Many thanks to Colin and Elfie for organising a lovely run and walk from their house on Saturday! A couple of dozen Striders arrived on their doorstep on a beautiful sunny afternoon for gorgeous trips round lovely local bits of the North Pennines – great to be out running in the sunshine for once – and a first from Colin’s place, I have to add. Afterwards, we were supplied with a great spread, including sandwiches, cakes and cheesecake … all very welcome. We took the opportunity to pass on a thank-you gift of a crate of Durham Brewery ales as a token of appreciation for Colin’s hard work over the years on this very website – he will be sorely missed, though we hope he’ll still be available on the end of an email should extreme need arises. 😉
Once again, heartfelt gratitude from me and all the club! So long, and thanks for all the fish …
Another trip down to see my sister gave me an opportunity to try out a different parkrun than normal so it was off to forest rec which is a large recreation ground just on the edge of Nottingham City centre. I’d had a search on the web and found a video of the route which showed it to have some tough climbs in it so my my plan was just to have a steady run around instead of killing myself for a time which I did at Newcastle the week before (which could only be described as brutal if I’m being honest). After a short and friendly briefing from the Run director we were ready to go. I had a look about to see if anyone looked like they would do a really quick time but decided that i would try and go with the front few and if it was too fast then i would just ease off and jog round.
After negotiating a chicane due to building works I was in a group of about 4 with a female runner in the lead about 5 metres or so ahead as we ran onto the fields. The pace was about 6min 30sec pace which is just over the 20min mark for a parkrun which is OK for me at the moment so the steady run plan was out the window. As we looped around the fields I started to catch the front runner going past her just as we get to the first hill. I pushed up the hill to see if she would respond but I was on my own.
It felt a bit odd being at the front of a parkrun with everyone following me, I was not sure if I should really increase the pace or just try and maintain the gap (I’ve never been at the front ever !). As it happens I did the right thing by just increasing slightly as the run contains a couple of tough climbs as you make your way around the top of the park and it’s also a two lap course so you have to go back up all the hills. After the last hill you have a downhill section and a guy came past me I thought that may be my one moment of glory gone and my heart sank but I just stuck behind him as we went around the fields for a second time.
As we approached the end of the fields I went past him again and decided to push it hard up the fairly long climb and start hoping for the best (driving those arms as Adam mentions in his reports). At the top you have a steep and short downhill section before you hit the last climb which is short but the steepest part of the course. I had no idea how far ahead I was and I was never ever going to look behind (its a tell tale sign you’re struggling) but I could not hear any footsteps.
After the last hill I had a downhill section which I just went flat out on doing a sharp turn before heading for a 200M+ sprint to the finish This felt fantastic as I knew that I had it in the bag then crossing the line in 19:43 exactly a minute down on my run at Newcastle but I did not care! As Adam touched on in his report you need a slice of luck to be first finisher at a parkrun, I’m sure runners in the Nottingham area will look at my time and think I can beat that so I’m sure that next Saturdays time will be much quicker than mine but this week luck was on my side.
What a great feeling it was getting a positon token with the number 1 on. Those painful Wednesday nights on the track really do work.
Karin and I arrived to beautiful weather conditions on the coast and a spectacular view. From a deserted promenade at 8.25 to swarms of runners at 8.45, this looked like it was going to be big. I had originally target this as a PB attempt but rumours of it being ‘deceptively undulating’ and open to wind were putting severe doubts in my mind.
1st Mile: Along the promenade, in third place, and onto the coastal paths, lost a place by taking the wrong side of a barrier before a left hand turn onto the coastal path but quickly made up ground to move into second place. The only major hill in the race then followed, drove the arms, job’s a good’un. 1m – 5:37(5:37/m) – 94cal – 10.68/13.75mph
2nd Mile: 10s gap between 1st ahead of me and 10 second gap behind, was even thinking about my foot at the moment, no pain whatsoever. Still going ok, feeling the legs a big more but manage to drag out a decent mile split. I wish I’d looked left at this point to the wonderful views of the sun reflecting on the sea, might have taken my mine off my legs. 1m – 5:48(5:48/m) – 94cal – 10.34/13.99mph
3rd Mile: The last mile of the great north run, fast, flat and an even tarmac surface. I’d been looking forward to this bit to power down this final straight, but the energy wasn’t in the legs. I used to do mile race’s along this stretch with NE fetchies with my best time standing at 5.32, I wasn’t too far off that. 3) 1m – 5:38(5:38/m) – 94cal – 10.64/13.1mph
Last 0.12: No one chasing me down and not possible to catch 1st place with these legs. 4) 0.12m – 37(5:13/m) – 11cal – 11.5/14.34mph
Crossing the line in 17.40 by my watch, a 2 second PB! No idea how I’ve done that, but this is a lovely parkrun, the view whilst I was collapsed on the floor was lovely. On a disappointing note, this is my 5th second place finish in 5 previous attempts. The only way is up though.
Louise looked strong coming in not too far away from her PB on a day when heat made the work a bit harder, despite the lovely course and cracking views. Other runners were Kevin, Mark, Alister, Geoff, Susan, Stan, Dave and Karin. Apologies to anyone I’ve missed out, but everyone seemed to enjoy what was an awesome parkrun, definitely worth a visit.
Walking the GR221 in Majorca last year with my walking mate Clive we were confronted by several hundred runners on a narrow mountain path going in the opposite direction. This took some careful negotiating to let them all past while still allowing us to continue our walk and not lose time. Upon our return to the UK, a quick search on Google informed us the race we encountered was an annual event consisting of 2 distances, a 100 km 24 hour event plus a 60 km 16 hour with 4800 and 2500m climb respectively. Forget the tourist side of Majorca and think of towering limestone crags, rugged coastlines, ancient olive groves and mix this with the smell of orange blossom and old Majorcan villages and you begin to get a feel for the potential for the event – just a matter of staying on your feet for a few hours.
Taking into consideration our knowledge of the terrain and our level of fitness we opted for the shorter course. We signed up and paid our 80 euros. The 800 race entry was full within approx 2 weeks.
We decided 12 hours would be a comfortable time estimate so that was our aim, also to stick together during the race so when one of us began to flag the other would take over. With a rousing send-off we started out with the 800 others at 8 am on an uphill climb out of Valldemossa. We started out on granite paths through the Holm Oak woods before eventually dropping down into Deia. Temperatures were low for this time of year, around 17°C, a light cooling breeze and good cloud cover made for near perfect running conditions. We made good time to Deia, quick pit stop at a well stocked food and drink station then onwards and upwards towards Soller. More views and orange blossom scent, then a quick stop in Soller. Now for the hard bit, the climb out of Soller, 800m climb with no let up towards Lake Cuber. More stunning scenery, by now we were able to take this in as we were walking this section. Feeling somewhat nauseous still managed to force food and liquids down and again we were off. This was about the halfway point, with most of the climbing done. We remained at a high level for much of this section however there were still a few more short climbs involved.
Plenty of encouragement along the way, including being serenaded by Spanish bagpipes at highest point of the race, anointed by a ‘priest’ with a toilet brush, flute music drifting down the path etc followed eventually by the long descent. With quads groaning by now we jog/walked and picked our way down the rocky path. The descent went on forever. Eventually we got to the monastery at Lluc where we took a 15 min stop. By now it was late afternoon, the sun was fully out, skies were clear and temperature still ideal for running. The remaining 10 miles was a mixture of tarmac roads and paths, the tricky bits were out of the way and it was just a case of putting one foot in front of the other without having to think too much.
We were reduced to walking for most of this section due to fatigue but managed to break into a run for the last mile and overtake a few stragglers. Upon entering the town square at Pollenca we were met with a huge cheer, I looked around but it was only myself and Clive in view. You could have thought we were the winners. We checked our time and place as soon as we finished then struggled to the food tent for beer and pizza. Time was just inside 12 hours, position 411 and 412. (Can’t seem to find the results yet so we don’t know how many finishers there were).
All in all a great event, food stops, route marking, marshalling were all excellent and the scenery and vocal support superb.