Target 2:50:00 – Week 1 (2nd to 8th January)

Before I get into the training lets back up slightly. 2017 will be a year of transition for me with my partner expecting our first child.

Talking of which the due date is the end of March and the target is Manchester Marathon, which for those that don’t know is on the 2nd April, eeeek.

There is a plan B as I’m also in London, I’m still hopeful that I can do Manchester as I believe it’s a faster course. Many of my club mates have done it and got some good times (inc. when it was the right length!).

Whatever happens, I’ll be getting the miles in and will do a very short sharp taper, allowing me to increase the mileage if baby arrives beginning of April and I do end up missing Manchester.

From the start of January, I plan to do 1000 miles (or more) in the lead up to the marathon. One of club stalwarts said he always did that in the lead up to London and with a marathon time of around 2hour 45, who am I to argue. Each week would consist of:

  • two long runs – one at the weekend and one midweek with the weekend one being longer. Also, I’d look to do a long fast run at marathon pace every 2 to 2 weeks
  • strength workout, for example of repetitions 3 x 2 miles, 2 x 4 miles
  • tempo/threshold run of anything from 6 to 10 miles or maybe more (see long runs above)
  • And then lots of easy runs on the road and cross country

Of course, that isn’t set in stone and I will do shorter speed work, hills and the occasional Parkrun and race. Anyway without further ado onto the training:

Week 1 – 79.4 MI (10H 42M)

Training Log - Week 1 (2nd to 8th January)

AM: Easy 7 mi
PM: Easy 6 mi

AM: Recovery 3.7 mi
PM: 10.5 mi inc. 4.1 mi warm up + 5 x 800m, 2 x 400m + 3.4 mi cool down

AM: Easy 9 mi (commute)
PM: Easy 6 mi

PM: 14.3 mi midweek LSR

AM: Easy 6.6 mi – Holyrood Park Recce as racing the 5k the next day

AM: Raceday – 2.5 mi warm up + 3.1 mi race + 1 mi cool down

PM: Easy/Recovery 9 mi

The target for the week was 90+ miles, however, with a Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k race on Sunday 1st plus the Great Winter Run 5k (while on vacation), it was always going to be hard to get the miles therefore 2 good races in 7 days, speed work and a midweek long run I have got to be happy. One final thing I should add is that after a couple of weeks off at the start of November I was averaging 70+ miles coming into the start of the year. And covered over 2500 coming into 2017, therefore, I had a strong base before trying to do even greater mileage for this block of marathon training.

Grimsby 10k

Danny Wilson and myself - Grimsby 10k 2016

Not many people will realise that although I was born in Nottingham I actually for my sins grew up just south of the river in Grimsby and Cleethorpes. Therefore when Tape2Tape announced a 10k in my previous hometown, it was one I wasn’t going to miss.

Over 1200 runners lined up for the inaugural 10k with plenty from EHH and the other local clubs. In addition the merry band of supporters had made the trip to support the runners along the route.

The race starts at the town hall in the town centre before quickly turning left to sweep past the council depot and right at a a mini roundabout to offer us our first glimpse of People’s Park (where we would be finishing). It was around this point I had settled into a group including Danny Wilson and Keri Pearson (CoH). Danny started to gap us, so should I stick or twist. As I was still feeling pretty good I decided to twist and follow Danny hoping he wasn’t going out to fast (I wasn’t sure what pace we was doing as I wouldn’t look at my watch until 5k).

This race was always going to be a trip down memory lane and first stop was a left turn onto the first major road taking us past the Wheatsheaf, this is the pub I drank in as a student at Grimsby College. Talking of which, the route then goes past the aforementioned college, the second stop on memory lane before a left turn onto Scartho Road (drop the h unless your posh).

Myself and Danny were keeping a decent pace past the now closed Swimming Pool and the Nunsthorpe Estate (the main estate I live in, in Grimsby). At some point along here we past Eddie Rec who had gone off like a rocket. Also in the distance was my namesake Darren Edge (BEV), in the back on my mind I thought I’d try and close the gap. Knowing that Darren usually “edges” me in races and if I can get close to him I’m having a good day.

Next stop on the whistle stop tour is the entrance to the hospital. I spent many a mis-spent youth jumping on the back of the food/laundry carts (we use to call them yellow coaches) to get a lift before the route then passed the big houses which were good for a apple foraging. Up next is a left turn at Scartho past one of the many places my parents used to show rabbits (yes, rabbits!).

At the 4km mark up the only real incline Danny started to gap me. Unable to bridge the bridge the distance on the descent the route goes left onto the new road (admittedly built when I still lived in Grimsby so hardly new anymore!). Just before this I passed through 5km in around 18:50 – a little off what I’d have liked but still on target for a low 38.

After a short section the route then goes left onto the very straight Peaks Parkway. Thankfully I had been joined by a Sheffield Strider runner and could still see Danny in a group of 5 ahead. I tried to bridge the gap but I thin it was much bigger than it looked. By this point it really was hurting and as we passed through the “mad” mile it was a case of digging in and trying to maintain pace to hopefully finish in the low 38s or sub 38.

Sprint Finish - Grimsby 10k
Strong finish at the Grimsby 10k 2016

A left turn onto Weelsby Road and a relatively short section before entering the park for the final stop (and finish) down memory lane. People’s’ Park has happy memories for me having spent many a happy hour playing hide and seek and feeding the ducks there. Thankfully the happy memories will continue as after a sprint for the line I finished in 37:58 getting under the elusive 38 barrier again. It’s only taken over a year since Leven 10k 2015.

I wasn’t the only one to have a good day. Roared on by the great support Danny Wilson finished 1st harrier in 37:31 for 34th place. Not to be outdone there was pb’s for Kirsty Wilson – 43:32 (on the back of a 19 mile long run the day before!), Keith Conkerton – 44:25 and Mandy Davison – 52:34. I’m sure there were other therefore sorry if I’ve missed them.

Impeccable organisation, great support and atmosphere particularly at the start and finish, a decent good bag if that’s your kind of thing plus a fast and flat course, what’s not to like? It can only bolster Tape2Tape’s reputation as a top quality events organiser. I for one will be back as I’m sure will be many others.


Position Name Mad Mile Chip Time Gun Time
34 Danny WILSON 00:06:02 00:37:31 00:37:35
40 Darren WHITE 00:06:04 00:37:58 00:38:04
75 Eddie REX 00:06:45 00:39:38 00:39:40
79 Sara Rookyard 00:06:33 00:39:48 00:39:55
84 Tony CROSS 00:06:30 00:39:58 00:40:03
169 Ellie MANN 00:06:56 00:43:23 00:43:34
170 Chris SUMPTON 00:06:56 00:43:23 00:43:34
178 Kirsty WILSON 00:06:54 00:43:32 00:43:42
191 Stephen TICHOPAD 00:07:06 00:44:01 00:44:09
201 Dave PLAYFORTH 00:07:14 00:44:17 00:44:27
225 Keith CONKERTON 00:06:58 00:44:25 00:45:20
215 Tony Goulding 00:07:02 00:44:38 00:45:02
255 Wayne MARTINDALE 00:07:31 00:45:53 00:46:12
260 Paul REED 00:07:32 00:45:58 00:46:18
299 Katie SEDDON 00:07:35 00:46:21 00:47:05
293 Richard ALSOP 00:07:32 00:46:44 00:46:58
307 Karl ROLSTONE 00:07:42 00:47:01 00:47:16
326 David MASKELL 00:07:30 00:47:02 00:47:58
345 Linda HUART 00:07:45 00:47:54 00:48:15
346 Kelvin WESTERMAN 00:07:54 00:48:03 00:48:16
365 Lee CAMPBELL 00:08:08 00:48:06 00:48:44
367 Magdalena ZAREMBA 00:08:02 00:48:32 00:48:45
487 Martin HOWMAN 00:08:19 00:50:12 00:51:11
520 Andrew FEWSTER 00:08:50 00:51:58 00:52:10
570 Mandy DAVISON 00:08:36 00:52:34 00:53:31
588 JOHN CROSBY 00:08:35 00:52:57 00:53:53
600 Katy WHITE 00:08:51 00:53:14 00:54:13
599 Paul WRIGHT 00:08:34 00:53:36 00:54:11
685 Gary ROBINSON 00:09:32 00:55:08 00:56:07
651 Tracey ASHTON 00:09:08 00:55:13 00:55:34
698 Paul BACKEN 00:09:32 00:56:22 00:56:22
749 Graham ROGERSON 00:08:54 00:56:47 00:57:38
810 Neil MICKLEBURGH 00:09:09 00:58:43 00:59:02
878 Graham HALL 00:10:04 01:00:13 01:00:59
917 Sheila MADDISON 00:10:03 01:00:58 01:02:05

Enigma Need For Speed Half Marathon 2016

I’m writing this almost a month since race day, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect on the race but first let’s back up a bit.

The training started about 10 weeks before (of course I’m always doing somewhere between 30 and 50 miles a week), however with 10 weeks to go I had renewed focus and started to plan each weeks training again. By focusing on a race and planning my training this way I find it helps me stick to the schedule and ultimately run better.

The idea was to do a rolling three weeks over a 10 week period (each 3rd week would be a recovery week) as follows:

  • Wk 1 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 2 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 3 – 50 miles
  • WK 4 – 70+ miles
  • WK 5 – 70+ miles
  • Wk 6 – 50 miles
  • Wk 7 – 80+ miles
  • Wk 8 – 80+ miles
  • Wk 9 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 10 – 30 to 40 miles inc. the half marathon

Most weeks consisted of a tempo/threshold run up to 10 miles, some sort of speed work (reps), a middle distance long run midweek week, a weekend long run and then some easy miles to make up the volume.

For the most part training went well. This was confirmed with better race results (discounting Leven 10k when I was clearly poorly) including a 5k PB (18:19) at the Phil Johnson 5k.

Right, enough about training. Race week arrived and as Katy was doing the full Marathon we had decided to travel down the day before. The idea being to arrive at the hotel by 5pm giving us plenty of time to eat and chill out for the evening  (it was the same time as the Euro’s so we’d have football to watch).

Enigma Need For Speed 2016
I’m sure the rear view mirror shuldn’t be there

However things don’t always go to plan and barely out of Hull something came of the back of a truck as it turned up the Humber Bridge slip road off the A63 resulting in a very cracked windscreen. Luckily I was able to pull into the next Petrol Station. After several calls, and an hour and half wait we were towed back to Hertz on Anlaby Road. Another hour later and another hire car we were finally back on the road. After leaving our house at 12pm and although driving down at rush hour (which we had hoped to avoid) we arrived in Milton Keynes just before 8pm. On the plus side we got there in times to for the football (and to watch Wales beat Belgium).

Enigma Need For Speed 2016 - Team White Camp
Ready for a long day

After a decent night’s kip we had a short drive to Caldecotte Lake arriving at 8am which meant plenty of time to set up camp and chat to all the local runners while waiting for the 9am start for the marathon. I wouldn’t be racing until 2.30pm so I was on Team White duties for the next 4 to 5 hours. I won’t go into the details of Katy’s race as you can read her write-up. All I will say is I  was extremely proud of her completing her first marathon.

Ok fast forward to 2.30pm, after 600 miles over the last 10 weeks it all came down to this. I had two targets:

  •  A new PB and sub 85 minutes
  • Preferably sub 83
Enigma Need For Speed 2016 - Start
Start of the half marathon

I knew the loop well after doing 8 and half laps last year. These races never have a deep field therefore it would probably be a lonely run and I’d have to run it like a time trial.

I made sure I was at the front setting off at 6.20 per mile pace. A 2.5 mile section would bring us past the support area and the start of the loop. So far so good, pace was pretty much spot on but as suspected I was out on my own.

At the end of the first loop, “Foxy” said something along the lines of “you’ve got this”. However I wasn’t feeling great and struggling to stay on pace. I was unsure of my gap to second and didn’t want to take anything for granted. Anyway the real race for me was against the clock.

Enigma Need For Speed 2016
Serious Face!

The original idea was to try and get faster each loop. the reality was I was progressively losing time, instead of increasing my pace by 5 to ten seconds the opposite was happening. It didn’t help that the second half of the loop takes you past the Watersports Centre. This section was particularly windy and I now why they do windsurfing there!

By the final loop I knew any chance of sub 85 was gone. Now it was a war of nutrition and just try and keep a decent pace.

Enigma Need For Speed 2016
I think this picture sums it up perfectly.

Thankfully I was only doing the half. A gruelling last loop and I was done in 1 hour 25 minutes and 53 seconds later. At the time I was disappointed, however having plenty of time to reflect it was my 3rd fastest half. Also it was run entirely on my own which is never the easiest thing to do.

The best thing about the race was seeing all the support (especially Katy enjoying a well earned rest) every lap, the stunning scenery and watching the other runners come in. A special mention to Sara Morrow and Helen and Jamie Penn from KuHAC who were also racing.

Enigma Need For Speed 2016
All ready for the half marathon

For me the focus now shifts to the Manchester Half in October with the small matter of the Gilberdyke 10 and The Major Stone Half as key build up races in my preparation.





Summer League Race 8 – Hedon 4

EHH Summer League Race 8 - Hedon 4

After a summer league hiatus (due to running other the Phil Johnson 5k and Doncaster Open 5k) I was back for the final race in the series. Last year we had monsoon like conditions and after the recent good weather I was hoping for a hot one. Alas it wasn’t to be but the rain held off until after the race and it was even just about good enough for me to race in the customary shades.

Last year Katy and myself biked to Hedon in atrocious conditions (so much so that my left calf started cramping). We wasn’t making that mistake again and instead got a lift off a couple of club members. We all arrived in good time to get parked at the pub (bonus) and chat to some other club mates.

Summer league races start at 7.15pm and this particular race the start is about half a mile from the pub. After some dynamic stretches and with 20 minutes to go I made my way to the start.  The legs felt pretty good on the warm up but this isn’t always indicative of a good race, many times they feel great and I race badly or vica versa. Anyway the main thing I noticed is as usual there was a decent headwind on the way out to Paull. This isn’t that surprising as the race starts in Hedon and goes to Paull which sits on the bank of the River Humber. I think it’s a very rare occurrence for there to be no wind.

Hedon 4 - Course Route
Hedon to Paull straight into the usual headwind coming off the humber

Onto the race and as usual I found myself in the second big pack along with club mates Eddie Rex, Lee Alcock and I think some Bridlington runners. The first mile felt good with me trying to shelter behind some of the other runners. As gaps started to appear I decided to try and drop Eddie and Lee as in particular I could see Danny Wilson just ahead. However Lee is not a man that gives up and he came with me with a small gap to Eddie. We caught Danny Wilson around1 mile when you turn left to go through Paull.

EHH Summer League Race 8 - Hedon 4  2016
Trying to smile for the camera

Unfortunately during the route round and through Paull Danny and Lee dropped me, I maintained the gap through the next mile but wasn’t able to close it. This meant running the next mile to a mile and half on my own. Before the finish the course take you over a flyover before going back into Hedon. At this point a a KuHAC runner and COH runner caught me. Being a particular bad uphill runner they did start to gap be on the ascent but after running and doing the work on my own for so long I was adamant I wasn’t going to get beat. That meant keeping in touch until the final corner which is just before the finish and only a couple of hundred metres to the finish.

It’s one thing having a plan though, another to actually execute it. Myself and Andrew Hemmings (CoH) gapped the KuHAC runner but I was still 1 or 2 metres behind Andrew coming into the finishing straight. I launched my sprint but worryingly still only managed to get onto his shoulder, I thought I didn’t have any more pace, however I made a split second decision to give it everything I had, from somewhere I managed to find a but more and finish I second ahead. I think it was my fastest ever finish as the graph below shows.

EHH Summer League Race 8 - Hedon 4 - Pace Chart
Hedon 4 pace graph, slow uphill with fast finish

I finished in 16th out of 188 runners in a time of 24:32 for 4 miles. I’d always want to be lower 24 or sub 24 for 4 miles but after a couple of dodgy races and Parkrun I was very happy with the my performance. Hopefully I can keep it up for a another two miles at the Great Grimsby 10k on Sunday.


Hull 10k

Loved and loathed in equal measure the Hull 10k divides opinions like no other race amongst local club runners. However there is no denying that a event (however you complete) that gets over 3500 people moving as got to be good, particularly if it raises a bit of cash for charity. Remember tomorrows “fun runner” could be tomorrow club runners.

One benefit of a local race is I could have a nice and relaxed start to the day. That involves a short bus journey, a good strong coffee and  a good chat with Tim Simpson and Mike Petersen as I made the way to the baggage area.

I warmed up next to the courts which allowed me to get close to the front with about 10 minutes from the start (thanks to last years winner and club mate Alec Gibson for that bit of advice). Eyeing up who was at the start I had decided like the 5k race from the previous Tuesday I’d go out very hard and see what pace I could maintain. To this end I could see Carla Stansfield (City of Hull) and Stephen Maddison (York Knavesmire Harriers), both are much faster than me but if I could keep them in sight then I should be dragged around to a decent time.

Onto the race and I barely made it to 1k before I started to drop off from my chosen targets, however the gap was growing slowly and the first mile was passed (for me) in a new best of 5:37. This was also the more straightforward portion of the course. The next two miles around Victoria Dock dropped to 6.04 and then 6.16. I’d have preferred to keep closer to 6 minute miling, however I was finding it much tougher than the 5k the previous Tuesday. Was I paying for the earlier fast first mile?

From here the course changes from previous years due to ongoing improvement works around Hull City Centre for the City of Culture 2017. It was a maze of twist and turns, somebody mentioned that there was over 60 turns on the course. To be honest I was really finding it tough going and I was just doing my best to hang in there and keep some level of pace. The benefit of this course is there is always something to think about and plenty of opportunity to see club mates going in the other direction. Talking of which just before 4 miles there is a 180 degree turn and I was surprised how close a few club mates where. This gave me some impetus to make sure I didn’t drop off too much.

Hull 10k 2016 Route
Just a couple of turns
Hull 10k finish
Finishing strong at the Hull 10k

Miles 4, 5, and 6 passed in 6:13, 6:16 and 6.06, the latter of which I think was thanks to the smell of the finish but also strong runner passed me at 5 miles and therefore I tried to stay with him.

For me the best thing about Hull 10k is the finish, a good 400m past Queens garden and then onto Alfred Gelder Street past all the crowds that always come out. Never one to disappoint I managed to pick up to 5.27 pace for the last .2 mile.

Overall happy with my Hull 10k as it was a season’s best of 38:05 for 25th place and my second fastest 10k ever.



Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 9)?

The start of a two week taper period. This week reducing my mileage from just short of 80 to 50. Training as follows:

Week 9 – 49.3 mi ( 6h 13m)

  • Monday – PM:  Easy 5 mi
  • Tuesday – PM: 10.8 mi (0.7 mi warm up + 9.4 tempo + 0.6 mi cool down)
  • Wednesday – PM: 12.1 mi LSR
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – AM: 11.3 (3 mi warm up + 5.9 mi – 8 x 800m with 400 m recovery + 2.3 mi cool down)
  • Saturday – Easy 10 (Norfolk)
  • Sunday – Rest Day

As it’s taper time I’m no longer doing double days. Only two key sessions this week and a midweek LSR but none at the weekend as keeping mileage down plus I was at a party on the Saturday and in Liverpool all day Thursday hence 2 rest days.

The Tuesday session was super tough but happy to do just short of 10 only 2 days after a race at an average pace of 6:30.

Fridays intervals were a little slow for each 800m and it was a tough one but as it was midday in the heat I was still happy with the session overall.

Next week is race week so fingers crossed I’m on form come Saturday afternoon.









Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 8)?

The second of two 80 mile weeks, just fell short due to two races in one week but still as a solid weeks 75.5 miles training. Training as follow:

Week 8 – 75.5 mi (9h 42m)

  • Monday – PM:  Easy 7.8 mi
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 5.7 mi XC
    • PM: 7.3 mi (2.2 warm up + 3.1 mi race + 1.9 cool down)
  • Wednesday –
    • AM: Easy 6 recovery run
    • PM: 14.7 LSR
  • Thursday –
    • AM: Easy 4.8
    • PM: 13.1 mi (2.1 mi warm up + 9 mi strength workout: 2 x 4 mi @ 6.30 pace with 1 mil+ 2 mi cool down)
  • Friday -Rest
  • Saturday – Easy 5 pre-race day
  • Sunday – 10.9 mi (1.5 mi pre loosener: 2 hours before + 2 mi warm up + 6.2 mi race + 1 mi cool down)

Several key session if you include the two races which if they aren’t target races then they are classed as very hard tempo efforts (although happy to get a pb or a good performance at least).

Tuesday was the return of the Phil Johnson 5k and after the last race I was confident with more training that I’d hopefully pb. That was the case and a 18:19 during heavy training is very pleasing.

Another big day Wednesday before Thursdays reps which this week was only 2 as they were 4 miles long. With the aid of some music it was very pleasing to be abe to stick to the 6.30 average pace and finish very strong.

A couple of easy days so I was at least a little tapered before the Hull 10k hence packing the miles in at the start of the week. I’d have loved a sub 38 and knew I shoudl be low 38 at the very least. On a twisty course (somebody said there was over 60 turns) and cobbles I was pleased with a 38:05 showing (of course a small part of me wished I’d have been 6 seconds faster).

2 weeks, 1 5k PB, a season’s best 10k (and second fastest ever) and over 150 miles means everything looks like it’s going in the right direction. Now two weeks to taper, next week is 50 miles before a very low week in the run up to the half.







Phil Johnson 5k Series (Race 2)

Getting There

Leaving East Hull around 5 to go across the city to go is never the best idea but the journey to the race should only take 45 minutes and it was due to start at 7 so you would think it would be plenty of time, wouldn’t it? However the old rocker himself Rod Stewart was playing the KC stadium but the bigger issue was the closure of the Humber Bridge due to a to a accident earlier. It started so well leaving at 5 I arrived at Kingston retail park by twenty past for my usual stop of coffee and cake. However it was then that getting back onto the  A63 I realised something was amiss. Checking on Facebook (while stationary I hasten to add) there was messages about the Humber Bridge being closed, it was re-opened again but the knock on effect left lots of stationary traffic. At least I had some substances while it took the 45 minutes to get from English Street to

The race

Phil Johnson 5k (race 2)
Just coming into the finish of race 2 of the Phil Johnson 5k series

Just like the Otley 10 I’d record the race but not look at it until closer to the end. After a short briefing we as off, possibly even a couple of minutes early. There was a lead  group with club mates Robert Weekes and Steve Davey  and unlike the previous I’d try to keep closer order. Although I didn’t hold on for that long it did result in a 5.42 first mile (possible my fastest ever during a race).

By this point we had a good pack of runners and I was shielded  behind 2 Barton runners. Just before the 2 miles point (completed in  5.59) we was joined by City of Hulls Sophie Lee, it now felt like the place was slowing  and I wanted to kick on. I think Sophie at the same thought as she picked up the pace. I tried to go with her but I wasn’t strong enough. However  it did result in a final mile of 5:56 and the final 0.1 mi increasing to a pace of 5:29 for a 00:18:19 PB and 16th place and a new PB. As part of some big miles it’s a very pleasing result.

Hats off to my club mates Robert Weekes finishing 4th in 16:29 and Steve Davey finishing 8th in 00:17:10.


Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 7)?

Back on track, I’m looking to do back to back 80 mile weeks. Training as follow:

Week 7 – 82.2 mi (10h 50m)

  • Monday –
    • AM: Easy 4 mi
    • PM:  Easy 10 mi
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 5 mi
    • PM: Easy 7.7 mi
  • Wednesday – PM: 12  (1.5 mi warm up + 10 mile race + 0.5 mi cool down)
  • Thursday – PM: 10.2 mi (4.2 mi warm up + 4.7 mi hill training + 1.3 mi cool down)
  • Friday -PM: Easy 12.2 mi
  • Saturday – PM: 16 mi LSR (3 mile warm up + 4 x convoluted loops of East park getting faster each loop + 3 mile cool down)
  • Sunday – PM: Easy 5 mi recovery

Week 7 saw the start of my two highest mileage weeks before I begin the taper. The start of the week was all about easy mileage with one eye on Wednesday’s race.

Talking of Wednesday it turned out to be a epic day which you can read about in my Otley 10 race report, to summarise I’m still chasing a 10 mile PB but happy with the race and experience despite traffic and a 18 hour day.

On Thursday for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to do my clubs hill training, probably because I’m not normally in Hull on a Thursday for the club’s session and because my wife was doing hills. Anyway I surprised myself by setting one of my best time for the first 15 minutes completing 9 reps in 14:35  – the really fast lads can do 10 therefore it gives me confidence that one day I might be able to crack 10 in 15 minutes. For the full session I covered 4.7 miles inside 25 minutes which isn’t too shabby even if I do say so myself.

The next key session was Saturday afternoons progressive LSR, after a short warm up, I did loops of our local park getting progressively faster for each loop and even doing a 6:20 mi at one point before a good cool down. The timing of the run and the loops wasn’t by chance but to replicate the 2.30pm start for my half marathon at Milton Keynes consisting of 3 and half loops of a park.

All in all a good week, another couple of them and I’ll be very happy with my form going into the race.





Otley 10

Otley 10 2016 - Start

I ended up doing the Otley 10 as I was looking for a fairly local 10 miler. At the time the Gilberdyke 10 had not been announced and the closest I could find was the Otley 10.

As it turned out on race day I’d be working in Liverpool. At the time this seemed like a good thing (more on that later) as I could come back home via Otley from Liverpool. However it would  mean being at the Liverpool I.T. head office for 9am (so I could leave by 3.30pm). That meant making sure all kit, food etc. was sorted the night before and  alarm set for 5.30am. As it turns out I was up with the birds from around 4.10am eventually giving up and getting up at 5am. The positive side of this I was on the road by 5.30am arriving in Liverpool after a fairly pain free  journey just after 8am.

Fast forward 7 and half hours to start the journey east to Otley. I had 4 hours to travel the 75 miles, surely that would be ample time? I was even hopeful  that I’d have time to try and have a quick nap in the car. As the saying goes “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” ….. I never factored in the 1 and half hours to travel 20/30 miles along the M60. In the end I arrived (admittedly after a coffee and cake stop) in Otley just before 6.30pm.

Warm Up

After a quick change and a look around the HQ (Otley Cricket Club), it was time to get into “race mode”, that meant some dynamic stretches and a 1 to 2 mile warm up. I wasn’t expecting anybody from Hull therefore I was a little surprised when I heard my name being shouted. It won’t come as surprise to many that the originator of the shout was none other than serial racer Rich Harrison (KUHAC).  After finishing my warm up I was able to catch up with him back at the HQ. Also there was another regular racer (now of York Knavesmire Harriers) Stephen Maddison. It was good to see some familiar faces and have somebody to chat to while walking to the start, which was approximately 10 minutes walk away.

Race Time

Otley 10 2016
Racing to get into position at the start of the Otley 10 2016

The Otley 10 doubles up as the Yorkshire 10-Mile Championship therefore I expected some fast times at the pointy end and it was best not to get too carried away with those at the front. Having said that although the start is just off the main road up a slight incline, the route quickly turned left onto the rough track at the side of a busy A road. For that reason it would be a good idea to be quick out of the blocks to ensure a good position once we made the the turn and to avoid being stuck behind slower moving track.

Having checked the course profile briefly (only after Steve Taylor mentioned it might be hilly – it had not occurred to me prior to signing up!), I knew there was too nasty climbs but not entirely sure when. Therefore due to my inability to run uphill with any kind of pace the pre-race plan would be to run as hard as possible (shouldn’t it always be…) and probably crawl up the inclines. Also I decided that I’d record the run but not look at my watch.

Otley 10 Course Profile
The two hills as part of the Otley 10 course
Otley 10 around 3 miles
Looking strong before the hills started

Back to the race and after the initial first left we hugged the left hand side of the busy A659 (Pool Road) for the next 2 miles before thankfully a left over the stunning River Wharfe onto a marginally quieter country road. It wasn’t long before another left turn onto the much rougher but very welcome leathley Lane. The first 3 miles in a fairly decent 19 minutes, not that I knew this at the time. At this point I was wondering where the first incline was as I had expected it by now.

The stunning River Wharfe
The stunning River Wharfe

However I didn’t have long to wait, the inline starts from 3 to 4 miles (slowing to a 6:44 mile) but the real kicker is from mile 4 to 5 and half (you know you’re in trouble when you see a sign that says 16%). At points I was well over 10 minute mile pace. One positive was the glorious view we was rewarded with at the highest point in the race  (just a shame about some very impatient drivers – overtaking in some very dangerous places).

Otley 10 - Second Water Station
Not looking as fresh at the second water station

As the saying goes “what goes up must come down” and for the next mile we can free fall and get back some of the time lost. Around 6.5 miles the second water station was a welcome site before another steep  incline. Again though the reward would be a great view and a mile long descent, probably my favourite part of the race (and fastest mile 5:55) with a group of 4 of us all strung out flying down back into Otley.

The final mile seemed like a real slog with a tricky couple of 90 degree turns before we came back onto the path along the main street through Otley. I would recommend making yourself aware of the route to the finish as I made a school boy error. I could see the ASDA and cricket club which I thought would lead to the finish therefore I started to pick up the pace aware that there was a runner not too far behind, however we went past the entrance to the cricket club before a left turn afterwards and then around the field (similar to Walkington 10k) to the finish. After my false kick this time I made sure I saved a little and didn’t kick too soon to make sure the runner just behind stayed there. Happy with 67:18 for 42nd place out of 367 place. Excellent runs by Stephen Maddison (16th in 62:55) and Rich Harrison (137th in 77:40 ).

Each runner received a fine bottle of Ale (it was a blonde which isn’t my favourite so the welcome recipient was my wife) plus with the cricket club bar and a BBQ outside what more could you want.