Sunday, 27 October 2013

Beachy Head Marathon - Quick Update


Just a quick update to let you know how I got on in today's Beachy Head Marathon. 

It was the twelve consecutive time that I have raced the event, and again it was a great day.  The course is superb, but the event is more than this.  It is really the friendly atmosphere that make it stand out, although it does help with it being my home town race, so I seem to know quite a few of the runners and spectators! The weather was largely bright sunshine and pleasantly warm, although with a strong wind it made it pretty tough heading out to the furthest point at Bo Peep, but then the tail wind over the Seven Sisters and up to the top of Beachy Head was 'magical'.  I guess overtaking four runners during this stretch of the race also added to the enjoyment!

Well I actually ended up with a PW, yes a personal worst time, and a personal worst finishing place!  But what maybe a little surprising, I felt that I ran pretty well, although the time and place don't really reflect this.  I'll expand a bit on this in my race report which hopefully I will finish in the next few days.

I finished in a time of 3:12:23, in fifth place.  There were some pretty speedy runners this year, with Jeff Pyrah winning in a super quick time of 2:55:44, from Paul Barnes second (3:03:07) and Danny Kendall (3:04:07) third.  The first woman was Andrea Green in a quick time of 3:30:33.

As highlighted above I finished quite strongly over the last ten miles, but just couldn't quite match it with loads of runners heading out, as I found myself I think outside of the top ten at one stage!  Now that was a massive shock to the system which fortunately got me to really focus, to persevere and to be patient!  Below are two photos that my son Robert took of me during the race.  Unfortunately he has decided to set up a photo business, and his going rate is £4 a photo.  So it cost me £8 for these two shots.  A bit rough especially with it being my fancy camera that he used!

At Alfriston after around 9 miles
Running hard right to the finish.  Although I needed that quick pace earlier on!
And a few extra scenic shots.
The support from the spectators was great!
Are these your legs?

The first 'Sister' at mile 19!
Not a picture, but a window at a friend's house!  What a view!
The 'Eastbourne Landscape' welcomes you to the finish
Training partner and 2012 Beachy Head Marathon winner Rob Harley nearing the finish
I hope you liked the photos.  Yes, the Beachy Head marathon course doesn't lack for scenery!
Lastly, thanks to everyone that made the day such an enjoyable day.
PS My son took a few other photos of the runners around me at Alfriston and those that finished slightly behind me on the final descent down to the finish.  I have attempted to display these photos below, but not that successfully.  If you are one of the following race numbers, send me an e-mail and I'll e-mail you the photo.  Rather than trying to sort out getting any payment to my son. you can have the photo for free.  But maybe if we are both at the same race in the future perhaps you could buy me a beer!  Just a thought to compensate me for being the only person that had to buy their photo! 
Race numbers:1548, 113, 1064, 2067, 564, 705, 706, 1022, 392, 1392, 249, 2253, 1576, 964, 932, 1696, 1474, 1657, 2054, 1403, 753, 549, 1093, 2117.  Opps, I might find myself getting a wee bit drunk at my next few races!
PPS  Don't forget to visit Sussex Sport Photography to view their excellent official photos from the race.


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A Few Bits and Pieces


Due to finding myself pretty busy recently, I haven't really had time to put my thoughts together into writing a blog post on the process one can take when structuring a training programme.  The reason I mention this now, is due to the process I have been going through whilst constructing training programmes for a number of the athletes I am coaching.  You may recall a few blog posts back I mentioned that I had started doing on-line coaching.  Well it has been going really well.  I am now coaching ten athletes towards various goals, mostly ultra trail running goals, although a few of the runners have as their target race the London or Brighton road marathon.  So I'm finding it a good challenge, personalising each of their training programmes to accommodate their race goals, as well as addressing those aspects that appear to be currently holding them back.

I have also been pretty busy assisting with the setting up of the Weald Challenge Trail Races.  Yes, the Weald Challenge Trail Races are a new addition to the Sussex trail running calendar, that take place at the end of May 2014.  There are three race distances: The Weald Challenge Ultra Trail 50km, the Weald Challenge Trail Marathon, and the Weald Challenge Trail Half Marathon.

All races start and finish at Chiddingly, East Sussex, and are 85% - 90% off-road, traveling along two long distance footpaths, the Wealdway and the Vanguard Way. The terrain is varied, and quite undulating, with the Ultra Trail and Marathon races taking in the spectacular Ashdown Forest. Visit the race website to enter online, and to find further information on these exciting new trail races. Entries opened only a few days ago, and it looks like the races could be popular with entries coming in already.

I also have some exciting news regarding my racing next year.  Yes, next year I will be racing as part of the newly formed TORQ Performance Trail Running Team.  I am joining British trail runner Tracey Dean, in addition to a few other trail runners on the team, but I don't think they have been officially announced yet.  I understand that there will be an official launch of the team at the start of 2014.  But here is the news item on the TORQ website announcing my 'signing' to the team.  Sounds a bit like a Premier League club making a new signing.  Pity I don't get a huge weekly salary like the overpaid football superstars. Actually a pity I don't get paid anything!  Just the 'glory', friendship and support of being part of the team.

Although it is exciting to look to next year's races, I haven't quite finished my 2013 racing season.  Yes, this Saturday I am racing the Beachy Head Trail Marathon for the 12th consecutive year.  I have mentioned many times on my blog, just how good this race is, hence why I have already raced it eleven times previously.  Last year's race didn't quite result in the performance I was hoping for, so I have increased the level of non-physical training this year, to ensure my mind is in the right place come race day.

Although the extent at which 'getting the mind right' influences ones race performance isn't as great in a trail marathon as it is in say a 100 mile ultra trail race, the mind still plays a huge part in determining trail marathon performance.  I often receive comments to my blog highlighting that I perhaps place too much emphasis on the non-physical, i.e. the mental training.  It was therefore nice to hear Scott Jurek's comments in an excellent brief interview that was conducted by Ben Abdelnoor.  Here is a link to the interview.

Time to sign off with the words from ultra trail legend Scott Jurek:
"In ultras it's really more about the mental component than anything else"  Scott Jurek, 2013,speaking in the Lake District
All the best with your physical and non-physical training, and yes with your racing,