Tuesday, 29 May 2012


My pre-race thoughts last Sunday  can probably best be summarised as follows........

 I DON'T NEEDTHIS...............I don't really feel I've recovered from two weeks ago.
 I DON'T NEED THIS..............I feel ***ckered from standing up at work for hours this week.
 I DON'T NEED THIS.............the temperature is going to mid 20s....why bother!?
 I DON'T NEED THIS..............my head's blocked up from hayfever or do I have a head cold?
 I DON'T NEED THIS...............it's bound to be a P.W. for a 5 miler.

 BUT in line with many I spoke to the SALE (HARRIERS) 5 MILE ROAD RACE  was the second race of 5 in the Manchester Parks Grand Prix and we were ultimately all keen to maintain our presence in the series.  Having to commit and remain fit over a period is a real  incentive  and advantage of taking part in a Grand Prix series, isn't it?
 So it was a case of don extreme weather white mesh club vest, white cap and sunglasses and go for it!
At least I hadn't raced for a fortnight;  several were talking about having raced on Friday night, many spoke about having raced yesterday in their weekly parkrun, and perhaps regretted it as the temperatures sored.  But club mate and follower Frank C. made it 3 in 3 days even after a half marathon in Latvia last week.  Well done, Frank. Couldn't do it at my age, I'm afraid.
  We arrived in plenty of time and for once I had a reasonable warm up.  For "warm up" read loosener ; just stepping out of the car we were warm enough.  I joined the small select field of just 146 runners and slottted in to the left of the start line to stay out of the basically. Good job.  I  thought I had a couple of minutes to relace my untied shoes  but then  the gun went. Fortunately as was at the side of the track as every single entrant swept past.  Some start!  Some handicap.  Last out of the blocks.  I managed to overtake 77.
 Still it forced the adrenalin to kick in perhaps more than normal and I think I managed to run to expectations except I just failed to catch M65, MIKE CUNNINGHAM of Manchester A.C. who was first M65 ; my consolation being that I was first M60 and of course 1st M60 in the Grand Prix as a bonus.
 My splits on the course based on the placing of the mile markers were
7.01  7.57  6.28  7.01  6.41..............35.14   (A personal worse but not too bad all things considered)
But official time on results sheet  35.24. 
  Conclusion ...it took me 10 seconds to tie my shoe lace up and someone didn't quite get the placing of the mile markers correct. But more importantly some race days go a lot better than you think they are going to go when you first step out of the car on arrival.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Failure to focus ?

No matter how we express it,  "withdrawing from your fitness banks" ,  "breaking down walls" or whatever,  put simply racing takes it out of us all. No matter how old we are.
 But it's so often said that recovering from races getting harder as we age.  After the Beaverbrooks 10K, a week last Sunday, in which I had to work very hard to run  43 minutes,  it was 6 days later on the following Saturday that I felt up to getting anyway near that race pace.  Last week was a hard week indeed.
  The track session of 10 x 600 metres reps with 200 metre jog recovery was executed at 45 mins pace
with the temperature showing 4 degrees and me dressed as if the calendar was reading February.  Desperate stuff.  A stark contrast to today with the temperature getting well over 20.
 Another indication of the impact of that 10K was shown in comparing last week's and this week's 2 res run. Last week, again in cold blustery  conditions,  64.15.  Yesterday, despite a temperature of 19  degrees...59.15. So 5 minutes faster. Perhaps I just thrive with a bit of  sun on my back!
 Of course , you young 'uns often take a different view with regard to races.  Take one local  F50 who prepared for a hilly marathon last week by running a club league race on the Tuesday night and not content with that slotted in a sub 20 mins 5K on the Wednesday night.  A different view to marathon taper; but a time which "forecasted" to about 3:10.  She ran 3:26 and  missed out on a category win in the marathon by t just 3 minutes?!  Failure to focus,perhaps or just enjoying racing?
 I follow the progress of a club mate who in his late teens was at much the same level as me as a steeplechaser. His times recently have been a tad disappointing but he did go back under 9 minutes last year.  He ran in a fairly prestigious 3k steeplechase last Sunday but missed on a sub 9 mins clocking by ten seconds.  The night before he had raced a 1500 metre race, finishing 11th.  Failure to focus, pehaps?
 The great wee man, Haile, ran a superb Great Manchester 10K time of 27.39 and will turn out again this Sunday in Hengolo, Netherlands supposedly  in an attempt to gain an Olympic place over the same distance, having missed out on  a marathon place.   Will he still have that road 10K in his legs and miss out?  We'll see on Sunday. Would you have raced the Manchester with the trial 7 days later? Failure to focus perhaps ?
 I know many vets like to race every week. I've queried this with a few and they tell me in between they just "tick over", doing no track sessions; they use  the races as their speed work.  It's an approach which seems to work for many; but  I'm not sure it would work for me.  I'm not sure I want to be heading out every Sunday morning or even earlier for 9.00 a.m. parkruns.
   I think I'm  strong enough to race pretty well a couple of times each month at the moment but perhaps try to "peak" for a few key  races where the courses are particularly conducive to a  good performance. Hopefully I can maintain that approach until  November then ease down for a few weeks.

Friday, 18 May 2012


  The ever growing strength of the parkrun empire is having a bit of knock out effect on 5ks organised by running clubs.  Salford Harriers moved their Sunday 5K to a Thursday night.  Our club dropped our 5K as their is a weekly parkrun in the same park.  But the club has persevered with a heavily marketed 5K series, the Sizzlers,  Lancaster & Morecambe are still running the Saturday night 5K series.
  Locally, the newly named SALTAIRE STRIDERS (formerly St. Bede's A.C.)  have enjoyed success with their JOHN CARR 5K sreies of 3 5Ks despite the weather!
  I popped down to the nearby village of Esholt , where Emmerdale was filmed before they built their  own Emmerdale village,  and witness 308 thrash out a fast furious 5K.
 Sally M. said she had secured a late entry and said that they had reserved a number for me as well; but, one,
my asthmatic lungs do not work well on a course which is largely based in a sewage works(!) and two, last Sunday's 10K took a lot out of me and there was no way I was going to extend myself again just 3 days later!
 Not a great evening for filming with the setting sun but here's a flavour of the action......

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

BEAVERBROOKS 10K..it takes all sorts!

 In order to secure an entry on the day, I arrived quite early for last Sunday's BEAVERBROOKS 10K in Blackpool.  As I walked across the Hilton Hotel car park to enter I thought it was unusual to be racing on the Fylde Coast in a race NOT organised by Ron Mc Andrew of fyldecoastrunning.    But as chance would have it, Ron was the very first person I met as I reached the basement door of the hotel.  He would be marshaling today. He quip was,
                                                "Terry Lonergan doing a fun run!".   

When the charity event first started in 1982 it was an issue whether club runners should take part as it was not a "registered" event.  There was talk of local AAA officials out spying to make a note of any club runners taking part and have them banned! Not sure if that ever happened but
certainly many club runners wore alternate vests for the day.
 I stuck to that practice on Sunday but  times have changed; with no threat of a ban many local runners wore Wesham and Blackpool colours as normal.
 However, as an unregistered race, our performances will not appear on Power Of 10 records.
Probably justified as times seemed to have been rounded up/down to the nearest 15 seconds!
According to the results 17 of us crossed the line in exactly 43 minutes. Some deadheat!!
  The leading runners were heading back up as we approached the Pleasure Beach and club runners obviously made up the first dozen places or so.  But around me I would say the majority were "unattached".  Many young men with talent and potential running an occasional race but not in local clubs.
 The results show hundreds under 35 took part; yet this is the age group so lacking in "normal" club races.  The question is then, how do we get them to join our running clubs?
Over my 50 years of competing,  relationships are established with runners, like Ron McAndrew who I first competed against in 1968.  Relationships often established  actually during  the race itself.   Not a conversation as you might have when training of course but a bit of race banter and  then the inevitable after race post mortem. 
 Sunday saw little of that as nearly every runner around me was listening to music.  Now you might say it was a good thing they couldn't hear me but they cut out a lot of the atmosphere of the event.
The cheering of the holiday makers lining the route,  the sounds emitting from the arcades on the Golden Mile,  the screams from the Big Dipper on the Pleasure Beach,  the clanking of the trams, the cries of the seagulls. And no real rapport with fellow runners; no relationships developed!
 With no real malice intended, quite often fellow runners say to me, "you're not the runner you were,  are you, Terry?  With two fingers forming a "V" either side of my nose, I point out that I am 63 and the years of competition have taken something of a toll. 
 However, taking part in mass participation events such as the Beaverbrooks brings home the opposite. Compared to the general running public,  we are in fact pretty fit indeed. 
 In the recent Salford 5K with 106 in it I was nearly half way down the field  in 52nd place.
                      Here with I was in the top 6% of the 2500 who took part.  
                        It was that kind of event. Nice for a change, I suppose.

Monday, 14 May 2012

BEAVERBROOKS 10K 2012...fun at the seaside?

I generally tend to shy away from so called "mass participation" events  with the exception of the Great Manchester 10K in my home town. But having finished only 4th in the M60 age group last year, though I'm convinced one who beat me was running as his father, I failed to win a "prize" entry. So instead I thought I would reaquaint myself with the delights of the BLACKPOOL promenade and race the BEAVERBROOKS 10K.
 The 30th running of a FUNRUN which helps participants raise thousands of pounds for charity whilst giving "serious" runners the chance of a fast outing ; just short of 5K down to the famous Blackpool pleasure beach and (ideally) a fast belt back up the promenade. Simple. Simple, providing the weather is perfect!
 But as is so often the case on the west Fylde coast the wind played a part in spoiling the party. Not so simple.
Very often we race in windy conditions and afterwards we say "the wind never seemed to be behind us did it?"  Yesterday,  there was no mistaking the way the race would go.  True to the BBC weather forecast,  chilly, strong south westerly winds  brought flags along the promenade to horizontal and we knew the first half of the journey, south towards the  Pleasure Beach would be hard . Very hard.
As usual  I was still warming up as over 2 thousand other runners stood in place suffering the sea breezes.  I came onto the course and slipped a few ranks behind the "serious" sub 40 minute runners.  Many looked as if they were running their first race; never mind able to run sub 40 mins!!
 Inevitably the start was a tad traumatic.  Elbows set at shoulder height in "defensive mode".  The cold, wind working against the old heart and breathing.  The "young guns" were now passing  me by the dozen.  Spiderman flew past to my left.  5 extremely fit looking young men flew past to my right clad in head to foot lycra body suits with no visible holes for breathing.  Blue, yellow, black, green and red.  Were they the Olympic rings running in formation, full of chat and high spirits as they sped on away from me in their Morphsuits!
 I figured today then would be a case of participation. One for surviving the first 5K and trying to salvage something on the way back for a solid run. Nothing more.
 And so it seemed as we went through 2k in 9.03. and followed with splits around 4.30 going through 5k in 22.26.   But.......
 I spy Spiderman now at the side of the road; he is peeling down the top half of his lycra suit. he has expired.  The Olympic ring runners have broken rank. They too have unpeeled. The top half of their Morphsuits around their waists.  Now they can breath!
But the relief of battling against the strong winds elevated the spirits. Unlike small races where it's often the case of running solo, here there was always someone to fight as they came past, always someone to chase, always someone to run shoulder to shoulder with. And so the acceleration came........
 6th K....4.11.....7K....4.10.....8K  4.05!
Disappointingly we were not turned down onto the lower promenade at this point but carried on
slightly uphill past the start and we slowed to 4.20 but with plenty still to aim for,.....................
 Somehow despite that first 5K we were now racing to dip under 43 minutes as we now turned onto the lower  walk but for me the wind, now against us again  for the last few hundred yards proved too strong and at least on my watch, I just missed out by 3 seconds but the results read 43.00 for a whole group of us.
But 3.50 for the last kilometre?  Possibly a bit short?
 Besides the "batch timing" be prepared for results only by age group if you ever run this one.   At 63 I was put in the 55 and over group, not the usual M60 category,  but was still pleased to finish  3rd of 170.
           All in all a good day out on the coast but we could have done without that wind!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Jack Bloor Race 2012

 For once the weather for the 27th annual Jack Bloor Senior fell race was tolerable; although true to form by the time the prize giving took place,  many were complaining of being bitten by midges as usual. 
 As the Complete Runner were co sponsoring once more with the Ilkley Brewery Company popping up the moor from home provided a pleasant break from the delights of the print room where on the Fastrax side of the business we are extremely busy getting your club vests etc out!
 Unfortunately it's not an event easily covered midrace but I hope the following video captures the atmosphere around the start and finish area............

Saturday, 5 May 2012


The daily running has been hard this week. Not hard because of any real pace. Just hard work.  I had put the tiredness down to reaquainting myself with  developments in the FASTRAX print room which has seen me standing   printing for several hours each day.  With a staff retirement ,a  necessary exercise; one, to ensure that the vest ordered continued to flow out and two , so that I am able to teach new recruits how to cope with the orders in turn.   Printing your club vests is often more difficult than you night imagine.
 So standing for several hours a day,  has been a factor . However, when I measured how far I had run in supporting  Sally Malir's superb GREATER MANCHESTER MARATHON , I found that it was 18  miles in total!  Hardly surprising the miles since have been somewhat laboured.

 Going back to Sunday the running forums have been awash with comments about the race.  Many have praised the marshals, many from my own club Sale Harriers, and the people of south Manchester who not only gave vocal support but as the day's cold, very wet conditions continued throughout the morning came out to give much needed comfort, shelter and physical support to so many runners struggling from half way.
 But the majority have mentioned the inefficiency of the bag retrieval system.  In short, it was "back to front" which meant that as the faster runners entered the tent asking the cadets for their bags which couldn't be found, the queue then developed OUTSIDE the tent.  Now on a warm, spring morning this meant not have been so bad but to have run 26.2 miles and then have to queue with just a "space blanket" for warmth was not welcomed by the runners. Many perhaps not unexpectedly , let's just say, became quite inpatient so much so that I am told the army cadets deserted their posts or were told to retire to leave a free for all!
 That aside, once I had ensured she did not suffer hyperthermia, Sally's day went  very well.  By coincidence, we were back in Longford Park, Stretford, on Tuesday night with Sal's daughter, Georgia. (She ran 10:44 for the 3K as a season opener) A comment was made to me that Sally " lost it" in the second half!   His  broken nose is mending nicely!
  Far from "losing it"  her pace per mile, targeted at 7.15, never drifted to over 8.00, she overtook  65 men from the midway point and  3 women to come through from 5th to 2nd within yards of  the line.  Not exactly "losing it".  Obviously begs the question  though, , what time would she have run in favourable conditions!!
  A quick scan of the top 100 in the race shows that all "lost" several minutes over the second half.  The rain was bad enough; but it was the low 4 degrees and wind chill that did the damage.  Given the weather forecast  it suggested it really would be a marathon of winter conditions, I am so surprised that so many elected to race in just vest and shorts( see pic above).
 Better weather today though.  Bright blue skies over Wharfedale. Over a week since the Salford 5K and time finally to try to inject a bit of pace back into the old legs with a track session!  Bring it on.