Thursday, 30 April 2009

World Challenge & European Championships

All the best to Sharon Gayter, Vicky Skelton, Pauline Walker, Lynne Kuz and Stephen Mason who are representing the UK in Italy this weekend at the 24 hr World Challenge and European Championships.

I believe they fly out today, the race is Saturday and Sunday, and they return home on Monday.

You can keep up to date on the IAU website by clicking on 'Live Updates' which is near the top, in the middle.

There's a good womens team going and if they all perform well they could bring back a medal ... hope so.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

good press

Just read last week's Athletics Weekly and there's a very good piece about William Sichel in there - a whole page no less, including photos.

Very good it is too, and very well deserved after he beat the age group 6 day world record recently in Athens. His new world over 55 road record is 466.65 miles.

Good result William. Well done to him and his crew.

And well done to Athletics Weekly for keeping up with the ultra running stories recently.

Friday, 24 April 2009

slight changes

Hello all. Recently been in contact with Tom Meldrum (a few times actually) over the past month or two. He came first in the recent Crawley 12 hr race with 75.8 miles and he has a very good blog which I've added to the list entitled 'Other Blogs I Like' over on the left.

I've also done a minor update to the Help & Advice page.

Also, all the best to Richie Cunningham and Phil Robertson who are running The Highland Fling Race at the weekend - 53 miles on The West Highland Way in Scotland. And also to the Otley AC runners in the London Marathon on Sunday ... running 26 miles with over 30,000 other folk isn't my idea of fun but some people are apparently very good at it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

plans for next month

Recently entered the East Hull 24 hr race. I'm not planning to run the whole event as I don't think I'll recover sufficiently for the Commonwealth Championships in September which is the main target this year. I'm just planning to run 100 miles in Hull.

May looks like it's going to be very busy for me:

Sun 3 May - meeting #1 for crew of Run To London
Mon 4 May - wedding anniversary & Fay's birthday
Thu 7 May - Harrogate League race 1 in Thirsk
Fri 8 May - Torch Race (annual relay race up Otley Chevin by local scout groups - I'm involved with Otley Parish Scouts)
Sat 9 May - meeting #2 for crew of Run To London
Sun 10 May - meeting #3 for crew of Run To London
Tue 12 May - Otley AC committee meeting
Sat/Sun 16/17 May - England Ultra Squad Weekend in Gloucester
Wed 20 May - Harrogate League race 2 in Wetherby
Sat/Sun/Mon 23/24/25 May - Run To London
Fri 29 May - Keir's birthday

Mustn't neglect training although most of May is either tapering or recovering !!!

Yesterday I came across a 33 year old song I haven't heard before but which I wish I had - it's absolutely brilliant. I found it on the free DVD which came with the current issue of Classic Rock magazine. The song is Magic Man and it's by Heart. It was originally on their debut album (released in 1976) but this superlative live version is from Dreamboat Annie Live.

The version below isn't quite as good in my opinion but it's from 1977 so shows a performance from around the time it was written and recorded.


I've known about Heart for at least 25 years now but for some reason missed this song.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


For the past nine months or so Keir has been progressing towards his Duke of Edinbugh bronze award. Among other things he has been studying Latin in evening classes and training for a 5k race.

The training has taken about three months during which time he's run three or four times a week and he seems to have enjoyed it. He's certainly been committed ... going out in all weathers, including running through snow drifts on Otley Chevin when it would have been more sensible to turn back and take an alternative route.

Well the 5k race was today in Leeds at Hyde Park and he finished in 77th position with 25:24. He enjoyed himself and no doubt gained a lot of self confidence from the fact that there were 63 finishers behind him.

I'm proud of him ...

For his silver award he may train for a 10k race at the start of next year.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

science lesson

Read an article in the Metro newspaper yesterday about sports drinks. The piece by Jo Steele reads:

"Want to be a better athlete? Well, forget altitude training and high-carb diets - it's your taste buds you should be concentrating on.

"Swilling a sugary sports drink around the mouth before exercising can apparently boost performance - even if it is spat out afterwards.

"Sugars - carbohydrates - in liquids such as energy drinks fire receptors in the mouth which stimulate the brain to increase output, tests found.

"The result is an average two per cent boost in exercise performance, with the added bonus of athletes not even feeling as if they are working any harder.

" 'Much of the benefit from carbohydrate in sports drinks is provided by signalling directly from mouth to brain rather than providing energy for the working muscles,' said physiologist Dr Edward Chambers.

"Energy drinks have long been known to boost exercise performance but experts have said the sugar hit alone is not enough to explain the improvement ...

"[During endurance tests with cyclists] previously unidentified receptors in the mouth sent pleasure signals to the brain, which reduced the cyclists' perception of the workload, said Dr Chambers, of Birmingham University, in the Journal of Physiology.

Interesting stuff there. So, sports drinks have two roles: to provide a bit of energy for the working muscles and to provide a placebo effect for the brain. This actually makes a bit of sense - Noakes writes about fatigue in terms of a Central Governor in his book Lore Of Running. He writes on page 19 (fourth edition)

"... the increasing feeling of fatigue and the progressive reduction in the capacity of the exercising muscles to maintain a constant work output during prolonged exercise results from currently unrecognized processes in the brain, which presumably act to prevent bodily harm during such exercise. This model theorizes that performance during exercise is determined by two separate phenomena:
  1. A pacing strategy that is preprogrammed into the athlete's subconscious brain as a result of previous training and racing experiences.
  2. Acute alterations to that preprogrammed strategy resulting from sensory input from a variety of organs - heart, muscle, brain, blood and lungs, among others - to the exercise controller or governor in the brain. Output from the controller to the motor cortex then determines the mass of skeletal muscle that can be activated and for how long, thereby determining the pacing strategy that the subconscious brain adopts during exercise.
"At the same time, information is sent from the controller to the emotional and other centers in the brain. These influence the level of discomfort that is felt, the emotional response, and the self-talk and self-doubt that are additional but poorly understood features of the fatigue that develops during exercise.
Hope you were paying attention at the back ...

Also updated this page with a couple of things kindly provided by John Pares. And also this page.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Crawley 12 hr

Apologies to Tom Meldrum but I should really have included this in yesterday's post.

Well done to him on winning the Crawley A.I.M. 12 hr track race at the weekend with 78.5 miles (whilst I was racing 2.36 miles !!!). I know he's entered the Tooting 24 hr race in October and this is a good stepping stone for him in his first track ultra.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Marathon des Sables

Congratulations to Mike Blamires on his good run in the desert recently. I would think he'd be very pleased with his run (289th place out of almost 900).

In Stockport yesterday I was speaking to someone from his club (Neil Bant ? from Beverley AC) and he confirmed that Mike was having a good time and doing well.

Seen the blackbird about in the garden recently so the dead one I found a few days ago isn't the one who nests in our tree.

William Sichel is going well too in the Athens International Ultramarathon Festival - leading the seven day race after the third day.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Finally got around to updating this page. Yes, I know ... I'll try very hard to update it more frequently in future.

In the meantime though - see you in Stockport on Sunday (some of you anyway).

Meanwhile here's a sad story totally unrelated to running. Over the past six years or so we've had a pair of blackbirds nesting in the garden. They're only here between February and September but every year they come back and build a nest in the tree, lay some eggs, etc, etc. It's been lovely watching the chicks grow.

A couple of days ago I found a dead blackbird in one of the corners. It hadn't been attacked by another animal so I suppose it had succumbed to old age or illness. I don't even know if it's the one who comes back every year to raise his family. With the decent weather returning now though it'll be strange if I don't see the blackbird family regularly.