Archive for November, 2021

Frank Williams, 1942-2021

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021 | Life

When I first started watching Formula One, it was a story of Michael Schumacher and Benneton vs Damon Hill and Williams. Schumarcher was the better driver but Hill had the better car: the unbeatable Williams car led by team principal, Frank Williams. Of course, it was beatable, which is what made it exciting.

Dad’s 250th parkrun

Monday, November 22nd, 2021 | Family & Parenting, Sport

On Saturday, my dad completed his 250th parkrun. It’s taken us 7-8 years to reach the 250 club between holidays, conflicting races, injuries, etc but we’ve finally unlocked the best t-shirt (colour wise). Venla also completed her 5th junior parkrun over the weekend so a busy weekend for Worfolks at Temple Newsam.


Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 | Sport

Fresh from watching Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold over lockdown, and bombarded with people telling me how climbing is the new thing, Elina and I went bouldering last weekend.

It’s pretty high. I know it’s only around four metres high, but that feels quite high when you are held up there by a pebble that is nailed to the wall. I did make it up to the top of one of the easy level routes though, so not a complete disaster of a first session.

Conducting interviews for tech course

Thursday, November 11th, 2021 | News

Last month, I teamed up with my friends Peter and Tracey to put together a course on interview skills for candidates. We’re now pleased to announce our second course, Conduct Interviews, which trains IT and technical managers on how to interview candidates for tech roles.

Inside the course, we cover:

  • Interview styles and techniques
  • Technical tests and pairing exercises
  • Psychological safety and implicit bias
  • Giving feedback
  • Do’s and don’ts

If you want to learn more, you can preview the course here.

Sub-20 parkrun

Sunday, November 7th, 2021 | Sport

A sub-20 5k has always seemed like one of those mystical things for club runners to me. Almost up there with a 3-hour marathon. It’s super fast and something I never thought I would get anywhere near.

Then Nike produced their super-shoes and in the first month of lockdown I took a minute off my PB to bring it down to 21:06 and it didn’t seem so far away anymore. But 66 seconds is still a lot of time to shed.

I made an attempt at it in April of this year but had to fail out 2 kilometres in when I realised I hadn’t set my watch up correctly (I turned on ultratrak which, despite the name, actually turns off GPS intermittently). Unfortunately, I had a small window before the 7in7 challenge and Evolve Trio and that was that.

Now it is November, the triathlon season is over, and I decided it was worth a crack before I dropped my training down over winter. It wasn’t the best start: my digestive system woke up unhappy which meant I marched up to the start not feeling great. But I thought I would give it a go anyway because perfect days don’t come along by accident very often; they’re made.

As such, I tried to go through all of the preparations for assuming it would be a good day. Carb-heavy breakfast of Frosties 90 minutes before, a caffeine energy gel 30 minutes before, I took my coat to keep my warm before the run, did a 15-minute warm-up and some activation exercises to get my body ready.

I got myself right on the start line to get a good position and ended up going out too hard. This was sort of the plan though as I didn’t want to get held up by other runners. And despite all this talk of negative splits, many PBs are run by someone running beyond themself in the first half and then somehow managing to hang on.

I clocked through the first kilometre in 3:48, so with some sliding room, but with it also being downhill and going out too hard. The second one was 4:08 but this wasn’t disheartening because I realised I had forgotten to turn GLONASS on for more accurate tracking and thus the course was likely to read short.

By the 2k mark, I was hurting and suspected my pace was unsustainable. I wanted to give up and walk so many times. There was wind. And the slight uphills feel like a lot when you’re already on your limit. I managed to go through kilometre three in 4:02 but the pain just got worse and my fourth kilometre was 4:17.

By this point, I didn’t really know where I was at. I knew I was behind the 4:00 per kilometre mark, but given my GPS was off, I felt like I was still in with a chance if I just kept the legs turning over.

As I got to the bottom of the final hill I checked my watch and saw I had 90 seconds left. It’s all a gradual hill but the first 2/3 is very gradual and the final 1/3 is a little steeper. I allocated 30 seconds to each section and knew that if I got to the bottom of the pivot point with 30 seconds to go, I could sprint to the finish.

I made it through ahead of that and opened up everything I had left. I closed the line in:


I had done it, I was a sub-20-minute runner!

My final kilometre was paced at 4:04 so about in line with the rest given the slight changes in elevation. My watch registered 4.83 kilometres meaning that the 4:04 pace it said I was running was actually more like 3:56.

My calves were screaming after I stopped. Even walking down the finish funnel was a strange limp of not bending my legs and they didn’t stop hurting for the rest of the day.

It turns out I wasn’t overestimating the pain I was in. My average heart rate for the run was 198 and it reached a maximum of 209. I’ve held an average of 190 before at the Abbey Dash, but it usually maxes out at 205 and I’m several years older now. As a little bonus, I was also 1st place in the VM35-39 category.

Thank yous: thank you to all of the marshalls that make parkrun possible. I try to thank them as I run past but today was just a head-down day with an occasional wave of thanks. I hope that’s understandable!

Birthday wishes: happy birthday to Poppy! I shamelessly went for a PB rather than joining the birthday run train and she still gave me a birthday biscuit. Also thank you to Anne for handing out the chocolate mini bites.

Hubble Bubble half marathon

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 | Sport

Hubble Bubble is a Grim Up North Running event that I first did at the ultramarathon distance in 2018. Since I got faster over lockdown and I’ve been wondering whether I could place at a smaller event. There were spreadsheets making predictions but the half marathon distance didn’t look impossible, but not was it likely.

It was raining heavily during registration and the race start which led to big puddles along the towpath.

I had the flu a few weeks ago and I can still feel it in my chest in a little so I don’t think I’m on top form yet. But I decided to give it a go and see how it went. As we set off a pack of four runners formed in front of me but I decided to follow the plan and give it 10-15 minutes before deciding whether I should continue to push.

As it happened, a few hundred metres in one of the runners ahead got fed up with the mud and puddles and turned around. I caught the third-place runner around two kilometres in. The front two disappeared off into the distance but in the remaining three kilometres I managed to put 30 seconds into fourth place.

My watch was no help. The GPS was way off and recorded a total distance of 18.5 km. I knew the canal so well that I knew it was way off but that meant I didn’t know how fast I was running. Garmin suggested I was running around 5:15 per kilometre but in reality, I was averaging 4:32. I just ran to feel (as usual).

I crossed the line in:


Four minutes behind the two front runners and just over five minutes in front of the fourth-place finisher. My first official placing! There were only 24 of us in the race but a podium is a podium. It also beats my previous half marathon PB, set at Outlaw X, by 12:13. I modelled a good run as 1:40:00 so very pleased with the time.