Sunday, 31 January 2010

race coverage

Well done to all those involved in William Sichel's website for providing first class coverage of the Espoo indoor 24 hour race.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the race as events unfolded and, from a personal point of view, I was most interested to see how Paul Hart would fare.

I did feel a bit sad for him not reaching his target of 236 km after such a promising debut last October ... I am also a bit glad though as the selectors meet next weekend to choose the team to represent UK at the World 24 hr Championships in May and Paul's performance is definitely better for me.

At the moment I feel that I've about a 50% chance of being selected.  Still training hard though and I'm probably fitter now than I was this time last year.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

an enjoyable evening yesterday, a rant today

Enjoyed a lovely evening yesterday at Korks in Otley with a chance to catch up with those Otley AC members I don't see often enough - Janice, Eric, Malcolm, Huw, Phil Robinson, Bridget and loads of others.

It was good to see the trophies awarded to those runners not normally associated with athletic prowess ... and the introduction of awards for new club records is a good idea I think.

One thing though ... why do some people refer to me as a 'heavy metal fan' ?  I know my music collection has some stuff that most people would categorise as 'heavy metal':

Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Motorhead, Saxon, Twisted Sister, Van Halen, Velvet Revolver

But there is also lots of stuff that no-one would claim to be 'heavy metal':

Barclay James Harvest, The Beatles, Blackmore's Night, Blondie, The Blues Brothers, The Doors, Ian Dury, Eagles, ELP, Gnarles Barkley, Jethro Tull, Journey, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Marillion, Bob Marley, Maroon 5, Robert Palmer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rolling Stones, Rush, Scissor Sisters, Seasick Steve, Patti Smith, Squeeze, Stray Cats, The Zutons, ZZ Top

And then there's the third group, that in which some people might define as 'heavy metal':

AC/DC, The Answer, Chris Cornell, Deep Purple, Def Leppard, Evanescence, Extreme, Foo Fighters, Ian Gillan, Heart, Linkin Park, Meat Loaf, My Chemical Romance, Nazareth, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rainbow, Soul Asylum, Stereophonics, The Sweet, UFO, Uriah Heep, Whitesnake

Over on the left hand side, and down a bit, you'll find a list of what music I'm listening too most commonly at the moment and of the ten albums listed I would say that five belong in the second group and five in the third group. The strange one (and one of my favourites) is the Whitesnake album Starkers In Tokyo ... some people would say that Whitesnake are a heavy metal band and yet this live album is simply one singer and one acoustic guitar (no drums and no loud electric guitars).  It is therefore impossible to say that this is a 'heavy metal album'.  It is very good though.

OK ... rant over.

PS ... when it was decided last November that Otley AC should enter a team in the Pennine Bridleway Relay I immediately sent an email to the team captain offering my services.   I haven't heard anything since but the event is tomorrow and I know we have a team entered.  I presume we had more than enough people to fill a team ...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

news update

Still very cold outside.  Not running today but yesterday I still needed a hat and three pairs of gloves!!!!  There hasn't been any snow for a week or so now but the average temperature on my training runs has still been around zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit).

Mike Blamires recently picked up on the item from my last post about the Melbourne to Sydney race of 1985.  His recent post compares the nutrition strategy of Yiannis Kouros in that race to my nutrition strategy during the Run To London.  Mike does know a bit about that as he was one of my helpers last May - he ran with me for 25 miles or so beginning at about 4.30am on the Sunday morning.  One thing he later said will always stay with me:  "I never thought I'd see a man run 200km in 24 hours and yet look so fresh."

Thanks Mike ... without your help I couldn't have raised well over £2000.

A few days into the future now and on Friday there's the Annual Presentation Evening of my club - Otley AC. The Runner Of The Year competition was won by Tom Hannah and the Handicap competition by Billy Rayner. I didn't finish in the top three in either of those competitions but I do think that the rules of the Runner Of The Year competition make it very difficult, if not impossible, for an ultra distance runner to win.

Although I doubt I'll be collecting any trophies this year it's still an enjoyable evening with lots of food, drink and memories of 2009 with the good company of over 50 members of Otley AC.   Unfortunately Fay will be absent this year, for the first time, she has another important meeting to attend instead.

Speaking of Fay ... she fell badly at lunchtime today and came home with torn trousers, a cut and badly bruised knee and a swollen hand.

On a final note all the best to William Sichel who's taking part in the Espoo indoor 24hr race in Helsinki at the weekend. He's using it as part of his build up to the 1000 mile race in Athens in March. I believe Paul Hart is also running in Helsinki.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

just for fun ...

Just found this on - a short and simple animation ... but it's very good.
Nike - Onwards by James Jarvis

And this website - - is quickly building a repository of races, results, articles, etc. One of the more recent articles is entitled Energy Balance in Ultramarathon Running and is a study of Yiannis Kouros' Sydney to Melbourne race in 1985.  A very interesting read it is too ...

Saturday, 16 January 2010

future plans coming together - slowly

Weather here is getting much better now.  The snow has almost gone and temperatures are above freezing again.

Running has been much easier although I do think the past few weeks have offered unexpected benefits in the form of extra strength training - for body and mind.

As far as racing goes, there are one of two things in the pipeline - all in the very early planning stages at present.  The first of them is the World Championships 24 hr in Brive for which I hope to be selected to represent UK.

[Although I wouldn't be surprised if the selectors decided against sending a full team].

There is also an interesting document on England Athletics website.  It is entitled '2010 Selection Policy Ultra Distance' and qualifying criteria are specified for 50k, 100k and 24 hours.  Does this mean England are planning to send a team to a 24 hr race later this year ?  If so, which one ?

I note that the A Standard has been set at 225 km. I ran 231 km only four months ago and 228 km in October 2009 so I see no problems at all for selection to an England team this year.

The document can be found here. Click the link on the right hand side of that page.

Also planning for next year - and even 2012.  A 48 hr race is probable for 2012 and another very long charity run for the year after.

In the meantime there's lots more to achieve - the foremost being 150 miles in 24 hours.

Friday, 8 January 2010

selection policies

UK Athletics have announced their selection policies for 100k and 24 hr championship races in 2010.  Find them at the bottom of this page on their website.

Interestingly, the 24 hr policy mentions that, in the not too distant future, a trial race may be used as part of the selection procedure ... hmmmm.

I've put a link to that on this page along with the selection policies of USA and Ireland for comparison.  Those for Canada and Australia haven't been announced yet but I'll link to them in due course.

Also added a wee bit to this page.

Just found a rather good satellite photograph of UK taken yesterday morning. Notice how everything is white ... deep snow over the whole country.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

bad weather

Training is continuing as normally as possibly in this prolonged spell of snowy and exceptionally cold weather. The photo below, taken by Martin Bland, is from a large city not too far from where I live.

A quicker training run isn't easy at the moment but ... things are progressing very well thank you.

Just heard on the tv weather forecast that we've got at least another ten days of this snowy and cold weather.

On a slightly different subject ... statistics from this well respected German website referring to 2009 show that my ranking for 24 hr races has progressed from number 56 in the world (2008) to number 44.

Similarly my European ranking has moved from 45 (in 2008) to 32 but my UK ranking has fallen from 3 to 4 [because of Richard Quennell's fantastic run at Tooting Bec in October].

Overall these stats show a marked improvement from me ... but I know there's much more to come yet.

Now for the weird and unexpected stuff.

During my Run To London I covered 218 miles (350 km) in 45 hours.  If I had covered that distance in a 48 hour race my rankings for 2009 would have been:

world ... 8
Europe ... 6
UK ... 1
England ... 1

Well impressed by this and these stats give me lots of hope for a good debut in a proper 48 hr race in 2011 or 2012.