The BUPA 30th Great North Run

So this is what it has all been about.
I began thinking about taking part in the Great North Run about 3 years ago. Last year I failed to run it due to injury. Today it happened after 3 years of training. Was it worth it? You better believe it.
I ran today In memory of my mum and big sister who both died of heart failure recently and I have managed to raise £780:00 for the British Heart Foundation. The crowds on the day were brill, spurring everyone on. Especially when they called out my name! I forgot that the heart foundation had my name printed on my heart runner shirt.
Right from the very start on the central motorway, all keyed up, the atmosphere was electric. Before I knew it we were off. I took 25 seconds to get to the start pads. I never even saw Ant & Dec. Whoosh we were away at breakneck speed. I normally do go off a bit too fast, but this being a half Marathon I really should have slowed down. I ran mile 1 @ 06:58. That's proper 5k pace for me. Mile 2 was even quicker, averaging 06:54 before slowing down to a respectable 08:09 for mile 3.
I missed the red arrows on the Tyne Bridge!  I was at Gateshead Stadium around 22mins as they flew past, following the railway line to Sunderland by the looks of it. Miles 4 and 5 saw us through Felling and Heworth.
I hit the 10k mark on Leam lane at 49:35. I still think this was too quick. I planned to be here around 55mins.
It was downhill from here, literally. An easy run to just over the 8 mile mark, until the dreaded John Reid road.
I went round the roundabout and noticed my lace was loose. I saw a water station nearby so decided to kill 2 birds with the one stone. Bad Idea. The birds were safe. As I bent to tie my lace I could not get back up! I looked on in horror as hundreds of runners flew past as I struggled to my feet. I hobbled over to the drinks station and downed a half litre of water. Another bad Idea. I think I was starting to lose the plot now.

I began the hard slog up the John Reid road. Miles 9 and 10, I averaged about 09:30 min/mile. As I hit the last hill on prince Edward rd I thought it was all over. Someone had swapped legs with me and never left the instructions! It was only as I dropped down to Marsden and got a big cheer from my posse that I felt I was going to manage the rest.( that's me waving to my wife in the picture) One mile to go! One measly mile. It was the longest mile I have ever ran in my 3 years of running. You hit a board that tells you 800Metres to go. Then, 2 miles later (feels like) another board with 400 Metres to go. I,m thinking only a lap of the track left and finally you see it. The finish line. I am sure every runner at this point gives the Marshall's a look of disbelief as they call "keep it moving, don't stop here".
Time 01:59:47.
Position :- 11555 of 39000ish
Will I do the Great North Run again?    Watch this space.

2010 Darlington 10k

This is my second time here. I did this back in 2008. I missed last year due to holidays.
Last years timewas 47:29
This year time was 46:18
I love to run the fun run with my son which is about a mile roon the toon. The whole posse turned out for this one. The atmosphere is pretty good at the start/finish line for them. The only thing that spoils it is the fact that it is a 2 lap affair, which I am not keen on. Although I did see Andy from Middlesbrough Parkrun spectating, and it took me till the second lap to recall how I knew him.

I am writing this 2 months after the event and there isn't really much else I recall. Of course that's prolly down to auld age creeping in.
Garmin Data  : Here

2010 Darlington 10k                                                              

The 2010 Croft Pitstop 10k

This is the second time around for me at Croft. Last year I set my 10k PB here. This year the weather was a bit too breezy for me. A Head wind on the uphill section made sure I was not smashing this PB.
I had the whole posse with me, my wife & son, mother in law & father in law to spectate.
I bumped into Tuomas who also ran the Watergate 10k and participates in the Parkrun series.
He had a bit of difficulty getting to Croft as he has not got a car. He managed to get to Darlo via train then had to get a taxi.
We went about our warm up together and I talked him round the basics of the circuit, before we headed to the start line. His target was to go sub 40 min.

Note to Tuomas:- Last year my Garmin measured this race at 10.11k. This year 10.17k

We all set off at a rather brisk pace, too brisk for me.
This pic was taken by my mother in law. This is me just after the start, running just a tad too fast (5.30 min mile according to the Garmin data).I was not going to be able to keep this speed up for very long.
I averaged 6:24 min/mile for the first mile. Way too fast for my plans of keeping an average of around the 7:15 mark. It took its toll as the race progressed. Mile 2 was fine at 7:16. Then, I started getting into trouble by mile 3. My pace was dropping off. Not helped by the guy in front of me stopping on the running line every 250 yards then running past me then stopping again!!!! By the 4th mile I was really feeling the effects of the head wind on the uphill section and I had a stitch. I also hit a lone section where apart from the guy who kept stopping , there seemed to be no one else around. But there was. He was approaching fast and I only realised towards the end when I could hear him very close behind me. The only time I felt safe from him was near the finish line, where my father in law yelled that I had 10 yards on him. By that time I had used up the last of my energy on the sprint finish.
I cant believe the guy who stop started all the way round, actually beat me.

Pitstop 7th July 2010                                                                   
Garmin Data : Here

This film was shot by my 6 yr old with his Canon Powershot A450 set to video. I'm on my first lap here. The satellites clocked me at 7:15 min/mile.

My 7th Newcastle Parkrun

New All Time 5k PB   21:28
In the words of Victor Meldrew, "I don't believe it".
Today thanks to Stephen Curry and Martyn Thorpe I managed to skim another 22 seconds off my Newcastle 5k and 14 seconds off my all time best 5k.
I started playing cat n mouse with MT in the first mile as we completed the mini loop which is new at the start because of the hopping's. I realised his running stance was very similar to mine, so he was not going to be a pushover. After the first Mile he was sat comfortably behind me. As we left the moor through the first gate, I became aware of SC on my right hand side. The cat and mouse chase began again. Him edging ahead me taking it back from about the 1.5 mile to the 2.5 mile. Now at this point I was aware that I had been running sub 7 min/mile from the start, and I really was struggling. My legs were fine but my chest felt like it would burst. Then both MT and SC were either side of me, half a mile to go. I could see the finish across the moor, through the cows. MT pulled ahead of me, as I contemplated my lungs bursting out of my ribcage. He surprised me by encouraging me to get on his shoulder, and telling me my PB was in sight. SC was right beside me now too, he was also full of encouragement, telling me to keep going as he passed. So I focused on the task ahead. It was only a half mile to go. I wasn't going to catch MT or SC but, I still managed to put in a last minute sprint to the line behind SC. MT managed a PB today too.(21:19) SC was 21:25 (PB 21:19)

Results : Here
Garmin Data : Here

My 6th Newcastle Parkrun

New PB set for Newcastle 21:50

I can't believe I have beaten my PB here on a damp and windy day like today. The wind was blowing fiercely across the moor as it always is. They also changed the course, as the "Hoppings"have taken up residence on the Moor.
Now, I thought that was the reason for a quicker time, but no. The temp. course is actually longer than the original, according to Nyck (race co-ordinator) and my Garmin.
But I have a plan!
After studying previous data, I worked out that my pace at the start was too fast (06:40), and my pace fell away rapidly, after that. So I concluded I was starting way too fast. Rocket science, it is not.
So today I purposely started off gently. The first mile went by in 06:55, the second mile 07:25. Now that would be the 21kph head wind. The third mile, wow. 06:48. I'm not sure if this was the tail wind and/or the competition., as Ted Baty and John Harvey Marshall passed me at this point. I did regain a lead over them and thought I had nailed them. No chance. Once again they passed me, one either side.
I then heard the footfalls of Gina Howorth rapidly approach. I decided enough was enough and got the head down, encouraged by my father in law (the posse of one) I gave it my all. Sorry Gina I know you can but not today.
23/62 Finishers

Results : Here
Garmin data: Here

My 7th Sunderland Parkrun

A new PB for Sunderland. 21:58.
I went to Sunderland today with purpose.
I had to try to get a sub 22:00. After all I managed to achieve 21:42 at Middlesborough.
So "no slacking" was the mantra for today.
I did a bit of studying last night. Taking full advantage of the data my Garmin dumps on the net after each run.
Looking closely at Sunderland, I found the second mile to be unexplainably slow.
This is where I had to focus my efforts. Everyone has kind of found their sweet spot by this point and it is the second lap of the lake. So I think I must relax that bit too much at this part of the race.
There was no-one in front, that I was near enough to challenge and I was far enough ahead of the runner behind me for them not be a threat.
So I decided to have a burst of speed for the hell of it, and sustained it till I hit the hill at the end.
My thinking in the past was to keep some energy for the hill, but there is no point. You’re knackered when you get there anyway. You are always going to go up it slower than your normal pace.
Well it seemed to work for me. Well chuffed with the result.

Results : Here
Garmin data : Here

Twas on the Ninth o Joon

Blimey that came around quick. Cant believe a whole year has passed..........
That's me in the middle.
It was Lashing down when we started and was still raining at the end, but 4000 people still took to the streets of Newcastle to run all the way to Blaydon for a sandwich, a bottle of beer and a tee shirt! Such a shame for the spectators, who still turned out, that the weather which,as much as it didn't bother the runners, could have been kinder for them. My posse of one (father in law) turned out too. Now that was handy. It meant he could drop me off at Newcastle, near the start, and  then bomb it back to Blaydon. I arrived there about half an hour before the start. So not too long to hang about. Even though the weather was miserable, the atmosphere still had that carnival feel about it. It was the usual carry on at the start, where it seems that all the slower runners managed to line up in front of me. I spent the first mile trying to get passed people, before finding a bit of breathing space and a bit of speed. My target was to beat last years time which was really poor. 47:05 by my Garmin. By the time I was gannin alang the Scotswood road, the rain became a relief as I was getting warmer by now. Mile 2 and 3 my pace was 6:40 and 6:45 respectively. Bang on the 4th Mile, I got an encouraging shout from Vicki Thompson across the hairpin down by the riverside. I couldn't see her (must get window wipers for my specs) but after a mile or so I managed to catch up. We were getting near the finish, and I am always amazed at the amount of people who turn out to support us, especially when its as dreary as this. I feel like I need to give them something worth standing in the rain for, so I put a bit of effort into the last few hundred yards. I could hear vicki telling me to go for it, as I was being caught up. I managed to fend of one of the guys who was chasing me, only for him to pass me in the funnel to nab a place off me. I was in no fit state to argue and I did not give a doody anyway. I had achieved what I came here for. I broke my record.
No broon ale this year. Had to make do with Fosters. I also missed the nosh at the end.  I had to go find the posse of one or I was not going to get home. A great night.

2010 Blaydon Race Full Results                                                                   

PB set for Blaydon 43:08 Official
                                42:25 Garmin
Garmin data : Here

The 2010 Watergate 10k

I did not get off to a good start today. My garmin 405 went into freeze mode and I couldn't remember how to reset it.(Hold both buttons in for 30 sec). There, now if it happens again I can consult my blog.
That aside, me and my son had a great race. First we both ran the 2k, then I went on to do the 10k. The whole posse were there today, even though the weather was not at its best.
We had just started the 2k when it started to rain. The wee fella wasn't bothered at all. I think he was more concerned that the whole field had ran away and left us. Not put off by that, seeing as all the other runners bar 2, were club runners we boldly plodded on. From the back we passed 3 runners from Low Fell RC Under 11's. Picking them off one at a time. He was even able to put on a sprint at the end when encouraged by his supporters, finishing in a respectable time of 12:58. It turned out the wee fella was 5Th in his age category! So well done to him. 17th out of 20 overall. Race Number 56.
I started the 10k with Vicki Thompson (Graceless Whippet) tucked in behind me, without the aid of a watch. Which is quite strange as I don't think I have ever ran a race without one. So no juicy data to upload or for me to pore over when I get home. I will have to manually input the data. Also quite hard to gauge how well/bad you are doing, no pace to go off. I did find that the k markers were invaluable, even though I had ran this race before. It wasn't an easy one to remember with it being so varied. There are 2 hills to climb , where I thought there was only the one big one. I don't remember crossing the river twice last time. This time I had to get my feet wet on the second crossing. Mind, the weather conditions were very different. Maybe the stream was not so full. I ran in the woods mostly alone, just as well it is well marked out and has 22 Marshall's. Vicki moved up on me about the 7k marker after coming out the woods the second time. She was doing really well and keeping my pace faster than it should have been. We had to split to go over the bridge by the lake. I took the lead as we powered up the big hill for the last time. I pulled away for a bit but I could hear her getting close again towards the end. She shouted at me to push on as there was another runner alongside us. He was too quick and pulled ahead. I kept up my pace as the posse yelled shouts of encouragement. I just managed to keep in front of Vicki to the end. Another PB set.
It had rained part way round the race, but I did not really notice it. This is a hard race on the legs and on the chest. I look forward to doing it again.
Well done to Viki. She was placed first F35 again, same as last year.

Position 35/53
Time 48:39  PB for Watergate.
No Garmin Data due to watch malfunction.
Oh No! They have spelt my name wrong on the results sheet, and I'm in the wrong age group! I'm not that old.
Edit : Quick email to low Fell sorted out the mistake.
Watergate Trail Race 2010 Results                                                              

The 2010 Pier 2 Pier

The Results are in, and guess what? It's another PB.This was my first race this year (apart from the parkrun series) and if you have read the rest of this blog you will know that this is where it all started.
Back in 2008 I ran this in 54:14, curious to see if I could get to the end. Then, last year after missing the start I had a poor result. Garmin time was 54:51. (Official time was 56:53).
Today I managed to shave 8 seconds off my PB. There seems to be a discrepancy between official and Garmin times again.
I recorded a time of 54:06, but the score sheet says 54:09. Either way a new PB.
My father in law dropped me off at South Shields where I met Barry Jackson. He, like me was sporting last years prized waterproof jacket. I think we were the only ones. Never mind we packed them away in our bag's to send them to the finish line via the baggage van.
At the start line I spoke to Mike Gill from the Blackhill Bounders. He told me there was about 15 Bounders taking part today.
Then as the forecast predicted, a huge black cloud appeared as if by magic. It did look as if we were going to get a soaking on the start line, but that never happened.
So it was a dry, if not breezy start.
I love the start of this race. It usually ends up a five deep, mile wide start line!
And away we went. As usual I started a lot faster than expected and was carried along with the front runners. The first 4 miles were sub 8 min/mile. Ranging from 7:30 to 7:45 min/mile. Magic! then something strange happened. My times dropped to 8:30 Min/mile in the 5th mile.
I couldn't understand it. I'd ran out of puff. Then I realised that it was probably because of the 5k parkrun's. I have got used to the shorter distance. It was soul destroying being passed by so many people at this point. Never mind, lessons have been learned. In the last mile Vicki Thompson passed me with an encouraging shout which did help a bit but I'd had it by then. She disappeared into the distance as did another 2 runners. Then out nowhere a guy in a red shirt passed me doing about a 5min/mile pace. He surely didn't start the same place as me.
Never mind I staggered over the line with a smile knowing I had beat my best.
Witnessed as always by the posse (my family and in laws) for which I am eternally grateful for their support. A great day out.
Vicki Thompson finished 229 official time 54:06
Barry Jackson finished 269 official time 55:12
865 finishers. Down 115 on last year.

Garmin data:- Here
Pier 2 Pier 2010