Freckleton Half Marathon
I always try to defend my title in races if I can and I managed to win this prestigious race on the 7th consecutive time. It’s the UK’s oldest half marathon with a quality list of previous winners; the record holder is none other than Ron Hill, who ran a blistering 64:45 in 1969. Whilst my pb is 65:27, it’s fair to say that the conditions often make Freckleton a very challenging race and the best I’ve run here is a respectable, though modest 67:38. I don’t ever expect to challenge the course record, but I remain determined to post at least a 66 minute time at this race… eventually!
I had hoped that it would be at this years’ race and the weather forecast was promising, 14 degrees and cloudy, perfect! My plan was to run in a similar way to the Sheffield half last month, by going out hard and trying to keep as close to a 5 minute per mile schedule as possible. As it turned out, it was more like 25 degrees under a blazing sun for the start at 2pm. I decided to stick to the plan and soon opened up a gap in front. I reached 3 miles in 14:55 and after the climb up to Wrea Green I reached 6 miles in 30:25. I was up on my best time here, but it was feeling hard work and I was grabbing sponges and cups of water at every station. The wheels started to fall off as I reached 8 miles in 41:12 and I was getting behind schedule with a tough section still coming up at 10 miles. I was all in with the last few miles to go, the fast start and heat had caught up with me, now I just had to hope that the runners wouldn’t! I managed to win by 45 seconds ahead of a fast finishing Rob Affleck who ran brilliantly to get a new pb in those conditions. I wish I could have said the same for my performance, 70:30 is a bit of a shocker and not really a worthy winning time for such a classic race. Still, it’s always great to come back here each year, the local support is phenomenal and to top it off you get a classic Brian Porter speech to kick off the presentation!
North Of England Championships, 5,000m
Despite a poor run at Freckleton, my training has been going pretty well, so I eased off to an 81 mile week and was confident of putting in a good run. Looking at the start list, previous champion Alan Buckley would be a big threat and I don’t think I have ever beaten him in a track race before. On turning up I noticed Meles Okbazghi and knew he was very quick indeed. The conditions were windy, so I had no idea how the race would go, I figured I could find myself at the front if it got tactical, which proved to be the case. I set off with roughly 69 second lapping, hitting 1km in around 2:52, I felt good, but knew I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours leading all the way at that pace in the wind. I slowed down to see if anyone would take it on for a couple of laps, but after running a 3 minute kilometre I was still at the front and decided on plan B. I started putting in random surges to break up the pack behind me, which seemed to work as I heard the announcer say the lead was down to two runners by 3k (8:47). I knew I wouldn’t drop Okbazghi, so I just kept the pace steady, bracing myself for what I’d expect to be a very fast final lap. The kick came earlier and faster than I anticipated with just under 600m to go, Okbazghi shot past me like a 400m runner. To put it bluntly, he completely destroyed me, running that final 600m in 1:31. He won by 12 seconds in 14:32 and Alan Buckley finished 3rd about 10 seconds behind me. I was happy with my run, on reflection, there was no other way I could have run it and clearly Okbazghi could have dropped the hammer at any stage of the race to beat the rest of us.
This will be my last update prior to blogging for the athletics site; eightlane. Just search my name under the blogging header and hey presto!
Training over the past few weeks has gone well:
Sun 2nd: 4pm – 11 miles steady from work in 64:50. Forgot my shorts so had to run home in tracksuit trousers!
Mon 3rd: 7:15am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm – Session: 5x 1 mile (90 sec rec) Lindow road circuit. 4:58, 4:57, 4:57, 4:55, 4:57, 4:58. 8 miles total.
Tue 4th: 5pm – 7 miles easy to Stockport in 48 mins. Easy day.
Wed 5th: 7:40am – 5.5 miles steady to Stockport in 32:55, nearly late for the train. 7pm – Session: 20x 400m (30 sec jog rec), Gatley. Felt good, averaged 71/72’s, track a bit rutted. 12.5 miles total.
Thur 6th: 7:35am – 5.5 miles to Stockport easy in 36:50. 6pm – 13 miles home easy in 1hr 29.
Fri 7th: 10am – 21 miles out and around Swinton half marathon route in 2hr 14. Very hot, a bit dehydrated.
Sat 8th: 6pm – 11 miles progression run home, last 5 miles in 27:06.
Sun 9th: 9am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 4pm – 10.5 miles home easy at around 7 min per mile pace.
Mon 10th: 7:30am – 4 miles easy to Piccadilly in 28 mins. 6pm – 11 miles home steady in 64:40
Tue 11th: 10am – SESSION: 10x 1,000m (jog 200m/ 1 min rec) on Gatley track. 3:03, 3:02, 3:03, 3:03, 3:05, 3:05, 3:07, 3:04, 3:05, 3:09. Second half felt harder than it should, struggled in the wind .11 miles total.
Wed 12th: 8am – 5 miles to work from Cheadle in 34:48. 6pm – 11 miles home in 71 mins. Felt good, didn’t push it.
Thur 13th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport easy in 36:20. 6pm – SESSION: 6x 1 mile (90 sec rec) Lindow Road Circuit. 4:58, 4:57, 4:57, 4:55, 4:57, 4:59. Went better than Tuesdays session. Then got the train and ran 3 miles home. Total of 11 miles.
Fri 14th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport easy in 37 mins. 6pm – 10.5 miles home in 69 mins, took it easy.
Sat 15th: 8am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm – 10.5 miles home easy in 71 mins.
Sun 16th: 2pm – Freckleton Half, 1st 70:30. 15 miles total.
Mon 17th: 7:30am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm: 7 miles easy from Stockport in 48:40.
Tue 18th: 9am – 4 miles steady on Gatley track in 20:33, 7 miles total.
Wed 19th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 36:20. 6pm – Session: 2 sets 8x 200m fast, easy session. 13 miles including run home after.
Thur 20th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 39 mins, stiff. 6pm – 10.5 miles home in 68:25.
Fri 21st: 9am – 6 miles easy around Heald Green and Gatley in 41:23. Easy day.
Sat 22nd: 8am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 3pm – NoEAA 5,000m, 2nd in 14:44. 6 miles total.