Archive for January, 2019


  • 3,055 miles covered
  • Second highest year behind 3,178 miles in 2011
  • Third time breaching 3,000 mile mark
  • Weekly average 58 miles


I finished the year stronger than ever, training wise and fitness wise. Which has been a nice pick-me-up, after some ups and downs in the middle of the year, and a very poor start to the year, which, unfortunately coincided with a trip back to SA for Easter and the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon… I probably hadn’t been in such bad shape for a number of years as I was in March/April, but Murphy is a bugger and decided to synchronize that spell of injury perfectly with the Two Oceans…


Let’s address the elephant in the room. No PBs this year.


This could be the beginning of the end of the PB-setting phase of my running career, or it could simply be highlighting the fact that, after 25 years of competitive running, PBs are hard to come by. Last year I only managed two, one taking down a soft 5 mile target and the other a first sub33 10,000 on the track. The year before was also a two PB year, albeit rewriting tougher targets; and the year before that, just one of the buggers, at Comrades. (Which to be fair simply required finishing, given the modest previous attempt, 13 years prior). So yes, the PBs are not flowing like wine, nor have they done so for a number of years. But this does not diminish in any way my love of, or enthusiasm for, the training and racing.


What *is* left PB wise? Long stuff mostly. Perhaps get that pesky marathon into the 2:30s at last. And a pair of silvers at the two South African Ultra behemoths, the Comrades and The Two Oceans. But these are long term plans, and can bubble in the pot for years down the line.


The rest of them are what they are. Don’t get me wrong I will continue to chase them down. It is all about the chase after all.


So let’s get into things with a whistle stop tour through the year’s races. In total, 2018 saw me pin a number to my vest 19 times, with the overwhelming majority on the road – 12 races, 4 races on the track, and 3 on the muddy goodness of cross country.


The first two races of the year were Cross Country. The final 2 league meetings of the year and a desperate fight for the club to avoid relegation. We made it by the skin of our teeth, and to be in the mix on that bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in February, at that final meeting, was one of my best BRAT moments in memory. We did it!



Soon after that the injuries struck, foot and knee in quick succession. Foot as a result of running on frozen snow in fell shoes, the less said the better, and the knee a result of falling out of the shower (yes that’s a thing), even less need be said about that.



Although this meant the Two Oceans would not be the silver success I had dreamed of, it was still a magnificent day to be out and about running in Cape Town, the most scenic of cities. My knee went with 18km to go in the race, and after a bit manning-up on the side of the road while I assessed the damage, I managed to continue, via a jog-walk strategy, to the finish.




Taking the lead in the second leg of the British Masters Road Relays, and handing over in the lead, provided the road race highlight of the annual Spring transition from cross country to track season.



A few track races and a pair of 10k road races (a win at Wythalland a runner-up at Timberhonger, beaten by the bearded mountain goat that is JC), saw me through to what was probably the performance highlight of the year, a 15:57.08 on the track at the MK5000 PB Special.


I had a good spell of training leading into this, 10 weeks averaging 74 miles per week. I knew the sub16 was on the cards but still needed to race sensibly to get the best out of myself. The heat I was drawn in was a bit quick for me and I soon found myself at the back of a long, single-file line of runners, clicking off the 76 second laps I needed. At no point was I outside the target pace but at no point was I comfortably inside either. I was stretched thin every lap, doing all I could to hold the pace. In the end I managed to hold it, and caught a few of the faster starters along the way. Getting to the finish line with 15:xx still showing on the finish line clock was extremely satisfying and made the previous 10 weeks’ work all the sweeter.



I picked up another injury shortly after that race, this time a suspected stress fracture in my shin which turned out to be a stress reaction. The possible 8 week rest period was reduced to 3 and I was ready to train again. By this point in the year I wasn’t too concerned with trying to force myself into racing shape as quickly as possible and contented myself with running regularly and building up mileage and fitness as naturally as possible.


I did race, twice in the Autumn six stage relays – Midlands and National. I joined Johnny Cullen at the Birmingham Half Marathon and agreed to try and pace him to 75 minutes. The wheels fell off a little over the last few miles and I finished in 75:53. It was still a splendid day out in the rain. The course is good and I’d like to have a proper go there next year given the chance.



I closed the year out with two pleasingly satisfying December races. The first was a marathon, needed in order to keep my streak of at least one standard marathon a year going since 2002. It wasn’t anywhere near a PB but a solid 2:54 with a nice negative split (89/85). A good experience, and test of concentration, at nearly 9 laps of the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham!



The final race was the always-fast Telford 10k. I knew I was unlikely to trouble my PB but was very happy with 33:19. A good reflection of current fitness and a decent showing to end the year’s racing.


Thanks to Team Marathon Road, BRATs, Hajjim, friends and family for all the support this year. We all love it remember. That’s why we keep coming back for more.


Here’s to 2019.


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