Well it hasn’t been the year that we all had hoped! But I’m just grateful that I’ve been able to run myself through it….
Kicked it off well with PB’s over 9 mile, 10 mile and the Half Marathon distance.
Managing a 1:10:24 at the Brass Monkey, things were starting to take shape!
Not forgetting a favourite of mine being the Meltham 10k, managing a 1st place finish for the 2nd year in a row but more importantly setting a personal best on the course in 35:35.
Then I pulled my hamstring at Dewsbury 10k, hobbling to a 33 minute race on the dot…. got over that and my 9 mile PB came at the Norton 9 a month later running 49:23, with a bumble around the Retford Half Marathon in 1:12:36 a week later… then the last race before the inevitable lockdown hit, The Thirsk 10, where I managed a 53:19.
I was grateful to begin with for the lockdown as it gave my hamstring chance to recover, finally! It wrote off the hopes off a Personal Best in the spring marathons, in my opinion anyway.. in all honesty without the lockdown I’d have probably pushed it too much and caused some serious damage! I was running and compensating for it for a long time, feeling weakness and heavy swelling in my hamstring on runs.
Then the lockdown never lifted it kept going and going, no light at the end of the tunnel, so we had to adapt, we had John Broom’s 1 mile event where we managed to arrange other clubs throughout Yorkshire to complete. With myself clocking 4:52 and Ellie clocking 6:28 for a massive PB for herself.
A personal highlight and possibly a ‘Barnsley’ highlight was the undertaking of the Barnsley Boundary; virtually of course! Where we had 35 teams of 10, take on the Barnsley Boundary… raising just over £2,000 for the Barnsley Hospital Charity in the process! Personally ran a PB on Leg 9 a couple of minutes quicker than I have done in previous years.
Then it went quiet, lockdowns lifted summer had begun. But running as a competitive sport that we know didn’t really return, I struggled with that. Motivation took a hit, telling myself that I’m training for the apocalypse… I’m training for life, being grateful that I was injury free for the first time in a long time! I was running without swollen ankles, pulled hamstrings, tight achilles or tight glutes… but I had nothing to show for it. I was probably in the shape of my life, so far, but I couldn’t throw it down on the tarmac. I was thankful for the fact that instead of grinding out the miles on my own, I was now able to grind them out in a bit of company whether it be Ellie or my brother James joining me on my long runs on the bike. Ellie herself got much quicker once we upgraded her bike from my childhood mountain bike!
Then Berlin got cancelled, the rearranged Manchester Marathon was pulled, The Yorkshire Marathon cancelled, Hull Marathon cancelled, Snowdonia Marathon Cancelled and London changed the goalposts. My plans of conquering a marathon in 2020 was slowly beginning to be dashed.
Wrexham put a ‘Elite’ Marathon on the calendar for men capable of running a sub 2:45 and women a sub 3:00… it was rearranged pushed back and eventually pulled. So I did a shotgun marathon, a week out I entered the York Big Flat Runway races, for my first official race since March. Feeling a little inexperienced and anxious. Almost feeling like my first ever race. Early on I knew the conditions weren’t favourable and chances for a Personal Best would be marginal, I switched focus and much like 2020 itself it became a battle of the mind. A way to outwit something else and today, that was wind! I managed 2:35:16 around the 10 laps of the airfield, it was a experience and I don’t think I’d want to experience it again!
I picked myself up anyway and brushed myself off and started looking at what could be next, hopeful that races would start to unfold and we were going to be able to throw some performances down. I managed to rock up post marathon legs at the York 5k to knock 5 laps around the track, with the lack of speed work or any real race pace efforts being evident. I came away disappointed with my 16:25. But I learnt something from it and took something away. Then came my final race of the year, albeit it will go down unofficially as a PB. Penistone’s 5000m special, organised by Shaun Dimelow, I managed to sit on the back of Scott for 12.5 laps to run a 20 second Personal Best on the track and also trumping my road 5k by 1 second. Clocking 15:48, marginal but I’ll take everything I can get!
I’ve missed parkrun, I’ve missed the people I run with and talk to on the running scene. The all important social aspect that comes with our ever so individual sport. The bouncing of ideas and one day I’ll be better than someone but the day after they could be better than me.
Who knows when we’ll race again, to toe the line, shoulder to shoulder and leave it all out there on the day, to give all those lonely miles the justification that they need. But in all else, what I’ve learnt is that when the time comes. I’ll be ready.
5,500 miles done
Mostly double days, around the hills of Barnsley. 1,066 miles done around my ‘favourite’ 1 mile loop. 589 hours running, the rest of the time thinking about running… average pace 6:24 per mile. Just short of 400,000ft of climb. Of course I have run every single day.
2020 it’s been memorable, not for the things I’ve done or the places I’ve been. Neither because of the miles I’ve shared with people, it’s because of one simple reason, even when there is nothing to train for and the competition has been removed, I’ve dug deep and put one foot in front of the other, day after day, and I…
Just Keep Running…