What’s been happening? (Part 2)

So here it is, my ‘What’s been happening?’ I’ll keep this weeks short and sweet (or it is supposed to be anyway); in this rendition we are approaching the end of April and the start of May. The virtual scene is just starting to take shape and the hopes, dreams and hold on a spring marathon had completely evaporated by now. All of these efforts were pretty much on top of each other, and it was starting to show just how busy you could actually get!

The furlough by this point had also truly began to take shape, running was all I was doing. My single reason for leaving the house everyday. The treadmill dodging was real as well, long single days of 15 mile at a time had started. We also had a new bike on order for Ellie as she was desperate to stop using my old squeaky thing!

If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, have a read of it here… What’s been happening? (Part 1)

  • Step 4: A 10k blast

I was messaged by Gavin Beardshall for this one, him asking a group of us to run a marathon as a team. Even though the marathons didn’t go ahead. I’ve still had the opportunity to run a fair few now as part of teams for things. The importance of this particular event was that it was starting to become clear that even though we are apart, we can’t see each other, we can’t train together. Even though running is a solitary sport, the team stuff right now, is more important than ever! I offered to do a 10k leg for the team, with there being 3x 5k, 2x 10k and a 7.2k run. We had Mark Bray, Charlie Skipper and Gav on the 5k, Dan Hayward on the 7.2k, then Me and Josh Bird on the 10k. It gave me a small focus for a run, I planned my relatively flat route. Completing misjudging how steep Racecommon Road is to climb at race pace; did it twice just like the old Barnsley 6, albeit I did a completely different route! James came with me to lead on the bike to punch through the potential walkers on the Broadway path. I felt alright but the lack of race sharpness was pretty clear. One thing that I’ve learnt about myself throughout all of this, I probably I already knew it anyway! I’m a racer, I enjoy beating the people in front, I’m not a clock watcher, although it does help! But I’m a racer, I thrive off of the thrill of a race. A number on my chest and sticking my toe on the line.

Obligatory Post Race Pic..


First ‘race’ since the Thirsk 10 mile, I really don’t want to start getting used to this and at this point it had only been a month since I raced! As a team we managed to clock 2:37:31, with Gav actually running a PB for his 5k distance.

  • Step 5: The Club Mile ‘Marathon’ Challenge

I took a little bit of inspiration from this, for something else a little further down the line. Well you could say I also took inspiration from the Team Barnsley Quarantine challenge as well!

John Broom, of Penistone Footpath Runners messaged me and asked if I had seen the club mile challenge that he was organising. I said, yes, I’ve seen it and I’ve seen the national one. He was gathering interest, I assume for both. I said I’d do the club one, wasn’t too fussed about the national one. Then the conversation went a little bit like this, ‘I’m thinking of doing a Penistone vs AC kind of thing,’ said John. So I then suggested about opening it up to the other clubs in the Barnsley area, through the stream of Team Barnsley. Well one thing lead to another and we eventually had:

  • Penistone Footpath Runners AC
  • Kingstone Runners
  • Barnsley Harriers
  • Barnsley AC
  • Pontefract
  • Wakefield Harriers
  • Askern
  • Team Barnsley
  • Team Manvers
  • Ackworth
  • Denby Dale AC
  • Doncaster AC
  • Holmfirth Harriers
  • Kimberworth
  • East Hull Harriers
  • Kingston upon Hull AC
  • Beverley

I had messaged a few people who I know in the clubs around the Yorkshire area and instead of it being a local Barnsley Challenge, it had developed into a Yorkshire Challenge! Not bad at all, in the end we calculated that roughly we had over 600 people take part. The idea being that anyone and everyone in your club can run, but the fastest 26.2 qualify for your clubs marathon team. With someone running an extra .2 of a mile!

The whole event was due to finish on the anniversary of Roger Bannisters Sub 4 minute mile, great planning by John!

Reluctant to travel by car the aim was to find a flat mile around Barnsley for me and Ellie to run as our mile effort. I had been pounding the trail a fair bit and had soon realised it was within the tolerance of ‘no more than 49 feet of drop.’ The section from Station Road going towards Stairfoot, I knew wasn’t completely downhill, but wasn’t uphill either. It actually came out around 11ft of climb! So the route was picked, now to go and run it. We set off, me running and Ellie on her bike. A few mile to warm up, chained her bike to the fence and off we went.

Obviously had a photo to mark the occassion.

Ellie doing her mile effort first whilst I had a leg stretch. Herself managing to clock an impressive 6:28, her previous best was 7:20! So a massive personal best for her, couldn’t have been prouder.

Then it was my turn, setting off on the slight uphill climb before the trail rolls to a small downhill. Hitting the dirt a little on my run, sounding a bit like a train. The lack of race sharpness was evident but I tell you what! It felt so good to have a true blast, but off a 10k warm up probably wasn’t my finest idea. 1st 400m clocked in 1:10, now to see if I could hold on. The 2nd 400m is where the trail begins to climb a bit sharper before hitting the downhill, 1:13. Desperate to keep it the right side of 1:15’s to ensure at least a sub 5 minute mile. Hoping to keep it as close to 1:10 as I can realistically. Fatigue began to set in before I knew it but my 3rd 400m was a 1:12. Not bad! Probably made me a little over confident for the final 400m, clocking that one in 1:15. Dead, muscles twitching but it was good to be running at speed! My mile registered as a 4:52. Not bad.

If you wanna see the results further, perhaps you haven’t seen them yet. They are here:

Results Link

Our Penistone Team had managed 2:25:49, as a secondary aspect of the competition John had also challenged us to guess the final overall time. I put 2:25:02, because why wouldn’t I? That’s my marathon PB? Turns out I was also the closest in the club in my guessing attempt for the overall time anyway!

In the overall competition our team had finished 3rd behind Wakefield Harriers and East Hull Harriers who had clocked 2:12:27 and 2:13:53 respectively.

Just like a race weekend, that was that and it was over before we knew it!

  • Step 6: Barnsley Parkrun

As parkrun was one of the organisations to ‘fall’ when the corona hit, they themselves as a local parkrun and a national drive were doing their own engagement initiatives… yes, I made it sound like an end of the world drama. They were looking for things they could do to help, how could they help people without actually being there and losing their own power of direct support. Barnsley Parkrun’s David Needham dropped me a messaged and asked me to run a lap of the parkrun, telling people about it and showing them. For work all the way through, until furlough I had been creating videos for kids to engage with educationally, so it was something I had become accustomed to in a way! My younger brother James had also got a new bike upgrade at that stage so was riding it fairly regular. So we put two and two together and decided to use his bike as the camera mount, strap one of the GoPro’s to it and have another GoPro in his hand. We had done a test run with just the camera strapped to the bike on a longer 15 miler, it came out well on that as well! So one Thursday we went up to Locke Park and made the 400m crawl up my street that I do anyway everyday, and filmed 1 lap of Barnsley Parkrun, with added narrations to give you a true reminder just what it feels like to crawl around the hills of Locke Park.

This is the product of that 1 lap and we did it all in 1 take, like true professionals!

The final lap…

So that is that for Part 2 of my What’s been happening… I’ve made a start on Part 3 that one is pushing towards June bringing us right up to date, hopefully, but a lot can change in a week! Hopefully RunBritain let us know that we can race again in that time, but we’ll see…

Just Keep Running…


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