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Showing posts from September, 2018

The magnificent lunacy of ultra running

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This weekend I didn't do a whole lot of running myself - coming down with a cold that turned into a temperature and sore throat yesterday put paid to most of my plans. I did, however, watch an awful lot of miles being run. If only they counted as marathon training, I'd be well ahead of schedule ...

   On Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning we were at Tooting Bec track, watching the early and then the last few hours of the 24 hour track race. Yes, that is 24 hours, round and round a 400m track. Now, I love a good track session. I've been known to tot up 14, 15 miles round one at the peak of marathon training. But 24 hours? Non stop, eating on the go, through a truly grim day and night of pouring rain and autumnal-verging-on-wintery temperatures? That, my friends, is magnificent lunacy.

Why anyone would want do it is a moot question. Perhaps, as Mallory apocryphally said of climbing Everest, "because it's there". When you start to deconstruct any distance fo…

World records, and all the bling in Richmond

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WHAT a weekend of running that was. From Kipchoge's peerless performance in Berlin to Kevin Mayer smashing the world decathlon record in France (neither of which, incidentally, could you watch in the UK unless you were glued to a live stream on your laptop) it was an astonishing few hours for athletics.

I've said it before, will say it again: athletics does not need gimmicky new formats or late night razzmatazz, it just needs these stories told properly. One great way to do this is to put this into a perspective we all, as runners, probably know - that of our own PBs for certain distances. This was illustrated brilliantly by Jon Mulkeen aka @Statman_Jon on Twitter yesterday. "If you were to run alongside Kipchoge, how long would you last?" he asked, before translating what 2:01:39 pace looks like across distances from 100m to 5k. Me, I reckon I'd make about 350m before doubling over and hacking up a lung. And Kipchoge did that for 42km.

Just astonishing. Then aga…

Fast times in Prague, and not just from me running away from the stag parties ...

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Good morning runners! I am not-very-freshly back in the UK after a few days in beautiful Prague. Now, look: I am not remotely biased*, but it's quite obviously the most beautiful city in the entire world. As well, of course, as being the best place to carb-load on dumplings and rehydrate on beer.


Despite being half-Czech, and having been multiple times (including getting married there), I'd never actually done a race in Prague. 

And following the growth of the RunCzech series, I'd been constantly adding their races on my bucket list. Races in Prague itself, but also Karlovy Vary, České Budějovice and Olomouc - all absolutely beautiful towns. 

[To go off at a tangent, did you know that the Czech Republic has more castles per capita than any other country in the world? Ok, so possibly in a tie with Wales but with (sorry) better beer. Since I am half Czech and a quarter Welsh, should I have natural castle-building abilities? Does Lego count?]


So, anyway, on Saturday night I took …

Holiday miles (and miles, and miles)

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Good morning runners! I am still on holiday in sunny Portugal. We were staying in fabulous Club Med up the road, where my training was fuelled by a dangerously good all-you-can-eat buffet, constant snacks and a permanently open bar. I did plenty of miles, but also tried some new things: archery (loved it) golf (fun but not sure I'll be rushing to the driving range again any time soon) and even an aquafit class (hilarious).

Now, though, we are spending our last couple of days in the Victoria hotel down the road. This is where the 2:09 training camp is based, which means I have the advantage of knowing every local running route, though it's rather lonelier on the track or the cross country course without the company of other runners. There's time for one more hard track session tomorrow, though, before it's back to the UK. Someone turn the temperature back up for me, yes?

 Then again, it's only a matter of days before I'm hopping on another plane, this time to Pra…