Archive for February, 2012

Ain’t nothing like a bit of competition:

ARSE Award

Me winning the A.R.S.E award for the handicap race in 2011 (Award for Runner's Season of Excellence)

If you follow me on twitter (and let’s face it, you should), you’ll probably have seen me pipe-up on Thursdays with something like,

“Another 11 secs off the (not quite) 5K PB today (paced round by the bull that is @RW_ed_Andy).”

…or…

“Paced to a 5K PB today by the determined Deputy Editor @runnersworlduk. Now down to 18:30 (18 seconds off last week). #shapeofmylife”

So what the hell am I talking about? Well, working for the UK’s #1 running title has its perks. Every Thursday, myself and a few colleagues do a little warm-up jog south of the river (London) to meet up with the team who organise the Virgin London Marathon. These guys, very kindly, run a 5K handicap race for us. Equipped with stopwatches and a spreadsheet, two guys will set 15+ runners off on a course around Central London.

The course, which actually works out at about 2.95 miles, crosses a fairly major road (twice) and is positively teaming with tourists. And the field is made up of all sorts of runners, with varying abilities (from just under half-an-hour to a chap who can do it in 14 minutes!). If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a handicap race, because the abilities of the competitors varies so much, the start of the race is staggered so that people end up finishing at roughly the same time. While this makes the timekeeper’s job hard, it makes for very entertaining racing (with a lot of gut-busting sprint finishes involved).

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Sub 3:45 or die!

Success in the ballot

Success in the ballot

After three failed attempts at gaining a London Marathon place through the over-subscribed ballot system, I finally managed to bag one. I’d have been running in 2013 either way as I’ve been able to creep into the 5-goes-and-you-get-a-guaranteed-place system before they phased it out. But in April 2012, I’ll be running the Virgin London Marathon without the pressure of raising money for a charity, or being followed as a pacer. This year it’s all about me!

Actually, it’s always been about me. I’m writing a blog documenting the highs and lows of my personal training, a subject that interests no-one but me. How narcissistic can you get? I mean, come on. “Oooh, boo hoo, I lost a toenail.” or “Look at me, here’s how many hits this blog has had.” [I actually did this.]

And to top it off, I’ve been writing posts describing, in detail, just how little training I’m actually doing, in the hope of running a sub 4-hour marathon on my first go? My naivety was actually pointed out to me quite recently by some forum members on Runner’s World while I was writing a piece on running a sub 20-minute 5K. And they were quite right to scrutinize. “Jogging occasionally” was pretty much what I was doing.

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