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Monday, 12 October 2015

Yorkshire Marathon 2015 (Week 12 of 12)

Week 12 (Race Week)

Mon 5/10: 4.0 miles @ 8:37/mile
Tues 6/10: 4.0 miles @ 8:52/mile
Weds 7/10:  4.0 miles @ 8:22/mile
Thurs 8/10: 4.0 miles @ 8:38/mile
Fri 9/10: 4.0 miles @ 8:24/mile
Sat 10/10: 4.0 miles incl. Fountains Abbey parkrun 20:58 (33rd) (3.1 miles @ 6:46/mile)  [Hannah 20:58 (2nd)]
Sun 11/10: Yorkshire Marathon 2:59:30 (26.21 miles @ 6:51/mile).   [Hannah 2:53:23 (4th)]

Total Weekly Mileage:  50.21 Miles

Saturday 10th October - Fountains Abbey parkrun (20:58)      [Hannah 20:58]

The pre-marathon parkrun choice this time was Fountains Abbey in North Yorks.

We were looking for a run to get the blood flowing and to keep things supple but at the same time avoiding pushing too much and causing stiffness the next day. Around 21 minutes seems to fit the bill, so job done on that front.

Most of the run was in the company of the Comrades completing tough cookie, Helen Williams, who is well on her way back to sub 20 fitness.

It was great to see Adam Prentis, the ED at Fountains, still glowing from his first sub 3 marathon performance in Berlin 2 weeks ago.

As is often the case, along with Tom and Helen Williams and Jamie and Debbie Dillasser, we were probably the last to leave the cafe as post run chatter kept chattering!

Sunday 11th October - Yorkshire Marathon 2015 2:59:30       [Hannah 2:53:23 (4th)]

So race day arrived and conditions were looking absolutely perfect as we pulled into York.

Walking out of the car park the first person we bumped into was Steve Chapman (left in the pic below). We were chatting away and then a chap walking behind us carrying a cake joined in the conversation. It was a very familiar sounding voice, as it would be to anyone vaguely connected to Yorkshire, none other than Mr Harry Gration, the evergreen presenter of Look North and a vast array of sporting events.

It wasn't going to be the only instance of being photographed with Mr Gration but more of that later: 

Relaxing pre race with race winner Joasia Zakrzewski and comparing optimal fuelling strategies:

After a bit of striding out in the warm up area and the usual pre race banter with the familiar faces lining up ready for the start I was approached by an official who asked the question "Are you Steve?"

Well, there really is only one answer to that question so I gave it, "Yes".

Little did I know that that particular answer meant that I qualified to be classed as a 'famous celebrity' and was ushered along to be lined up with my fellow famous celebs:

Keith Senior -  ex Leeds Rhino rugby league player, considered by some to be the greatest player of the Super League era.

Nicola Rees - BBC Look North presenter.

Harry Gration - BBC Look North presenter.

Mr Burton - Star of Educating Yorkshire.

Emily Freeman - UK 200m Champion 2008 & 2009, Beijing Olympics 200m runner.

Steve Darby - Erm, who????? Don't know but he must be quite famous cos he's in this pic:

I don't know who I was supposed to be but as I went back to the starting pen I remember saying to Hannah in a state of bewilderment ...... 'I have no idea what just happened'.

Maybe half the problem was that I was wearing a gold 'VIP' wristband and since I clearly wasn't an elite athlete then I must be a minor celebrity of some sort, right? That might be the case if I had earned the wristband in my own right but I only had it as a '+1' to Hannah. 

An amusing start to the day :)

Harry getting into the swing of things in the 10 mile race:

0-10k - 40:26   [Hannah 41:03]

The early part of the race was just a matter of ignoring whats going on around and just settling into a nice relaxed rhythm through the centre of York and then out into the surrounding country lanes.

It is pretty much flat throughout so a time of 40:26 was comfortable and established a good foundation for the rest of the race.

10-20k - 39:45    [Hannah 40:46]

The 2nd 10k was unproblematic consisting of a flowing run through country lanes taking in one or two villages along the way.

In 2014 it was at this stage, approaching halfway, that a sense of 'this is going to be a good one' was starting to emerge and, as it turned out, that was correct that day with a final 2:47:34 PB being the result.

This year it was feeling equally as promising, if not better, than last year so there was no need to push too hard at this stage but just to be patient and let the effort build gradually over the second half.

20-30k - 40:55     [Hannah 40:58]

There is a turnround point at about 14 miles and then there is a long straight 4 mile run to another turnround point at 18 miles. Hannah was looking very smiley at the 14 mile point as I let her know she was in 4th. As she had been given conflicting information about her position up to that point, kniwing she was in 4th probably proved useful.

This section is really enjoyable as you start it in the formative stages of the race and by the time you get to the other end you are firmly focussed on getting ready for the finishing stages.

The picture below was coming up to the end of this section at 18 miles. 

Just in front was Tori Green (currently in 2nd), hence the presence of the Channel 4 camera bike, with Simon Newton acting as pacemaker.

Momentum was building nicely and thoughts of pushing on to have a go at the 2:47 PB were seeming very realistic.

However, there was one fly in the ointment. In the mile leading up to this point there had been two instances of a momentary strange feeling in the right calf. It felt like a cold marble shooting down and around the calf, something never experienced before. It had affected one stride and then disappeared each time resulting in no loss of momentum.

As I joined Simon and Tori I mentioned that everything was feeling great apart from something strange in the calf:

(Photo courtesy of Anne Akers)

Just after the turnround point came a defining point which felt like being shot in the right calf which caused a sudden and involuntary coming to a halt. 

My first thought was not to trip Tori and affect her race. As can be seen below my demise was probably caught on Ch.4 but hopefully it won't make it into the highlights ;)

This time it felt much more serious and although the shooting pain disappeared as soon as I stopped each attempt to get going again with a slow jog lasted no more than about 20 strides or so.

After 8-10 such attempts I pretty much accepted the inevitable and started to look for a way of getting a lift back to the finish. I kept walking hoping that I would see someone familiar or at least get some help from a marshal.

Every now and again I tried another jog with a bit of a different emphasis on how the foot was striking the ground to see if that would help me get a bit further. Hannah passed as a bit of calf self massaging was taking place at the side of the road. Well, it was worth a try. Then several other familiar faces passed by on both sides of the road as runners were going in both directions at this point.

30-40k - 47:52      [Hannah 41:32]

Martin Hall came by on his way to 1st place V55 just before the 20 mile mark. I was still walking as he passed but thought I'd give it another go to at least shorten the time to the university, walking would take about 90 minutes so any bouts of jogging would shorten that.

With an attempt to strike more with the heel and the outside of the foot a continuous jog of more than 200m was achieved for the first time in 2 miles. Ok, a bit of an improvement then ....... but will it last.

On passing the 20 mile mark a quick glance at the watch showed 2:14 had elapsed. This was surprising as time was being lost hand over fist between 18-20 miles.

So now that a continuous running motion had been reestablished and there was still 46 minutes left to cover the final 10k could a sub 3 still be possible? Might as well give it a go.

It was slow and deliberate but at 22 miles there was still 32 minutes left. Thoughts now were along the lines of just maintaining this pace and mentally having 2 x 1 minute walk breaks held in reserve should the calves start to struggle. The sub 3 was still doable, which was something of a surprise.

There was still 18 minutes left at the 24 mile mark and this was the point where it felt like the odds were on my side. The current rhythm seemed maintainable without aggravating whatever the problem was.

Finish - 2:59:30       [Hannah 2:53:37]

Just after 25 miles and I heard the reassuring and motivational shout from the crowd of 'You've had yer arse whooped today, Darby'. That was Caz Hall, my ex-friend ;)

Half way up the final hill and Mark Hetherington advised that there was 3 minutes of running to go.

I had a gut feeling that the sub 3 was now pretty much in the bag ......... until the finish line clock came into view. It was displaying a time of 3:02:xx. Bearing in mind that wangling a start up with the elites left no chip time adjustment to fall back on, so it came as something of a relief when Martin Yelling announced that the current finishers should still be well within 3 hours.

It turned out that the clock had been started for the wheelchair race and was showing their elapsed time.

Meanwhile, Hannah was sailing along delivering another materclass in pacing - 1st half 1:26:50, 2nd half 1:26:47. Does it get much better than a 3 secs negative split? 4th place overall in 2:53:23 with the podium finishers as follows:

1. Joasia Zakrzewski 2:48:48
2. Rose Nicholson 2:49:45
3. Tori Green 2:50:32

(Pic courtesy of Anne Akers)

How about this for a classic shot as Tony Aimon is captured having a whale of a time just ahead of Kelvin Dickinson's Sub 3 pacing group:

(Pic courtesy of Noel Akers)

The Finish straight where many a story unfolded throughout the day:

The Sue Gregson pre-race hug was unfortunately missed this year .......... but a post race replacement made up for it :)

2015 Marathon Summary

Between us we've had a few ebbs and flows this year on the marathon front but these are nice looking summaries that Hannah dug out with 8 sub 3s each and an average time only 44 secs apart.

It is fair to say that the sub 3 sequence has been living a bit of a charmed life on my part for the last couple of races - but a sub 3 is a sub 3, they all count :)

30 Years Between First and Last Sub-3 Marathons

As mentioned last week there was a special incentive to land a sub 3 this week as it took the time elapsed since the first sub 3 marathon, at Brussels on 30th Sept 1985 (2:52), to 30 years and 14 days.

Is that the last sub 3 or might it be extended a little further? Time will tell.....

The House of Trembling Madness, York

Post marathon celebrations moments before the glass in Hannah's hand shattered and gashed her wrist. Quite nasty but could have been worse!

From left - ex-friend Caz Hall ;) , Kelvin Dickinson (sub 3 pacer extraordinaire), Hannah and Ian Ward, who after looking very unlikely to make the start line completed successfully in 3:35.


There may be another marathon shortly ..............

Marathon Building Blocks (getting a bit long now but this is the year in a nutshell once all the slow short runs are removed) :

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
1st Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:54/mile
1st Aug: 3.1 miles @ 6:47/mile
1st Aug: 6.21 miles @ 6:24/mile
2nd Aug: 13.1 miles @ 6:34/mile
6th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:49/mile
8th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:45/mile
9th Aug: 5.0 miles @ 5:57/mile
15th Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:40/mile
16th Aug: 10.0 miles @ 6:00/mile
22nd Aug: 3.1 miles @ 5:52/mile
22nd Aug: 10.0 miles @ 6:15/mile
23rd Aug: 6.5 miles @ 6:19/mile
29th Aug: 1.0 miles @ 5:05/mile
30th Aug: 6.21 miles @ 5:58/mile
5th Sept: 48.0 miles @ 7:11/mile
13th Sept: 26.21 miles @ 6:51/mile
19th Sept: 3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile
20th Sept: 13.1 miles @ 6:03/mile
26th Sept: 3.1 miles @ 5:48/mile
26th Sept: 3.1 miles @ 5:59/mile
27th Sept: 6.21 miles @ 5:51/mile
2nd Oct: 3.1 miles @ 5:47/mile
2nd Oct: 10.0 miles @ 6:10/mile
10th Oct: 3.1 miles @ 6:46/mile
11th Oct: 26.21 miles @ 6:51/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)
2015 September - Mary Anderson Colour Marathon 2:59:17 (Age 49) (7th)
2015 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:59:30 (Age 49)


  1. Another good day at the office for you both, well done! Shame the calf took a different view to your brain but hey sub 3 is sub 3. It has been good to follow progress through this blog, just like the running 'consistent effort' and a good result. Overall a pretty good year it seems. Winter races to come, then on to Spring. Keep-Running you two, you inspire so many :-)

  2. Kind words, thank you very much.
    We're going to have another crack next week at Leicester Marathon so we'll see how that goes ........ :)