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!