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Thursday, 30 July 2015

Yorkshire Marathon 2015 (Week 1 of 12) - Adidas Thunder Run

Yorkshire Marathon - Week 1 of 12

Mon 20/7: (am) 4.0 miles @ 9:10/mile
Mon 20/7: (pm) 4.0 miles @ 8:58/mile
Tues 21/7: 4.0 miles @ 8:41/mile
Weds 22/7: (am) 4.0 miles @ 9:02/mile
Weds 22/7: (pm) 4.0 miles incl Golden Acre Relays (2.75 miles @ 5:50/mile)
Thurs 23/7: 4.0 miles @ 8:32/mile
Fri 24/7: 4.0 miles @ 9:36/mile
Sat 25/7: Adidas Thunder Run (62.1 miles @ 8:00/mile - 3rd Mixed Pair)
Sun 26/7:

Total Mileage - 90.10 Miles

Time for another 12 week marathon build up :)

With The Yorkshire Marathon delivering my all time PB of 2:47:34 in 2014 it is a course with pleasant memories, so hopefully 2015 will also be kind with the weather conditions and then, who knows, there could be a chance of something similar resulting from this year's event.

The Plan

As would be expected by now, the plan as such is very light on detail - Lots of racing at lots of distances and backed up by a base of short 8:00+ min/mile runs. 

A plan summed up in one short sentence wouldn't sell many magazines!

Sat 25th/Sun 26th July - Adidas Thunder Run 24hours, Catton Park (3rd Mixed Pair, 20 laps, 200km)

There are certain things that neither Hannah nor myself are very keen on:

1. We don't like mud.
2. We don't like off road.
3. We're not interested in ultras.

So how on earth did we end up last weekend taking part in a muddy, off road 24 hour relay event?

There was certainly no intention to, in fact the idea was to enter the Wimbledon Half Marathon last Sunday. However, a few days before Thunder Run we noticed a post from Clapham Chasers stating that they had a spare team entry.

As usual, when the question was posed by Hannah my successive answers were no, no, no, no, no, what is it anyway?

A few days later we were lined up at Catton Park as a Mixed Pair with the team name Deli's Dawdlers.

What's in a name?

Deli was an ex racehorse (not a very good one by all accounts) who for the last few years has been Hannah's equine pal.

However, at 24 years old it sadly became inevitable that his innings was coming to a close. The picture below was a couple of weeks ago while he was enjoying his last treats of Polo Mints and apples and looking very happy into the bargain:

With two relay events in a week coming up, Golden Acre Relays and Thunder Run, requiring team names, Deli's Dawdlers was chosen as being very appropriate.

The Race

When we turned up at Catton Park on Friday evening it felt like we were blundering into something we really didn't understand but everyone else knew exactly what they were doing.

Our thinking was that we would at least get some decent mileage in over the 24 hours. We reckoned that we should be ok to get 5 laps each of the 10k course completed giving a team total of 62.1 miles and 31 miles each. 

Anything after that would be a real journey into the unknown. After having a quick glance at last year's results it seemed that almost without exception lap times really fell away as the event progressed. With this in mind our main objective was to not get broken and if it started to become a real struggle we would just call it a day.

Unlike most races the one thing that wasn't going to be in short supply was time - there was tons of the stuff, 1,440 minutes to be precise. We rarely run for more than 200 minutes so we were unlikely to utilise 720 minutes each without undue suffering. In other words, there was no rush - we just decided to run to feel at about the same effort level as our training during the week and just see what happens.

The scene was set:

(Pic courtesy of Ian Schofield)

The Airedale Dodgers were definitely ready (Alun Griffiths, Chris Healey, Moi, Hannah, Tracey Healey, Grampus) :

And at 12:00 pm on Saturday the event got under way:

Even though it was sunny and hot the course was muddy and slippy for the first couple of laps before gradually drying out as the laps passed by. Hannah steadily working her way around the twisty hilly course in the early stages :

24 hours 14 minutes (and 200km) later :

So what happened in between?

We didn't attempt any double laps, although it was contemplated at one point, so it was a case of alternating single laps throughout.

Laps 1-10

After the first two laps finding our feet so to speak we were surprised to see how consistently the laps were ticking over. The first 10 laps (100k) passed pretty smoothly but this was the point when things were expected to start getting tough.

Laps 11-14

After 10 laps we were advised that we were actually in the lead by 18 minutes. Although that was interesting news it seemed likely to be a very temporary state of affairs considering that we were nowhere near halfway yet and we had no idea what we were going to do from here on in.

Nevertheless we ploughed on quite happily and by 11:46 pm 14 laps had been completed and the lead had grown to an hour. Laps 13 and 14 had been a bit slower as it was now darkness and we had little experience of tip toeing through tricky tree roots and such like with just head torches to light the way.

During lap 13 Hannah had started to struggle with stomach issues, the legs were fine but fuelling was always going to be a bit of guesswork.

Since we had no intention of suffering unduly and the fact that we didn't think we would be able to use the full 24 hours anyway we decided to have a break during the hours of darkness. 

Laps 15-20

We didn't set an alarm, just slept until we woke up. 7 hours later we woke up with the intention of doing a lap each to round the event off.

Hannah went off and knocked off lap 15 in 49:50, clearly rejuvenated after a good night's kip.

Waiting for the changeover the news came that we were now in 8th position. That didn't seem too bad after taking the best part of 8 hours off!

Enquiring whether Hannah had now had enough I got the response 'there's 4 hours left yet'. 

Ok, on we go then :)

After the 5 laps from 15-19 had all taken 49:xx, the last lap was begun at 11:25 am.

Apparently we were still showing as 7th on the leaderboard (although Hannah's last lap wouldn't yet have been accounted for) so it was just a case of enjoying the last lap to round off a nice round 100 km each, the highest mileage either of us would have managed in 24 hours. The thing we felt most chuffed about though was that the legs still felt fine for both of us.

The 20th lap also took 49:xx to finish off a very consistent morning of 60km.

Feeling very happy with our efforts, after finishing I got an urge for a big fat burger (obviously not before the celebratory Guinness though). As the results screen was next to the burger queue we had a glance to see if we had improved on our 7th position at all.

There and then there was one of those 'blimey' moments. Somehow during the last 2 laps 7th had become 3rd and we ended up getting to stand on a pallet in a muddy field :)

For a proper blundering, naive approach we probably did ok :)

The whole process was made much easier by these guys, being a team of 6 I think they felt sorry for us and ensured that coffee and snacks were on tap when needed between legs. It really helped :)

Chris Healey, Sue Gregson, Rachel Parker, Alun Griffiths

Which meant that between legs we got to do this :) :

Congratulations go to Claire Spencer (Female Doubles - 22 laps) and Chris and Christina Singleton of Team Fastrax (Mixed 8 - 36 laps (new record)) for podium topping performances:

Congratulations also to John Robson and Terry Midgley ( team name John Terry) who also completed 20 laps on their first effort as a duo but managed to complete their 20 laps some 4 hours earlier than we did.

Would we do it again?

We probably wouldn't rush to do Thunder Run again but the concept certainly became slightly more appealing after last weekend. Maybe a 12 hour event next time?

Next Week:

Next week will probably involve parkrunning at Falls Park in Belfast, followed by 'Running Blind' at Stormont on Saturday afternoon (Me running blindfolded, can you imagine? :p ) and then the Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon in Dublin on Sunday.

Marathon Building Blocks:

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
28th Feb: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
1st March: 13.1 miles @ 6:24/mile
8th March: 26.21 miles @ 6:23/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
14th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
15th March: 20.0 miles @ 6:25/mile
21st March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
22nd March: 9.65 miles @ 6:18/mile
28th March: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
29th March:  11.2 miles @ 6:08/mile)
4th April: 3.1 miles @ 6:00/mile
12th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
18th April: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
19th April: 5.8 miles @ 6:04/mile
26th April: 26.21 miles @ 6:32/mile
4th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:40/mile
6th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
10th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
13th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:36/mile
16th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
17th May: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
20th May: 3.1 miles @ 5:37/mile
23rd May: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
24th May: 1.0 mile @ 5:07/mile
30th May: 26.21 miles @ 6:37/mile
6th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:58/mile
7th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:05/mile
10th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 6:20/mile
13th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
14th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:02/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
20th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
21st Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:31/mile
25th Jun: 10.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
26th Jun: 13.1 miles @ 6:11/mile
27th Jun: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
27th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:15/mile
28th Jun: 6.21 miles @ 6:42/mile
1st Jul: 1.0 miles @ 5:11/mile
5th Jul: 26.21 miles @ 6:35/mile
9th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
11th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
12th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:50/mile
18th Jul: 3.1 miles @ 5:57/mile
18th Jul: 6.21 miles @ 5:43/mile
19th Jul: 13.1 miles @ 6:15/mile
22nd Jul: 2.75 miles @ 5:50/mile
25th/26th Jul: 62.1 miles @ 8:00/mile

Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)
2015 March - Wrexham Marathon 2:48:12 (Age 48) (5th)
2015 April - Canberra ACT Marathon 2:52:10 (Age 48) (15th)
2015 April - London Marathon 2:50:55 (Age 48)
2015 May - Belfast City Marathon 2:54:54 (Age 48) 
2015 May - Kent Roadrunner Marathon 2:53:34 (Age 49) (4th)
2015 July - Potteries Marathon 2:52:40 (Age 49) (6th)

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