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Between 2 Marathons

Last weekend it was the Manchester Marathon and this week it is back to London – the last London Marathon in October seemed like only yesterday.

Manchester Marathon was an interesting test given that I’d only been able to run for one out of the previous 5 months due to a couple of injuries and cataract operations. The running that I did manage was not the sort of running you are supposed to do in preparation for running a Marathon. So I was to be able to complete it in 4h 1m which was 6th in my category although the wheels did rather come off the wagon in the last 6 km.

It took a few days to recover but am now ready for tomorrow to start the Race. I have some worries over possible race disruption from climate activists, particularly Just Stop Oil. But hopefully I can raise a few pounds for the MS Trust.

Spring Update

Its been quiet in the running department recently. Close to zero training due to Cataract operations and 2 injuries which cost about 4 months training since the beginning of November.

But I have managed to fit in the Florence Marathon at the end of November last year with a time of 3h 56m which is OK. Then the Hampton Court Half Marathon in late Feb with a time of 1h 53m. Neither time was special but not bad given the lack of training.

So on to a busy April with a half marathon & 2 full marathons, including London which I am running to raise funds for the MS Trust as in previous years. Click on the logo to go to my fund raising page please !

Iten Kenya – Recap from August 2022

This is presentation of what I experienced when I spent 2 weeks in a training camp held at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten Kenya :

Iten 2400m high atop the Rift Valley in Kenya is one of the homes of Kenyan long distance running. In this you see –

  • The ‘pacers’, local runners who accompanied us so we didn’t get lost & a view of the camp grounds
  • The food provided – all local with no dairy (butter or cheese)
  • Early morning training run : In Kenya runners train in large groups typically with an early morning 6.30 am run and a late afternoon run.
  • The famous Thursday Fartlek at Tiren Road where groups would all joinh together to run Fartlek from 6km to 10km or more over rolling the red earth roads
  • Tuesday TRack session in Eldoret, the County Town. This track is a typical kenyan government project which is not finished due to th efailure of governemnt to provide all the promised funds. Its so heavily used the track is now worn out. But it is very busy : There were 200 runners there including Eliud Kipchoge who you can see in action and then later taking time for selfies & au
  • Track Drills by Collins Kibet, a successful US Collegiate 800m runner & brother of Sylvia Kibet, winner of several Olympic medals.
  • Tour of St Patricks High School which produced many champions under the guidance of Brother Colm. The athletics training camp is no longer an integral part of the school, with the school now having 4 times the number of pupils than before. Brother Colm has retired from his role at the school but still lives in the grounds.
  • Ian Kiprono who now leads the Athletics ‘school’ attached to ST Patricks answers the question ‘that 3 pieces of advice would you give to runner’. Eat, Sleep, Run……
  • Meet Sylvia Kibet, Olympic medallist…
  • Everyday Pictures : Kenya kids were always happy smiling and greeting us with ‘ Hi – how are you’. Sheep and cattle grazed everywhere on tracks, grass verges at the side of roads.
  • Last night there we all had dinner together with our pacers and special guest Brother Colm.

Tuesday Track Training – Eldoret

I will do a full report on my 2 weeks in Kenya later but I do need to make a special note of this morning’s session.

A one hour drive from Iten to Eldoret brought us to this unassuming stop which suggests that a building site lies within : In fact it is where some of the world’s finest athletes train.

Inside lies a rather worn out tartan track and a part built athletics stadium. On Tuesday mornings the elite of Kenyan athletes come for group interval training and one of the groups is that of Eliud Kipchoge. We watched on as these groups thundered round at frightening speed – I believe at 65 second laps.

In the video, Eliud Kipchoge (He is the 2016 and 2020 Olympic marathon champion, and holds the world record in the marathon with a time of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon) is in blue top and in the first group of runners. They all look so effortless and smooth.

After they’d finished their training I broke off my session to get a photo of Eliud and for him to sign my running vest. Both he and his coaching team were totally approachable putting up with many requests for photos and signed vests, shoes etc.. A fine example of how stars should behave.

August 2022 Update

Its been quiet because of Covid and work. But now I am in Kenya at the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten – I will provide a much more detailed report when time and internet make this possible.

So the latest news is that I have just this week been offered a place on the London Marathon by the MS Trust which I have accepted. Please click on the Charity’s logo and sponsor me to raise much needed funds for them.

Royal Parks Half Marathon

Good day for running.

Not the best time nor the worst (apologies to Mr Dickens) but somewhat surprised to find I was 5th in the V50 category given that I an V65.

London does the Marathon as it should be done

Despite the entreaties of the organisers to stick to one supporter per runner, the roads were lined as usual with excellent & very vocal support. Magnificent !!

I was very wary about running this with very limited training and sequence of injuries : so it was pleasing to report that I completed the race without the ‘wheels falling off the wagon’. Time of 4h 4m was in line with hopes but obviously some way off what I would have expected had I been injury free & been able to train properly.

Slightly confusing to have been 2 timing chips, one for the Virgin Marathon and one for the Abbott World Marathon Championships, in which I had zero expectations of featuring !!

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The Day before ….

I wasn’t going to Run London after a summer of Hamstring tears/strains and this week, a bad back & after effects of a Covid Booster Jab. But then again its too special to miss.

A little surprised to find that I have 2 Race Bibs to wear each with a timing chip : The Virgin Marathon one must be worn on the front and the Abbott Majors on the back. So that means if I reverse over the finish line I will get a faster time for the Abbott race than for Virgin ….

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September Update

So the return of mass start racing has seen me partake in a few events but with no great success. Still getting over hamstring & related injuries and with limited training going on due to heavy workload has resulted in a big drop in performance.

With almost no long training runs this year, I have been concerned that I wouldn’t be able to run a Marathon but at the time of writing this post, I am hoping to give it a go ! The target is to get a good enough time to get a Goof=d for Age place in next year’s race.

As usual I hope to raise some mich needed ££s for the MS Trust.

Regents Park 10k

First ‘actual’ race since Florence Marathon back in November 2019 and it was good to race again.

No mass start with runners queuing up – socially distanced of course – to be sent off at ~ 5 second intervals. So adrenalin levels were lower than with the mass start racing. Pre-pandemic there would have been ~ 700 runners but today just 200 and there was plenty of space for runners, dogs & walkers. The course had also been changed with the down/up hill section in the North West corner being cut out to be replaced by an extra (flat) loop to the west : So it was a bit easier.

Given that I had to stop running only a few weeks ago for yet another hamstring problem I was relieved to be able to get round without problem although the time of just inside 50 minutes was not what I would have considered acceptable a year or two ago but at least I was #1 in my category. Pace was even throughout too with the slowest lap being the first as it should be.