Archive for September, 2010


I wrote this ages ago. Like almost a year, duuude. So some of the race-specific stuff might nor make sense. If it doesn’t; ignore it.


I was looking through the UK athletics rankings website. It covers everyone’s performances, race results etc. Pretty much a great resource for trainspotters like me.

Anyway, following the weekend’s races, I was browsing around checking results etc and I clicked on our top runner’s account (he finished his leg in 2nd place overall and is just barely old enough to enter). He is 17 and what brought it home to me was seeing his year of birth in writing. 1993. I had already finished school for Pete’s sake. My first year at university and first year of proper running. I remember breaking 29 minutes for 5 miles (we called it 8km, in metric SA) that year as an 18-year-old.

Whilst I was doing that in sunny Randburg, a little blighter was born over here in cloudy Brum.

Fast forward 17 years and I’m still plugging away, still chasing PBs, and loving it more than ever. If you’d said to me back in 1993 that I would spend the next 16 years only getting about a minute quicker I might have been disappointed. Dunno. But that’s not the point.

The point is, what a great sport. This youngster is now starting out on his journey (albeit with a LOT more talent in his bag) and I can pretty much guarantee he is not looking 17 years down the line and thinking about what he will be doing and/or running then. It’s a great game this. It gets in your blood without you ever really noticing the day it arrives and then the passion never leaves. It may have peaks and troughs dictated by life’s nuances (in some cases: 5 years of no action ‘97-‘01) but it’s always there for the true believers and will rear its fearsome head time and again.

I love and appreciate it now more than I ever have. And I understand it infinitely better than ever before. Moving to the UK and immersing myself in the UK running culture has given me new perspective, deeper understanding, and a much bigger community of hardcore athletics fans (notwithstanding the few hardy buggers from Wits Uni) who have a real love and dedication to the sport, who run hard even though they’ll never make a living out of it. Running rewards you in a lot of ways, some of which don’t become clear until long after the dust has settled. Running is always a work-in-progress. You’re always chipping away at a target or shovelling together a base, or delicately manipulating an already-formed base, refining here, adjusting there. It’s extremely satisfying. Sometimes the end-product doesn’t do justice to the process, but the end-product is not the be all and end all, the process is most of the fun anyway. Committing to the challenge and working at it.

Now looking 17 years into the future. I’ll be over 50. I’ll have two grown up daughters. Will they be running? Who knows. Will I be running? I certainly hope so.

I would love nothing more than to be still chipping, building, polishing and adjusting. Continuing to create processes and continuing to be motivated by potential end-products whether or not they are realised.

For guys like us it’s never going to be about one career-defining magnificent performance, there are no Olympic Gold Medals or World Records on our horizons. The brilliance of the sport, as it relates to us, is bigger than any one event we may take part in. It’s a journey for life.

And life is good, friends.

[Ed’s note: You said in your “don’t worry” tab that this site wouldn’t a be site bleating on about how great it is to run]

[My note: What do you call 100 editors at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. Now piss off]

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its just breaking now. press conference later today.


if it sticks, ths is really sad for cycling.

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On Sunday its Great North time. It’s a pity Martin Lel has had to pull out of a race again, this time it’s a fever that has knocked him back. It leaves the race pretty much there for the taking for Haile Gebreselassie. Or so you might think. I have a sneaking suspicion that a few of the other elites in the field might just fancy their chances against the little maestro a lot more than they would have a couple of years back. Geb is the greatest runner of all time, but everyone has to start slowing down eventually don’t they? When exactly this path will cross those currently on upward paths is difficult to say.

On Sunday I think Geb will have his hands full with Dathan Ritzenhein in particular. Dathan has been racing sparingly over the summer (if at all?) so knowing his exact current shape is not possible. That said, he has I think the best distance coach in the world in Alberto Salazar, and he has also had a great last 12 months, so I would be surprised if he isn’t racing in the top drawer on Sunday.

In the women’s race Mara Yamauchi faces off against Berhane Adere, Irina Mikitenko and Constantina Dita. I suspect Dita is not the force she was pre-Beijing, as her recent showings in London have been poor by her standards.

On the same weekend there is another half marathon, in the US, with in my opinion a higher quality field. It’s the Philadelphia half and top 26-mile man Ryan Hall is up against Gebre Gebremariam, the 2009 World XC champion and therefore simply the best runner on the planet for 2009. This year Gebremariam has been killing everyone on the US road circuit, and is probably the number one road racer for 2010. They also have Abderrahim Goumri. Perennial number 2 man in big city marathons, but also a 2:05 (I think) marathoner. Wow!

The women’s race in Philadelphia is also arguably stronger than that at Great North. Shalene Flanagon (US 10k record holder) is up against Meseret Defar who is making her Half Marathon debut. Defar debuting at the half is probably the most exciting bit of the entire weekend, in either race.  An absolute world class track runner, one of I think four women to EVER have broken 30 minutes for 10000m on the track. 30 minutes!! That’s almost national class for men for Pete’s sake. I am really looking forward to seeing how she gets on.

Bring it on!

Ps. I got the half-marathon ball rolling last week with my own (paltry by comparison) effort in the Nottingham Half Marathon. It signalled the official ending of my 10-week summer running-hiatus. I ran 81:50 and here are my splits. Onwards and upwards please.

Mile Time Split Projected Finish Time
1 00:05:47 00:05:47 01:15:46
2 00:12:30 00:06:43 01:21:53
3 00:18:49 00:06:19 01:22:10
4 00:25:06 00:06:17 01:22:12
5 00:31:10 00:06:04 01:21:39
6 00:37:50 00:06:40 01:22:36
7 00:43:59 00:06:09 01:22:19
8 00:50:29 00:06:30 01:22:40
9 00:56:48 00:06:19 01:22:41
10 01:03:06 00:06:18 01:22:40
11 01:09:14 00:06:08 01:22:27
12 01:15:33 00:06:19 01:22:29
13 01:21:16 00:05:43 01:21:54
13.1 01:21:51 00:00:35 01:21:51
  Ave: 00:06:15  

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