Posts Tagged ‘marathon’

Chicago Marathon 2019

Thursday, October 17th, 2019 | Sport

Chicago is one of the six marathon majors in the world, along with London, Berlin, Tokyo, New York and Boston. Why this is, is unclear. Nobody turns up to Chicago. The London route is lined with supporters the entire route. In Chicago, you can hear the footsteps of the athletes on the TV camera because there is no other sound.

That did not stop Brigid Kosgei, however. The London marathon winner shot out of the gate and refused to slow down, coming home in a new world record time of 2:14:04. This smashed the previous record of 2:15:25 that has been held by Paula Radcliffe since 2003 by 1:21.

On the finish line, Radcliffe congratulated Kosgei and said she always knew this day would come. I think collectively, as white people, we all knew this day would come, too. Radcliffe’s previous record was itself phenomenal, being over 3 minutes ahead of Catherine Ndereba’s 2001 world record time. It had stood for 16 years. The nearest anyone has got to it until now was Mary Keitany with 2:17:01.

Notably, of the 10 fastest marathon times ever for both men and women. Radcliffe’s time was the only one not set by a Kenyan or Ethiopian. Whatever genetic or cultural factors allow Africa to produce the world’s best distance runners, Radcliffe has been the only person in the world who was able to keep up with them. On the men’s side, you have to go back to before I was born to find a non-African world record holder.

But all records fall eventually (except Jerry Rice, obvs), and Brigid Kosgei’s incredible performance puts her nearly three minutes ahead of any time other the Radcliffe. That’s a huge gap. Will it too stand for decades, or give other runners the self-belief that they can run faster, too? I’m excited to find out.

1:59 Challenge

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 | Sport

Back in 2017, Eliud Kipchoge led the charge at the #breaking2 event, the first attempt to run a sub-2 hour marathon. On that occasion, we came up 26 seconds short. A the time, I was desperately trying to run a sub-2 hour half (for the record, I did).

Two years later, and Kipchoge arrived in Vienna for the 1:59 Challenge. If the attempt in Italy was well-planned, it was nothing compared to this. Sponsored by INEOS, Dave Brailsford from British Cycling was brought in to mastermind the entire operation.

The perfect location had been selected: a straight road with two roundabouts at each end. The perfect time of year had been selected, with a 10-day window to get the right weather. A team of seven pacers would run with Kipchoge at all time, in a Flying V formation with two runners at the back. The idea was that this created the perfect shape to protect Kipchoge from the wind. A team of 41 world-class runners were brought in, each asked to run a 5km in 14:10 (2:50 per kilometre). A car in front of the runners projected lasers on the ground telling each runner where to be.

In the end, Kipchoge finished in 1:59:39, making it the first-ever sub-2 hour marathon.

It won’t stand as a world record. This is because pacers were swapped in and out, nutrition was delivered via a bike and there was only one “competitor”. This makes it much easier than a real race where you would have to have your face in the wind once the pacers dropped away, and dodge around other runners to pick your nutrition up from a table at the side. I also heard a rumour that the special Nike shoes may not be legal in a marathon, but I am not sure if this is true or not.

Regardless, though, running 26.2 miles in under two hours is an incredible achievement. I’m a little disappointed as I always wanted to be the first person to run under two hours. But, realistically, it is starting to look like I won’t be able to do that anyway. Since I have been a runner, there has been a lot of debate as to whether sub-2 was even theoretically possible. Many people said it wasn’t. Now we know.

Hubble Bubble ultramarathon

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018 | Sport

Last Sunday I completed the Hubble Hubble ultramarathon. I came 5th overall with a time of 5:18:11. It turns out that if you want to place in the top ten, the easiest way is to enter an event with only 11 participants.

52.6 km (32.7 miles) in 5:18:11

Two weeks ago I ran the Yorkshire Marathon. Why run an ultra two weeks later? Sheer laziness. Training for a marathon is a big undertaking: even coming off the triathlon season I had to spend a few months building up the distance. It seemed like a lot of effort to do that twice. On the other hand, if I stacked them two weeks apart, one big training block beforehand would allow me to call myself both a marathon and an ultramarathon runner without ever having to run again.

Besides which, it was my stomping ground. The run starts in Kirkstall and is exclusively based on the towpath. You run down into the city centre, out to Saltire, back to the city centre and finally back to Kirkstall. A total of 52.5 kilometres, which makes it a mere ten kilometres longer than a marathon. Easy, right?

The first 30 kilometres passed without incident. I felt good all the way to Saltaire. But, as I headed back, I began to feel the strain. By 35 kilometres in I could keep running no more and began to allow myself short walks between running segments which carried on for the rest of the race. Luckily, it didn’t affect my pace too much and I continued to do around 6:15 per kilometre. I was very relieved to pass back through Kirkstall at the 43-kilometre point where I was able to pick up my second bidon, complete with a set of caffeine gels.

The weather was reasonably kind. It was cold, a little under ten degrees, but that is a good temperature for running, and we only experienced a little bit of rain. Nothing compared to the Yorkshire Marathon.

The winner, Robert Eagles, was 40 minutes ahead of me at 4:37:32. I was eight minutes behind the guy in fourth place and 40 minutes ahead of the guy that finished behind me. All participants finished in under seven hours.

One of the highlights of It’s Grim Up North Running events is the amazing selection of homemade cakes. Unfortunately, by the time I finished the runners doing the shorter distances had almost cleaned them out. But I did come away with a Halloween-themed cupcake.

Recovery was a mixed bag. I didn’t have the muscle fatigue I had after the marathon where it hurt to get up and down. I was a little stiff after not moving for a while but otherwise fine. However, the bottom of my foot really hurt and gave me quite a limp. Not sure which one was worse but neither have been terrible.

And now I look forward to never having to run again. Well, after the Dash next week…

Yorkshire Marathon photos

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 | Photos, Sport

As it was my first marathon event, I decided to splash the cash on the official photos.

This one is near the start. You go from the university, into town via the Minster, and then out into the countryside. So, at this point, I’m feeling okay.

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Yorkshire Marathon

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018 | Sport

I’m a marathon runner. I have a medal to prove it. And it was a hard-earned one because running it was quite possibly one of the most miserable days of running I have ever had.

Last year I ran the Yorkshire 10 Mile and it was cool and dry. Great running conditions. This year it was cold and wet. Last year there was no queue for the shuttle bus. This year there was a 25-minute queue. On the plus side, this removed waiting around before the race as I only made it to the start line with five minutes to go.

The first 13km was pretty miserable as the idea of four hours of running in the rain soaked through. The next 7km was occupied by trying to find a toilet, which finally turned up 7km later. And the last 42km was mostly occupied by pain.

By 35km I was ready to walk. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I was only just ahead of the pace required to finish in under four hours. In the end, I promised myself I could walk up the hill on the finishing straight (what a terrible place to put a hill, right?). But, by the time I got there, I decided I could keep going and kept putting one foot in front of another until I reached the line.

My final time was:

3:57:17

My goal was just to complete it, with a stretch goal of sub-four hours, so I’m pleased with that time.

People tell you that it is an amazing feeling to finish a marathon. But it’s not. I knew it wasn’t going to be because I’ve spent all summer racing triathlon. But, what I wasn’t prepared for was the dramatic increase in pain after I crossed the line. I was limping in both legs and my ankles were screaming. They continued to hurt even after I swallowed the two ibuprofen I had with me.

The rain fell all morning and continued for the entire run. I was absolutely soaked through by the finish. I brought a full change of clothes, except for pants, so even after I got changed, my wet pants just soaked through my jogging bottoms again. Even with my two t-shirts and winter jacket on, I was so cold that I kept biting myself.

Thankfully, by the next morning, the pain had faded and I felt a little better. I was feeling sore and stiff, but not injured. And I was able to walk down stairs.

Would I do it again? Probably. I haven’t been bitten by the bug: I’m not looking forward to signing up for more races. But I could be tempted by a few of the famous ones.

Looooooong training run

Saturday, September 29th, 2018 | Sport

Technically, I’ve now run a marathon. I’ve been gradually pushing up the distance on my training runs over August and September, and gone as far as 36 km. But, last weekend, I went for the granddaddy of distances: 42.2 km (26.2 miles).

I took the photo about 13 km into the run. My face didn’t look that happy by the end. And no, I have no idea what was going on with my hair.

I started by going down the towpath of the Aire & Calder navigation. There were rowers practising all along the waterway, right up to whether I turned around somewhere near Rothwell. I then headed home, with a quick stop to pick up a new bidon and more gels, before heading up the Leeds Liverpool Canal towpath in the opposite direction to complete the second half. In the end, I completed 42.4 km.

I did the whole thing in 4:06:25, but I paused for Garmin for the few minutes I was re-supplying in the middle, so my actual time is longer than that. I feel okay having done it. Recently, I’ve been feeling pretty ill at the end of these long runs but I felt good after this one, perhaps because I had drunk a little more than usual. The day after I had a little soreness in my toes and my calves were aching but otherwise, I felt good.

Having reached this milestone, I’m now looking forward to moving my training runs back down to sensible distances.

Berlin marathon 2018

Monday, September 24th, 2018 | Sport

Last week the Berlin marathon took place and at the event, Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record. The event got little media courage, which is a shame because it was so no small achievement.

Berlin has been a favourite place to break world records. Since Khalid Khannouchi set a new record in London in 2002, the subsequent seven improvements have all be done in the streets of Berlin. It’s flat and takes place in September so the temperature is usually mild.

Kipchoge set a time of 2:01:39. That’s 1:18 faster than Dennis Kimetto’s 2014 time. To put that in perspective, the last time someone made such a large dent in the existing record was Derek Clayton in 1967.

Kipchoge is the same guy that ran the 2:00:26 in Nike’s #breaking2 event. However, that isn’t considered a world record because of the amount of cheating going on in the race design. This time, however, there is no doubt about the result.

Thanks to C.Suthorn for the photo.

Leeds Half Marathon

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 | Foundation

marathon

We would like to say a big thank you to James Murray, who ran the Leeds Half Marathon earlier this month, in aid of us. He completed the 21km run in under two hours!