Running the 44 mile Classic Quarter in 2021
Latest 44 @ 60 Podcasts
At a business conference in early 2019 I somehow managed to commit to running an ultra marathon in 2021. As I’m in Cornwall that ultra will be the June 2021 Classic Quarter which starts at the UK’s most southerly point (Lizard Village) and heads via 44 miles of the South West Coast Path to the most Westerly point (Lands End).This podcast will share my journey and be an opportunity for runners to share their top tips on all aspects of ultra running to help me achieve my goal. Thanks for listening!
- #32: Not a Park Run, Latest Top 10, Lockdown Running
- #31: Andy Williams on lockdown running
- #30: The Anthony family specialising between them in 800m to the marathon
- #29: Davie Hall talks completing UTMB, Man v Horse, Zermatt Marathon and Yomping in the Brecon Beacons
- #28: Marathon quiz time
- #27 : Imogen on running cuttings, new routes and April targets
- #26: How far back does your running diary go?
- #25: ‘Not a Park Run’ No. 1 – March 21st 9am
- #24: What are you doing keep running during the Coronavirus?
- #23: Classic Jack – 18 miles along the coastal path – this was tough!
How it started
In 2021 I have one of those ‘big’ birthday’s and I was thinking of adding to the 2 marathons I had run. However that all changed when I was inspired by the keynote speaker at a business event I was involved in to ‘up’ the challenge. Another marathon was upgraded to the Classic Quarter – an ultramarathon of 44 miles which starts at the most southerly point in England, Lizard village, and finishes at the most westerly point in England – Lands End.
I’m going to be sharing through this page my journey towards that goal.
- 25th – 90 – Paper Shop Run #14! – Beautiful morning so I’m away just before 7 – steady stuff around 57 mins in total. Waiting for new shoes to arrive! Beth back yesterday.
- 22nd – 89 – Mixed bag! – after a day in the office I set off about 4:30 and my Bondi 6 which are from October 2018 when I joined the running club gaveway as I was tying up the laces so foolishly I decided some gorilla tape would do the job and headed off towards Malpass but only got as far as the old West Briton building when I realise this was ridiculous and also I have on that same side (right) and niggling groin something which has been waiting to happen for quite a while so I came to a standstill and then decided to go back and see how I felt – so 4k in I changed shoes and settled again and the niggle was still there but it was such a lovely evening and I ended up staying out almost 8 miles. With At Your Pace closed I ordered some new Bondi’s on line. June mileage is now 64 so not going to push it to get to 100 with a niggly groin in tow.
- 20th – 88 – #14 ‘Not a Park Run’ my routes are getting a bit boring now but I’m managing to keep up the 9am starts and run a different route without having to travel anywhere in the car – this one included a couple of sharp inclines so happy to be 26 something.
- 19th – 87 – Friday at Trelissick – a welcome return to the paths and fields of Trelissick – via a pre-booked car park spot. 7 miles in 1:15 – really enjoyed this.
- 18th – 86 – #13 edition of the Thursday 7am paper shop run – ok – think I’ll call this an average run – 57:15 – felt a bit heavy legged in places – the weather remains more wet than warm and sunny. Since lockdown started to be eased a couple of weeks ago the weather has been very different. Is the planet trying to tell us something? Need 2-3 long run if I’m going to make a 4th successive 100 mile month.
- 15th – 85 – 10k time trial on a Monday! 50th lockdown run! after finishing a Zoom call at 4.10pm and the next one not due until 6pm I made a quicj=k decision to go for the time trail along the usual Newham trail out and back route. I felt quite slow but was still through halfway in 25:11 – the second half is always tougher but fast downhill finish got me home in 52:09 and a second half of 26:58. I was pleased with that.
- 13th – 84 – #13 ‘Not a ParkRun’ – and a 13th start from or close to home course – the novelty is beginning to wear off now! But I will aim to do this run every Saturday until real ParkRun returns.
- 11th – 83 – #12 Thursday am shop run – an empty house and its pouring down – since lockdown started to ease last week the weather has changed hugely – I’m tempted not to go but i’m out in the weather gear – pleased with a time of 56:27 – and managed to keep the neighbours West Briton pretty dry! This is my 48th run since lockdown and I’m up to 300 lockdown miles.
- 9th – 82 – Beth’s Birthday Half – Ideal running weather as head off at 9am. Through mile 1 in 11:11 – I’m aiming to try and pace just under 13 minute miles which will get us home in around 2:50. We’re through 3 miles in 36:08 so a good start – half way is around 82 minutes so we’re in good shape. We’re under 13 minutes for miles 7,8 and 9 so well set. After 11 miles we’re well on for under 2:50 but not quite 2:45 – we give it our all on the last mile and finish in 2:45:30 – a great time – Beth is really pleased and she raised over £500. Really proud of her.
- 6th – 81 – #12 ‘Not a Park Run’ and a 12th new course – including through some woods for the first time and struggling to find a way out of a small housing estate. Today should have been the Classic Quarter.
- 4th – 80 – #11 Thursday am shop run – first run for 4 days – slow start but pushed on to reach shop in under 30 mins and then back in under 54 in total. Novelty of this run is though beginning to wear off!
17 runs in May – 104 miles – cumulative for the year is 79 runs and 507 miles. Since lockdown started I’ve done 44 runs and 272 miles compared with 1 journey in my car and 14 miles!
- 31st – 79 – Random Running – I start the run on 98 miles from the month and do three circuits of the Coosebean fields and then dive off onto an unknown footpath which I follow around some woods eventually coming out having done 6 miles so 104 for the month. that is the third successive time I have been through a hundred miles in a month and since my running diary started in 2003 these the first occasions on which I have done a 100 miles in a month. I have also now over 500 for the year.
- 30th – 78 – Not a Park Run #11 – Yet another new course this one involving part of the new trail happy with my time of 26:53 – I then pick up an extra couple of miles looping around town picking up some essential shopping
- 29th – 77 – Friday run – I’ve hardly ever run on a Friday during lockdown but Jim headed off today and I needed to get a few miles in and I needed to check the last part of the course of Beth’s half marathon which is coming up on June 9.
- 28th – 76 – Its WB Day Recovery Run – This time I’m feeling remarkably fresh and strong get into the shop in less than 30 minutes and 53:50 overall I’m now up to 87 miles in May so I need to run on the last three days of the month to get to 100.
- 27th – 75 – 10k Time Trial – Its a very hot day and we run this together or at least at the same time starting around 3:30 PM – as usual Jim sets off in front and quickly goes 30 seconds clear but I sense as we get through 3 and 4K that he is not really pulling away and halfway I am about 40 seconds down and just determined to keep running at the same pace which starts to pay off as I begin to catch him up and I do indeed go past him at 7K – determined to take my chance I keep pushing hard at the same pace and then I absolutely give it my all in the last kilometre without looking back to come in in 52:58 – unaware to me Jim had really struggled in the last 3K and he is over six minutes behind me. I enjoy my victory because I don’t think there will be too many of them going forward!
- 23rd – 74 – Not a Park Run #10 – great route today taking in Coosebean fields and then finishing with a couple of laps of Victoria Gardens – Jim is well ahead of me and comes in a 26:12 to my 28:08 – is off back to Brighton on Friday so this will be our last not a park Run run together for a few weeks
- 21st – 73 – Its WB Day Recovery Run – Having gone all in the afternoon before this is slow today takes me almost 33 minutes to get to Playing Place and 59:58 overall.
- 20th – 72 – 10k time trial day – Jim does his early in the day and is through the first half in 23:15 but blows up in the second half comes in in 52:20 – I don’t get out of about 430 and struggle through the first half in 2510 but then really keep hanging on in there finishing 51:54 which means I take the prize this week!
- 17th – 71 – Day 55 – More prep for Beth’s half: We give the new look course a go. It takes us over railway bridge along St Georges Road to Trafalgar then down Maplas to turning at Heron along Newham to turning circle then along Newham trail. That’s 15.5k to end of trail – we then go left so get in 11 miles in total in around 2:32 – amazing stamina from Beth and she tried her first ever gel on the run – Lemon Drizzle flavour which seemed to work well. She knows now she can do the distance so next week we’ll do a different run for around 8-9 miles.
- 16th – 70 – Day 54 – ‘Not a Park Run’ no.9 – A pattern is emerging here – another new route as well – i suspect this will be happening for many more weeks so new routes will get more inventive! This is a deliberate fast course starting from opposite Green Lane and to end of Newham trail – down Gas Hill to Tesco’s. Jim bombs it in 22:08 – comfortably a PB and I’m 23:21 – first time under 24 in any ‘ParkRun’ or indeed any 5k since 2007. My 2007 time was in Yeovil – 21:51 so really pleased to be within 1.5 minutes of that.
- 14th – 69 – Day 52 – Its West Briton day again! Steady stuff today after yesterday’s all in run so around 58 minutes. A new message of ‘Stay Alert’ from the government gives all papers, including the WB, some much needed revenues.
- 13th – 68 – Lockdown Day 51 – 10k Time Trail Day – Jim goes early am and smashes it in 48:32 – his times have plummeted during lockdown. His first effort at a 10k 7 weeks ago was just over an hour. I go at 12 noon and i’m 50:54 which is a course PB for me and a fastest 10k for many years.
- 10th – 67 – Day 48 – More prep for Beth’s half: Beth ran a blistering 13:13 on Friday in her time trail and it’s warmer than expected today so we take our time. Its the first time all 3 of us run together. the route takes in 5km in Idless woods. Around 9.6miles in 2:15. I did ask afterwards if i suggested when they both arrived back 7 weeks ago if we would be going for a 2;15 run who would be interested? They said it would have been a definite no! Lockdown has had many downsides but watching B and J develop their running has been a massive upside and today’s run together was very special.
- 9th – 66 – Day 47 – Yes its ‘Not a ParkRun’ day no.8! : how many of these will there be? we are seemingly a long way off mass participation stuff – my money is on no Park Runs until October! That’s a lot of new courses to find that start close to home! This one is deliberately boring to test our speed. We start at the Football Club and run 2.5km along the main road pavement and then turn and come back. 2.5km is just past Trelsike roundabout. Jim is soon well clear. I clock him 1min 10 secs ahead before we reach halfway. I’m really pleased with 24:449 although las t half km was tough even though it was flat. Jim romps home in a new 5km PB of 22:59. At this rate he will go under 21 mins I reckon on flat course with other runners to drag him along. I’m happy with my time – its my 2nd ever ‘parkRun’ under 25 mins but not as quick as the first 5k’s of my 2 recent 10k time trials. We need to do a Newham Trail ‘ParkRun’ – Jim rustles a not so traditional post Park Run breakfast of Garlic mushrooms, asparagus, spinach and Harry Ramsden mushy peas!
- 7th – 65 – Day 45 – Thursday Paper Run: No 10k time trail yesterday – just needed rest! Very steady start to the Playing place run at 7.30am but pick up the pace when I spot 2 runners ahead I can haul in! get to PP in under 29 mins so probably a PB first leg – load up and run hard back to arrive in 50:52 – that’s around 6 mins quicker than the average for this run.
- 3rd – 64 – Day 41 – Recce of some of Beth’s half marathon course: Beth has set herself a goal of running a half marathon on her birthday on June 9th. 7 weeks ago she struggled to run 20 mins without needing a stop. She has trained hard during lockdown and on Thursday blasted out 2.4km on the Newham Trail in around 13:35 – closing in on her treadmill test of time of 13:23 she needs for the RAF. We run steadily for just over 10 mile s- her longest ever run in around 2:15 – we discover though that we have to run about a mile on the main road back towards SLend so need to change that. A great effort by Beth.
- 2nd – 63 – Day 40 – ‘Not a ParkRun’ no.7 – The Saturday’s are going round fast now…B&J have been back 6 weeks and 1 day – I’ve decided each ‘Not a ParkRun’ has to be a different course and I need to get rind in under 30 mins. Today we head out to Kenny > through grounds of Ephihany House > out towards Idless than up 81 steps into Kenwyn Churchyard and back – its either up or downhill – the steps are a killer – appropriate I guess leading to a churchyard – 28:05 for me but Jim is a couple of mins in front. Its then recovery run to shop on St George’s Raod for Colin’s Daily Mail and then up to Football ground to Baker Tom’s mobile shop.
April Stats : 19 runs 122 miles – YTD: 62 runs 403 miles – (that’s more runs than in all of years 2011,12,13,14,15,16,17 and 18)
The Marathon Quiz – here are the questions for you to download: Marathon Quiz Questions
- 30th – 62 – Day 38 – Thursday Recovery Run – usual Playing place route – very steady stuff around 62 mins with a weighty pack of shopping
- 29th – 61 – Day 37 – 10k time trial – same course out and back along the Newham trail – Jim has a new Garmin and this week he leads – I’m through 5k in 24:46 and finish in 51:49 but Jim races round in 50:55 for yet another PB.
- 26th – 60 – Day 34 – Its Sunday 26th and its 2.6 challenge day – I decide to run for 2.6 hours – Strava denies me though knocking off a minute whilst I’m clambering over stiles – 14.3 miles completed, including 3 in Idless Woods, just under 11 mins/mile _i’m now up to 111 miles in April more than any previous month ever (beating March 2020!)
- 25th – 59 – Day 33 – ‘Not a ParkRun’ no.6 – with Jim – another new course – Coosebean fields to New Mills > back – got within 2 secs of Jim as we approached Treworder Road hill climb but that was it – he finished 15 secs ahead – the nearest i get to him as will turn out in a PR for a long time!
- 23rd – 58 – Day 31 – Another WB Day Recovery Run – the usual route to Playing Place and back – 5 miles in total at just over 11 min pace. Nice and steady as a recovery run should be. Left calf twinged a bit on way back. I’m now uptown 92 miles in April and have completed 23 runs and 138 miles during 31 days of lockdown
- 22nd – 57 – Day 30 – Wednesday 10k Time Trial. I take two consecutive days of running for the first time during lockdown in preparation for this time trial. Jim and I run it against each other. I push on after 1km going through mile 1 in 7:26 and mile 2 in 7:39 Jim and I ru n it against each other against each other reaching halfway 5km in 24:19 – that’s 5 seconds quicker than my fastest ever ParkRun! The second half is tough and he finally hauls me in with 500m to go – i can’t catch him and he wins in a new PB of 51:19 with me having an 11 year best of 51:24 – Next time!
- 19th – 56 – Day 27 – almost 9hrs and 2 hrs with Beth – this is Beth’s longest run both in time and distance – we take in Idless Woods and return through Kenwyn churchyard
- 18th – 55 – Day 26 – Not a Park Run no.5 – today’s run starts right outside the house and takes in almost 7 laps which includes 7 climbs up Treworder Road Hill – I have to run really hard in order to break 30 minutes and are delighted with 29:59
- 16th – 54 – Day 24 – West Briton Day – recovery run combined with essential shopping – the hydration vest weighed 8lbs on the way back – my 10k time trial time lasts only 24hrs Jim records 52:01
- 15th – 53 – Day 23 – Newham trail 10k time trial. Started from the football ground, join trail at county arms, up Newham road to the turning circle and then back finishing on Redannick Lane. Had Jim’s 56:47 on this route from a few days ago as the target. Raced through halfway in 25:13 and hung in on second half to record 52:27 – despite falling over 700m from the finish. I have now completed 18 runs in 23 days of lockdown and 110 miles. That’s by far and away the most intensive running period in my whole life.
- 13th – 52 – Day 21 Easter Monday – on this day in 2019 I trounced a field of 6 to triumph in the Coverack 4.5 mile race. In 2020 Jim my son and I do a glorious route of footpaths and back roads complete almost 7 miles at a tad over 10 min mile pace. He’s getting too quick for me! I beat him in January at the Market Rasen park run but I can’t see that happening again.
- 12th – 51 – Day 20 Easter Sunday – 9 miles combining new roads and paths with some old favourites and enjoying the lovely artwork along the way.
- 11th – 50 – Day 19 – Its ‘Not a Park Run’ number 4 day – and another new course. Its a 2.8 mile warm up to the essential shop, take on board 9lbs of items and then hare back until 5km is up. The downhill start helped secure a time of 27:53 which I was very pleased with.
- 9th – 49 – Day 17 – West Briton day for my neighbour so I’m off to Playing Place shop and return with a hydration vest full of essential shopping – you can probably just make out from the photo that the bag of sugar split along the top.
- 8th – 48 – Day 16 – 7 miles with Jim taking in New Mills, Shortlanesend and back to New Mills – several new hills today! The owner of the landrover we saw is clearly taking the guidelines about only essential travel seriously.
- 6th – 47 – Day 14 – Another day off on the Sunday from running – instead I made a garden pond out of an old recycling box – as you do on a running day off. Today out past Idless Woods and into Shortslanesend. I’m trying to run as many different routes as possible using Mapometer to plan them.
- 4th – 46 – Day 12 – Another Saturday ‘Not a Park Run’ – this time I run around the grassy space just up from the house. Its a tough lap of just over 1/4 of a km including a strong downhill and toughish uphill – a bit like a mini version of the Trelissick field. I’m determined to be under 30 mins and fortunately the last bit is downhill so I squeeze in at 29:55
- 3rd – 45 – Day 11 – Idless Woods run with Jim. About 9 miles.
- 2nd – 44 – Day 10 – Its my birthday! I celebrate with an early run to Playing Place. I didn’t run on the 1st – I had to break the run every day sequence!
We enter April on the back of a sustained period of good weather. The one big consolation in all of this. We are all getting used to not going out running with others and receiving regular race cancellation details. All runs in May and June are now off including the Classic Quarter which is now in September. Sport everywhere is on hold.
That’s March done. 108 miles – 19 runs – never one that before – anything left in the legs for April?
- 31st – 43 – Day 8 – 4 miles along the Newham trail with Beth – the end of a dramatic month. I’ve done 19 runs and 108 miles – both personal bests and I’ve now run on 8 successive days – another personal best.
- 30th – 42 – Day 7 – We are going running crazy. Beth does 7.5 miles her longest run and Jim and I do 9 miles – his longest ever run. We do route which takes us on the paths around St Clements. I pass 100 miles in March – I’m sure I’ve never run 100 miles in a month before.
- 29th – 41 – Day 6 – Time to be creative when out running stodgy I plan a route to visit all houses I’ve lived in around Truro. Gets 8 miles under my belt and I’ve now run on 6 successive days!
- 28th – 40 – Day 5 – Its Saturday – Park Run day – Jim and I do our own along the Malpas Road to the Heron and back. We film me taking on Prunier roles before etc start. its a bit of fun and brightens up a few days when people see it on You Tube.
- 27th – 39 – Day 4 – An earlier start today. Its very cold! I’m back and showered in time for a viral Newquay Business Club networking event at 8am. Since the Boris announcement I’ve run on 4 successive days. Not often I’ve done that.
- 26th – 38 – Day 3 – A 3rd successive run to the shop – its WB day. I’m taking my hydration vest and using it as a shopping bag.
- 25th – 37 – Day 2 – I’m back to the shop as an early morning run – do a lap of the village whilst the shop opens and help and old lady who has fallen over. Why is she out on her own – especially as she tells me she has fallen over before. We are going to need to adjust to a new way of life.
- 24th – 36 – Day 1 of lockdown – I use my daily exercise to run to Playing Place shop
On Monday evening (March 23rd) at 8pm Boris Johnson addresses the nation. Half the population tune in – the biggest ‘live’ TV audience for many, many years. The country will go into lockdown. People will only be allowed out if they need essential shopping or are going to work. People will be allowed toe exercise once a day but only with members of their household. Restaurants, bars, cafes etc have all been closed. Only businesses offering ‘essential’ products or services will be allowed to stay open as physical shops. We learn a new word ‘furlough’ – businesses can temporarily lay off their staff and the government will cover 80% of their salary. This is going to be a huge change for a massive amount of people.
- 21st – 35 – ‘Not a ParkRun’ no.1 – I start from the old West Briton offices on Malpas Road – and run to the Heron and back to Boscowen Park – 27:08 for the 5km part of this.
- 20th – 34 – Malpas – I check out a route for running my own ParkRun tomorrow. Beth and Jim return from Cardiff and Brighton Uni’s.
- 18th – 33 – ‘Not a TRC run’ – a few us gather for an unofficial run from Garras Wharf. I run there and do several hills on the way home to complete 9 miles. It is eerily quite on the streets and this is before the full lockdown happens.
- 16th – 32 – TRC Recovery Run – felt good tonight pushing on ups the hills during a 5 mile run. Overnight TRC make a decision to cancel all future TRC meet ups so my scheduled lead off Tuesday’s walk/run group is off. We are all beginning to realise things are going to change significantly. It is confirmed UK Park Runs are cancelled. The National Trust announce gardens and houses will close from Friday.
- 14th – 31 – ParkRun no.98 – We are on the temporary course – its still as tough as ever – I give it my all and record 26:22 which is my 3rd fastest at Trelissick. This will be the last ParkRun for some time. ParkRuns had already been called off in many countries around the world and this would the last weekend of ParkRuns in the UK. London Marathon is cancelled which open the flood gates on others and both Manchester and Newport are off. I will take a refund on Manchester and aim for Newport on October 25th. I will vitally also get a refund on my £91 Flybe cancelled Manchester flights.
- 11th – 30 – TRC Club night – I lead the 5.8 mile group. Little did we know that this would be the last TRC club night for some time.
Tuesday 10th – wake up to the news that Flybe has gone bust – I was due to fly with them to the Manchester marathon on the first weekend in April. They blame the coronavirus which has affected holiday travel. At this stage the virus has had no impact on our activity but mass gatherings are under scrutiny and there is a felling marathons may not happen. I check my Manchester AirBnB for parking via a message to the host to find it is no longer available and I should have been told back in December. They refund my deposit within 20 minutes so impressed with that. Imagine if I had found this out a few days before the race. I don’t fancy a ling drive or minibus journey to Manchester – particularly the journey back so in my mind I’m thinking I forget Manchester and go back to Plan A which was to run Newport later in April.
- 9th – 29 – Monday Run – 1000th Running Diary run – which I didn’t realise at the time! First run in the diary Nov 14th 2003 – 57 mins around Gillan area on the Lizard. I’m at cricket meetings this evening so I decide to go for a longish run at 12.30 – head off to Idless and then the rain starts – not too heavy just persistent – waterproof jacket and cap do their job. New Mills lane then Trelsike then Newham trial and back – just under 11 miles and around 1:52 – happy with that.
- 7th – 28 – Trelissick Park Run – Modified course in 27:23 which is becoming my go to time – need to remember that 12 months ago this sort of time was a course PB.
- 5th – 27 – Trelissick Park Run Course – the continuous rain has forced a change of course with the filed getting 4 weeks rest. I’m setting up for the next 3 weeks so I go for jog round with Mark Trebilicock to get to know here to put the markers out for the modified course.
- 4th – 26 – TRC Club Night –Lead the 4.5 mile group – a big group of around 30! Very social run – everyone seemed to really enjoy it – better than when the club runs end up in very small groups. You can run on your own anytime!
- 2nd – 25 – TRC Recovery Run – Had a sports massage with Lee Wheston first thing so felt ok for the recovery run of around 5 miles. Behind my right knee is the sore part – caused by the 2 slips when my left leg went forward and my right leg went back under me.
12 runs, 93 miles – more than any other month, ever!
- 29th – 24 – Classic Jack
18.2 miles along what is known as the toughest part of the Cornish Coastal Path. I booked an AirBnB apartment overlooking the harbour at the time of booking the run (more on that description later) as an incentive to ensure I take part. 4 of us stayed – 2 leaving the flat at 5am to make the start line at 5.30am for the ‘Ultra Jack’ – a mere 35 miles. Classic Jackers rendezvoused at the Tate Gallery at 7am in readiness for a coach trip to St Just – our starting point and the turn around point for the Ultras.
Start time is 10am and we’re in St Just just before 8. We find the impressive building that is the Miners Chapel. Registration includes a kit check. This includes a first aid kit, a foil blanket, gloves and £20 – not sure what the cash was for as we didn’t run through many shopping centres to stop and have a coffee.
I like arriving at sporting event I’m participating in early so I take my time getting changed, have a drink, etc…Today I recorded a couple of snippets for the podcast including with the former local MP Andrew George who I know through cricket. Sadly the recording quality proves to be poor and the out on course ones are ravaged by the wind! Even time for a 60% power nap – a 100% power nap is one where you actually fall fully asleep.
At 9.30am Dave the organiser mounts the pulpit and addresses his congregation, reminding them of the safety aspects and how any littering (quite rightly so) will result in immediate disqualification – not sure how he will police this – will he have drones overhead consistently monitoring us every time we reach inside a pocket and then some former runners in a portacabin in the chapel car park using some sort of VAR system to check if a littering offence actually took place?
We huddle inside as a sharp shower arrives but then it’s time to go. The local town crier calls for a minute silence for miners lost 150 years ago but in the wind no one hears him so he reduces the minute to about 12 seconds and the on the ring of his town criers bell we are away.
I’m running with Katie and we start towards the front as we head across a couple of fields and tracks to join the coastal path.The sun is out but the wind is strong. After a couple of miles Katie disappears in the distance – she will eventually finish in a great time of 4:26 almost three-quarters of an hour ahead of me.
The first target to achieve is to reach the Gurnards Head checkpoint before the cut off of 3 hrs 15 mins. According to the info it’s at 9 miles but we’ve had an extended extra mile start so likely to be nearer 10. I’m thorough 5 miles in 60 minutes so going well and feeling good, I am though quite wet, not from rain but at about 4.5 miles I lost my footing, stumbled sideways and ended up thigh deep in water. Legs wet, gloves wet. Ring out the gloves and the sun and wind should sort the rest.
That though becomes the last of any quickish miles. Mile 6 is 15 minutes. We are now on very muddy, slippery paths with lots of rocks and it’s increasingly hard to actually run and the paths are slippery and the rocks not easy. I am though enjoying the adventure and soon into sight comes the checkpoint – just over 10 miles on my GPS.
Having helped at the Arc checkpoint I was thinking I’d get a hot drink, change my socks, visit the loo etc.. As I got closer I could see a flag type banner but the only building had not been inhabited for about 150 years. The checkpoint was a wall of another old building with some water and bags of foodie bits. There’s not an obvious place for a wee as there are people and children milling around. I eat some of the flapjack I’m carrying and change my sodden gloves for new waterproof and warmly lined ones. They’re quite tricky to get on but they give me a lift as they are warm.
As I’m leaving the checkpoint I slip over – again – and for the second time my left leg goes straight on and my right leg buckles up underneath me. Not ideal and it could have been quite tricky. I feel it the next day when my really aching bit is behind my right knee. I push on and get that wee sorted.
We are now 8 miles from the finish but everything starts to slow dramatically. The terrain is either big boulders to clamber over or very slippy paths. I’m hardly running at all. At about 13 miles I’m beginning to lose the enjoyment and I’m now thinking I just want to finish.
I reach the top of a hill and it’s a water station. How did they get the water up there? They also have a big box of foodie bits and I pull out a fig roll and a Jaffa cake. Both have suffered in the high winds and they are much harder that when you eat them at home. I ‘lose’ half the fig roll hoping I won’t be disqualified for offering food to the local insects.
All the while I’m recording bits for the podcast. I’m trying to do it every couple of miles to help ease the passage of time. I’m now walking / scrambling most of the time at 21 minute mile pace. Any running is short bursts of slow shuffling.
I’m being overtaken by people doing the Little Jack which is about 7 miles and started in Zennor. I feel a bit annoyed as they breeze past me but they do all congratulate me on my efforts so that is helpful and very nice of them. Finally just after 17 miles St Ives comes into view. It’s a great sight and with it we are suddenly on tarmac. I’ve never been so pleased to see tarmac. And I’m shuffling. Both knees are aching. My brain and lungs are in good shape but my legs aren’t responding.I’m not going to be under 5 hours but I won’t be far over it.
I’ve heard we have to run across the beach. As I get close to the beach my watch goes past 5 hours. I’ve never been on a run for 5 hours before. The beach is a bit of a slog and then it’s one more uphill to the finish at the Island. I run up the last bit and then a stormforce shower hits which literally blows me sideways across the finish line.
I’m done in 98th position in 5:09:27
It was the toughest race I’ve ever been in. Rob and Jim who ran the Ultra said it was tougher for them than running the 100 mile Arc of Attrition. If the course was dry it would be different – there would be more running. There are so many off road runs in Cornwall as well as the UK so my goal is to run different ones rather than the same one twice.
I would though recommend anyone to do this one. Go on sign yourself up for 2021 and prepare for a unique experience!
- 22nd – 23 – Trelissick Park Run – felt a bit of a hamstring tweak so took it steady – 28:08. No more running in the week in the build up to Classic Jack.
- 19th – 22 – Club Night – 20 minutes out and back – after feeling very sluggish in the warm up I go for it and race off leaving the group in my wake! I get as far as the middle of the football pitch. takes about 23 minutes to get back.
- 16th – 21 – Bodmin Half – After much to-ing and fro-ing the Bodmin half goes ahead and it proves to be wet and very tough – I’m pleased with my performance – the course turns out to be about 13.5 miles and I was rather hoping to be under 10 minute miles which I was on target for until mile number 12 which was very tough and I slipped behind the 10 minute mile barrier at that stage and just couldn’t get it back so I ended up doing 10:03 per mile
- 15th – 20 – Truro run –Storm Dennis forces the cancellation of all the local park runs with the exception of Heartlands so I get out the door around 9 am and do 6.5 miles around Truro including up Tregolls Road Hill
12th – 19 – TRC Club Night – the usual transition group leaders aren’t available this week so I decide I will do it- around 3.5 miles
- 11th – 18 – Walk/Run Group – It’s my turn to lead the walk run group this evening – we cover a gentle 3.5 miles
- 8th – 17 – Trelissick Park Run – it’s very muddy today and I come in at 27:04 which I’m slightly disappointed with as I was rather hoping to be under 27 minutes for every Trelissick Park run this year outside of any of those I might be pacing. I end up having a bit of a Lemsip day on the Sunday which is very unusual; for me and the weather isn’t particularly inviting so I end up not doing the long run that was on my marathon training schedule
- 5th – 16 – Club Night –I’m the 7.5 mile sweeper so again a good chance to spend time on my feet
- 3rd – 15 – Club Recovery Run – these are becoming very popular and all very sociable we cover about 4.5 miles at a nice place and I’m feeling good after the Sundays long run
- 2nd – 14 – Bissoe Trail –It’s time for a long Sunday run and I decided to do 15 miles on the Bissoe Trail heading out towards Porthtowan from Devon – somewhere I managed to take the wrong turning and end up nowhere near where I’m supposed to be going – I then returned to where I think I went wrong and set off again only to realise a couple of miles later that that’s not right either – I eventually backtrack and realise I went wrong after just over 3 miles but I achieve my target of time on my feet and complete 15 miles in just under three hours
- 1st – 13 – Trelissick Park Run – I’m quite happy with 26:47 today as I was up extraordinarily late for me last night as I was one of the arc angels at the Penzance checkpoint as part of the Arc of Attrition 100 mile race – it was great to be part of such an event and it must be truly something to be a runner in – think I’ll park that idea!
12 runs, 80 miles, no races
- 29th – 12 – TRC Club Night – I’m the 7 mile sweeper as we tackle the hills of Truro – I’m happy to run quite slowly and get almost an hour and 25 minutes on my feet
- 27th – 11 – TRC Recovery Night – The usual enjoyable run and the next morning I’m weighing in at 177.2 which is the lowest in quite awhile
- 25th – 10 – Market Rasen Parkrun – My son Jim’s first ever Parkrun – at the age of 20 – he sets off quite quick and goes through the 1st mile in just over 8 minutes, I gradually haul him in and in the end I finish in 24:55 which is my second fastest Parkrun and he does a very respectable 25:53
21st – 9 – Barkwith Block – I’m up in Lincolnshire for a family funeral so as usual when I arrive mid afternoon I like to go for a run to get the 360 mile drive out of the legs – I do what I always refer to as the Barkwith Block which is around 10k – during the 1st mile my hamstring feels very stiff and I’m wondering if I should carry on but decide to run it off. 55:35
20th – 8 – TRC Recovery Run – having had my 6 weekly leg based sports massage first thing this morning.
- 16th and I’ve got a bit of twinge left calf. This was the one that was a problem a few years ago so I’m always on high alert. My daughter is also down for the weekend so the combination of her and the twinge mean no ParkRun and I decide to miss Stormforce 10. I do 10km on Zwift in the Innsbruck Mountains instead.
- 15th – 7 – TRC Club Night – I’m allocated to the 4 mile group tonight which is ideal. Feeling ok after Sunday.
- 12th – 6 – Marathon Training – set my plan to run long today. Did consider the Camel Trail but instead ran from home using an out and back ‘loop’ involving turning circles at the end of Malpas and Newham – the full loop being 6.8 miles. Bit of a wobble just before 10 miles when symptoms of a migraine started to happen. I stopped took on some fluid, removed my head gear and decided to give it 5 minutes and if it was still there then quit. It disappeared so I was able o do 2.5 ‘loops’ and then weave my way back home to complete 18 miles in 3:16. This is the longest time and distance I have run since the Eden Marathon in October 2010.
- 11th – 5 – Trelissick Park Run – set off quite fast but soon get overtaken by quite a lot of runners. finish in 26:45 which is ok. When i look back to Jan 2019 I realise this would have been a course PB so on that basis more pleased!
- 8th – 4 – Club Run Hills – 5 miles – felt a bit weary and heavy tonight. Steady stuff.
- 6th – 3 – Club Recovery Run – 5 miles – good stretch – felt really good for most of the run.
- 5th – 2 – Truro Roads – 15 miles around the hills via Idless in 2:58:59 – longest run since 2010.
- 4th – 1 – Lands End Park Run – My cricket buddy Jim McKenna, although he wasn’t going to run himself, suggested I pick him up in Penzance and go and take part in this event as it was the official opening of this park run even though I think it was event number 8 for them. I gave it a go and managed 25:13 which was my equal 2nd fastest Park Run.
- So that’s it the 2019 – I’ve done 140 runs including 7 half marathons and a few Park Run PB’s along the way. 765 miles roughly.
- 29th – 140 – Man v Bike – after a six-hour drive up country to Lincolnshire I decided I really need to get out and run and my brother probably really needs to get out cycle so we set about course around the local villages which is 10 miles from me and then we add an extra 2.5 miles to his circuit with the challenge being that I run 10 miles while he cycles 25. He catches me up with about half a mile or so to go but the challengers made me run probably a lot faster than I ordinarily might have done so I’m absolutely really delighted to come home in 1:29 and therefore be running at less than nine minute miles. A great way to finish the running year.
- 28th – 139 – Trelissick Park Run – my last park run of 2019 and it is pacing week and my task is to get people round in 29 minutes. I’m a little bit quick towards the end but it gives me the opportunity to slow down shout people passed me to help them break the 29 minute barrier
- 26th – 138 – Boxing Day Coverack – in has been a very strange Christmas with a sudden and unexpected death of my mother up in Lincolnshire on Christmas Eve when she was returning to the car following an afternoon/evening out with my brother. But she would have wanted us to carry on with Christmas and so we had a great Christmas day damning cover at and as expected I was up long before everyone else so did a planned 10 mile run around the roads taking in so my old training runs when I lived down in this part of the woods. Happy with my time of 1:34
- 23rd – 137 – TRC Recovery Run around seven of us taking part in the last club Monday night run before Christmas. We do around 5 miles including a little stop of at the nursing home on Tregolls Road where we listen to our running club mate Norbert singing as part of a choir.
- 22nd – 136 – Idless Woods – a 6 mile social run through all the labyrinth pasts and hidden trails in the woods, it’s great fun and there’s lots of stopping and starting so everyone can keep together which means were out for around two hours running through terrain including one or two adventurously deep puddles that ordinarily we would not have done on R.N. I also managed to record a podcast on the way round with some interviews successfully – which is great news after the mess I made of both the race for wildlife and the Cardinham woods 10k
- 21st – 135 – Trelissick Park Run – A steady run as I was doing set up this morning at 7 AM in the dark on my own which was a little bit weird and at times a little bit scary! And last night we had theTRC Christmas party so act ually overall quite pleased with my time of 27:42
- 18th – 134 – Last club Night of 2019 – at the earlier cycling and running I take part in the 4.6 mile group and with a bit of a loopback manage to just sneak over 5 miles. I really enjoyed Wednesday night club runs although sometimes runners get spread out quite a lot because quite rightly they are wanting to push on and run as best they can. it’s a tricky balance between making it a social run and giving people the opportunity to run hard.
- 18th – 133 – Run with Jim – my son Jim is back from uni and decided he would like to go for a run so we did almost 3 miles, pretty much immediately after I had cycled 15k around London via Zwift. I’m hoping Jim and his sister will take part in the Park Run on the 28th
- 14th – 132 – Trelissick Park Run – I give it a real go and finish in 26:33 which is my third fastest time on this course and just sneaks into my all time top 10 times for Park Run. My target is to go under 25 in 2020.
- 11th – 131- Club Night Out & Back – one of my favourite club runs – 25 minutes out, stop for 60 seconds, run back – ours are always a bit more uphill but myself and Andy Stallard do a ‘negative split’ – coming back quicker in 23:28!
- 8th – 130 – Cardinham Woods – a 10k run through the woods with some of the money going to St Petrocs. For the second Sunday running another podcast disaster. This time nothing to do with the saving process which I was extremely careful to get right at the end. However when I played back the podcast it was dominated by the sound of my legs hitting the ground. I was attempting to use a splitter into my phone so that it would record my comments through the wireless mic and then the interviews that I did on the run through an external microphone I kept producing from my pocket. In all the tests I did it seem to be working fine. But I now realise that it wasn’t ever working properly and that the recording was being done by the phone itself and not the two microphones hence as the phone was near the top of my legs it was picking up the banging of my legs on the ground. I could hear in the background the interviews and my commentary. This is a bit of a disappointment but at least I now know what the problem is that going forward I’m going to take to recording devices and then simply merge the tracks together at the end. I’m going to try this out at club night on Wednesday.
- 4th – 129 – Club Night – A new role as the ‘sweeper’ for the 7.5 mile group – ideal for me as I’m on my feet for almost an hour and a half at a nice relaxed place. My legs are feeling quite tired now.
- 1st – 128 – Race for Wildlife – part of the 19/20 Cornwall Multi Terrain Series. I’m not sure how multi-terrain is defined that this was about 7.5 miles and include the majority of the run on the road. It was though a lovely sunny day and the views were quite spectacular even if we didn’t see too much wildlife! A great turnout from the TRC team who came first in the ladies event. I did attempt to record a podcast during this event but in my haste at the finish to upload to Strava my hilarious pictures of the wildlife seen on the run I managed to mess up the saving of the podcast. Even with the help of the Apple support experts it was lost. A lesson perhaps in taking my time when it comes to IT matters!
14 runs and 79 miles in November. Time to take it easy in December.
- 27th – 127 – 7 mile club run – taking in all the hills of Truro!
- 24th – 126- Mob Match – My 24th race this year is the end of GP season event which culminates in the prize-giving. I finished the 15 race series in 5th position in my age group based on my best 8 races of the 11 I took part in. My target was a top-10 finish so 5th-place I am pretty pleased with. I start quite slowly as there is a long uphill section for the first half mile but then I tank through mile 2 in 7:49 overtaking quite a lot of runners which sets me up for a good second half, including a very big hill towards the finish and I come in in 41:28 which compares with the only other 5 mile race I’ve done this year which was Cubert which was two laps of a fairly flat course in 40:44 so I’m pleased with today’s result and I collect a trophy, I think my first ever running one for completing the 8 events stop sometime in the future I will win a trophy for age category at a GP event!
- 23rd – 125- Trelissick Park Run – I do set up and I would have volunteered to be a marshall after Wednesday night but the rota is full so I take part in the run with a plan to run quite slowly, which I do for the first couple of kilometres but then I find myself trying to catch various people and in the end I run the last half quite strongly just to sneak under 28 minutes, with a race tomorrow not sure that was the best idea!
- 20th – 124- Club Night – I drove from Kent to my mums house in Lincolnshire after the race and then left at 5:45 AM on the 20th so by the time I got to club night that evening I was feeling rather weary! Only three of us did the off-road head torch run and 4 miles was more than enough for me. My plan now is to do a couple of shorter races, some park grounds and club nights but no long runs now until the New Year.
- 17th – 123- Bedgebury Forest Half Marathon – my 7th half marathon of the year, which would be 8 if the White RAT counted as a half marathon which it probably ought to, beating my previous best of 3 in one year back in 2005. It is also my 123rd run of the year easily eclipsing my previous best of 113 also in 2005. The course is entirely in the forest and starts across a very wet field so within the first 30 seconds my feet are completely soaked, and there is lots of very heavy mud particularly through mile seven and eight which take me a combined over 22 minutes to run. Any thoughts of breaking 2:10 disappear at that point and in the end I sneak in just under 2:14.
- 16th – 122- Bedgebury Forest Park Run – over in Kent for a meet up with old college mates Diccon, Paul and Christine. We all do local PR. Christine came 2nd lady and was always going to be well clear of us chaps but the rest of the podium was up for grabs. Diccon had the local knowledge whereas Paul hadn’t run hardly at all for a while with the exception of a couple of training runs the week before. I expected Diccon to go charging off and I was meant to be holding something back for the half marathon the next day. After a mile I thought I had the silver medal in my pocket as Diccon’s early charge didn’t materialise and when I told Paul we done one mile he indicated that he was already running low on energy so I pushed on hoping to open up a significant gap but then to my astonishment at 2 miles Paul was suddenly running alongside me very easily. In the end my plan to see him off on the last hill and the last downhill came to nothing and he beat me by about 10 seconds as I came home in 26:02 with Diccon about 30 seconds behind.
- 13th – 121- Club Night – 4 successive days of running when I was planning to rest! I opt for 15 mins out and back – steam it over the out section – back is uphill so go all in to do 17:51 on way back. Felt really good tonight.
- 12th – 120- Club Walk / Run Group – my turn to be assistant leader – jog down to meeting point
- 11th – 119- Club Night Recovery Run – big turnout – about 18 of us
- 10th – 118- Remembrance Run Mounts Bay – finally a sunny day and how appropriate for this run as we remember whilst running across the beach and through the edge of the sea. So glad I recorded a podcast – found myself thinking / talking about my granddad (who I never really knew) and his brothers who set off over 100 years ago on their biggest life adventure. Many didn’t come back and of those that did few talked about what they had experienced. How lucky we are to able to run across a beach.
- 6th – 117 – Running Club Headtorch Trail Run – 6 miles through the dark, wet, muddy woods and tracks.
- 4th – 116 – Running Club Monday Night Run – it finally stops raining 3 minutes before we set off on a 5 mile run around Truro. A 3rd day running on the trot for me and I’m feeling good pushing up the hills. Around a dozen of us as this Monday night run grows in popularity as we head into winter.
- 3rd – 115 – Trelissick Rain Run – It’s still raining! Do one lap of the various paths and tracks to eek out around 7.2 miles in 90 minutes.
- 2nd – 114 – Local Rain 5 mile Run – Strong winds and lots of rain means most local Parkruns are cancelled. England are playing Southb Africa in Japan in the rugby world cup final – kick off 9am! I’m out for rain run before the rugby – streets and local roads around Truro including the very high and fast flowing ford on Treliske lane where it meets New Mills Lane.
10 runs and 70 miles in October including a first time ever successive Sunday half marathon races. Feeling a tad weary now so eased up bit towards the end of the month. 113 runs and 611 miles for the year.
- 28th – 113 – Club Run – social stuff for about 5 miles – this run means I’ve now equals my all-time number of runs in a year with 2 months to go
- 26th – 112 – Halloween pacing Park run – it is very wet and it also clashes with England versus New Zealand in the rugby World Cup semi-final but we all have a bit of fun dressing up – I have the pleasant task of a gentle run around in 35 minutes all.
- 23rd – 111 – Club Run – around 4.5 miles on road all – great fun afterwards recording a podcast about eating & drinking. Here is my go to breakfast – porridge made with coconut milk – 1/3 oats, 1/3 coconut milk, 1/3 water with maple syrup & honey and then various dried and fresh fruit and a sprinkling of nuts – note the raspberries were from the garden even though it is well into autumn.
- 22nd – 110 – Walk, Run & Hill Reps – it is my turn to be one of the leaders for the walk run group so I jogged down to the start point and then jog back before making a late decision to do 10 Hill reps right outside my house – 45 seconds on the Hill rep and then 90 seconds recovery back to the starting point
- 20th – 109 – 3 hours – this run was all about time on feet. The last time I ran 3 hours with the Eden Marathon in 2010. Today I did 2 and a bit circuits of the Woodlands at Trelissick covering almost 15 miles – a third successive Sunday of for me long runs
- 19th – 108 – Lanhydrock Park Run – this is a tough parkrun and I hadn’t been since March –happy with 28:40
- 16th – 107 – Club Night Headtorch Run – running in the woods and fields for about 5 miles
- 13th – 106 – Eden Half Marathon – a new venture – successive Sunday half marathons, I’ve never done that before. I knew that Eden was going to be much tougher than Cardiff and this was also the first time I had repeated half marathon having previously run it in 2009. We all got completely soaked at the start line and the first 3 miles were very wet and muddy. I managed to mess up my GPS timing by pressing say when I was trying to check my heart rate! Nevertheless with a bit of resetting and rejigging I realised I was going along at 10 minute mile pace so considerably slower than Cardiff but the nature of the course was very different. My real goal was to see how I felt from 8 miles onwards given the all in effort at Cardiff seven days prior. I was actually okay and a legged it downhill over the last half mile to the finish hoping to sneak under 2:10 and I was convinced I had when I saw the clock but then for some reason my chip time has been listed as 2:10:16 which I thought was the time the clock was showing when I finished. This was though a test successfully completed. I now need over the winter to do some longer slower runs to practice running for three hours plus.
- 6th – 105 – Cardiff Half Marathon – I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. My daughter is in her final year at music college in Cardiff so this was my last chance to run while staying with her having been thwarted two years ago by injury. 27,000 entries, including more women than men, made this the second biggest of marathon in the UK after the great North Run. By far and away the biggest event I’ve ever taken part in and I was extremely impressed with my ability to leave the flat and then not use the loos before the start, especially as I had secured a front position in the red pen which meant being in that position for around 55 minutes before we started running. I imagine like most people before a run once you’ve been to the loo once within a few minutes you want to go again! It was amazing to be part of such a big event. The crowds on a sunny day were immense literally covering every inch of the course and being so enthusiastic in their support. It was incredibly noisy at certain points and probably the nearest experience I’ve had to what it must be like to be a footballer or other sportsperson playing in front of a large crowd which is very close to you as you are in action. I had two targets. Firstly to beat my time from 27 years ago of 2:04:05 which included the famous diving into a shop for some Mars bars at 10 miles and secondly to run under two hours. This time last year I would never have dreamt of thinking I could run a half marathon under two hours which at that point I had achieved seven times, but not since 2012. My Scunthorpe 1:56:15 in May gave me the confidence to know I could do it. This was my 16th half marathon and my 5th this year which was a personal record in terms of the number run in a single year. Being at the front of the red pen was definitely an advantage because we had a clear road in front of us as we set off so I found myself quickly running quite a decent pace. I went through the 1st mile in 8:17 and then the 2nd mile in 8:08 with mile 3 also in 8:17. I was at 5K in 25.42 which had this been a Park Run would have been my third fastest ever! My plan was to run 8:30 miles for 6 miles and get to halfway in 57 minutes. At 6 miles I was 32 seconds in front of my pace target at 50:28 and I think I got to halfway around 56 minutes having gone through 10k in 52:38. I managed sub nine minute miles for miles 7,8 and 9 so went through 10 miles on Starva in 1:25:44. That left me just under 34 minutes for the last 3.1 miles to break 2 hours and although I found mile 11 quite tough I still managed to do that in 9:23 – I hung on in there at the finish and in the end just couldn’t quite nudge under 1:55 so had to settle for 1:55:02 but I was really pleased with that.
- 5th – 104 – Cardiff Park Run in Bute Park – No running since the Cubert 5. Some confusion on my part trying to find the course as the last time around two years ago there was a temporary course change due to a firework display in the park. I had forgotten this and kept thinking I don’t recognise any of this as I was following runners towards the start. So this was a new course although not a new park run for me. it was meant to be a warmup for the half marathon tomorrow and I was caught napping at the start in terms of realising that we were actually underway and with 700 runners on a tight course I was boxed in for quite a while but that seemed to work well because then I was able to pick up the pace and in the end I came home in 25:13 which was my second ever fastest parkrun and until the Market Rasne one 2 weeks ago would have been my fastest so happy with that – hope I haven’t burnt off too much energy for tomorrow’s half marathon.
Completed 12 runs and 58 miles. Achieved 2 PB’s – Park Run 24:29 and 5 miles 40:52
103 runs this year and 541 miles. Closing in on 113 runs in a year PB.
For the podcast episode 5 I interviewed Richard Moore actor, Park Runner and Park Run volunteer who took part in the very first London Marathon and who has a marathon PB of 2:54.
Here is my running diary for September:
- 29th – 103 – Cubert 5 today which is Grand Prix event number 14 of 15 for 2019 and my 11th run of the 14. I’m looking to do around 8.5 minute miles which would give me a time of 42:50 and I manage 40:52 which is an average pace of 8:07 which I’m really really pleased with and according to my records is probably my fastest ever 5 mile race, although to put that in context prior to the Sticker 5 in the summer I can’t find any record of running a 5 mile race previously. A PB is a PB though!
- 28th – 102 – It’s Parkrun pacing today and I’m doing 40 minutes which I thoroughly enjoyed and three people around me who were trying to get under 40 minutes did so which is even more pleasing.
- 25th – 101 – Club run 4.5 miles very steady stuff although I did give it my all going up Tregolls Road towards the end. The runs are back to the ‘winter’ routes – it’s rained virtually all week and the nights are pulling in. A huge contrast to last week’s glorious – and now clearly end of summer – sunshine.
- 22nd – 100 – My final run of the Lincolnshire trio is the Wolds Tough 10 – they did tell me at the start that it’s been rebranded this year after 37 years with the removal of the tough bit from the title in order to attract more runners, although the course was the same. It was organised by Caistor running club who provided almost a quarter of the field. I met some of them at the park run the previous day including Moira who was the 25 minute pacer (see pic below) and they very kindly allowed me to be part of their team photograph.The course is tough but when you come from Cornwall you really know what hills are and realistically it is certainly no tougher than most of the similar distance races in Cornwall. I make a big effort in the last 2 or 3 miles to record a time of 1:35:59 which I am pretty pleased with – in comparison in February I ran the Looe 10 in 1:43:32 and that was extremely tough in places. After a quick shower at mothers it was the long seven hour drive home which was quite challenging. This was also my 100th run of the year which includes races, park runs, training runs and club runs. Since I started the running diary in 2003 this is now only the third year of 100 runs, with 100 in 2010 and 113 in 2005, both of which were marathon years. Clearly two things have significantly changed since then – firstly been a member of the club and secondly been a pro active Park runner.
- 21st – 99 -This is my 4th Market Rasen Park Run and it’s run on the inside of the racecourse on the tarmac track used by the support vehicles on race day.I really fancied having a crack at a Parkrun PB which stood at 25:26 on Hove Promenade followed by 25:28 at Trelissick with my fastest at Rasen being 26:00.They have some pacers involved although I have to say not quite as well organised in terms of numbers as we have here in Cornwall but nevertheless one of them is going to run 25 minutes so my plan is to try and stay close by or slightly ahead of her. I got through the 1st mile in 8 minutes and managed to keep the pace going to come in in 24:29 so 57 seconds quicker than my previous Parkrun PB. I’m really pleased with that.
- 19th – 98 – I’m up in Lincolnshire visiting my mother for a few days with a plan to do three runs in amongst a couple of days of intensive gardening and a visit to watch Lincoln City play Oxford United. (Lincoln inexplicably lost 6-0 – there joint worst ever defat at home). The first of those three runs is what we’ve always known as the ‘Barkwith Block’ which is roughly a 6 mile circuit taking in three local villages – East Torrington, West Torrington and West Barkwith plus the start and end village of East Barkwith. It’s a route my mates I biked around when we were kids. My time is 54:18 which gives me a price of 8:50 which I’m pretty pleased with as I wasn’t looking to go overly fast. I’ve run this route several times over the years and according to my running diary my fastest ever was 47:34 which wasn’t that long ago as it was on my 52nd birthday so 2013.
- 16th – 97 – Hill session coached by Kev and run with Steve Jones. This is my first ever running club hill session, probably the last time I did this sort of thing would’ve been in the days of football training so about 100 years ago! We met Kevin at the bottom of the hill – obviously! – which we then ran up for 45 seconds put a marker down at the point we reached enjoyed 90 seconds of recovery before repeating the routine for a total of 10 times. I was really pleased to make it past my marker on every one of the 10 reps and the last one was my furthest run. I need to do more of this sort of specialist stuff as I’ve read that adding some speedwork will help your long distance running.
- 14th – 96 – Park Run at Trelissick – steady start but came home in 26:59 which is about 90 seconds of my course PB
- 11th – 95 – Club night run this week is at Holywell Bay which is on the north coast of Cornwall, its a beautiful spot to run from. It’s probably the last ‘away club night’ this summer )we’ve been to Trelissikc, Tehidy Woods and Ladock Woods) and I go with the 8 mile group. It’s a spectacular course but the light does start to fade as we get towards the end, particularly when we’re going through the woodland path less than a mile from the finish. I find myself in deep conversation about the England Australia test match and the next thing I know I’m straight down crashing the path floor on my knees and elbows but I’m quickly backup to carryon the cricket conversation. It’s only when we get to the car park that I realise both knees are bleeding and so is my elbow so I clean up with what turns out to be some antibacterial dashboard wipes! And then it’s off to the pub at Holywell Bay with three of the lads – I try to get my knee into the selfie photo that Andy Williams took.
- 10th – 94 – earlier this year I took the course which enables me to be a run leader, although most of my run leading is actually at the back so more like run following. Every six weeks or so I’m one of the two layers of the walk run group which goes out for about an hour. It was my turn this week but it also coincided with me playing cricket as a ringer for the local councillors team against the local council officers team. Fortunately both sports were within a couple of hundred yards of each other so I was able to bat at cricket score a quickfire 27, then going to transition and change into my running gear and jog down to the start point for the run/walk group, do my bit with them and then very fortunately the final part of the run took us back past the cricket ground so I was able to dive off back into another transition into the cricket gear, return to the field of play and eventually bowl the last over of the innings with six needed to win by the opposition in very fading light and produce an over the winter to runs during which three wickets fell and therefore we won the match.
- 8th – 93 – it’s the day of the Bude Pirate Run and I wake up with no niggle at all in my hip – has someone sneaked in and replaced it overnight? It’s a glorious day and this is a fabulous course, although I had thought it was about 7 miles and it turns out it’s just over 8. I take ages to the 1st mile as I’m messing around shooting some bits of video and recording some audio for a future Podcast. I also discover that if I switch to video recording or taking photographs whilst I still got the audio running then the audio seems to stop and freeze and I have to reboot the phone.. This was beginning to get a bit annoying as the run went on, but it did prove to be a distraction from some mighty coastal hills. After that very slow start I did pickup and had a couple of miles in the middle of the race where I was averaging 9 minute miles. My time was 1:29:53 which I was very pleased about given the slowness of the start. The Truro ladies team (Claire, Liz, Laura and Katie) won first prize. No hip niggle at all.
- 7th – 92 – my first run for a week and I’m back at the Trelissick Park Run to record an episode of my business podcast comparing Parkrun organisation and structures with those in business. 28:33
- I started September with a niggle in my left hip so decided to take the first week off including not taking part in the Treggy 7 on the 1st.
According to my calculations I ran 13 times in August covering 80 miles. I’ve now done 91 runs so far this year. My average number of runs over the last eight full years has been around about 40 so I am on schedule to go past the hundred mark for only the third time since I started keeping a running diary at the end of 2003.
August did see the launch of the podcast 44@60. This is primarily a self-motivation tool as well as an opportunity to have a bit of fun interviewing some runners.
Here is my running diary for August:
- 31st – 91 – ParkRun at Trelissick. I’m part of the pacing team today with my task to get round in 37 minutes. I spent time on the Friday night working out where I need to be on the course to achieve that and I do come pretty much bang on time.
- 28th – 90 – TRC club run at Ladock Woods. I went out with the 8 mile group and it was a really great run across a variety of terrain.
- 25th – 89 – My plan had always been to run the Classic Quarter course in seven or eight sections during 2019. However as you can see from the schedule I’ve been blasting out races and had not found any gaps to do this recce running. Today was the day though as I was heading down to Mullion cricket club to commentate on their six aside competition which started at 10:30 am. Despite going to Colin Bathe’s 50th birthday party the night before I managed to get down to the cricket club just after 7:30am in readiness to run the section from Polurrian Cove – which is the nearest point to join the coastal path from the cricket club – to somewhere out towards Loe Beach. It was a glorious day and starting that early meant I managed to miss the real heat. I made it all the way to Loe Beach in around one hour 13 minutes which was from the cricket club 5.42 miles. I recorded podcast audio on the way out and then took photographs on the way back. With a lap of the cricket field to make the total run up to 11 miles my running time was 2.32.57 – I felt really good all the way through and now need to plan the next section from Porthleven to Marazion. Pics below for today’s run.
- 24th – 88 – Trelissick Park Run. With various Saturday and other weekend races I hadn’t had a ParkRun since June 13th. I decided I would have a go at a PB, especially on the Friday as I weighed in at 179.4 but then I somehow in 24-hours added 2lbs and therefore psychologically when I woke up Saturday morning and weighed the PB was already slipping away. I was 11 seconds down my at first checkpoint and 30 seconds down at my second checkpoint so that was the end of that.
- 22nd – 87 – the new adventure tonight I go out with an organisation called RunCrew – essentially I met one of the organisers on a running course and invited me to run with them but also wanted some advice on how to help his front people communicate with the participants. It’s only around about a 3 mile run but they build in five exercise stops so you the whole thing takes about an hour but you do get a good work – currently running in Falmouth and Truro
- 21st – 86 – Club night trail run around about 4.5 miles
- 19th – 85 – 4.5 miles – ‘Recovery’ run with TRC – I’m never quite sure what the recovery run actually is as this enquire about space! I deliberately hadn’t run over the weekend following Friday night’s 10k race
- 16th – 84 – St Leven 10k – Part of the Cornish Grand Prix series, my first run of this event since 2005 when I was 44 and I ran 44:43. It was horrendously wet but I raced off during the 1st mile in 7:56 and then just trying to keep going as best I could so I came in in 53:06 which I was really pleased with given I run the previous two days and prior to the event my legs felt really heavy! As I was almost 5 minutes below my current age, having been banging on my age 14 years ago does that mean that I am in ‘good for age’ terms improving?
- 15th – 83 – 4 miles with Beth – we set off from Mawnan and did some coastal path before somehow taking a wrong turn so a bit more road than we planned!
- 14th – 82 – 4.5 miles – Truro RC Club Night run – steady run but thought the legs might struggle more than they did so happy with that
- 10th – 81 – 11 miles – The Roseland August Trails (RAT) – A fantastic day started with travelling with five fellow runners from Truro were also doing the 11 mile version which is known as the ‘White RAT’. I shot some video and recorded some audio to create episode 2 of the podcast. The course was entirely on the coastal path. My finish time was 2:32 which I was relatively pleased with given that it took 20 minutes to do the 1st mile and I wasn’t really running against the clock I was more interested in trying to capture film and audio! Those of us who travelled together to the White RAT made a pledge afterwards that in 2020 we will upgrade to the Red RAT which is 20 miles. Other events in this fantastic festival are the Black RAT which is 32, the Plague which is 64 and ‘bring out your dead’ (BOYD) which is a 24-hour race of a 5 mile out and back route so effectively a continual repeat of the last 2 1/2 miles of the entire course which features some horrendous steps! Check out the RAT here
- 4th – 80 – 13.1 miles – Indian Queens half marathon – this was hard work. I played cricket the day before which wasn’t a good idea! Legs felt heavy from 4 miles – came in at 2:10 but had been hoping to go close to 2 hours. All that running in July probably caught up with me. Next race is in 6 days time so no running between now and then.
- 1st – 79 – 4 miles – Run around Trelissick with daughter Beth
I did 15 runs in July, which is the most in a single month I’ve probably ever done! – Bearing in mind that my average runs per month over the last eight years have been 3 to 4. I think I covered 84 miles and the schedule for August is looking very similar. I did manage a six-day running break at the beginning of the month which is a strategy I intend to continue going forward.
Here is my running diary for July:
- 31st – 78 – 5 miles – Tehidy Woods TRC Club Night
- 30th – 77 – 3 miles – TRC Group – legs feeling very slow after weekend race and county cricket match in Gloucestershire on the Sunday.
- 27th – 76 – 7 miles – Tywardreath Trotter – multi terrain race – tough going – lots of hills – gained 2 places in the ‘sprint’ finish – 65:33
- 24th – 75 – 7 miles – TRC club night – mainly off road
- 22nd – 74 – 12 miles – steady run around roads, tracks and paths around NT Trelissick – aimed to run for 2.5 hrs – did 2:37 – longest time ‘on feet’ since Woolacombe Bay half in June 2016 (2:31)
- 21st – 73 – 3 miles – steady early morning run with hungover daughter!
- 20th – 72 – 7 miles – Magnificent 7 at Saltash – another tough race – every Cornish race has mountainous hills! PB for a 7 mile race 63:29 (no record of a previous one)
- 17th – 71 – 5 miles – Off road TRC club night
- 16th – 70 – 6 miles – TRC 3 mile group – ran to meeting point and back to double the distance
- 13th – 69 – 3 miles – Trelissick ParkRun – 26:40 – happy with that – my 3rd fastest course time
- 12th – 68 – 5 miles with Beth (daughter) from house onto Newham trail and back
- 6th – 67 – 3 miles – ParkRun – 26:42
- 5th – 66 – 11 miles – lone run around roads, tracks and paths around NT Trelissick – 2:05
- 3rd – 65 – 4 miles – Summer ‘Turkey’ Trot – not sure why its called a trot – everyone was racing off – another PB (only because it was a first ever 4 miler) 33:18
- 2nd – 64 – 6 miles – TRC 3 mile group – ran to meeting point and back to double the distance
I did only 8 runs in June and 39 miles. The least productive month of the year so far but I was playing quite a bit of County seniors cricket and also going to watch the cricket World Cup! In fact I did no running at all between 29 May and 12 June and then on the 15th I set a new park run PB so that propably shows how important rest is.
Here is my running diary for June:
- 30th – 63 – 3 miles – Trelissick Park Run – 27 minute pacer – came in in 27:03
- 27th – 62 – 6 miles – TRC Group – my legs were feeling a bit heavy on this evening run maybe because I had a first ever one-to-one yoga session at lunchtime. I’m told yoga is very good for runners I’m just not sure it’s me.
- 26th – 61 – 3 miles – the ROC 5k in Truro. This is a pretty flat course and I was rather hoping to be under 25 minute but came in in 25:27
- 23rd – 60 – 7 miles – a solo slow run for around one hour 20 minutes around the paths at Trelissick
- 22nd – 59 – 5 miles – the Sticker 5 GP event – an evening race – this was in a sense a monumental event for the fact that my 2003 GPS – which someone thought like a Mars bar see picture below – refused to work properly, so that evening it was officially retired after recording 890 runs in 16 years and a new model was whistled up. my time for sticker was 43:55 which I think converts to 8:46 per mile. Next up was to update my Garmin. My Forerunner 201 had served me well for almost 16 years and nearly 900 runs but I did vow that if it did pack up then I would replace it. Within 24 hours I had bought the 245, at the time the latest model. I also joined Strava.
- 16th – 58 – 7 miles – a steady run around Trelissick.
- 15th – 57 – 3 miles – Trelissick Park Run – a new course PB in 25:28 – my 5th PB of the year the first of which was on January 12 2755 so happy to have taken off the best part of 2 and 1/2 minutes. The next goal clearly is to go under 25. interestingly I walked up the field today for the first time the result of which was a 32 second drop in my PB – was that a coincidence or is it telling me, as indeed I’ve been told by others, that the time you lose walking up that hill is minimal compared to the time you gain based on the energy you’ve saved stop sounds like a physics equation coming on and I’ll take the PB for now.
- 12th – 56 – 5 miles – Off road TRC club night
13 runs in May and 76miles. Highlight was a sub 2hr half in North Lincolnshire – absolutely delighted with that. The Imerys half 2 weeks later was the first time I had run 2 half’s in 2 weeks since Sept 2005 (Margate and Truro)
Here is my running diary for May:
- 29th – 55 – 5 miles – TRC off road group. Including Imerys half this was my 7th run in 11 days plus 2 cricket matches. Decided to take a rest which turns into 2 weeks.
- 28th – 54 – 4 miles – jogged to Boscowean Park and ran a drill session for the walk/run group
- 25th – 53 – 3 miles – ParkRun pacing – I’m on 28 monte duty
- 24th – 52 – 5 miles – hilly run to Porth Kea – felt this one
- 22nd – 51 – 6 miles – TRC off road group
- 21st – 50 – 3 miles – went out with the run/walk group
- 19th – 49 – 13 miles – Imerys half – this was tough. I ‘ran’ up a long, long hill at around 4 miles whilst most others walked. Learnt a big lesson as it took a lot out of me and I was going backwards for the rest of the race. Struggled home in 2:16:35. Tough course! 3rd half of the year. Have only ever run 3 half’s in a year one before – 2005.
- 12th – 48 – 6 miles – Trevornick 10k – off road race – GP 6 – 5k in 25:30 then slower last 5k to come home in 54:59 – great to be under 55 mins!
- 11th – 47 – 3 miles – ParkRun – record a sports/business podcast so s tardy run aiming to be under 30 mins – 29:36
- 8th – 46 – 6 miles – TRC off road
- 7th – 45 – 6 miles – jogged to start and back of run / walk group.
- 5th – 44 – North Lincs Half near Scunthorpe. My home county – Lincolnshire – and this the first time I’ve run a Lincs half marathon. A really well organised event with pacers. It was advertised as a flat course and I was thus aiming to try and run close to 2 hours with a target of 2:05 – I get off to a good start – first 4 miles are 8:34, 8:27, 8:33 and 8:19 so 2 mins up on a 9 min / mile schedule. Through halfway in 57:30 then 9 min miles for miles 8,9 and 10. 10 miles in 1:27:38 – 9:11 for mile 11 and a 9:30 for mile 12 mean I know I’m on for a sub 2hr. I knock out 8:55 for mile 13 and finish in 1:56:15 – I’m really chuffed with that. Its my 13th career half marathon and my 5th fastest. 2nd half was 58:45
- 4th – 43 – 3 miles – Market Rasen ParkRun – didn’t push it but did 26:18
9 runs in April and 45 miles. Highlight was winning my first ever race! The Easter Bank Holiday Coverack 4.5 mile ‘fun run’ – Easter was late and as such Easter Monday was the day before schools re-started so the field was down to single numbers. I made the most of victory – it may be some time before it happens again!
Here is my running diary for April:
11 runs in March and 56 miles. Delighted to have done a first half marathon in almost 3 years and have now completed 33 runs in the first three months of the year which is the same number of runs I did in the whole of 2017, the big difference being ParK Runs and Club Runs.
33: 31st – Trelissick – A solo Sunday run of about 8 miles which took me 1:24
32: 3oth – Trelissick Park Run – because this is the weekend that the clocks change it was decided that the pacing should be done in pyjamas! I was responsible for the 30 minute slot – I really like this particular pacing slot as 30 minutes is a big barrier for Park runners so it is always very satisfying when someone goes under 30 minutes and gets a PB during a pacing event.
31: 27th – Club Night – Out and back – I like this club run because it gives you a chance to really test yourself – once you’ve done the warmup and get to the start then you essentially run 15 minutes, stop for a minute and then try and get back to the same starting place in 15 minutes. As the back part is more uphill than the outer part then it’s not easy unless you held back in the first bit.
30: 24th – Godolphin National Trust 10k – 2 laps, self timed, the top cross-country course. This event is held on the 4th Sunday of the month. My time was 1:03:34
29: 23rd – Trelissick Park Run – an absolute flyer for me today finishing in 26:45 and beating my previous PB of 27:29 by 44 seconds!
28: 20th – Walk / Run Group
27: 17th – Falmouth Half – This was a tough half marathon, my first since June 2016 and my first in Cornwall 7 years. I was aiming for somewhere between 2:10 and 2:15 so I was delighted to finish in 2:06:24 at an average pace of 9:39
26: 13th – Club Night – 5.5 miles on the road and a good strong pace
25: 9th – Market Rasen Park Run – and up visiting mother in Lincolnshire so this is my second visit to this park run and I have realised that trail shoes were no longer needed as the course was now completely tarmac, nevertheless I recorded an official time 26:00 which makes it my second-fastest Park run after Hove Promenade in November 2018 (25:26)
24: 3rd – Trelissick – Storm Fergus closes the gardens but the woodland walks are open so I take the opportunity to run round those 65 minutes.
23: 2nd – Lanhydrock Park Run – this was my first run at this course since October and the course itself is marginally longer than it used to be (they have changed the start and finish places couple of times and it is now officially 5K) – my time today was 9:23 which was two seconds quicker than the October time so happy with that!
February contained 9 runs and 43 miles but more importantly it was during February that I attended a business event at Wadebridge which resulted in me pledging to run the Classic Quarter in 2021. 44@60 was born!
22: 27th – Club Night – 15 minutes out of back feeling recovered now after Saturday’s Looe 10
21: 25th – Club Recovery Run
20: 23rd – Looe 10 – this race is described as hellish and hellish and now I know why! Unusually it didn’t start until 12:30pm as it was part of a whole weekend of activity in the area. It was a beautiful sunny day but it was a really tough course and I ultimately was delighted to be under 1:45 coming home in 1:43:32 at an average pace of 10:11
Getting kitted out
One of the first things I did was to invest in a running vest, this is designed to provide not only hydration but is packed full of pockets for food, clothing and all the other bits that I’m going to need. Buying this from the excellent At Your Pace running shop in Helston already made challenge feel real. I then bought a map which shows the approximate route I’ll be following.