Sunday, September 24, 2017

Robin Hood Half Marathon

Given the fact that Nottingham is overzealous with it’s road closures for the Marathon/Half Marathon and the tram isn’t very convenient for the Embankment, I employ Shank's Pony to get to the start line. In truth, the walk probably served as a pretty good warm up.

The course is more or less the same as last year's with one dead turn thankfully taken out. So just one more to remove please but this is certainly one of the better courses they’ve had.

Just ahead of seven miles I get chance for a sweaty snog with one of the crowd, which was my partner of course but then everyone else backed away in terror when they saw me coming.

I have a good run and finish in 1:44:50 and pass Richard Whitehead en route, in the end beating him by a couple of minutes. 

It's again an excellent event and with a t-shirt for all finishers this year for the first time. It's a cotton one too, which I prefer. I have so many technical ones already.

My only real grip is that Nottingham still persist with the notorious water pouches. Oddly some people do seem to like them but I assume these are the folk who possess the black magic required to get something substantial out of them. Personally I probably consumed only half the amount of water I wanted to and I really don't see how they get these things through their H&S Risk Assessment. I run races up and down the country and have never come across these dreadful things anywhere else.

These are a blot on what is otherwise, fantastic race. Although I still maintain that they should be taking this race into the city centre like the big cites do - Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester etc etc. Which perversely would contain the race more central and therefore probably even reduce the number of road closures.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mansfield 10k

In the post race euphoria of the Great North Run I entered us both in today’s Mansfield 10k while sat on the platform at Newcastle Railway Station. Unfortunately the euphoria was not shared by L’s back, so now it’s just me. 

The third running of the Mansfield 10k turns out to be a decent little event, once we’ve managed to park somewhere as the town has pretty much shut down for the race.

The course is a twisty route with a few includes around the town centre and surrounding streets with the start and finish in the Market Place offering excellent viewing potential for my reluctant supporter.

There’s a 5k as well as a 10k which presents some excellent cheating potential for any dishonest 10k runners. Not me, obviously.

My time is a steady and unspectacular 45:51. Not great but its all about building fitness and remaining uninjured at the moment. It’s four weeks to marathon day.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Great North Run

L and I head up to Newcastle, via a parkrun in Sheffield, as you do. Daughter joins us and the two them, not me, run the Sheffield Castle parkrun. I’m saving my calves for the GNR tomorrow.

Once in Newcastle, we head to find the pasta party, which is no longer held at the finish line where we expected it to be, where it was fifteen years ago, but apparently it hasn’t been there for years. Who knew? That will teach us to read the race information.

The next day we are near enough to walk to the start which saves a lot of hassle with the Metro etc, which I’m sure will be busy. Then amazingly we bump into some people we know and the Elite women’s coach almost bumps into us.

Then we part to go to our respective start points. The race starts at 10:40am and I get to cross the start line at 10:45am, L who is further back doesn’t get to start until 11:10am. By which point Mo Farah is long gone. In fact before I am even half way around they are announcing that he has won, smart a***.

The route, of course, goes from Newcastle to South Shields via the Tyne Bridge. The on course support is, as expected, amazing but (whisper it quietly) I was a bit disappointed with the route, it’s just not that scenic... the bridge is good but isn’t it tiny! I was surprised. Blink and you’ve missed it but you can’t missed the Red Arrows who flew across overhead as we crossed.  

There was a very welcome beer stop at 10 miles provided by Newcastle Hash House Harriers but, again, blink and you’ll miss it. Which I did, so naturally I turned around and went back.  They had beers from several local micro breweries so it was almost a mini beer festival. Perhaps I should have stayed for a couple but I just grabbed a taster from Tyne Bank Brewery and went on my way.

The best bit of the course is probably the end and that's not just because it’s the end. After an uphill section around mile 11 there then comes an evil downhill slope (for those of us with dodgy calves) at 12 miles but having weathered than the final mile long stretch along the sea front is great.

Having looked after my calves all the way around, I start to push it now and they twang at me in protest but they can pack up now if they want. I can crawl from here.

So I finish in one piece and a little while later so too does L. By now I’ve managed to grab a massage and have headed back up the course to cheer L in, who texts me from the finish. So I’ve missed her. We arrange to meet in the beer tent which is filled with tempting real ales. It was fairly quiet when I finished but it’s heaving now, so we shelve that idea.

The queues for the Metro are huge even after we’ve killed time in one of the pubs so we head to get the Tyne Ferry instead which will enable us to pick up the Metro on the other side of the river. The queues are probably just as long but at least we are serenaded by a band in the queue.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Leicester 10k

We are still without a car, so we forced to use public transport to get over to Leicester for the newest of Asda Foundation / Jane Tomlinson Run For All events. They call it the ‘first’ Leicester 10k but there are multiple 10ks in Leicester and always have been, this is just the latest.

Many race plans in the past have been scuppered by the lack of public transport options so I am pleasantly surprised\shocked to find that there are actually trains to Leicester before 9am on a Sunday and that the Nottingham tram starts at 6am on a Sunday. Wow.

So in the end it proves relatively easy to get to Abbey Park for the event.

The route of the 10k sounds nice. It takes us across the Grand Union Canal, into the city centre, past the Richard III visitor centre, past the cathedral, then twice over the River Soar before ending with a final lap of the park. I didn’t really notice much of that...

My only aim is to not get re-injured, so it’s a case of stick at a steady pace all the way round and a laborious time of 48:36 shows that it’s job well done. There’s even a post race massage to check out the damage, which I’m told is negligible. The masseur concurs that I’m good to go and compliments Thursday’s treatment.

L runs it too and seems equally ecstatic afterwards to have survived it.