Posts Tagged ‘running’

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.

Weymouth parkrun

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 | Sport

Our holiday in Weymouth gave me a chance to do some parkrun tourism. I wondered whether it would be incredibly busy with 2,700 athletes descending in the town for IRONMAN. However, it turns out most of them were too serious to do a parkrun the day before.

The course is a mini loop through the trees of Lodmoor park before and out and back that goes to the far side and then back to the loop. The sun was shining, and once you hid from the coastal wind, it was hot.

Everyone was friendly, and it was an enjoyable run.

Hoka Clifton 6 review

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

Hoka Clifton 6 review

In this video, I’ll review the Hoka One One Clifton 6 running shoe.

Hoka One One is known for the maximalist shoes that have a huge amount of cushioning but relatively little drop. The Clifton 6 is a road shoe with neutral stability.

They fit fairly narrow: as soon as I put it on I knew I had to go for the wide version, something I have not had to do in other brands of shoes.

The cushioning is noticeable. It does not feel mushy, but it does not have the same responsiveness as a race shoe, either. You really notice it after you have worn them for a few hours and then take them off. “Oh yeah, this is what the ground feels like!”

The toe box is almost as good as Nike and has enough space for my massive big toe. A lot has been made of the mid-foot rocker but I do not think it is a big deal. I do not notice it all that much and Brooks have a similar thing in their shoes.

when I first started wearing them the medial arch was digging a little. However, this disappeared after the first 20-30km. The drop is only 5mm, so coming from a 10mm drop, I could feel a tugging on my calf when I first put them on. This has not been a problem while running, though.

The cushioned sole means I would not want to make any quick cuts in these. They would be no use on the basketball court. But they are running trainers, and for running, they are fine.

One thing that does annoy me is that I regularly scrape the fall of my foot on the ground. You could argue I just need to pick my feet up further. However, this is not a problem I run into in other shoes.

Overall, I like these shoes. They will not be replacing my race shoes, but they will be forming part of my regular rotation for those easy-paced runs where speed is not an issue.

Brooks Asteria review

Saturday, August 31st, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Brooks Asteria is a running shoe that is lightweight and designed for racing. It is similar to the Ravenna in that it offers stability but it lighter: 287g compared with 320g for the Ravenna. It has less padding so you are going to hit the surface harder and feel the ground more.

It comes with the Brooks GuideRails to provide support when needed and offers at 8mm drop (I know I said 10mm in the video!). Also, it’s red, so it goes faster than other shoes. The sole has a speckled effect that looks like dirt at first glance but I am pretty sure is part of the design.

It maintains the luxurious Brooks feel inside but has less space in the toe box than the Ravenna, so it tighter on my big toe. The laces have an elastic springy feel. I ran pretty fast in these shoes but it is difficult to know how much of that is a placebo effect. I think they are useful for runs of up to 10km, but beyond that, I would be looking for more padding.

It also has the same downfall as the Ravenna (and possibly all Brooks shoes; I haven’t tried them all) in that the sole simply does not grip in the wet. So, as soon as it rains, which it does a lot in England, or even if the surface is just damp, you start sliding around. It is a big downside.

Other possible alternatives: I’ve spent most of this review comparing it to the Brooks Ravenna, which I prefer to the Asteria, and you may also want to consider the Nike Zoom Span, which is my favourite mild stability shoe.

Brooks Ravenna 10 review

Friday, August 30th, 2019 | Reviews, Video

The Brooks Ravenna 10 is a running shoe that offers a resolve sole, 10mm drop and mild support. It uses the Brooks GuideRails system to provide said support when needed. In this review, I’ll look at the men’s edition, but there is a woman’s edition, too.

It has some cushioning, but not too much, and even more generous cushioning on the tongue. The inside feels silky smooth: I can happily go around in these without socks. It weighs in at 280g, just slightly above what the Brooks website promises. There is plenty of space in the toe box for my big toe.

After a month of running the shoe still looks in great condition, except for the inside of the heal, which has started to bobble. No splits yet and hopefully, it will stay that way.

Unfortunately, the Ravenna has one major drawback: it loses a lot of grip in the wet. If you are running in the rain, or even if the ground is damp, you tend to slip and slide all over the pace. Friends who run in Brooks report the same problem to me. This is super frustrating because it rains a lot in England and having to check the weather forecast every time I am going out in them is a chore.

In short, this is almost an amazing running shoe. I love it in the dry. However, losing so much grip in the wet means that this shoe ultimately gets the thumbs down from me I’m afraid.

Looking for running shoes with mild support? Consider the Brooks Asteria if you want a racing shoe with less cushioning, or the excellent Nike Zoom Span.

Parkrun Day: The Film

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 | Sport, Video

Last week, when Hyde Park Harriers took on Leeds parkruns, I took my GoPro along to document the trip. Here is the film I made.

Parkrun Day

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 | Sport

Every year, Hyde Park Harriers try to take on all of the parkuns in Leeds in a single day. This has become more and more of a challenge as new parkruns start. By this year, 2019, there are now nine of them. With two more starting soon, I have no idea what we will do next year. Possibly a multi-day event.

Having so many parkruns means the distance this year was up to 45km. Anything longer than 42.2km is technically an ultramarathon. 45km is pretty much the easiest ultramarathon you can possibly do, especially as you get a break when driving between them. Or so I thought. It turns out that having a break just gives your legs a chance to seize up.

Roundhay

We started bright and early at 7:30am. Ed Sheran had taken over most of the park so we had to forgo the regular parkrun route and do two laps of the lake instead. Nobody was sad to miss the long drag of the hill up to the mansion in favour of a beautiful view of the lake. It was sunny on the near side and rained on the far side.

Potternewton

By Potternewton, I was already feeling it. Bad times only 5km in! I wanted to pace myself so I walked up some of the hills. Meanwhile, Marcos Angel Valero Palacios came sprinting past me to take a course record of 15:59.

Temple Newsam

I had not packed a lot of food as I only decided to come for it at the last minute and had not had a chance to stock up, so by Temple Newsam I was hungry. I grabbed a coke, a sausage roll and a caramel shortbread from the cafe. The sun was out in full force by Temple Newsam, and Amy and Paul made a guest appearance.

Rothwell

The sun continued to beat down at Rothwell so I took a quick break to suncream up. The tarmac was starting to pound my legs by this point, so I was pleased to have grass to run on for most of it. How easy was everyone else taking it? Toby and Rich lapped me at this one.

Middleton Woods

Ah, the sweet shade of the woods. I felt good at Middleton, at least for the first three kilometres. I was still walking up some fo the hills but was running everything else. After the run, we had lunch on the bike cafe. A cheeseburger and chips went down well, accompanied by two bottles of orange juice and another can of coke.

Cross Flatts

It has cooled down a little by Cross Flatts and we dispatched the course without too much trouble. I felt no ill effects from having stuffed my face.

Bramley

By Bramley, I was tired but feeling good. I had finished both my bidons by this point, so we went to the shop to reload. The ground was a bit soggy when I moved off the tarmac and onto the grass.

Armley

This one was always going to be a challenge because it was so deep in but not quite at the end. We took it really steady so it didn’t hurt too much.

Woodhouse Moor

Ah, the end! I was excited to arrive here and we were joined by a few other Harriers. I went hard to try and put in a good time, but the fatigue meant that a “good time” was still 31 minutes. After crossing the finish line, I would say I felt amazing, but I mostly felt sick. That’s pretty standard with anything over three hours, though.

Conclusion

I can’t believe I made it. Eight others also claimed all of the runs, and while Greg missed Roundhay, he did the most work out of all of us as he cycled between each one. Thank you to Toby for organising it and Ellie for keeping me company at the back.

I’ll see you all next year… for one of the parkuns ;).

Polar H10 review

Sunday, January 6th, 2019 | Reviews

In this video, I review the Polar H10 heart rate monitor. Specifically, I’ll be comparing it to the Garmin HRM-Tri and the Garmin HRM-Swim to see how it stacks up.

The Polar H10 comes with two Bluetooth channels so you can connect it to two different devices at once (fitness trackers, watches, cycling head units, gym equipment, etc), but there is no support for ANT+.

It comes with the Polar strap which is super comfortable when cycling or running but doesn’t offer the same grim while swimming in the pool that other heart rate monitors do.

There are two smartphone apps that go with it, Polar Beat and Polar Flow. Why are there two? It’s not clear and quite frankly, a little confusing.

Ultimately, I like the H10 for the easy connection to my Mac when using Zwift, but it won’t be replacing my Garmin heart rate monitor while doing triathlon.

Temple Newsam’s 300th Parkrun

Sunday, December 30th, 2018 | Sport

Yesterday, Temple Newsam held their 300th Parkrun. With it being a big round number, I decided to head across to test my legs.

It’s been a year since I’ve run Temple Newsam. The last one I did, which was my course PB, was part of the New Year’s Day double at the start of 2018 before I had started my triathlon training in earnest. So, the 27:12 I set there was inevitably going to fall.

In the end, I ran:

23:17

Really happy with that. I’ve only gone sub-23 twice at Woodhouse Moor, so once you factor in the hills of Temple Newsam, that feels like an excellent result. I knew I wasn’t running quite as fast as when I was marathon training, but I’m not far off.

It wasn’t much bigger than usual: 199 runners in total. They did have a photographer there, though, so at the start, I sprinted up the front to be in the photo. And, as you can see below, I made it! (Light blue Go Tri t-shirt on the far left, in case you can’t spot me). Thanks to ‎Phil Bland‎ for taking the photos!