Burn Baby Burn

You walk like you’re in a daze
Unresponsive eyes in a distant gaze
Like all the good times have flown away
And their memory leaves a bitter taste

Woke up on Wednesday with yet another cold virus starting to make itself know, so plodded round Brownhouse Wham in the evening in 20:20. Owing to a slight confusion nearly all the runners set off on time, but without the timer in place, so helped out with a bit of ad-hoc timing when I finished!

Snaffled the v40 prize – more down to the midweek 6pm start and small field than running ability, but a bottle of wine is a bottle of wine!

Deteriorated daily and felt like ringing in sick for the very wet and windy Watergrove parkrun, but as I was Run Director and had all the stuff dragged myself down and actually felt better for it. Despite spending most of the time hiding under the gazeebo I was soaked. The wettest parkrun we have had so far.

After the hassle of getting an entry in for the Ron Hill Accrington 10k, felt I had to run on Sunday and the weather wasn’t as bad either but was still wet and windy! Fortunately, despite a terrible night’s sleep, actually wasn’t feeling quite as bad on Sunday, but had the mental alertness of a zombie.

Arrived to find the advised car park was closed, so had to drive round for another, fortunately lots of free parking and positioned myself underneath an overflowing drain.

Warming up, legs felt speedy but low energy and breathing was clearly going to be a problem.

After a slightly too quick start, I settled and set about overtaking some of the 200 or so runners who swallowed me up in the first few hundred metres… felt like screaming it’s 10000 not 1000 metres. Still shouldn’t complain about all those lovely pacemakers sacrificing their races just for me!

Resisted looking ahead much with 3 Toddies likely to be in sight, as I wanted to avoid the temptation to chase. All things considered I was optimistic about being able to manage in the region of 42-43 mins. After a couple of km was making good progress up the long hill but breathing was close to max even at reduced speed so had no alternative but to ease slightly.

I could see Michael 400m ahead and dismissed the option of catching, Darren and Pauline were nowhere to be seen ahead. Concentrated on bridging a gap to a couple who were overtaking and settled behind them, gradually reeling in the lovely scouse girl from the car parked next to us. Considered having another chat to see where she was from but a bit further on was Autumn, running strongly so reluctantly moved on to chase her down.

Gradually eased alongside and after a brief exchange, decided to push on towards a Rochdale vest using a downhill to up cadence and carry up next rise. This almost felt like real racing as I briefly forgot I was ill. The next climb rudely reminded me, as breathing maxed out and I slipped back a bit.

Eased effort down a notch and settled in behind a few until the turn about halfway. Michael now only about 200m ahead, maybe catchable? The problem being much of the return was down and I doubted I could get the speed differential required. Also had doubts as to whether legs had recovered from Heptonstall and whether I could keep going to the end with no energy.

As we hit the greenway I upped pace and somehow kept it going as breathing eased slightly. Whilst the distance to Michael had reduced it was only slight and I settled for sustaining effort to end. A final push up the last slope and cruised the downhill before a slight push for the line for 41:15.

Crap time, would have loved to have joined in the battle ahead, but really happy as it was well under what I thought I could achieve on the day. Last 3km all sub 3:45 bodes well for a possible 10k PB attempt late this year.

Home to a fry up, a hot bath and the remainder of the bottle of wine – nice recovery.


Diary of Horace Wimp

Make a stand and be a man,
And you will have a great life plan

Took a couple of days off to recover from last weekend, making Wednesday’s Brownhouse Wham Trail the first run of the week.

I didn’t really feel brilliant and an inadequate warm up followed by a too quick start that meant it was a struggle all the way up. Tendon didn’t feel right with pain every step and mechanics just didn’t seem to be flowing at all, possibly as a result in the increase in off road running this month.

I gradually recovered whilst gaining places on two laps of reservoir with tendon finally easing on lap 2 to allow a good third km. Coming off the reservoir, my legs tired badly on short climb, breathing started struggling and tendon painful again. I instantly wimped out of anything that resembled trying and just eased off for the run back down. Poor effort, poor attitude, didn’t really enjoy it, but not too bad a time of 19:44 considering. GPS



DCIM100MEDIATo balance this out I went on a fun run on Thursday. It was a lovely evening and too nice to waste. Took new camera to practice photos on the move.



I was not really sure where I was going which always gives a great feeling of freedom and just set off up the road with the sole aim of enjoying a run. Briefly considered going up to Gaddings but decided not to add to the combination of a frisky looking cow and a dog walker descending.

Went harder on climb up causeway at Lumbutts before settling back to leisurely pace and inevitably ended up at Stoodley Pike, just missing a nice sunset as sun was swallowed up in a bank of cloud on horizon a couple of minutes before I got there.



Saturday was a third double run day in as many weeks, starting off at Carlisle parkrun. A classic 3 laps round a park, with some rippled grassy bits thrown in. After running first 3km aiming around 5:00 min pace, I was struggling to keep pace down, so upped to 4:30ish for 1500m, and then finally unleashed a 500m hard effort, on the mainly gentle uphill finish for 23:15. GPS

AdobePhotoshopExpress_71199b6004c040a5ac94379ca71331d1Popped into Acorn Bank NT for coffee and toast, plus a wander round the gardens before heading onto the Great Westmorland Trail Race. A 7ish mile trail-fell run that promised an uphill start, a nasty hill in the middle and a nice downhill finish back in time to pick up a handsome afternoon tea!

A nice early arrival allowed a good warm up and although not feeling full of energy was hopeful of a good run.

I set off nice and steady, quickly slipping backwards in the initial rush along the road. Once out onto the hills the hard track softened and I eased my way up through the field, as the climb continued for some way. I was really happy I was pacing well and after a brief respite it was up again and more places gained.

Had the feeling I was probably reaching my ‘rightful place’ but pushed on a little more to settle behind one of many Chorlton runners.

After a bit of down, there was more up and I felt good enough to gain a couple more places, and settle behind another Chorlton. We then swapped places and got past yet another Chorlton to close in on a Bingley woman, with a yellow guy a bit further on.

This definitely felt at my limit, especially with an expected tough climb to come, and settled for trying to keep yellow & Bingley in sight.

The ground had been hard and dry, possibly a little too much and I’d gone over an my ankle slightly a couple of times, but we then hit a softer wet section that sucked energy out of my legs and wish for harder ground.  A slight wobble started a pain in tendon, and I again took the easy option of slowing, letting Bingley & Chorlton get away.

After a poor km full of negative thoughts, started coming round and realised that the gap to yellow, who the other two had caught, hadn’t really changed much.

This gave me a boost and then we hit the climb, legs went and I instantly walked, getting caught by a few behind. Managed to get a good run walk pattern going to stay ahead and close the gap to three ahead.

As slope eased was feeling positive again but legs suddenly tired and head went, all too easily giving up again.

Place after place lost, until legs getting badly nettled shook me back to reality but motivation had gone and another place lost as we reached top of climb.

Any hope of recovering them soon vanished as the descent was no good for tendon, and more places lost as I slowed to protect it, and wimped over the line minutes behind where I should have been in 58:12. GPS

A lovely race, that I didn’t really do justice and a great afternoon tea and coffee at the finish, one to go back to in the future.


DCIM100MEDIA DCIM100MEDIADitched plans for a 10 mile race on the Sunday for a leisurely walk up Harter Fell above Haweswater instead.

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time

Saturday was my last regular Oldham parkrun, for at least for a while and the last one as my home run as my allegiance switches to a new parkrun. Although my first parkruns were at Heaton Park, it wasn’t until Oldham parkrun started that I caught the parkrun bug, and even then it was a while before I really got what parkrun was about.

So event #197 rolled around, with a typical late arrival, just time for a quick jog to the loo and an inadequate 5 minute warm up – why change bad habits now! A record turnout of 194 runners was some difference to almost 4 years ago when 18 runners gathered on a sunny July morning outside the Lion’s Den for event #2 (We missed the inaugural as were away).

On that day the brief words of the run director’s course description had barely echoed in my ears “just follow the runner in front” before I found myself in the front at the first corner. With no idea where to go, I eased back and happily followed someone round the first lap. Dreams of a ‘win’ vanished on the 2nd lap as the unknown lead runner pulled away until on the 3rd lap I was on my own, no-one in sight ahead or behind.

With a different path on lap 3 to follow through the ‘Woodland Walk’ and no signs to be seen it was with uncertain hesitance I emerged from the woods at the other end wondering where now? Somehow I found my way back to the finish with only a minor detour.

It seemed fitting in my last regular run that I finished 18th – what would have been last position 4 years ago, now being followed in by another 176 happy runners. Completely unimaginable in the early days when at times it felt the future of the event was under threat due to a lack of volunteers and 30 was considered a big turnout.

As it was a kind of farewell run, I kept it quiet and slinked off quietly with my 4th best age grading at Oldham parkrun – exactly 1 minute slower than my PB – I’ve had 4 PB’s there. It was my 15th fastest time, due to a mixup I was handed token 15. (so don’t feel bad Mr Tokenman, it was fate!)

I actually finished in 18th position in my last regular run there, at my first ever Oldham there were a total of 18 runners.

I’ve completed 195 laps of the park and today there was a record 194 runners. I’m searching for lazy runner 195 who stayed in bed and spoilt my stats! You are on my list!


The promise of heavy rain propelled me out of bed on Sunday and clocked up a 20.5km flattish road run – my longest for years. Another zero breakfast run (discounting the cup of coffee, 2 toffees and a swig of sugar water). Felt strong to 11km, kept sub 5min/km’s going to 14km before tiring a little with a pain in right foot making me ease off to 19km, pushed harder on slight uphill to get km 20 back under 5 mins. The weather switched from light rain to heavy rain plus a bonus couple of torrential downpours and the odd sunny interlude – only 1 other runner seen on a magnificent day for running – probably my favourite run this year. Overall averaged 4:55/km to 20km as I continue to follow the 5 min plan for another 3 months.  Hopefully might be able to look at speeding up in Autumn?


The previous Tuesday had been a Tod Grand Prix race at the Diane Modahl Brownhouse Wham Trail Race with a sizeable 96 runners. Arrived late, inadequate warm up, too humid, too fast a start resulted in severe breathing difficulties that I never got on top of.  I hadn’t planned on all out effort but with points on offer it was frustrating to have to back off to get pain levels down.

It wasn’t too bad a run considering how much my chest was hurting but the decision to go with trail shoes probably cost me a place and caused a sore right foot from the reduced cushioning on the steep road finish.  Legs felt fresh at end as I never really tested them but continued to ache all week from that final descent. Back to road shoes next time!