25 K or paying £15 on the day for a Dash around Wythenshawe Park so I opted for yet another trek to the Fylde coast for my 148th 10K.  
  I must admit I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near the 43 minute mark the way I had felt in the week but I was hoping the adrenalin would kick in as usual once we'd got under way just after 11 a.m. (After we had clapped for a minute in recognition of REG CHAPMAN, a Wesham member who had sadly died recently.)
   By this time the temperature had fortunately reached a tolerable 4 degrees; up from the zero when I had started out from home at 8.15.
   Logistics prove easy at this event. There'a ample parking just a short walk from the start and finish point at the local school where the host club, WESHAM ROADRUNNERS, were set up for collection of numbers and late entries.   They have a limit of 600; 461 finished.
 But the quality was much better than the FCR Windmill 10K event.  Perhaps club runners would prefer to support club hosted events rather than those put on by a commercial organisation even though the entry fee was much the same.
 At the sharp end, STUART ROBINSON, ex-Blackpool, unfamiliar to some in the red strip of his new club Salford Harriers  overcame the threat from Anthony Valentine of Bolton winning in 32:17. SARAH PARKINSON ran a solid 38:03 to lead home the ladies; 32nd overall.
 From a personal point of view the race turned out better than expected. 
I would like to think that I maintained a good even pace throughout. Certainly going through the field as usual from half way as the faster starters wilted. 
 But the mile markers (again no K markers!!) would suggest otherwise.
7.19 6.48 6.55.  So far so good.  
 With Wesham ladies, Nicola Unsworth and Tara Fisher for company it's another solid mile ( 6.49) .....then amazing acceleration to 6.14 before drifting back to 7.41 for the 6th mile!  A last mile which was flat and I was racing flat out shoulder to shoulder with several others including the ever present Stephen Perry (Lancaster).
 The course does undulate slightly but not enough for the splits to be that inconsistent.   Let's just conclude that the 5th mile marker was not quite correctly placed.   Perhaps it should have been place at the one point on the route where the country lane was a foot under water!
 So final time a pleasing 43.11, 117 of 461 compared to 45th of 553 in the Windmill; and once again  I had to be content to finish runner up to the evergreen ALAN HUDSON (WESHAM) of the 18 in the M60 category for the fourth consecutive race.
 The jury is still out on the race pictured above....a tech tee in the style of a football shirt. Different!?  Let's just say it didn't exactly stretch the imagination of the  graphic designer.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


As I write this I can actually see the other side of the valley here in Ilkley.  The "clag" , as they seem to say hereabouts,  was down until late morning with heavy rain thrown in just to make the thoughts  about  today's run somewhat less than enthusiastic.
 Another "saying" goes,  

             "there's no such as bad weather....just bad clothing!"

So it was a case of reaching for the Goretex jacket and stepping forth.  I would settle for a couple of laps of the Strid Woods; using the trees for shelter.  But late morning the rain relented, the skies brightened and having  run through the woods for 2.5 miles I switched tack and  put in 3 miles at tempo pace (aka race pace plus 10%) on a nice little traffic circuit between Bolton Abbey and the Cavendish pavilion.  

                                   I can think of worse places to try 
                             to run hard and (relatively) fast..................

With 2.5 back, it amounted to a pretty good sandwich session then of 2.5                 trail...3 miles road tempo....2.5 trail to finish.   A bit different to my usual sessions of 8 miles all trail or 8 miles all road.  

Sunday, 18 November 2012


  Before today's training  run  I thought I'd have a look at the LEEDS ABBEY DASH (9.30 start) as it passed through the 5K turn point at Kirkstall Abbey on a cool but pleasantly sunny Yorkshire autumn morning. 
 If  you ran the race check out how you looked after 5K in this 9 mins video....

The WINDMILL 10K on the front at Lytham  last Sunday left me quite jaded and I only notched up 20 miles from Monday to Friday.  

Nevertheless, I was very keen to maintain the year's average and that meant tackling a 7 on the undulating Strid trail  yesterday followed by a solid half marathon training run this Sunday morning to reach 40 miles for the week.
  The run, from Rodley on the Leeds Liverpool canal took me into Leeds and back; turning at the point where  the canalside bars and restaurants were preparing for their Sunday lunch business.   Quite a nice spot; very cosmopolitan.
 The splits fpr the 13.1 miles show the customary   acceleration throughout the run as far as the puddle strewn towpath and Sunday morning walkers would allow.  A 9.33 first mile..........7.50 for the 13th mile........a comfortable 1:52 overall.  
 Just might be looking for a half for the New year.

Friday, 16 November 2012


  My mother has done incredibly well to remain defiantly independent in her third storey flat at the age of 93.  But  in the last few months her health has sadly taken a turn for the worse and the decision was reluctantly made that she should stay in the Care Home where she is now on a permanent basis.
  So today  Pat and I  had the unenviable task of  starting to pack up her bits and pieces and prepare for the move.  
  I took a break from filling boxes with the accumulated paraphenalia acquired through the decades  to complete a 6 mile "nostalgia run" ; a chance to see how the area I was brought up in compared with my memories from  45 years ago when I ran the streets of Higher Blackley, Manchester.  A runner was a rare sight back then; not like now.
 The start of the run took me down a set of steps laid down over 50 years ago to facilitate access between the upper and lower estates on the hillside. A hillside we climbed every morning on the way to St. Clare's Primary School.  My mind went back to the morning when my school mates were talking about a new second TV channel which they had been watching called Granada.  They now had 2 TV channels! We didn't even have a television set.  Now I have one in almost every room in the house!  So, ner!
  I ran on and around the estate where I was lived  between the age 6 and 18.  A 1950s "new" estate which featured a circular road ; the scene of several informal "road races" we kids enjoyed as a form of street play.

  I ran on and came to the house where my mam and dad had brought the 4 of us in the '60s and '70s along with my "nana".  By chance I spoke to the lady who lives there now (with just her husband) and asked her, in jest, what had happened to the front lawn I had toiled over for so many years.  It had been paved over to provide a space for their car.  
  Few people had a car on the estate when we lived there. Everything on the estate seemed so much smaller than I remembered it.  Even the street  where we played "farmer, farmer, may I cross....."
appeared so much narrower.

  I ran on into Heaton Park and up the hill towards Heaton Hall. A hill I knew so well from Sunday afternoons spent doing solo hill reps in the summer under the guidance of my Sale Harriers coach, Alan Robertshaw.  Little did I think back then I would still be capable of running up that same hill  some 47 years later. 
                                                                   Only not so fast as I did then.

I ran on and passed the field behind the hall on which I  completed my reps, training for  steeplechase events, , dragging park benches into position to act as make do barriers; looking all the while for park rangers.

I ran passing the reservoir embankment, onto towards the Commonwealth Games croquet venue and turned down to the field where I  had my very first race, the Manchester Schools cross country championships of 1963; a race which earnt me a very unexpected place in the city team and started my whole running career off.
 I ran on, exiting the park and passed the site of Heaton Mills where I had worked for a summer as a teenager; despatching printed cloth all around the country.  The mill is no longer there. The land is occupied by a Sainsbury's car park.
 I ran on in bright warm, November sunshine, passed the old house again ,  back up through the estate, back up the "new" steps and back to the block of flats which features large on the North Manchester skyline.  

    A block of flats where my mam spent so many good years alone but is                        very unlikely to see again.   But she'll have a new place now  and when we've filled her room with the contents of some of the boxes we filled yesterday she'll hopefully regard it as her new home.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

WINDMILL 10K race report

After a month's break it was back to racing last Sunday with a return to Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire for the WINDMILL 10K ; a Fylde Coast Running event.
 Yet another 10K you might be saying?  True. But,  as with Mo Farah at the moment,  I personally still find the event a suitable challenge for where I am after 49 years of competing.  
 I'm not inclined to pay up to £90 to "run" through rivers, crawl through tubes or fight my way through barbed wire!
No, the challenge this season was  to run even sub 7 minute pace for 6.2 miles , get back to under 43 minutes and put a brake on the downward trend in 10k times year on year.
 Unfortunately, 4 of the other 5 races in 2012 over the distance have made that task impossible.  Platt Fields was waterlogged, Boggart Chase included half a dozen stiff climbs,  Stanley Park was a maze of twists and turns, Tholthorpe was hot and hilly.  The first attempt at Salford was too soon; I lacked the fitness.
 But  not having dipped much below 40 m.p.w since July hopes were high for a good performance on this  flat coastal run with few twists and turns; just as long as the wind behaved!  And with 700 entered there should be competitive company all the way around.
 As I warmed up I met former training mate Ilkley's Eddie Irving whose online entry had apparently failed;  he took up my suggestion to "run around with me".  Capable of sub 38 as an M55 it would be a tempo run for him.  He ran under 50 mins for 10 mile at his best.
 Being Remembrance Sunday we stood for the customary 2 minutes before heading south along the promenade past the Lytham windmill.  We covered the first "garmin"  mile in 6.54 ; bang on target.  Turning back and heading north as usual we started to chase down several clearly too fast out of the blocks for comfort going  through 2 miles in 6.46. The video shows I was 63rd at this point.
 What wind there was now  taking a bit of a toll on those in front and we continued to go overtake. I don't know how Eddie normally races but I hoped that he was enjoying  the thrill of the chase as much as I was.  Miles of 6.57 and 6.55 followed.  A sub 43 clocking looked certain as long as the wheels could stay on!  Which they did; a fifth mile in 6.45. 

 We were back on the promenade now with a warming sun on our backs,  the breeze pushing us from behind and  some welcome support from dozens of spectators.   We continued to overtake as we hit the 6 mile point in 6.47.    Eddie pulls out at this point as I mount  a  final charge over the last 0.26 (?) in 1.39 to bring me home in 42.43.  A season's 10K PB and 25 seconds faster than last year; so very pleasing.
 The splits then at 6.54   6.46   6.57   6.55   6.45 and 6.47 were much as I would normally run so I'm not sure that having Eddie present made a difference but who knows?   Certainly going through more than a dozen runners who fail to maintain the pace over the second 5K is now becoming the norm as I eventually went through to 46th.
 The category win proved elusive as usual; finishing 2nd of 15 to the superbly consistent Wesham runner, ALAN HUDSON.  But perhaps THE run of the day was that of M65 JOHN MORRIS (Wolverhampton) who ran a fantastic 40.12.  Hardly surprising to see that he  tops this UK's 10K rankings with a January time in Paris of 38.32 when he was younger.........66!! Phenomenal!

 Pat's  video clearly shows how Wakefield's PAUL LOCKWOOD (31:38) dominated the race straight from the "gun" and was never threatened with FCR's Autumn Breaker 10K winner, IAN GRIME (Newham) second (33:25).  
 Blackpool's BEV WRIGHT is well used to winning her vets F50 category but may well have been surprised to win overall in 41:30.   Perhaps her young rivals were racing on the country.
 So all in all a pleasing day at the seaside.  A  fine,  enjoyable, autumn day and one for which the wind was not too unkind.   Rare for the Fylde coast.  A 147th 10K which for once went to plan and the challenge of consistent sub 7 mins pace was faced and overcome.



553 finished the WINDMILL 10K last Sunday which started and finished on the promenade at Lytham St Annes on a fine autumn morning.  Pleased to record a season's P.B. of 42.43.  Video here......

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


 Sadly, but not unexpectedly, my dear 93 year old mother is no longer able to look after herself and is now in a North Manchester Care Home. Pat and I visited her this morning and I went on to do this week's "speed" session at the Sports City  outdoor track, adjacent to the Etihad stadium; the Commonwealth stadium which,  of course,  became the home of Manchester City F.C.
  Perhaps not the ideal venue for a Manchester United supporter but needs must.
          I say "speed" session but it's all relative isn't it? 
I could simply describe today's SPEED SESSION and I'm sure many would read it and raise one if not both eyebrows, thinking " Call that a speed session?" But scoff ye not!! Wait 'til you're 63!
 Back in the '80s when I was running marathons at well under 6 minute pace, many ,many steady miles would have been completed at between 7 and 7.30.  Mile reps would have been nearer to 5.
Nowadays "speed sessions"  have to relate to recent 5k race times of 21 mins or 10ks this year  between 43 and 44 minutes.  
 So what was "steady" pace back then constitutes "race pace" today and sets the target for the track sessions.
It's a bit to tough to accept the slowdown but it has to be accepted I suppose as part of the ageing process.  I think without the track sessions  race times would deteriorate even more.

 I wasn't sure what to expect for the lunchtime session.  At Nelson there would only be me; would the Sports City track be any different?  Well, the indoor facility was being made use of by a dozen or so including Olympic pole vaulter HOLLY BLEASDALE; but only one runner came through to join me outside.
 I was concerned that I would be getting in his way executing my 5 x 1K rep session; but  his coach had him do a couple of 300s and off they went, saying they would be back for more tonight! Strange.
 Running solo then and with a cool, autumnal wind swirling around the arena,  inevitably I was just short of  target 10K pace at 4.20 and had to be content with reps of 4.30  4.32  4.31  4.29  4.25 off a 2 minute interval.
 Times which might NOT look speedy to many; but certainly hard enough for me!
 As I walked back through the indoor track facility to the changing rooms I broke off to jog one lap of the 2oo track; thinking it might be useful on days when the snows come.  
 But might have to think again; I hadn't realised how much of a camber there is, even in lane one, on the track's bends.   A real injury concern.  

Tuesday, 6 November 2012


  The cancellation of the NEW YORK marathon was hardly a surprise was it? What was unexpected was how late the decision was made with thousands of the 20,000 overseas runners already in New York or on the way.  Many had even queued for hours to register and be given their race "bib".   Less than 48 hours before they were to start the 2012 IMG New York City Marathon, thousands of runners on Friday received news the race was cancelled.  It was the lateness of the decision that seemed to be the main complaint as,  of course,  the majority recognised their disappointment and inconvenience was little compared to the suffering of New Yorkers  as the hurricane struck. The marathon became a source of controversy  when Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to go forward with the race, which was scheduled despite massive devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Anti-marathon sentiment grew as the race approached and that opposition ultimately prevailed it would appear.
It reminded me of a trip Pat and I made with a group of runners out to Spain for the MALAGA marathon in the '80s.  There were whispers about a possible cancellation,  due to traffic issues,  on the journey out and this was confirmed shortly after we arrived.  I don't recall the disappointed being personally too immense; probably because I was tending to run several marathons per year at that time.  So one less was no big deal. But a few in the party were somewhat  annoyed and vowed to run the route whatever on the Sunday morning.  
 In much the same way as thousands of runners flooded into Central Park as soon as it was opened ....

The following ,giving more detail about the NYC marathon cancellation is from  RUNNERS WORLD U.S. ...................
The day after the 2012 New York City Marathon was cancelled, runners were still processing the unprecedented news and trying to figure out their next steps regarding running and relief efforts.
Central Park, which had been closed since October 28, reopened Saturday morning at 8. Runners immediately flooded the 6-mile perimeter road as well as the reservoir path and bridle path. Large groups of international runners, who make up close to half of the race's field, ran together in national colours. Many runners had on the race numbers they would have worn on Sunday.
The marathon's finish line structure remained in place, but bleachers, flags and sponsor placards along the marathon's last quarter-mile were removed by mid Saturday morning. The large tent that had been the pre-race media center adjoining the finish was converted into a base of operations for workers deconstructing race-related structures.
Registrants did not receive official notice of the race's cancellation until just before noon Saturday, via an e-mail from the New York Road Runners. The notice contained no information on compensation for registrants because of the cancellation. At Friday evening's press conference, NYRR CEO Mary Wittenberg said that 2012 registrants will be given automatic entry into next year's marathon or the NYC Half, a half-marathon in March. It remains unclear whether this year's registrants will be required to pay the full entry fees for those events.
An 11 a.m. meeting for elite athletes did not clarify whether the race would pay the runners' full appearance fees.
"The meeting didn't give many details," Ryan Vail told Runner's World. "They are giving themselves a week to try to put together funds to pay us something. They did not say what percentage. The meeting talked about the Fukuoka Marathon and their efforts to compensate us." Japan's Fukuoka Marathon, scheduled for December 2, is a likely replacement race for men in the elite field. The women-only Yokohoma Marathon in Japan on November 18 is being discussed as an option for the elite women.
The mood Saturday afternoon at the Health and Fitness Expo at the Jacob Javits Center was surprisingly upbeat. Crowds of runners, albeit smaller crowds than usual, milled around clutching plastic gear check bags, mugging for photos, and munching free samples of SunChips.
Half-price race gear in the sprawling Asics section may have contributed to the positive vibe—lines 40 deep formed as runners snatched up discounted jackets, gloves, and bags emblazoned with the NYC Marathon logo.Meantime, a voice echoed over the expo's PA system: "The 2012 ING New York City Marathon has been cancelled."

I'm sure many were just pleased that they could at least enjoy a break in New York in much the same way as Pat and I did in Malaga; although I must say that Torromelinos would not have been our holiday destination of choice.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Many of you active runners are no doubt starting out on a cross country season with local league races  followed by  county, regional and perhaps the National. That's certainly how I started out as a youngster in the '60s.   But of course it's not only only way to shape a year's running.
   Having raced the National in Roundhay Park, Leeds in March 1982 for Bingley Harriers  I virtually hung up my spikes for the rest of the decade.  No sooner had I washed the mud off my legs than I changed focus and by the end of October had run 5 marathons, the best being the 2:29 London in the April and finishing the season at the end of October with 6th in the Leeds (2:32.07).  Well due for a rest!!
So this became the new shape of the running year. My fresh  focus took me to Valley Striders, a "marathon mad"  club and I would tend to find a key autumn race to target and finish off the season. Several years I didn't race again until the Ribble Valley 10k which served as a chance to see how fit I was after ticking over in November and December.

 Looking back 25 YEARS AGO to this week 1987 then that  year followed that pattern and the LEEDS HALF MARATHON would mark the end of the racing season on October 24th.  It would also be the 10th and final event in the Leeds Grand Prix but as long as I finished that title was already pretty secure.
 Most of the Leeds G.P. events were fairly short and not having run  a half since the Brass Monkey in January  I decided to race the NIDD VALLEY HALF , 3 weeks before the Leeds on October 4.
On a tough undulating course to the west of Harrogate, the local club gave us Valley Striders a firm reminder that they could run distance as well as us and put 5 in the first 11.  BEN GRANT (3) JEFF HUTTON (4) KEN MOORE(6) TIM INGLEHEARN (10) BRIAN MILLER (11).  I was sandwiched between them in 7th in 73.48.
 3 weeks later the forces of VALLEY STRIDERS would be split for the half and the full marathon.
I seem to recall that we all set off together and I had to respectfully remind my full distance club  mates that they were doing twice the distance as they kept pace with us for the first couple of miles. "Slow down're embarrassing us!!  They did...but not much.
 It's interesting  how the 2 events were reported on the Monday.  Granville Beckett in the Leeds Yorkshire Post quite rightly focussed on the full marathon and described how KEITH CLUDERAY (V.S.) had clawed back the lead of friend and clubmate TERRY BEAN  to win in 2:25.17. with fellow striders MARTIN HOPSON (5)  and STEVE THIIRKELL (7). 4 Striders in the first 7.
 Keith, the winner, was almost apologetic afterwards saying he had beaten "a better runner"!  The pic shows that runner up Terry Bean iwas just happy that it was teammate who beat him. 
 In contrast, Granville writing as "JIM DALTON" in the Bradford Telegraph & Argus highlighted the half marathon win of BINGLEY'S ROY BAILEY IN 66.15.
 I narrowly missed the podium with 4th place in 71.25.  It was just a minute slower than the much faster BRASS MONKEY course (also 4th) and  was a fairly satisfactory end to the season on October 25th 1987.
  25 races with 18 top 10 placings BUT no race win.  However, the first place in the Leeds Grand Prix was excellent compensation and was a good reward for a very consistent season.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


  I must confess that I hadn't planned for this week's running,   brought to a close today , to be one of the most active of the year.  48 miles logged and they couldn't really have been covered over much more varied northern terrain;  in Cumbria, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Lancashire.
  MONDAY couldn't quite match Sunday's magnificent weather in the Lake District with such high unseasonal temperatures.  The old body was calling for a just a short run and I decided on a loop from Troutbeck taking in the DUBBS ROAD trail, repeating part of the Sunday run.
 The trail past the reservoir is deceptively steep and becomes quite rugged under foot.  I am happy to start the week with  the 5 MILES. 

But the run proves  tougher than anticipated and hardly an "easy day".

 TUESDAY'S run along the Windermere lakeshore is one I would thoroughly recommend, particularly since the path improvements by the National Trust.  
 Described more fully in a previous post this week, the trail is now fast and firm under foot all the way up to Wray Castle; with work  ongoing at present to create a nice loop around the castle grounds which make the run 6.5 to 7 miles depending on neat to the ferry terminal the run starts.  6.6 MILES.
  After several day's of trail running with the pace rarely going much below 9 mins due to the undulations and terrain, I felt it was time to hit the tarmac!

 WEDNESDAY. The classic Ilkley to A59 out and back run via Nesfield with  views of Ilkley moor starting out and views down Wharfedale as the run unwinds on the fairly quiet country lanes.  Better pace of course and that was what was needed.

THURSDAY.  Having put 45 miles in over the last 7 days, many of them tougher than normal running in the Lakes  it was tired for an easy day.  A retreat to the local playing fields for a very easy 3.4 mile jog.
FRIDAY.  Track day. Seedhill. A session of two halves.  Back straight ,  wind behind, sun on the face nice and comfortable.  Home straight,  into chilling north easterly
very uncomfortable!  4 x mile.
10k pace would have been good but  not achieved. At least they were all under 8 mins pace.  AS usual, the session proves  there is NO faster place to achieve pace better than the tartan track.
SATURDAY.  I decided to the "2 RES RUN" of Swinsty and Fewston in reverse. Readers who also do this run may be pleased to know that the stretch from the main Fewston car park to Blubberhouses is now undergoing improvement by Yorkshire Water.  More work which may upset those who like their running to be rugged under foot and muddy in places.  I shall look forward to the path reopening and seeing the fruits of their labours.

SUNDAY.  Back on the STRID WOODS trail on the Bolton Abbey grounds.  The Halloween Pumpkin Trail  has attracted the families who are seemingly not deterred by late morning cool, damp conditions.  But it's clear that many of the bedraggled youngsters have lost count of the orange pumpkin pictures pinned to trees along the riverside trail and would rather be warm and cosy watching CBBC at home.  "Are we nearly there" being heard more than once.
It was a slow fairly labourious jog today but it was  a case of persevering and sticking to the plan for the day.  The 7.5 miles of undulating trail brought the week's total to 48.  The second biggest week of the year.
  All in all a good week.  Great scenery most days but very frustrating changeable weather, making choice of kit for the runs difficult.  A track session, a longish run, plenty of undulating trail and one easy day.
 One week in which the pieces of the jigsaw DID fit nicely together.
 I hope YOUR week went equally well.  Now to think about NEXT week...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Cruising along the Windermere trail

How much would you pay NOT to have to swim across lake Windermere?  

Why would you want to swim across Lake Windermere?  

To have a run along lake shore on the other side of course!  But is the run worth it as it costs £8.60 return on the Windermere to Far Sawrey ferry?
 We had expected to pay £4.00 each way but apparently the "area manager" decided to put the price up to £4.30 as a final leaving gesture! 
  No doubt to annoy the ticket collector who would then have to find giving change to motorists. cyclists and pedestrians a lot more diffciult.
 Pedestrians pay 50p single.

 The crossing is a mere .2931 miles. 

So by my reckoning a ferry from Bowness On Windermere to London at the same rate would set you back £3684!

 But anyway was the run worth it?  

      Well, of course it was!!

The trail along Lake Windermere up to Wray Castle is quite popular with walkers, mountain bikers and runners as it provides a magnificent view of the lake and all its traffic, the islands and of course the surrounding hills.  
 Tuesday's  weather wasn't quite what it was on Sunday but unlike most of the rest of the country which was covered in mist and fog, sufficiently clear so as not to obscure the great views.  
Just a trace of low cloud covering the tops of the Troutbeck Hills and Wansfell.

Some tourists may have been put off by the state of the trail in the first undulating mile or so 
but thanks to ongoing work carried out on behalf of the National Trust,  the 3.5 miles up to and now around Wray Castle are far safer and less arduous for all.

Particularly safer at this time of year when autumn leaves cover the trail and would in the past have covered up  multiple hazards.

Again, as with the stone slabs on Ilkley Moor, I'm sure there have been objections, but I
would imagine  the majority of "tourists" are in favour.

Of course, a visit to the so called castle would have to wait for another day. I say "so called" as I read that it's not a "real" castle ; more of a "folly".  A private house built in 1840 for a retired Liverpool surgeon. Apparently, his wife, whose money contributed to the cost of the build, took one look at the house and refused to live in it!

So the next time you are in the lake District check out this 7 mile trail run to Wray castle and back.

But don't forget your £8.60 or you'll have to ditch your car and swim across!