It feels kind of odd looking back over 2016 just from a running perspective. With all that’s been going on in the world around us it feels like the running & my family have been the havens of normality in a chaotic sea.
The first quarter was all about the need for speed, following the excellent “Angus plan”. It meant the trails that I love had to be parked (with the exception of the fab Rok the Stones marathon in January). I was amazed how quickly the plan bore fruit, getting a sub 1:35 time at the Fleet half, however towards the end of the training I was starting to get very bored with fast road running.
April was Marathon month.
Manchester came first. A great meet up at Jenny & Dave’s the night before, helping to shed some nervousness. The run itself was going well enough and at mile 17, just after a great high 5 with Vicky & Em, I started to slump a little. Along comes the best pick me up, in the form of Rob Barber, a great few miles together certainly lifted me and got me a 3:27 finish. Job done, satisfaction mixed with the relief of not needing / wanting to chase a road marathon PB again.
Brighton blob watching until I had to get in the car to drive the family. Lump in my throat as Kim confirmed that Jim had completed it in a PB time.
London and the chance to cheer on in person, a great feeling, it’s already on the calendar for 2017.
May and the need to get back to ultra running in a measured way with the Malvern Hills Ultra. I chose the 34 mile option and was in a small group who assembled at the second CP. The views were stunning, my navigation was pretty decent and it ended in a race win (although I always chuckle when I see the trophy knowing that those doing the 52 mile race completed the 34 mile section an hour quicker than I did having already run 18 miles). It also saw us all out shoulder to shoulder with Sir Angus the Brave as he started his journey to the lighthouse.
June saw the HU5k, wonderful to have the gathering of buzzers and then a chance to show off some of the Cotswold way. The following week the Hawkesbury Runners were out running as a team for the first time, so proud of everyone as we dogged it out in sunshine at the start and torrential thunderstorms at the end 80th out of 97 teams.
July started with the Frampton 10k, my legs were not in racing mode so treated as a fast training run, later in the month I got to hook up with Jim and see him through to the mid point of the 100k Race to the Stones, the fires in his eyes when we parted showed me that there was only ever going to be one outcome. I also got in a few scouting runs on the Mendip way.
August started with the 50 Mile Mendip way challenge. Brutal hills, a bad cramp in the calf at halfway, but enjoyable with stunning views of Somerset. Over 11 hours but great to be met at the end by my wife, son & Libby. Running loops of Centre Parcs in France and then at the end of the month the Green Man midnight express. A late entry and a chance to be running at night whilst Bolty was tackling the UTMB. Had a fab run and came in below 9hrs which at less than 12 min mile pace felt pretty darn good.
September had the low of the year with a DNF when attempting to complete 50 miles on the CW for the Great Oggie Run. Many factors were against Jim & I, but it sure made us realise that the weather was incredibly kind to us in 2015. A week later and one of the highs, the 401 challenge #383 came to Hawkesbury, route plotted it was then lovely to “show off” the countryside & our local pub to visitors. As with any meeting of runners, the conversation flows and friendships formed. A real inspiration and so pleased that Ben 7 the challenge have received some well-deserved recognition. I also ran early to see some of the 2016 cohort of Cotswold Way runners come through HU. It had been a grim night but they were getting the job done. A lot of wonderful memories came flooding back.
October and the focus was on the end of the month, so hills were run, including the local 6 mile Winter Bull run. Snowdonia arrived, a buzzing of buzzers, a surprise appearance from HD to look each of us in the eye and get the blood flowing, excellent clubhouse provision from the Parkers and a great support team out on the route. I was able to squeeze under 4hrs, but more importantly I got to scream and laugh like a kid coming down those hills.
November loomed up and suddenly I had to get fit for Meriden, well far too late for that. The Sodbury slog was hugely enjoyable, a real fun mud fest – getting booed if you didn’t run in the mud filled ditches. Then it was to the centre of England (allegedly) and a midnight start of the most bizarre run I’ve ever done. 3 miles in Jim & I were on our own, but with great support through the event both in person and from all you avid blob watchers, we were able to deliver on our goal of getting to our local pub (I still think I’m owed a steak dinner). I also loved the fact that Dave & Jenny took blob tracking to the next level by dashing out and tracking a blob down in the flesh.
December started with the “Gentlemen of Hawkesbury” annual run (again to the pub), tough yakka and the run that made me realise I needed to up my base fitness, which I certainly hope has happened, as currently I’ve run 16 days on the trot, covering 126 miles and making December my biggest month of the year for miles & activities.
Overall 1361 miles run in 2016 (more than any other year), average of 10.5 miles per run @ 5.7mph. PBs in half and full marathon, 4 ultras completed, a DNF & a race win. I'm well happy with that.
I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve and are looking forward to making the best out of 2017.
Tell us your story
Inspire and be inspired by sharing your health or fitness journey. Your blog will provide you with a permanent record of your progress, with the added bonus of motivation and encouragement from our members along the way.* Manage my blogs