Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Arctic Adventure Running (aka getting to work in Glasgow)

More than a foot of snow fell over the central belt of Scotland in the space of just a few hours on Monday morning leaving the road networks and public transport in chaos. Being an early starter I was already in work when the snow started to fall so I missed most of the excitement. I was cursing myself though for not having any running kit in work, as by foot seemed to be the only viable option for my 8 mile journey home.

However, I was fortunate to get a lift most of the way home with a colleague who somehow managed to avoid most of the gridlocked roads and navigate his way around abandoned cars.

On Tuesday, with little prospect of any trains or buses and my car buried deep under snow at Milngavie station. I decided that running into work might be my best option. Many drivers had spent the night in their cars on gridlocked motorways and so driving was not an option even if I could manage to get my car out. I have covered the 8 miles to work many times and even taking it easy can be there within about 55 minutes but running it deep snow with temperatures said to have plummeted to -15c overnight meant that this could be a bit of an adventure!

Having packed my work clothes and some spare winter gear into my rucksack, I set off wearing about 5 layers, two hats and two pairs of gloves. My Asics Trabucco trail shoes grip well in the snow so I wore those, it was hard going and extremely cold as I passed one or two people trying to dig their cars out of the snow. After a mile and a half I noticed a train at the station so I jumped on and remarkably it left just about 5 minutes late. I was looking forward to arriving at work having run all the way but I was a little relieved to be sat on the warm train. It soon became packed out with commuters trying to battle their way into work and there was a great deal of optimism until it came to a sudden halt 4 stops out of the City Centre. It was clear it was going to be a long wait and so I jumped out and started to run. In the city the pavements were treacherously icy but I slithered my way along the Clyde side and up into an almost deserted City Centre. I got some odd looks as I ran along Bothwell St passing a few commuters cautiously edging their way along the icy footpaths but I had made it, with the help of the train in about 85 minutes!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Severe weather continues







The bad weather has continued to prevent me training this week. I had planned an easy run this morning but a slight thaw yesterday followed by freezing temperatures overnight and another light dusting of snow on top of the ice made even a trip to Tesco a hazardous experience.

Last winter, the snow lay of the ground here from mid December right through to the middle of February but I still managed to train hard for the London Marathon. This was because the snow stayed as snow and was reasonably easy to run in for most of the time. At the moment, I am taking the opportunity for a rest before I start marathon training again. Later this week I hope to get out for some lunchtime training sessions as the paths are a bit better in the city centre - some training should be possible.

Above - some photos from my marathon training route last winter. Let's hope the snow starts to clear soon.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Dunbartonshire Cross Country Championships - Update

Snow has prevented me from running this week and technical problems have prevented me from updating this blog but here is the update from last Saturday's cross country when the snow was only 3 inched deep!

Victoria Park City of Glasgow took the men's title, unfortunately it wasn't down to my below par performance. Derek Gibb (2nd), Alan Ramsay (5th) Derek Watson (12th) and David McCormack (18th) made up the victorious A team. I finished in 36th position and third counter in the B team who finished 9th out of 12 teams entered. The race was won by Garscube's Ben Melby in 28.11.

Both the West and East District Championships scheduled for this Saturday have been cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions.

Good luck to Gerry Craig who has left the artic weather behind to compete in the Singapore Marathon this weekend. The race starts at 5 am to miss the worst of the heat! This will be Gerry's third marathon of the year and he has also competed in the Scottish 50k Championships finishing third overall.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Dunbartonshire Cross Country Championships

It was unfortunate that the day the first snow of the winter fell was the day I had chosen for my first cross country of the year. The Dunbartonshire championships were once again held at Maryhill Park but it was my first run around this fairly uninspiring venue. Having taken it easy since the Kielder Marathon this was always going to be hard work for me and the snow lying on the ground added to the challenge. However, I felt it was a good hard workout and I am not sure the snow made that much difference to times. Results will follow.

Next Saturday is the West of Scotland Champs at Irvine.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Try out this route

‎OK this might be a bit far to run but try this out

Go to Google Maps. Enter Japan as start point and enter China as your destination. Then check out point 43!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Return of a classic

I was very pleased to hear that the Llandudno 10 mile road race is to return in 2011. This used to be a big fixture in the Southport Waterloo calendar and one of my favourite races. It was a flat, fast course that attracted a top class field from all over the UK. The race was first held in 1983 and it's list of past winners reads like a who's who of British distance running. The first ever winner was the British international steeplechaser, Roger Hackney in 48.09. By 1985 it had become the biggest 10 mile race in the UK. 1986 saw a top class field including, Charlie Spedding, John Gladwyn and Max Coleby but it was Liverpool Pembroke's Martin McLoughlin who won it in 49.45. In 1989, Welshman Steve 'the race' Brace was a popular winner. Bashir Hussein, Nigel Adams, Tipton's Nick Jones and Paul Cadwallader all won this race over the years and at its peak it attracted over 5000 runners.
It was without a doubt one of my favourite races and was held in the middle of November each year. In the eighties, Southport Waterloo used to send a coach load of runners to compete this classic race. After moving to Glasgow in 2001, it was too far for me to travel but I was still sad to see the last one run in 2005. Difficulty in getting enough volunteers to ensure the safe running of this event was cited as the reason for it's demise.
I will need to dig out my old results to see what my best time was for this race but I certainly used to run 56 and 57 minutes there. Who could forget coming down onto the promenade and seeing the long sweep of the promenade and the finish line still a half mile of lung busting running away.
The race will be held on 22 May next year and so it may well have a different feel to the freezing temperatures and biting winds that often greeted the runners in November but I for one am pleased to see it return. I might even make the long trip from Scotland to take part. Maybe it should be in the SWAC Grand Prix next year - over to you Rick.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Glasgow University Road Race

Inverclyde's Chris Mackay shaved a few seconds of his winning time last year to retain the title this afternoon, beating club mate Andrew Douglas by just 12 seconds. His winning time of 23.57 is very impressive for this tough race around the Garscube estate and Maryhill. A five mile course that takes in two hills and a deceivingly long drag up Temple Rd from Anniesland on each of two laps.

With doubts in my mind about how running Kielder Marathon 3 weeks ago would effect me today, I set off at a steady pace and ran within myself for the first lap. I didn't feel too bad and pushed on a bit over the second lap. I was running well at this time last year but still didn't crack 30 minutes on this course finishing in 30.20 for 51st place. I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near that this time out but I seemed to maintain a good pace on the second lap and was surprised to cross the line in 30.47 and 52nd place. Disappointingly, that put me only 6th in my age group , won by Kilbarchan's Donald Petrie in 29.07. There is always a top class field for this classic race and this year was no exception with 178 finishers and 42 of them under 30 minutes. First woman was Elspeth Curran from Glasgow University in 27.44.

First in for Victoria Park City of Glasgow was Allan Ramsay (16th in 27.18) ahead of his dad, Peter (90th in 33.38) and Kenny McVey taking the 2nd V60 spot in 34.19.

Results

Friday, 5 November 2010

Glasgow University Road Race

Back to running this weekend. It is the Glasgow Uni 5 miler tomorrow afternoon. A bit soon after my marathon to expect too much but it is just down the road and a tough but enjoyable two lap course. I haven't run very much since Kielder but I will use it as a hard training session to help prepare for the cross countries coming up.

James Walsh


More music than running this week, last night it was back to Oran Mor to see James Walsh. The Starsailor front man returned to Oran Mor less than a year since he appeared on an unlikely double bill with Ian Broudie. This time it was a solo performance save for a string quartet that joined him later on. Walsh started with two classics - Tell me it's not over and Alcoholic before switching to the piano for some new material and a superb slowed down version of Lullaby. The stripped down acoustic delivery of Starsailor songs and Walsh's powerful vocals somehow seem perfect for this intimate venue and his quiet humour charms the audience as he works his way through the old favourites and his newer material.

It was not a full house - the die hard fans were there though and it would be a shame to have missed this show. James Walsh is an accomplished live performer and all too soon he is leaving the stage. He returns for a lively encore and finishes with Good Souls.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Suzanne Vega

OK, so strictly speaking this is a running blog but had to mention a great night out last night to see Suzanne Vega at Oran Mor. The only link I can make is that Vega too has moved into the V50 category but is still in great form. Accompanied by Dublin born guitarist Gerry Leonard, kicking off with Marlene on the Wall, she worked her way through an impressive back catalogue. Some songs you had almost forgotten about and others that you could remember all the lyrics. There was some decent new material included as well but saving some of the best until last, her encore included Luka and Tom's Diner - timeless classics that take us back a long time before X Factor.

Sunday Run

A good Sunday run over some muddy trails. Thought I was recovered from my marathon but I suffered big time on the hills>

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Autumn Colours


Just an easy run this afternoon. Took my camera to get some shots of the autumn colours in the last of the afternoon sun.




Friday, 22 October 2010

Kielder Results

It is nearly a week since Kielder Marathon and I have had the full week off running to recover. I picked up one or two niggles training for this race and I want to give them time to settle down before training hard again. However, I am going down to run with the club tomorrow morning. It was the National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld today, I was sorry to miss that but hopefully it means everyone will be taking it easy tomorrow.

A week on and the Kielder results are still incomplete. There is no age group or club information included. I contacted the organisers who said they won't be updating them now but as they have had a few queries about this they will definitely be including this information next year. Not a great response but fair enough it is a new race and there are one or tow lessons to be learnt. It was a lovely course to run and I was pleased I decided to go and run it.

The race was won by Midlands based Kenyan Zachary Kihara in 2.29.06 under a minute ahead of Polish runner Bartek Mazerski and fellow Kenyan Julius Kimeu in third. Darran Bilton from Leeds easily took the vet category win, the V45 finishing in an amazing 2.34.31. Ultra distance mountain runner and world 100km champion, Lizzie Hawker was first women in in 2.58.22. This course must have suited the ultra runners with Scottish 50k champion Marcus Scotney finishing 7th in 2.42.29. I knew at the start that I had no chance of winning my age group when I spotted Sedgefield's Gary Hetherington lining up. I was flying earlier in the year and ran a great time at Dentdale to finish 10th but Gary was almost 5 minutes ahead of me. It was no surprise then that Gary took the V50 title, finishing 11th in 2.51.58. The lack of age group data means I can't be sure where I finished in my age group - I suspect 2nd or 3rd but, taking into account my limited training and the challenging course I was pleased with 33rd place and 3.13.42.

I am going to have a few weeks easy running now but my next race is likely to be the Glasgow Uni 5 miler in two weeks time.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Killer Kielder

I ran the inaugural Kielder Marathon this morning. 26.2 miles of undulating trails around the largest man-made reservoir in Northern Europe. With the paths recently finished to complete a full circuit of the lake, the race was the idea of Steve Cram.

The temperature was -3c as I drove from Hexham into the Kielder forest and reservoir area at 8am this morning but by the time the race started it had cleared up and was a lovely sunny day. Two things struck me as I arrived. The first was the absolutely stunning scenery that confirmed Steve's claim that it was the most beautiful marathon in Britain, the second thing was the huge area the reservoir covers and reality sunk in. I was about to start the most challenging race I have ever done on less training than is probably needed.

Up at the start there was a short delay to allow all competitors to be bussed up from the car park but that was the only blip in what was otherwise an extremely well organised race. There were around 1500 runners lining up, including an elite team challenge of teams from Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. Steve Cram started the race before joining in, though it was rumoured he would be dropping out at half way.

I was slightly concerned by the uphill start that went on for the best part of a mile before dropping down to the finish area and we were away on the paths. My race plan went out of the window early on as I got into a group and felt comfortable knocking out 7 minute miles. This was a little faster than I had planned for but it felt OK and I got chatting to a local runner from Hexham, who had run exactly the same time as me in London. The course was undulating but we were either running up or down, never on the flat. Whilst there were no very severe hills in the first half, there were some fairly steep climbs but my legs were recovering well on the downhills. I went through halfway in just under 1.32 but the locals warned me there was a tough stretch coming up. They were not wrong, some steep climbs and steep descents until we arrived at the dam at 18 miles - the only flat section on the course. As we turned to head back to the finish there was a strong head wind that didn't bode well for the last 8 miles but we were sheltered a little by the trees and so it was the hills in the last 6 miles that proved to be a real challenge.

The course marking was excellent with mile markers, all but two were very accurate, and warning signs for every steep incline or decline. This seemed a bit of a luxury but the downhills tended to be quite twisty and so extra care was needed to avoid skidding off the paths. The downside of this though is the last thing you want to see after the 22 mile marker is a 'steep incline' sign!

In the last 4 miles or so, I was tiring but still relatively strong. However, the hills were energy sapping and I had a few heart stopping moments on the downhills as my hamstrings felt like they were cramping up. At half way I was in 37th position but, despite the field being strung out by this stage, I think I passed five or six runners who were really struggling. Two passed me looking very strong so I reckon I was comfortably in the top thirty five when I crossed the finish line in 3.13.40. Consensus was that the course was about 20 minutes slower than a road marathon so it compares with my London performance but official results are not yet available.

This was a great race to be part of, a friendly atmosphere, and great scenery. It seemed to me that most of the runners were from the North East but there were some from further afield. I would certainly recommend this if you are looking for a real challenge and something a bit different - but don't expect a PB!

Steve Cram finished the race in 3.47, looking very fresh.

Official results

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Kielder Marathon

I am looking forward to tomorrow's Kielder Marathon with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. A trail marathon around the largest man-made lake in northern Europe is probably the most challenging race I have ever attempted. I ran 2.54 at London Marathon in April but there will be a world of difference between that race and tomorrow's. There will be no crowds 6 deep in places to urge the runners along over the last 6 miles and the course is bound to be more exposed to the elements than the streets of London.

It is rumoured that Steve Cram will be competing having just returned from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

I won't be bettering my London time on this course and so my plan will be to run very comfortably for the first half of the race to get the measure of the course and conditions and then try and run a negative split by pushing on in the second half if I feel I can do it. This is the opposite of my normal London tactics. I will be happy with a time of around 3.15 tomorrow but I have no idea whether this is realistic for the course so I might have to adjust my targets as I go along. I have run London Marathon 18 times but I may just learn something new about marathon running tomorrow.

If I survive I will post a race report tomorrow evening.

Results should appear here after the race

Friday, 15 October 2010

Kielder Countdown

I have just returned from a short break in the lovely Polish city of Krakow. Had a great time but I am not sure it was ideal final preparation for the Kielder Marathon on Sunday.

Too much eating and not enough running but that might not be a bad thing the week before a marathon. I managed two easy 6k runs around Krakow Old Town - it was very cold first thing in the morning.

I now have to turn my attention to Sunday's race and I am not sure what I am letting myself in for! This will be a significant challenge for me for a number of reasons, I have never run two marathons in a year, I have never run an off-road marathon and most importantly, I have not trained anywhere near as much as I normally do for London Marathon. Running a trail marathon will be very different from my annual run around the streets of London and as this is the first ever Kielder Marathon I am not sure what to expect. From what I can find out the course is undulating but I don't think there is much steep climbing.

If nothing else, it will be good to be part of a new race and an interesting challenge but it is difficult to know what my target should be time wise. The course will be a lot slower than London and some chat on the Runners World forum suggests it could be about 20 minutes or more slower than a road race. I will need to have a think about my race plan over the next 24 hours!





Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mugdock Turbo X



I was down at Mugdock early this morning and ran for around an hour before the Turbo X race started. I wish I had been competing again this year, it is a challenging course but great fun. However, it is far too close to the Kielder Marathon next Sunday so I had to sit this one out.

I ran around parts of the course and although I missed out some of the more challenging parts, it was clear that the recent wet weather was going to make it tough going for the competitors today.

As I was running round the course I spotted a few good spots to take some photos and watch some of the action. Some of the best parts of the course are quite inaccessible, so I settled for taking some within a mile of the start and then jogged through the woods to take some more at about 8 1/2 miles and just near the end of the fearsome 'Turbo X' zone.

Not surprisingly, the fell runners dominated the race. Shettleston's Tom Owens romped home with a lead of over 6 minutes from second placed Brian Mcewan who was first vet home in an impressive time of 1.15.29. Anna Frost was 12th overall and first woman home in 1.22.29. VP City of Glasgow's Jacqui Thompson was third woman and first vet in 1.29.59, and as far as I could see, Victoria park's only entrant today.

Results


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Mugdock Extreme Trail Race

It is the Turbo X extreme trail race in Mugdock tomorrow. I ran this last year and it was great fun but I won't be able to run it this year as it is too close to the Kielder trail marathon next Sunday.

I am planning to go and spectate this year and will take my camera to get some photos.

This is 10 miles of off-road terrain that takes the runners through some extreme challenges. Energy sapping hills, cold rivers and muddy channels are just some of the obstacles in store for competitors tomorrow. In the later stages of the race comes the 'Turbo X' zone, the most difficult part of the course.

I am sorry to miss this one but I am looking forward to going down to watch.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Liverpool training and Kilomathon Update


I have been in Liverpool this week and managed a few easy runs along the waterfront towards South Liverpool. It is a good few years since I ran along here and the landscape has changed dramatically. I have run the Riverside 5 mile Road Race many years ago but a marina and hundreds of flats have appeared since then.

Kilomathon results are now available. I finished 16th overall and first vet50. Obviously I now feel a little differently about the entry fee - big budget races may have big prizes!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Scotland Kilomathon (plus a bit extra)

So history was made today - the first time the 'kilomathon distance has been run in Scotland. If you put aside the outrageously expensive entry fee it wasn't a bad event and I enjoyed taking part but there were a few glitches to be overcome for next year's event. For such a well publicised event it wasn't a huge field. This may be because it was a heavy weekend fixture wise with the Loch Ness Marathon, the Scottish Vets Half Marathon and the McAndrew Road Relays keeping many of the top club runners away.

The course itself was far more challenging than I thought it would be. Starting from the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston just outside Edinburgh. The first few km were around the showground and along rough paths around the perimeter fence of the airport before heading off along country lanes to the Forth Road Bridge. Crossing the bridge was good but it was a steep incline and went on for much longer than I expected. Coming down off the bridge just after 10k marker, the leading runners were heading back in the opposite direction. By this time the field was strung out and whilst there was not much chance of me catching anyone, there was a big gap behind me too. Running through the picturesque riverside town of Queensferry should have been enjoyable but the cobbled streets made it a bit of a challenge. We then hit a huge climb out of the town and by country lanes back towards the airport and the finish line.

I finished in 1.47.08, slightly slower than my target time but well up the field (no results yet but I think I finished in the top 15) and I was relatively pleased with the first part of my double marathon challenge (the easiest part admittedly). It was a good hard workout and I enjoyed racing over an unfamiliar distance and along a course I hadn't run before but there is plenty of room for improvement.

Firstly, the race was supposed to be 26.2 km but every one's Garmins were reading 26.5. Fair enough, it could be argued that Garmins are not 100% accurate but the consensus was that this course was slightly over distance. Once I downloaded the data it appears that three of the km's were about 100 metres long the rest were about spot on. The second problem was trying to get out of the car park after the race - it was chaotic and took the best part of an hour! (and they charged us £3.50 to park!).

A nice touch was getting your finish time texted to you within a few hours of finishing but it was disappointing that it didn't include finish position or age group position. Despite this it has the makings of a good race and I was pleased with my performance. The race takes place next year on the same day as the London Marathon, so I won't be able to take part but it is timed about 5 weeks before Edinburgh Marathon and so I can see a much bigger field next year - hope they sort the car park out by then!

Update and full results will follow when available.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Tale of Three Marathons

On the day my 2011 London Marathon acceptance landed on the doormat, I am about to embark on a double marathon challenge during October. After my London Marathon entry form went astray last year, and it took numerous phone calls to get it sorted out, I was relieved to get my hands on my acceptance this year without any problems. It will be my 19th London Marathon and 17th consecutive one, having completed every one since 1995. Six months and sixteen days to go. Just the small matter of keeping fit, healthy and injury free before I take my place at Blackheath on Sunday 17th April 2011.

However, before that I am about to undertake a double marathon challenge - starting this Sunday when I run the Scotland Kilomathon a 26.2 km race just outside Edinburgh and taking in two crossings of the Forth Road Bridge. This is the first Kilomathon to be held in Scotland and so it is a bit of an unknown quantity but I have decided to run it as a final tune-up for the Kielder Marathon - a challenging trail marathon around the Kielder Reservoir in Northumberland.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Heading for the Hills

It is a holiday weekend in Glasgow which gives me the opportunity for some high mileage running. Unusually the holiday weekend weather has been decent with some cold but bright mornings replacing the torrential rain we have had in the week.

On Friday I headed out for my last long run before the Kielder Marathon in 3 weeks time. I decided that instead of running the same route I have done for the last two weekends I would go out with the intention of running for 3 hours, mainly on the road, but not worry too much about the distance. I also wanted to include some climbing to help me prepare for what I might find at Kielder.

I set off along the McDonalds path to the Allander before hitting the Rangers path to the Tickled Trout before doubling back on the Auchenhowie Rd and right to Langbank and the steep climb to Baldernock Church. The first real climb of the day at 4 miles and over a mile of climbing before I drop down to the main Rd by Bardowie Loch. I have to run along the busy Balmore Rd for a mile before heading to the Canal by the paths through Cawder Golf Club. Once on the Canal it is a flat and steady run into Kirkintilloch. I head back along the main road back as far as the Stables and then along the Canal to Torrance. Here I head off into unknown territory, along the country lanes and some more hills before arriving back at Baldernock church. Here I turn right and more climbing before dropping down onto the Strathblane Rd and head for a lap of the Milngavie Reservoirs before running along the roads back home. I run 23 miles in three hours, including over 1000ft of ascent and I finished feeling quite strong. A great start to the weekend.

This morning I joined the Victoria Park Sunday club run from the Allander. I wasn't sure how my legs would feel after my Friday run. It was more hill running today and we covered some of the lanes I ran two days before. We ran a loop through Baldernock and then over the 'High Caves' taking us up some tough hills. A slight navigational blip meant we added an additional hill but I felt good and kept up with the group reasonably well. Shorter but much faster than my Friday run, we covered 9.3 miles in 67 minutes.

I am missing racing now though and I am planning to race next Sunday before easing off for two weeks to prepare for Kielder.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Mersey Marathon 2011

Reports on the RunLiverpool website suggest that the Mersey Marathon may return next year. I never ran this one myself but watched a few times and plenty of Southport Waterloo runners did compete over the years. I recall that the course used to run through Bootle but the proposed course for 2011 looks like it will start in Birkenhead, a loop on the Wirral before heading through the tunnel and onto South Liverpool before heading back along the river to finish at the pier head. Looks interesting and I will defintely be thinking about running it.

If you took part in the Mersey Marathon in the 80's then Alan Rothwell is looking for any information or memorabila. If you can help the please get in touch with Alan

Monday, 20 September 2010

Great North Run

Watching the Great North Run on TV it is hard not to spare a thought for the Southport based Kenyan, the late Benson Masya who dominated this race in the 1990's.

A virtually unknown former boxer, Benson Masya first won the race in 1991 in 61:28 seconds – the third fastest time in the world that year. The Kenyan, who went on to become the Great North Run’s most successful contestant, held off the challenge of Paul Davies-Hale by nine seconds. This was only days after Benson took part in the Southport Waterloo summer handicap race - two laps of the Marine Lake.


In 1992 the race incorporating the first ever World Half Marathon Championships, Masya won the race in a world record 60:24. Becoming both world record holder and world champion. Along with Paul Tergat and Joseph Keino, he also led Kenya to team victory ahead of Great Britain and Brazil. This was also the year I ran my fastest ever half marathon, reaching South Shields in 1.16.15

Masya returned in 1994 and ran even faster this time out to snatch victory ahead of Moses Tanui in a UK All-Comers record time of 60:02. Separating the pair of Kenyans proved an almost impossible task but a video replay found in favour of Masya.

in 1995, Tanui returned after the disappointment of the previous year to win in a time of 60:39 with Masya 80 seconds adrift this time. However in 1996, upset at his performance the previous year, Masya returned to win his fourth title with a time of 61:43.

However, despite his triumphs in the North East, Honolulu and the American race circuit, Masya died less than a decade later virtually penniless. At the end of September 2004, Paul Tergat, possibly the greatest of the great Kenyans, was obliterating the marathon world record in Berlin. Yet back in Kitui, in the Rift Valley, news was filtering out of the death of his contemporary, someone who dealt more than his fair share of defeats to the new world record-holder. Benson Masya was 33 when he died, leaving a wife and two young sons.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Blast from the Past


Southport Waterloo runners, Neil, Brian and Rick after the Ashurst Beacon Race - around late 90's?

Mud on the Tracks




It was muddy on the trails this morning. It has been raining all week and it was raining when I set out for another 21 miler. I have come off a high mileage week, trying to get into shape to run the Kielder Marathon in 4 weeks time, and the soft going meant that I didn't expect to cover the distance as fast as last week.

Autumn is in the air now and despite the rain it was cool, fresh and a great morning for running. I split this 21 miler into three sections of around 7 miles each and after the first section I was only slightly slower than last week. The second part didn't go too well as I was once again slowed by problems with pets and livestock. Twice I had to stop while some out of control dogs yapped around my ankles and their irresponsible owners flapped around trying to get them on a lead. Why not keep them on a lead in the first place if you know they are going to chase people!


It was quiet up on the Pipe Track - no dog walkers up here and in places the mist was so low you could only see 10metres in front. It was therefore a bit of a shock to come face to face with highland cattle on the path. No way around up here and although they didn't look too surprised to see me, they are big animals with scary looking horns so I wasn't too confident about just running past. I stopped to suss the situation and decided to walk slowly past them. Thankfully, despite their size, these animals seem more stable than the little mutts that attacked me earlier
and I was on my way again.


I picked up the pace on the last section and passed some orienteers in Mugdock Woods as I headed home. I pushed hard over the last few miles and ended up only a minute or so slower than last week in 2.48. Anything under 2.50 is solid running on this course and I will run it again once more next weekend before deciding whether to run Kielder.





Sunday, 12 September 2010

Marathon Training?


After my disappointing performance at the Great Scottish Run last weekend, I decided to concentrate on some long training runs over the coming weeks to try and get into shape for the Kielder Marathon in October. I set off this morning to run the 21 mile trail run that forms the basis of my London Marathon training during the winter months. This is significantly further than I have been running lately but I wanted to test myself out and see how my times compared with earlier in the year.
This is a testing course, around 90% off-road and with over 1500 feet of ascent. All was going well for the first hour but I had to take a slight detour by road to miss out a field that is currently home to a bull. It didn't add much distance on though and my next challenge faced me a little further down the road as I ran past Milndavie stables a pack of wild dogs began chasing me. I thought I could out run them and upped the pace slightly but their barking got louder and I realised they were catching me. My only choice was to turn and face the snarling brutes and as I eyeballed them they backed off and I could continue my run in peace. I glanced over my shoulder and the two Jack Russell's were heading back up the lane.
Two hours into the run I hit the hardest hill on the route so I had to dig in and once over the top, the rain started and it was a hard slog back home along the West Highland Way. Back home in 2.47, just 30 seconds slower than the fastest I ran this route during my London training. This morning's session has certainly given me some confidence but there is a bit more hard work to do yet before I decide whether to take on this challenging off-road marathon.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Great Scottish Run




A huge field took part in this morning's Great Scottish Run. Just under 8000 finished the 10k race, won by Shettleston's Matthew Gillespie in 31.12. The last finisher crossed the line in 3.34.27. Just under 9000 competed the half marathon won in 1.01.53 by Ethiopian runner Hailu Mekennen. Andy Hudson and Vicky Harvey travelled from Southport but both were doubtful due to injury. Vicky ruled herself out after an easy run on Saturday but Andy decided to start the race and hope his achilles problems allowed him to finish. I had hoped to run sub 80 minutes, a tough call but I thought it might be possible. There were a few changes to the course this year, the most significant being in the first mile, heading straight up St Vincent Street. This meant a steep climb for the first mile before heading through Finnieston and over the Kingston Bridge from the west. With such a big field I knew I needed to get a good quick start but went far too fast on the challenging first mile. I hit the first mile marker in 5.54! At 4 miles I was spot on the pace i needed but felt it was going to be difficult to keep it going and I had drifted well of the pace by half way. With runners passing me I was into damage limitation mode and managed to keep a reasonable pace going to finish in 1.23.46 for 117th and 6th vet 50. Over three minutes slower than last year. I finished disappointed with my time but I gave it a go - I might have taken it easier at the start but I am not sure it would have improved my time by that much - I just didn't have it in my legs on the day. Andy overcame his injury problems to finish in 1.31.57, a little slower than last year but pleased to have got round in one piece. Andy was 393rd and 24th vet45. I hope to post more photos in the next few days.

Update: for Andy's information - former Pop Idol winner and co-host of teatime TV show 'The Hour' Michelle McManus completed the 10k in 1 hour 42 minutes.

Photos by Chris Upson




Monday, 30 August 2010

Pipe Track Run

I resisted the temptation to run one of the two 10k races in the area this weekend and opted for a long steady 16 miler on the trails. My main focus is the Great Scottish Run next weekend when I will be aiming to run the half marathon in under 80 minutes. This weekend I felt like a long steady run in the hills and set off at 8am on Saturday morning. I headed through Mugdock Woods and across to Strathblane, running along the Pipe Track before coming down at the Distillery. I then headed back home along the West Highland way to complete 16 miles in just over 2 hours. After the Great Scottish Run I will consider my options for the remainder of the year with an autumn marathon a possibility.

Victoria Park City of Glasgow runner, Ralph Connelly ran well at the Paisley 10k to dip under 40 minutes. I haven't found results yet for the Drymen 10k.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Walton Park 5 Photos

............and a few from Walton Park 5 mile race. Plenty more to follow.


Preston 10 Photos

Some photos from the Preston 10 mile race - not sure of the year


Great Scottish Run

I went for my monthly sports massage at the New Balance Sports Clinic at Greaves Sports last night. I got a hard time - hamstrings and ITB's too tight. Legs felt a bit tender today so I had an easy run along the Clyde at lunchtime - around 5 miles in 35 minutes. I should get the bounce back in my legs over the next few days and hopefully I will be flying by the time I line up for my next race - the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon on 5th September. I ran 1.20.17 last year and my target is to go slightly better this year and run sub 80 minutes. My training has not been going quite to plan and so this might be a tough task but my recent race times suggest it might just be possible if all goes well on the day.


Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sherrifmuir Challenge


Summer finally returned to Scotland this weekend and as the temperature soared, I finished 4th overall and first vet at the Sherrifmuir Challenge 11 mile road race.

The race starts and finishes at the Sheriffmuir Inn, just north of Stirling. I ran this race for the first time last year and it certainly lives up to its name with the first half being mainly downhill, before turning around and running back uphill. It caught me by surprise last year and despite being in 5th place at the turn the brutal hills found me out and I faded back to 12th at the finish. This year, I was determined to run conservatively for the first half to ensure I was still strong for the second half - particularly as the rising temperature looked like adding to the challenge this time. The first half mile is uphill before the downhill section along narrow country lanes and all went to plan for the first mile or so. There were plenty of runners around me but as the miles passed by - whilst still feeling I was running relatively easily - I found myself in 4th place. As we approached the turning point, I felt that I had pulled away from the runners chasing me - the leader passed me on the way back uphill and then second and third running closely together. Soon I was heading back and starting to feel the pain - a mile and a half of fairly steep climbing before the route levels out slightly. Not for long though - and despite knowing the course it still wasn't any easier - the hills seem much steeper on the way back than they did when we were running down them! I calculated that I was the best part of a minute ahead of the runners chasing me at the turn but I knew that I could easily be caught if I started to fade.

I had to keep working and thought at one stage that I may have been closing the gap on the runners in front of me. I finally reached the top of the last hill and started the final downhill half mile to the finish, still convinced I might get passed in the run in that seemed to last forever. At last I crossed the line and had held on to 4th overall and first 'extreme' vet - in fact I had opened up a gap of around two and half minute over the 5th placed runner.

Barry Patterson from Falkirk Victoria Harriers won the race in 68.52. Robert Warnock took second and first V40 in 70.03 and Sam Price third in 70.30. I crossed the line next in 71.31, well over a minute faster than last year, for fourth and first V50. Local runner, Richard Coombes from Central AC was fifth in 73.59. Wee County Harrier, Beryl Junnier retained her title in the women's race despite running 60 miles a week in training for her first marathon, in Amsterdam. She finished 7th overall in 74.32.

This is a brutal course but it is small and friendly, well organised race that is well worth the hour or so drive from home. A free beer in the Sherrifmuir Inn is an added bonus!

Results / Route on Garmin

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Broadwood 5k

I ran the Broadwood 5k tonight. Organised by Kirkintilloch Olympians, starting and finishing at the Broadwood stadium in Cumbernauld. I finished in 18.50 - full results and report to follow.

.........after a crowded start, at 1k I was flying along. At 2k I was gasping for air, at 3k I was wondering why I was putting myself through this. At 4 k I was hanging on, at 5k it was all over and I was wondering why it had been so long since I ran a 5k race. It hurt like hell and I couldn't maintain the pace I wanted to run on this twisty off-road course but it was a good hard work-out and I have to admit - once it was over - i realised I enjoyed it. I finished in 18.50, 18th position and 1st V50.
My best ever time for 5k was 16.20 at the Southport Town Centre races in 1992. My Broadwood 5k time would have put me in 25th position in the Southport Town Centre open race in 1999 (I think the last year these popular races were held - but Brian Grice might be able to correct me). Tipton Harrier, Nick Jones won the 'Elite' race that year in 14.32 almost a full minute ahead of 2nd placed Paul Howarth. Rick Bowker was the only Southport Waterloo runner to take part in the elite field that year and finished last in 18.13. However, he was clearly only using this as a warm up for the open race where he finished in 8th place 17.38. Brian Gow was the fastest SWAC runner on the night with 17.18 for 5th place. John Burnett was just one place and 3 seconds behind him. Geoff Caton was the first V45 in 18.07.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Milngavie Reservoir Run

I had an easy run this evening through Mugdock Wood and uphill to the reservoirs. A quick loop and then back down again. I must have been looking fit - the Milngavie Wanderers FC coach wanted to sign me up! I ran 7 miles in 52 minutes - taking it easy as I am thinking about running the Broadwood 5k tomorrow night. It is many years since I ran a 5k so it will hurt but I fancy a hard workout after missing quite a few days training over the last few weeks. On Sunday I am running the Sheriffmuir Challenge run. The race takes place near Dunblane and I discovered it last year and enjoyed it. 11 miles, and as the names suggests, one or two hills included! I remember being in 5th place last year at half way but didn't know how tough the second half was - finishing in 12th.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Ainsdale Pinewoods run

We made a flying visit to Southport at the weekend and I managed to meet up with the Southport Waterloo training group to run a lap of the pinewoods. There was a good turnout - Brian, Joanne Paul, Terry and I set off at 8am for a 7 mile loop to Freshfield and back. Ben and dad Rob turned up late and so ran the route in reverse and we met them in Freshfield. It was good to catch up with Rob - not ran with him for many years since the days of running our 'Parbold 20' marathon training route from his house.

Route on Garmin


Friday, 6 August 2010

Helensburgh Half Marathon

Laptop broke down last week - one expensive repair later we are back in business and here is my delayed report on the Helensburgh Half Marathon last Sunday.

Having not raced since June and my training being a bit hit and miss over recent weeks, I was a little apprehensive about this race and wasn't sure what to expect. I ran 1.22.41 here last year before going on to run 1.20.19 at Glasgow a month later and so I hoped to run a little faster and would have been very pleased with 1.21. That would have meant I was well on target for a sub 1.20 at Glasgow on 4th September. I decided to start off quite conservatively and ran the first few miles with VPCoG club mate Gerry Craig who was using the race as part of his preparations for the Scottish 100km Championships in September. The first few miles went to plan- I could see my main rivals for the V50 prize up ahead and we were slowly catching them I was on their shoulder by 3 miles and planned to stay there until about 10 miles and see what I had left for the last three miles. Why then had I passed them and pulled away by the time we got to the four mile marker?

At 5 miles the course goes under the main road and there is a steep climb before rejoining it and heading back towards Helensburgh. I felt good but conscious that this hill has caught me out before and so I backed off a little and let the chasing group catch up. Once back on the main road, Clydeside's Gerry Montgomery took off and I tried to stay with him. He has been beating me to the V50 prize over 10k this year and he beat me by a minute at the Kirkintilloch 10k. However, I felt I could give him a race over the longer distance but he is flying at the moment and I couldn't keep with him as he opened up a gap. I felt I was running at a decent pace though so dug in and hoped he may slow a bit later on. On the climb at about 8 miles Gerry Craig eased past me but by this time I was becoming more concerned about making sure I finished within my target time than racing.

I was still feeling good though and after gulping down a gel at 10 miles I sensed I might have been closing down the two Gerry's. I had, however, forgotten the hill at 11 and I started to struggle a little to keep the pace going. Bellahouston' Road Runner, Alastair Maclachlan powered past me on the downhill but I tagged behind him and made him work for the last mile or so. With the finish in sight he pulled away from me to take the 2nd V50 place but I was pleased to finish in 1.22.19 - slightly faster than last year. I was 24th overall and 3rd V50 - Gerry Montgomery won the category in 1.21.08. Gerry Craig was the only other VPCoG finisher in 20th position. 1.21.36 and 5th V40.

Results

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Helensburgh Half Marathon


After a 5 week break from racing, I ran the Helensburgh Half Marathon this morning. I finished in 1.22.19 - half a minute quicker than last year. Full report to follow.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Waterloo 15k Photos - Updated more photos added

Photos from the Waterloo 15k. Not sure which year these were taken. They were taken over two years - possibly 1993 and 1994 but let me know if anyone can identify the year. Click on the slide show below to view full size or download photos.



Many more to be added so check back here over the next few days

Run Lanzarote

Just a week since we returned from a two week break in Lanzarote. A good relaxing holiday but plenty of opportunity to run! Despite the high temperatures, I managed to run 8 days out of 14. My daily run was around 50 minutes along the hilly, rocky coastal trails around the Papagayo Peninsula. There were some big hills to tackle as well as some sandy paths that reminded me of Ainsdale. The hills were particularly challenging - with no real paths to follow - difficult to run in places. Too rocky and dangerous to reach the very top but well worth the effort with some stunning views of Playa Blanca, the Papagayo beaches and across to Fuerteventura. Below are some photos from my holiday training routes.



I took advantage of one cloudy day for a slow 2 hour run along some very challenging paths.

Route on Garmin



Although we didn't get a chance to run together we did manage to meet up with Andy Hudson and Vicky Harvey who were on holiday further down the coast. Tales of my holiday running adventures must have motivated them, the following day they hired bikes for an 80km ride and the day after that ventured out for their first Lanzarote run.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Check out the Wager app at the iTunes Store now

Monday, 12 July 2010

Warm Weather Training - Lanzarote











Just back from 2 weeks in the sun. Had a great holiday and explored some challenging running trails along the Papagayo peninsula close to Playa Blanca. Some photos and report to follow but back to work tomorrow!








Monday, 21 June 2010

Edinburgh Moon Walk - Saturday 19th June

There was no running for me this weekend it was the Moonwalk in Edinburgh and I was chauffeur, bag carrier and photographer whilst Yasmin covered 26 miles over-night around Edinburgh. Starting just before midnight amongst 10,000 other walkers Yasmin had decided there was to be no half measures and went for the full moon!

The course took in most of the centre of Edinburgh before heading towards the coast at Lower Granton and via Newhaven, Leith and Portobello before heading back around Holyrood for the second time and arriving back at Inverleith Park for the finish.

I grabbed a few hours sleep whenever I could but made sure I was around the course to provide encouragement when it was most needed.

Yasmin completed her epic adventure just after 8am on Sunday morning.

Here are some Moon Walk Photos - more to follow

Kirkintilloch 10k - Update

I completed my 5th race in two weeks last Thursday - the Kirkintilloch 10k. There seemed to be a bigger and better quality field this year for what is a very enjoyable multi terrain race. It was a warm evening again and wary of the fact that I have been over-racing recently, I started off at a fairly steady pace. The first few km felt relatively easy but I noted I was in agroup that included some runners that have been around a minute ahead of me in recent 10k races.

Most of the race is along the tow path of the Forth and Clyde Canal. Not the best surface for speed but at least it is flat. At about 4km it opened up a bit and the field was starting to spread out a little. At half way we turn off the canal and up a steep hill towards Bishopbriggs. The next 2km are along the road before turning back onto the canal. Gerry Craig had opened up a gap but as we turned back onto the canal I saw Chris Upson and Paul Carroll not far behind.

I worked as hard as I could back along the canal and was starting to close Gerry down a little but couldn't catch him as the finish approached. 19th place and 37.33. not a bad performance on this course.

The race was won by Eritrean asylum seeker Robel Negash of Bellahouston Harriers in 32.14 almost a minute ahead of Shettleston's Paul Sorrie.

Gerry Craig finished in 37.26 and 17th position and Peter Ramsay 44.05 - 69th position.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Kirkintilloch 10k - Thursday 17th June

Tomorrow night I complete a hectic period of racing by competing in the Kirkintilloch 10k. This is a multi-terrain race, well organised by Kirkintilloch Olympians, run mainly along the Forth and Clyde Canal. I have certainly been over-racing recently but this will be my last one for a while. My plan is to get back to some serious training. My racing will be far more focused for the remainder of the year and I have a few specific targets in mind.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Vale of Leven 10k

I completed my second 10k road race of the weekend this morning - the Vale of Leven 10k at Balloch. I was hoping to show off the sunglasses I won at Bendrigg yesterday but they definitely were not required. The warm sunshine of yesterday had made way for a grey, wet morning.

After yesterday's race, my legs weren't feeling too bad but I was not looking forward to asking them to race again today. Driving down to the start at Loch Lomond I decided to take it easy and just get round to complete the fourth and last race in the Polaroid series. I didn't have a target in mind - just to run and enjoy it. However, as soon as I was lining up at the start I began to think it would be good to try and run inside 40 mins.

I did take it very easy at the start and until we finished climbing at about 2.5km. I then started to work my through the field on the downhill section that followed. At halfway, I was inside 20 mins, passing runners and feeling quite comfortable. The hill at 7km brought back some bad memories of Bendrigg but I was flying over the last few km. With about 800 metres to go I passed Chris Upson , who had done a 10 mile hill race yesterday, and we both managed a sprint to the finish line to dip under 39 mins. I ran 38.50 for 52 place.

Gerry Craig ran his first race since the Edinburgh Marathon and was pleased with his progress to finish in 37.41. Ralph Connolly ran a PB and edged closer to his goal of a sub 40 min clocking but just missed it by 5 seconds! Christine Catterson 45.01 and Donald Branney 45.10 completed the Victoria Park City of Glasgow finishers this morning.

Results

Bendrigg 10k Photos






Saturday, 12 June 2010

Bendrigg 10k


The first part of my twin 10k challenge is done. The Bendrigg race set off at 2pm today in warm conditions but not too hot for racing and Kendal's Danny Parkinson was looking to set a new course record. Southport Waterloo was represented by myself, Brian Davey, Andy Hudson and Vicky Harvey.

As ever, I set off a bit too fast on the downhill start and hit the first km in 4th place. I expected to pay for such a quick start and get passed but I found myself passing a runner and moving into third place with only Danny and supervet Paul Muller in front of me. I felt I was going well even on the hills and as the km's passed, I was still in third. Although well ahead of me I could still see Paul Muller at 6km and so it was a bit disconcerting to see him running back towards me at 7km! He turned again and sped off into the distance, leaving me a bit puzzled but still nobody had passed me. 8 to 9km is mainly downhill and I felt good even if I was a bit apprehensive about the last km - Heartbreak Hill! A sharp left turn at 9km gave me an opportunity to glance behind and I could see Wesham's Peter Cruse closing me down. I beat Peter at the Dent 14 back in March but only after a real battle with him over the last 3 miles and I am not in the same sort of form now. Heartbreak hill certainly lived up to its name for me today, as soon as I hit it, I died and Peter eased past me to snatch third place by 10 metres. I finished 4th in 38.04, ok my slowest 10k this year but I always feel that this course is between 1-2 minutes slower than an average road 10k. I was also somewhat encouraged because i felt a lot stronger than I have been doing over this distance and this was my highest finishing position ever on this course.
Next in was Brian Davey in just over 40 minutes, Andy ran well to finish in 42 mins and Vicky a little slower than last year but still 6th woman in 47 mins. Unfortunately, we were beaten by local club Helm Hill Harriers for both the team prize and vets team prize.
Paul Muller explained that despite running this race for the last 20 or so years and winning on many occasions, he thought he had gone the wrong way and so turned back. This error no doubt cost him significantly time wise but he held on to 2nd place with ease.
Photos and full results to follow.
Tomorrow, I have to do it all again for the final race in the Polaroid series at Loch Lomond.

Friday, 11 June 2010

I have a tough schedule planned for this weekend - a 10k double header!


Tomorrow I team up with the Southport Waterloo squad for the Bendrigg 10k. A roller coaster of a road race along quiet country lanes around Bendrigg Lodge just outside Kendal. There is a sting in the tail of this race with a steep climb for the last km to the finish line.

Sunday is nearer home and I will pull on my Victoria Park vest for the last in the Polaroid 10k series, the Vale of Leven. Starting at Loch Lomond Shores, the hills in this race come early on with some climbing through Balloch Country park.

I am not expecting fast times for either of these but the plan will be to try hard on Saturday and take it a little easier on Sunday. I have hardly run this week and so hopefully I will be well rested for the next few challenging days.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Chris Moon a pie and two halfs half marathon

I spotted this intriguingly named race a few weeks ago and the promise of a mainly downhill half marathon certainly sounded appealing! This was a point to point race starting with a 7 mile loop of undulating forest trails around the Whitelees windfarm in South Lanarkshire, followed by a mainly downhill run into Strathaven along quiet country lanes. Proceeds were in aid of the The Erskine Hospital-a charity organisation that cares for and employs ex-servicemen and so there were no T shirts or medals - just a coach trip to the start and a pie and a pint afterwards. Sounded great and I entered straight away even though it meant I would be running 5 races in 2 weeks.

This was the first time this race had taken place and so it was a small group of runners taking part and none of us knew what to expect of the course. The buses dropped us off at the entrance to the forest and within a short walk we were at the start and ready to go. The forest trails were pretty good but a bit rocky in places and despite a short climb at the start, the first mile was fast. A steep climb to the 2 mile marker followed and then we were running along some undulating paths in the shadow of the huge wind turbines that seemed to stretch for miles. Two leaders had disappeared into the distance by this stage, third and fourth were gradually pulling away from me and I was running neck and neck with local runner, Ian Hughes from Calderglen Harriers, in fifth and sixth places. I had narrowly beaten Ian a few weeks ago at the Monklands Half Marathon and by the looks of the youngsters ahead of us and the large gap opening up behind us, we were scrapping for the vets prize. Worryingly, Ian was pulling away from me on the hills but I was catching him and easing past him on the downhill stretches.
Before long we were out onto the road and I was looking forward to the downhill running to the finish. Mile 8 didn't disappoint and it was fast, very fast but then we were going back uphill and with the help of some local supporters urging him on my rival had pulled away from me. He passed the fourth placed runner who was slowing as I also caught him. I recognised his Irn Bru vest - it was the runner that appeared in all the Scottish papers having collapsed within sight of the finish line at the Edinburgh Marathon and was helped to his feet and over the line by another runner. Considering that was just two weeks ago I couldn't believe he was back racing so soon and running well. I chatted with him about his Edinburgh experience and he told me that despite his problems on the finish straight he ran 3.00.12 in his first ever marathon. Amazingly, the runner who heroically sacrificed his own time to help a fellow runner in distress did dip under three hours on chip timing because he started from further back in the field.

I pushed on and despite the promise of downhill, it certainly didn't feel like it with some long steep climbs as well as downhill sections. Before long we were running into Strathaven and I could see Ian Hughes was flying and had caught up another runner to take third overall. I held on to fifth place and second vet - so my only reward this time was a glass of water and a Jaffa Cake on the finish line.

This was a tough but enjoyable race. I hope it is not the first and last Chris Moon Half. Only 60 runners took part but I am sure it will gain in popularity in the future. There were at least three other races on in and around Glasgow on the same day but this is ideal for anyone looking for a challenging, low key, small and friendly race. The pie and ale were good too. A great day out.

Results

Chris Moon is a former Army officer with operational experience who worked for a charity clearing landmines in Asia and Africa is one of the few westerners to have survived kidnap by the Khmer Rouge guerrillas in Cambodia.

Two years later he was blown up in a remote minefield in East Africa. He was walking in a supposedly cleared area in Mozambique in 1995 when the blast resulted in the loss of his lower right arm and leg. Doctors say he survived against the odds due to his determination and fitness.
Within a year of leaving hospital he successfully completed the London Marathon and a Masters Degree in Security Management.

He's done numerous marathons and many of the world's toughest ultra marathons including the Great Sahara Run and Badwater the 135-mile continuous ultra through Death Valley to the mountains.

He's taken parties to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and run the length of Cambodia to raise funds for charities assisting the disabled

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Chris Moon Half Marathon

Ran a great race today - the Chris Moon Half Marathon. Partly off-road around the Whitelees Forest windfarm and then by road to the finish at the Strathaven Gala. The route has an overall drop of 600ft but it didn't feel like it with some steep climbs particularly around the forest tracks.

I finished 5th overall in 1.22 - full report to follow.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Recommended Reading

Life on the Run: Coast to Coast (by Matt Beardshall)








The idea of crossing Britain on foot has interested me since I first read Wainwight's Coast to Coast book many years ago. The thought of running it is even more appealing and so Matt Beardshall's account of his cross country adventure was a must read. Two runners decided to repeat Wainwright's original route from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay - 180 miles in 7 days. Matt and Vin, accompanied by friend Mal on his mountain bike attempted this challenge back in 2006.

This book is a compelling account of their adventure and the challenges they met along the way. What makes this an interesting read is that these guys are every day runners - they are not Dean Karnazes - and so this was not an easy target they set themselves. Of course I won't tell you whether they all made it across to the east coast in one piece - you should get a copy and read this one for yourself.

I have to admit that despite the enormity of the task, after reading this I couldn't help but be inspired to attempt this myself...one day. I have lent my copy to a few running pals in the hope that they would be similarly motivated but nae luck so far.....maybe there is something wrong with me to even think about attempting this! Even if you are not inclined to race accross Britain, I recommend you at least read about it.



How to run a PB at London!

I was amused by the story in the press this week about Anthony Gaskell the 69 year old Merseyside runner who was about to be awarded the 'fastest pensioner' title for his stunning performance at the London Marathon this year. However, his 3.05 time aroused suspicion because he was previously unheard of. After studying his split times it emerged he had completed the second half of the race in just over 40 minutes! Gaskell admitted taking a short cut and knocking 10 miles off. However, he claimed he didn't cheat, he had to drop out due to injury and took the shortest route to the finish to collect his belongings. Yes, presumably crossing the finish line and collecting his finishers medal on the way!

The fastest pensioner title was eventually awarded to its rightful owner, Cheshire based Colin Rathbone who finished in a speedy 3.05.51. Well done Colin - I only hope I am still running those sort of times when I reach 65!

More stories of famous marathon cheats

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Polaroid Series - Dumbarton 10k

Tonight was the third race in the Polaroid Series, at Dumbarton. This is normally the fastest in the series, but not tonight! The temperature was still around 23c when the race started and I decided to take it easy for the first few km and then try and work my way through the field. All went to plan until about 6km but it was humid and it became a struggle to keep the pace going. At one stage I worried my time would be worse but I crossed the line in 37.38. Most of the talk after the race was about how difficult the conditions were and everyone's time seems to have been a little slower this week. A tough one tonight but this is the first of 5 races I am running in the next two weeks. My next race is the Chris Moon Half Marathon at Strathaven on Sunday.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday Club Run

After my epic walk yesterday it was good to get my running kit on again for a more familiar workout. Six of us set of from the Allander this morning for a 12 mile training run. We headed along the Rangers path towards Dobbies Garden Centre and then along the road through Bardowie before heading cross country past Cawder Golf Club to the Forth and Clyde Canal. We ran a short distance along the canal before heading by road towards Torrance roundabout then along the river back to Balmore. From there we came back the same way as we ran out. I seemed to have no adverse reactions to such a long walk yesterday and it was a comfortable pace until the Victoria Park young guns upped the pace with about 4 miles to go and I had to work hard to keep with them.

Route on Garmin Connect

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tour of Cumbrae

Today's training felt a little different - a 20 mile walk! My wife, Yasmin is doing the Moonwalk in Edinburgh in just three weeks time and I volunteered to accompany her on the longest of her training walks. So we found ourselves on the 9am ferry from Largs to the Isle of Cumbrae to attempt two laps of the island - 20.25 miles in total. Despite some pretty grim weather to begin with, we put our heads down and battered on through the wind and rain, completing the first lap in just 3 hours. It brightened up for the second lap but it took us a little longer after a quick pitstop for a coffee in Millport before completing the final 3 miles back to the ferry. Back in Largs we headed straight to Nardini's to refuel. Just over 6 hours is a long time to be on your feet - hope I am OK for the club run in the morning.