World records, and all the bling in Richmond





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 again, and talking of bridging the gap between elite and pedestrian pace, I reckon I ran about the same distance as Kipchoge this weekend. Err, just in about double the time ... But then again I did get three medals for my efforts.

ALL THE BLING
On Saturday morning I raced the lovely Kew Gardens 10k, part of the Run Richmond Festival. I'm not really feeling 'race pace' at the moment so I did it as hard as I felt up to, at the end of a reasonably heavy week, then headed to Wimbledon Park track to cheer on my teammates in the Surrey Road Relays. Unfortunately, at this point it turned out that one of them - due to run in the A team - had a broken ankle. Cue last minute throwing on of team vest and a very unplanned 'cool down' of 5k up and down a hill. Ouch.

A rather pacy day, however, was a great excuse to take the half marathon of the Run Richmond festival nice and easy on Sunday. It's such a privilege to be able to run in Kew Gardens (the 10k is entirely there, the half winds around the paths for the first four miles) on a sunny early autumnal morning - then out onto the lovely riverside paths. And the big bonus is that if you do two races of the weekend (there's also a 5k now on Saturday afternoon, and a marathon on Sunday morning) you get the extra, Laureus medal. Since the Surrey Road League doesn't give them for that race, I definitely feel I earned it ...

And one final note on the Run Richmond weekend - aside from being extremely well organised and having great technical T-shirts for finishers to boot - a massive shout out to Melissah Gibson. She not only PB-ed and came third in the 10k on Saturday with 38:10 but then went and WON the marathon the next day with a sub 3. Just astonishing.

So, over to you, runners. Who was running Berlin, come and report ASAP please! And all your other stories - triumphant or woeful - as always. Hands off my medals though.

Comments

  1. Those are really beautiful medals and well earned. My weekend running was pretty poor. Did Parkrun on Saturday, well, about a mile of it before pulling up with a thigh muscle that was protesting loudly. Had had no indication during warm up that I was heading for trouble but I took the sensible decision and stopped. Spent most of Saturday foam rolling it and it felt a lot better by the evening. My plans for a long slow run on the Sunday were gone now but I did try a short slow run...no bueno 😒 Going to rest/roll all week now and see how it feels on Saturday, if I'm still hirpling at that stage then I guess the Glasgow Half the next weekend will be a dns

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    1. I hope that the rolling and rest will help out BVP.

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  2. It was a big week for me as I retired on Wednesday and as my younger brother commented, I’ll soon be wearing beige, smelling of lavender and going to garden centres for something to do. Well, up to now it hasn’t shaped up like that! On Thursday, I was up and out for my regular swim, then at 9am poised over the computer to attempt to get one of the remaining 500 places for the Outlaw Half Distance Triathlon for May 2019. And YES!!! I got one! I was really excited but there was the growing feeling of, “wtf have I gone and done.” That feeling didn’t last long as I went out with another brother for a 50 mile ride.
    Anyway, back to running, I wanted to do another long run before my HM in two weeks time, but I only made my mind up to do it on Saturday morning during the night based on when the weather would be best. So, I was up and out by 7am with the plan that most of the climbing would be done in the during half of the run and try to run nice and slowly. The first 6/7 miles went comfortably well, even though my legs didn’t feel fresh at all. However, all of a sudden my legs felt very tired and achy and my stomach was starting to get bloated and uncomfortable. As a result, the run to the finish, to complete 14 miles, wasn’t a pleasant experience and whilst the speed remained slowish it was an unexpected effort to keep that pace. Nearer the end off the run I had the growing realisation I would be running that distance next year after swimming 1.2 miles and riding 56 miles. I felt a little bit wobbly, so I put it to the back of my mind, did some foam rollering and went out for recovery beer.
    Yesterday I went out and did a short 4 mile recovery run. My legs felt a bit rubbish for a while but they warmed up eventually and I surprised myself with a bit of a kick with decent speed at the end of the run.
    Off to the USA on Wednesday and got a “fun” night time marathon relay next Saturday. I’m really looking forward to running with my daughter again once the next 7 weeks.

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    1. Mate, whilst your long run on Saturday didn't feel comfortable, you got it done. Those are the runs that build character and fortitude. So this triathlon looks like a proper half ironman distance?

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    2. All exciting stuff ahead Pete! Really looking forward to your progress towards the Outlaw.

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    3. "wearing beige, smelling of lavender and going to garden centres for something to do." sounds awesome!

      Congrats and good effort.

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    4. Well done on signing up for the Outlaw looking forward to following your training

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    5. Yes, leanmachine, half ironman distance! I always wanted to step up from standard distance but couldn't justify the reasoning time whilst working. So it landed at the right time. It's a bit scary though!

      Thanks Ruby and BVP, the training element is the bit but looking forward to. I'll need a plan, not just my own made up one. I've seen a few but I get confused by all the jargon. I'll keep looking.

      I never knew you had such impeccable tastes Handsome Devil!

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    6. I'd love to do a night race, and I love running in new places on holiday so that would definitely appeal!

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    7. You do know you can have a lie in now, don't you?

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    8. Well done for signing up, what can possibly go wrong?! Look forward to hearing about your night race too, never done one but always appealed.

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    9. what can possibly go wrong?! - That all depends! I've done all the stupid triathlon mistakes before. Well, I say all but maybe that's being a bit too confident. My favourite cock up was being unable to find my bike in a really big triathlon, over a 1000 competitors. It was mostly down to being unable to see without glasses and I couldn't read even large signs to and ended up in the wrong lanes in the transition zone. Since then I use contact lenses for triathlons.

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    10. Congratulations on your retirement, Pete (you lucky bugger). Enjoy it to the full!

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  3. Kudos to everyone who ran in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival, Berlin Marathon, Run Richmond Festival and indeed any other race!

    Executive Summary: Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon done in 1:18:26. Finished in the top 30 overall out of over 8000 finishers. 2nd in my age category. Fairly happy with that!

    Race report: Following the recent trend for me in the lead-up to races, I fell sick the week before. Luckily the worst of it passed mid-week and it actually forced me to taper properly. After deciding to press the re-set button in August, I was very keen to make it count on the scoreboard, so to speak. Felt really good on the start line at 6am (that’s right, very early doors!) but there was an enemy greater than the other people racing and the very twisty course. WIND! And plenty of it. Told myself to try and latch onto packs as much as I could. Which is what I did for the first 1.5km, and then half way along the Harbour Bridge, I found myself isolated. So much so, that one of my mates spectating took a photo of me running across the middle of the Harbour Bridge completely by myself. Unique, but not really what I wanted into a headwind!

    In the middle part of the race, I managed to latch onto a couple of packs for short periods of time, including the one with the eventual winning female. But I wasn’t strong enough to hold on and found myself isolated for many of the crucial sections of the course. That said, I seemed to gain a bit of momentum around Pyrmont. There was a farcical moment when a sleepy marshal didn’t do his job and I took a wrong turn. Cost me around 20 seconds I reckon and I was overtaken by the two blokes who were breathing down my neck. Was f*cking furious. But decided to channel my anger into a more concerted effort in the last few kms. Despite my best intentions, I didn’t really have the kick that I wanted in the final section of the course which is the fastest section and one I am extremely familiar with. Hung on to finish in 1:18:56, which is my 5th quickest HM in 39 attempts.

    Overall, I’m fairly happy with how I performed. During the week, the number I had in my head was 78 minutes, assuming I recovered from illness (tick) and assuming decent conditions (cross, due to wind). The support I received from some fellow runners on the out-and-back sections plus the crowd was absolutely wonderful and that really inspired me. As for those of you who are on my Strava feed. Most of my friends and squad members did really well in the marathon, HM or 10km, which made the morning even more enjoyable. And the later afternoon / early evening beers with several of them went down a treat!

    A special mention to Asta. When my mind has been in flux over the past several weeks (which has been often), I kept reminding myself of his advice…”don’t second guess yourself”. I didn’t second guess myself yesterday and I now have some confidence going into the last part of the road racing season.

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    1. Good write up to your race LM. Apart from the wind and marshalling incompetence, it sounds like you had a good one. There's a lot to be said for not second guessing yourself and just going for it. Remind me I said that when I show signs of "Should I? Should't I?"

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    2. Well done mate, that's an effort and time to be proud of. What's next?

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    3. Awesome race. It popped into my Strava feed just before I started the Richmond Half and probably contributed to me running the first kilometre 15s too fast. So, er, thank you?

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    4. Fairly happy with that!?? C'mon, it was ace!

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    5. Great running LM, that's a really good performance - well done on sticking with it when running solo - that's a hard thing to do. Good to hear the squad beers went down well later on - well deserved.

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  4. What a beautiful set of medals - wish I lived close enough to Kew to do this.

    I had one of those lesson-learning runs yesterday at Rutland Water half. I'd entered on a whim a while back to stop myself from falling into an aimless running rut over the summer, but my training had been fairly half-hearted. Combine that with a week of poor sleep, a headwind that felt like a hurricane, a route that went randomly off-road (including through rabbit-holed fields) and switched back twice on narrow paths, a 'dump the car and run' panic when the huge queues into the car park threatened to hijack the start, PLUS an utterly disastrously-paced first few miles and I was pretty much just waiting for the blow-up.

    I was really in the wrong head-space from the beginning. My plan was nice steady 8.15/8.20 minute miles, which would bring me in under 1:50 which is my current goal. No heroics, just focussed and steady, as has worked for me in my last two PB halfs this year. But I did my usual trick of starting way too quick - the first mile was 8.04, and failing to properly rein it in for the next few. By the time I got to half way I was starting to feel the effects, and running into the headwind back through the start to get to the 9-mile marker felt utterly demoralising. I have never been so close to giving up on a run ever - everything, body and mind, seemed to have packed up. I started to walk, started to cry and started to wonder if I should just drop out.

    Luckily at that point a guardian angel appeared in the guise of a spiky-haired Scottish lady in a blue padded gilet and sturdy walking boots who listened to all my self-pitying woes and kindly and gently pep-talked me into continuing. Somehow I managed to get it together by walking all the uphill sections to save energy, and she was there waiting for me at the end, cheering me through the run-in shouting how proud she was. She came to find me afterwards and I'm not sure I've loved anyone more at that point. Then she disappeared into the crowd and I hadn't even asked her name.

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    1. Well done on slogging through! Next time you need to dig hard in a goal race you've prepared for it will stand you in good stead.

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    2. Quite the rollercoaster of a run, glad you had someone to get you through the difficult sections. Runners often talk about the physical challenges but the mental one can often be the toughest to overcome, well done

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    3. Think of it as a long hard training run that will put you in good stead for an "A" race in the future.

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    4. Well done on persevering. Training the mind...! Sounds like a really tough one.

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    5. Well done for sticking at it Ruby. Doesn't sound like a fast course even on a calm day. The eastern half of the reservoir is very exposed - take the dam for example - and it's a good place for a sailing centre!

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    6. Thanks all. It was a pretty demoralising experience all round, but you're all right - good for mental resilience and preparation for the next (brilliant) one. And it really wasn't a PB course so I probably should have adjusted expectations from the outset. The windsurfers were out in force yesterday Paul - I think they were the only ones really having fun!

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    7. Wind and Rutland Water go well together, unfortunately for you and many other runners. And the narrow paths, given the runners were going in both directions isn't so much fun either. But you did it. It may not have been pretty, but you got it done. And I'm sure that you will take loads of knowledge from this that will help you in future races! Though Scottish guardian angels require some form of divine intervention!

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    8. Lovely story of the guardian angel! I hate that when you feel like to you want to bail mid-race, I had it in a 10k this year, and the London Marathon. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I would feel even worse if I did! A teaching run, that's what it was, well done for soldiering on.

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    9. It's a horrible feeling isn't it. She was wonderful - I picked the right person to try to give up on!

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    10. Ruby, a hard run but a lovely story. Thanks for sharing it.

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    11. Those types of races are horrible but you finished Ruby! It sounds like everything conspired against you which makes it even more of an achievement. Not so much training the body as training the mind. :-)

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    12. So yesterday I had a text from a friend saying that she'd been talking to a colleague who usually run the kinds of speeds that LM and Asta (uninjured) race. He told her that Rutland on Sunday was his worst race ever, and he hated every step! So nice to know I'm in good company.

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    13. Felt emotional reading that! Wonderful support and well done you for carrying on despite the conditions. Great mental strength.

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    14. Sorry to hear you had a tough run Ruby (I know all about them!) You’ll bounce back quickly, I’m certain.

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  5. That is indeed some pretty bling. Or recycling, as I'd see it :-)

    I had a lovely parkrun as a pacer on Saturday at the hilariously full Hasenheide - everyone was in a glorious mood though and the whole thing went off (almost) without a hitch. A massive hat-tip to all the organizers.

    Anyway, onto the main day and Kipchoge - absolutely astonishing and more than confirms his status as greatest marathoner ever. You can only feel happy for him as he seems to be a thoroughly down to earth, decent guy who combines being a philosopher of running and philosopher of life.

    But. But, but, but, and I say this as someone frequently bemused by the complete lack of interest freizeit runners show in the elite version of sport, I find it extremely hard to believe the BBC (or whoever) in the UK would not look at that and think 'right call' in not showing it. A 2-hour solo time trial, no matter how impressive and sport-defining, is grim watching for all but geekiest of running geeks. And don't get me started on the women's race which had so many pacemakers and random runners around them you could hardly see what was happening for ages.

    Like everyone, no doubt, I'm very curious to see what EK does next. He's been going for the WR so long, will he just try to lower it further or branch out? There are probably seconds to be shaved, there are always are, but this is surely his career-defining 'massive chunk'. In which case where goes next is fascinating - the cash and hills of New York would seem obvious, Boston would also be good.

    Even better, however, would be stepping away from the marathon, counter-intuitive as it seems. He'd move on from the distance with a virtually unsurpassable, virtually unbeaten legacy and could then fill in the gaps to potentially go from being not just the best marathon runner ever but the best distance runner ever. That really would be something...and it might even be worth showing on telly.

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    1. It's a controversial opinion HD, but I see where you're coming from. We watched the tiny clip of Kipchoge that the Guardian website carried and it took a good few seconds to work out which runner and where he actually was.

      I'm not sure he'll retire. There must be something in him now saying 'sub-2'?

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    2. Heh, I don't know. I watched the entirety of his sub-2-hour attempt last year on two treadmill runs and was gripped the whole way. But you are probably right that it's not "general" viewing.

      Long distance running (5k+) in general is hard to televise. Too much tactics early on, and only the last couple of laps are genuinely spectator friendly if you don't have a strong interest in the sport.

      I was blown away by Kipchoge's time. I think he'll try to lower it further. Why not sub-2, still?

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    3. You need to think with his current image, presence and backing from Nike, a ton of cash, an amusing clock, and a sack of French porn will be available whatever he chooses.

      So hopefully - and it is ofc always easy to say this from the outside - it should be a sporting decision as to what comes next. A nike-gimmick marathon won't carry the same weight as before, even if he broke 2 hours, and even he is not going to run 1:59 in official conditions. So rather than churning out more (often uncontested) marathon wins, how good would it be to see him go head to head with Kamworor over a hilly half marathon? Or race through the mud of Aarhus next year? And ok, he will never do a Zatopek at the Olympics but Kenya haven't won the Olympic 10,000m decades, imagine if he announced he was going for that? IMAGINE IF HE TRIED TO DOUBLE IT WITH THE MARATHON?!

      I was clearly just in a grumpy mood yesterday, stuck in the office rather than being out on the course or watching with beer somewhere, but it really occurs to me that long-distance running has a massively strong candidate to step into the 'Bolt Gap' and it will piss it away because he only ever runs around deserted flat cities by himself.

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    4. squirblej - agree with the difficulty televising but I'd say that makes it all the more important that when there's a standout name people might tune in to watch, they are served something which doesn't only appeal to the likes of us.

      Why not sub2? This was his first success at taking the WR after previous failures which weren't really within his control...the chance of getting everything absolutely perfect is always odds against even before you consider what still needs to be done. And what needs to be done is another cut of the same margin he just made which in itself was the biggest cut made in 50 years. Assuming he runs Tokyo as a non-record attempt, he's only got three marathons (at his current rate) in him before 2021where even he will surely start to decline a little. So all in all, the chance of a perfect day to trim that 80 seconds is just highly, highly unlikely. Even sub-2:01 would be a miracle really.

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    5. A legal sub-2, maybe not at one of the majors, a fast course somewhere else. Big bucks for the best of the best pacemakers, and a lot of self belief. He thinks he can do it, and so do I.
      Followed it on twitter as it wasn't in the telly. I've watched much duller cycling races, flat stages of the tour where nothing much happens between the break forming and being caught again near the end, hours later. They're still shown in the telly, and surely there are more runners than cyclists.

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  6. I was desperately trying to find where to watch the marathon Sunday morning, struggled to find a stream though, never mind a TV channel. Ended up keeping up with it on Twitter, and just completely amazed at how quick they can go. A 70 second lap of the track? I think I could just about manage that and that's it.
    As for my own running, very little, ached Monday and Tuesday after GNR, ran with the club Wednesday, more aches Thursday and Friday, then decided to have the weekend off for a change.
    Going to try and get back into a rhythm this week of Tue/Wed/Sat/Sun until I know which marathon I'm doing (good luck for those in the London ballot), then training for that could be only a couple of months away.

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    1. Oh yeah, I also am seriously debating doing some cross country this winter.


      Help, I don't know what's wrong me with.

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    2. Do it! I tried XC for the first time last year after being sworn off it for life after school experiences, and it was one of the funnest things I have ever done. Fantastic sense of camaraderie, short distances, total exhilaration at going from freezing in a field to glowing warm and eating cake and you get plastered with mud into the bargain. Do it!

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    3. You absolutely should, there's a massive benefit. And who doesn't like mud?

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  7. I also managed three races in the weekend, but not quite as far as Kate:
    1. At parkrun in the morning I meant to take it easier than usual, so I trundled out of the start, but as the field opened up and there was the possibility of finishing first I found myself in second place in one my quickest times of the year.
    2. Fun with my the rest of my club at the Surrey Road League. In between trying to stop my sons charging across the track in front of the runners, I anchored my team to the VM40 third place.
    3. Clapham 10km where I managed fifth in an age graded best time and first VM40. This race was very twisty in the second half (I estimated 40 turns when I looked at the map beforehand) so you couldn’t consistently maintain speed. Fun event though from my perspective and good to catch up with my sister afterwards - as we raced along her road she didn’t have any excuse not to come and support...

    The main benefit to turning 40 recently means I can now get age group prizes instead of always finishing just outside the top places!

    Certainly a good weekend of running and racing for me.

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    1. Brilliant effort.

      At my current paces I'm looking forward to being an age-category contender in a couple of decades :-)

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    2. I turn 41 this week, and my first year as a vet has been great. Love being somewhere towards being competitive (a couple of 3rd places and nothing outside then top ten). Going to get harder now though, 9 years til v50!

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    3. 9 months until I’m V50! Noooooooooo.

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    4. All this talk of getting age group prizes as you get older has been nowt but a pipe dream for me, up to now. And the reason? The buffers who win them were always quicker than me! Last year, I was one spot off an age group prize in 2 races. In a standard distance tri I finished 2nd (vanity made me believe I would come first) but there was only a prize for 1st place. Then, in a sprint distance tri I came 4th with prizes going to the top three. Still, all I need is a field of one and I'll be sorted!

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  8. Hello all!

    My main event of the week was the Richmond Half, which was (as always) beautifully organised and marshalled. Next year I'm definitely going to try and get the family's permission to double up and get a Laureus medal - they look beautiful! Alas having to rush to a transatlantic flight afterwards meant that we didn't get to do the Family Mile together again.

    Half marathon was always going to be a bit of a test event for me given all of my travel over the last few weeks; I've missed a few too many long runs. So I agreed a target of 83-83:30 with my coach, well short of PB (81:57) but aimed at testing what kind of shape I was in for the Abingdon marathon.

    Gun went out and what felt like 50 people absolutely blasted past me - I tried to keep my mind on pace but couldn't help running the first km a little fast in 3.42, not helped by all the twisty little turns in the (beautiful) Kew Gardens start which meant you had to focus on the corners to avoid bumping/being bumped by others.

    After that settled down to a 3:56 target pace which I largely managed to keep to. Slightly cross with myself to see mile markers not km markers, so I couldn't adjust pacing on my watch as I went through. (I use the excellent "Race Screen" app on my Garmin which adjusts distance run on the fly as you press the lap button, so you can always see a "true" predicted finish time regardless of extra GPS distance run etc.).

    Crowd support was terrific and spurred me on but from about 12 or 13km in felt the legs were pretty heavy so rather than pushing on I struggled to maintain pace. Luckily many of the runners ahead of me seemed to have gone out too fast so there was a steady stream of people to aim at - in particular one lady in a bright pink vest who was running at pretty much the same pace about 100m ahead and who I gradually closed the gap on over 5-6km in the second half.

    Coming into the final 2km my legs were really heavy and while the breathing was fine I didn't have energy to step it up much - and then another lady absolutely breezed past me as if I was standing still! Assuming that I'd slowed I did my best to stay in her wake for the last 2k and ended up finishing about 20m behind her in 83:14, bang on target if not quite where I wanted to be.

    While I'm in LA for a couple of days this week it looks like the long haul travel will then calm down for a while which should give me a better last 4 weeks before Abingdon and a good taper. Not sure I'm in quite the shape that I was for Manchester this year but still holding fingers crossed for sub-3 again.

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    1. Was that lady wearing a Windmilers vest?? I think it must have been Laura! The time she ran would have checked out.

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    2. Yes, it was Laura. She blew past me looking fresh as a daisy, then a hundred metres or so from the end looked in her rear view mirror to check she'd gapped me (she had) and then turned on the afterburners to the finish. Awesome stuff.

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    3. Well done! Imagine what you could achieve without the jet lag!

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  9. Hello all, my weekend running was on Friday lunchtime and I posted on last week's blog - a bit late. Although no running over the weekend it wasn't without exercise as the hound was walked to Hilbre Island on Saturday's low tide and then Otterspool Promenade on Sunday. A bit of weight training on Saturday afternoon and 3 hours of hedge cutting and clearing up finished it off. But that's not running is it, so, with some blog inspiration to help me I signed up for the Cheshire 10k at Arley Hall in November to give me something to aim for. It's a fast course and the home of my PB and only ever sub 45 so I am optimistically hoping for a good time. 2 months to go but I'm already looking forward to it! Happy running, everyone.

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    1. You were very close to Chez BHP on Saturday. Waking across to Hilbre at low tide is great fun, especially if you follow the tide out, as the seals can be very close. That said, my disregard for the incoming tide almost put my family in serious danger about 30 years ago. I'm more sensible now!

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  10. Hearing about all these athletic feats, both professional and amateur, is making me feel pretty inadequate since my continuing hamstring problems restricted me to three gentle 5-mile efforts over the week. I *think* it's gradually improving, though not 100% niggle-free after each run - back to the physio later for another check-up. I'm trying not to get frustrated by the inevitability of my marathon goals now being unachievable - will just try to get to the start line in as close to full health as possible.

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  11. I am always very inspired by Kipchoge and was so happy to hear that he took such an impressive chunk off the world record. I didn't have the time to watch yesterday but hope to catch some clips/ watch the whole thing later this week. He is an amazing runner and of course I'm impressed by that, but I also admire him quite a bit as a person. All of the interviews of his I've seen have left me with the impression that he had a very unique and calm outlook on life that I wish I could emulate a bit better.

    I had a not so fun 13k yesterday, haven't been sleeping well and didn't really love it, but got out there. I guess training starts again this week if I want it to, I have my sights set on a 27k with some climbing involved, but suddenly I'm feeling a bit burned out. I may just stick to base training this week and see how I feel next week, as I'm moving and that seems to have completely taken over all of my mental real estate.

    The 27k is a race I've had my sights on for years, so I will run it, just perhaps not at the full effort I was imagining before. Might be a better way to enjoy the scenery anyway.

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  12. "doubling over and hacking up a lung!" that made me laugh Kate but I'm sure you could mange much more than 350 m!

    I can run again this week! Just come back from the physio and he's put me on a restricted plan, but quite a good one if you ask me, only about 30% less and no speedy stuff. Can't wait to try it out, although it has to go well if I'm to continue. I'm allowed to tolerate a pain level no more than 3 during the run but must be pain free within 24 hours, and proceed on that basis. Fingers crossed.

    Had lots of fantastic races on my feed yesterday with club mates in Berlin and Richmond and a few folk from here including Ruby, Lean Machine and Kenton at various half's. I was itching to go out yesterday as a result.

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    1. I find the pain scale difficult to judge. As I understand it, 2 = "annoying" and 4 = "uncomfortable". So a 3 is somewhere more than annoying and less than uncomfortable. Doesn't seem much difference between those in my book. Then, 6 = "dreadful" - suddenly seems a big jump from "uncomfortable"; and 8 = "horrible". Huh? Not sure those descriptors help much...

      Other rules I read are that pain should be lower than 4, and should not increase during the run or the week (e.g. going from a 2 to a 3 passes the 1st but fails the 2nd criterion). That was for returning following achilles tendinopathy.

      Good luck anyway! Fingers crossed as you say.

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    2. Good news kyd! Really hope it gets you to York in one piece. You honestly didn't want to be running with me yesterday (although running with you might have stopped me from being an idiot).

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    3. Keeping everything crossed for you kyd. I have such good memories of York!

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    4. Great news to be allowed to run this week, fingers crossed for you.

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  13. No medals hauls or marathon triumphs for me. Just the persistent odor of deer musk burned into my brain. And that, my friends, is what I took home from my weekend's running.

    Friday was ungodly hot so I did a treadmill run followed by a series of all out sprints, which were extra impossible because I did my 20 minute treadmill session on one of those curve treadmills. I know that's not really how to use those contraptions but I wanted a difficult uphill effect and you'll get that on a curve. Also a very tiring workout for the core. As I'm a pathetic weakling, I'm always looking for ways to gain strength. I'm hoping my appalling sprints (on the track) have that result.

    On Saturday, I swam and took a day off from running. It had been a while and anyway, I had no time.

    Yesterday was grey and drizzly so I thought it would be perfect for a longish run at the gorge. It was really lovely, with few people out and lots of wildlife - turkeys, raptors, snakes, deer - and then somewhere in the last stretch of woods a deer was coming up the hill just in front of me. I thought he'd keep going but he stopped on the narrow trail and turned to face me, maybe 5m away. This was not at a place where a human could easily step off the trail in a hurry. I've been charged by numerous hooved mammals in my life; having an escape plan is always essential.

    We both stood there for a moment. His head was low, staring at me. It was time for me to take control. He was somewhere between goat and pony in terms of size and I know those territories well. I walked forward, he watched me for a few steps and then slowly turned sideways. Front legs off the trail, then more staring at me, then the hind legs took a small step up. I was committed to my walk so kept going, passing by very close to him.

    By then I'd been pretty much overcome by the scent of deer musk. At first it was a familiar reminder of tracking wildlife, then it just lingered as if I was caught in an invisible deer herd. I took a shower immediately when I got home but eau de Bambi keeps coming back to haunt me.

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    1. Sounds like quite an experience!

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    2. Eau de Bambi doesn't sound as appealing as the cute name suggests it should! I'm hoping to get some decent running when I'm in Virginia, close to Shenandoah National Park and was wondering about creatures that I may come across. Globe got me thinking again!

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    3. There's nothing too exotic although you will find black bears and also our native turkeys, which can be very large and also numerous should you encounter a flock (I did yesterday). Trail running alone is generally safe. We also have loads of groundhogs/woodchucks (native rodents) which grow to be big and fat and even live quite successfully in the suburbs.

      Also, autumn is quite beautiful in Virginia, especially after the unbearable summers!

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    4. Your runs are always so eventful! I'm not sure I'd be afraid of a deer - should I be?

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    5. Deer usually move along when you show up. Occasionally, you'll encounter a defensive mum or the odd young male who'll charge you. The former is a spring/summer thing and the latter is fall. Be more wary of a solo deer than a group. But keep deer very, very far down your list of things to worry about unless you happen to have lots of rose bushes. Then you will worry about deer a lot but not in the same way.

      Funny that you'd say my runs are so eventful. Everyone on here seems to be writing about this half marathon or that major marathon or multiple weekend races and I mostly just go for runs on the trails by myself as the sun is going down. No medals for that but I guess lots of memorable moments instead.

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    6. Ah, we do those too. My recovery run yesterday was round the local common as the light was fading, the birds were singing themselves to bed and the beginnings of the tail-end of some hurricane was beginning to rustle the trees. It was beautiful and took all the leg-ache away.

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  14. The ‘ok, it’s autumn, back to training’ mindset went a bit wrong on Tuesday when I had an extremely undignified wine-related tumble and badly bruised my knee. (I mean, I fall over a lot sober too, but oh, the shame.) When I sobered up I rested it for a few days & went out ‘low & slow’ on Saturday, doing a very tentative 8km. Although my knee remains the colour of an aubergine I only seem to have seriously injured my pride, so that’s something..!

    Definitely back to 10km+ next weekend, honest.

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    1. Looked sore. I managed to stumble home on Thursday without any falls thankfully!

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  15. Saturday was an 18mile run in Aberdeen, following the coast (cliffs, harbour, then beach) as much as possible. It's really a lovely place to run when the sun is out.
    Slightly handicapped by a work do on Thursday night, and a hangover on Friday that I thought would carry through to low energy and dehydration on -Sat. But it was OK, enjoyed the run and even managed to dig a faster last mile out.
    A lot of walking yesterday, then collapsed in a weary heap in the evening, was a bit concerned I'd overdone things. But woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and a general 'bit ill' feeling, so it's just that. Easy week this week, so plenty chance to rest and recover. Hard week coming up the week after!

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  16. Now that my younger 13year old daughter has finished winter netball, she decided to run with me at parkrun on Saturday. She just pipped me at the end, the little monkey. I've been a little aimless since my HM in early August so I decided I would finally put my entry in for the ADRA HM around Auckland's Mission Bay in four weeks time. This spurred me to a 12km long run on Sunday, which was what I needed after studying all weekend.

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  17. After a lighter week did Friday morning did 12k before work to pass 1000k for the year. On Sunday it was a twenty miler before my marathon in a few weeks. Mostly fine though last kilometre was a bit tough, which I hope was the hill I'd just run up rather than running out of fitness

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  18. Weekend for me was a short sprint session on Saturday morning before volunteering at Parkrun for the first time. I have to say I found the barcode scanning *bleep bleep* to be rather fun!

    Long run of 21 miles on Sunday in prep for Amsterdam in a months time. I had expected to be completely incapacitated today but I managed to successfully play a game of netball and am now convinced that the foam roller is simultaneously my best friend and personal torturer!

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  19. Saturday was my second-ever half. It was my 'local' race, at Crathes Castle on Deeside and we were blessed with a lovely day. Sunny but not too warm, and very little wind. It's a really friendly event, with just about 400 runners, and a lovely atmosphere. It's advertised as being 'relatively flat for that part of the world'. Hmmmm. Didn't feel too flat to me! No big killer hills, but. A lot of grinding up some gradual inclines that were fairly energy sapping. Elevation or around 50m, they said. Well, my Garmin gave me 600 feet for my troubles, which works out somewhere around 200m by my reckoning

    Anyway, I shan't bore with the details, but I was pleased to complete in 1:58:01 - my second HM ever (and this year) in sub 2 hours. I was 211th overall, and 7th V50 female. But there is a downside. I think the nail on the big toe of my left foot was just a fraction too long. It's now very ugly indeed, and absolute agony. All I could do was paint over it so I don't have to look at it, and it's much too sore to rub with nail varnish remover, so will be a few days before I have to examine in more detail. I will not make the too-long nail mistake again. Somehow, I don't think this one is going to survive.

    Those of you who've experienced this - please tell me it will stop hurting soon? I'm about 2.5 days in now, and it fair louping, as we say up here.

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    1. In my experience I think it will hurt till the nail dies. Which means it could hurt for a while yet. You've done the right thing covering it with varnish! I have one that has been black for a couple of months after a 10k in July. I'm choosing to ignore it and simply hide it! The nail will grow up behind it and will be probably be a little deformed in which case it's time to get the varnish out again...

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    3. Somehow managed to respond to the wrong post before - don't worry about the nail, it happens to everyone and will almost certainly fall off/heal on its own. Just keep an eye on it occasionally to make sure nothing becomes infected.

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    4. The little nail on my left foot went back after London and only fell off about six weeks ago. The one on the right foot has been painful on and off for about 2 years! Sorry...

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    5. Well done! Agree with you 100% that Crathes is NOT flat!! The really long drag where you get to a tee junction at the top, turn left, then realise it wasn't the top is a killer. A woman running beside me just swore and stopped running at the corner when I did it (2015, my very first half).
      Mangled toenails will go eventually. My only proper bad one was also at Crathes, I think because of the downhill finish. Hope it stops hurting soon!

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    6. Thanks all for the nail advice. It's a bit less hurty today, but suffice to say I'm being very careful indeed around the horses. And also around the fellow travellers with their pull-along wheelie cases around Heathrow and Edinburgh on this week's work travels. All very hazardous!

      Yes, I think the downhill finish at a Crathes was the killer blow....... by my standards, I was fairly flying.

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  20. Hi everyone. I'm still adjusting to finding the blog here and realised that I've missed two weeks. Plus I'm a day late this week. Oh well...

    My running is all over the place at the moment. And not in a good way! Mostly work-related. I've had various deadlines to meet so I've been glued to my laptop wrestling with word and character limits and whatnot. I tried to keep everything ticking over during our holiday to Denmark but since returning to Berlin it's been very haphazard.

    Saturday saw an amazing Berlin Parkrun rammed with marathon participants and supports that swelled our modest 60 or so runners to 500+ runners. Our organising team did an amazing job and the atmosphere was fantastic. I was asked to pace the sedate 36 minute group which was a new challenge. I've never paced before and certainly never run with a red balloon attached! Luckily Fast Friend A had worked out the pacing for all the pacers and printed off each km target. I clung onto it the whole way round, hit every target more or less (not easy with the stupid hill!) and managed to clock in at 35.58. The official time was a minute or so later but it was such a confidence boost to achieve something positive. Plus it was great chatting with everyone on the way round and hearing their stories. I also got to support a couple of people to PBs.

    Sunday was marathon day and that meant digging out the Beer Arrow and other signs! It was a glorious day for spectating but I genuinely thought it would be too warm for a WR. Kipchoge sailed past us at 18k with one pacer and a sub-WR pace which was rather confusing. We couldn't believe it when the tracker told us it was a WR! The women were much more bunched and it was hard to see them amongst all the men. But still a wonderful sight as always. We then spent the next few hours looking out for running buddies and offering high-fives, shot bloks and power up hugs to them at 18k and then again at 37k. Brilliant efforts from people at the slower end, it was really hot in the sun.

    Yesterday, I may have suppressed a few smiles at the airport while waiting for my plane and watching many, many people hobbling but proudly wearing their finisher t-shirts. :-D

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    1. That's a lovely account - well done on the pacing and the marathon volunteering. The pacing must feel like you're carrying quite a bit of responsibility and pressure, not just to hit the time, but deliver fairly even pacing! Must be very satisfying.

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    2. Thanks Paul. I enjoyed the challenge a lot and found it a relief to focus on something other than myself for a while! Funnily enough, I usually run at a very even pace but I was relatively uneven when pacing. All the chatting didn't help!

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  21. I realise it’s neither Monday nor a running debrief but here goes anyway..

    Over the weekend I did the scilly swim challenge. 16km of sea swimming between the Scilly Isles in 5 swims over 2 days. It’s a challenge not a race so everyone is really relaxed and just enjoying themselves. You get divided into pods based on predicted swim times and then swim from island to island with a great support crew of kayakers. The bag boat meets you at the end of the swim so you can put on warm clothes and then hot food and drinks are provided.

    The swimming was amazing. On the edge of comfort zone with 8 ft swell but knowing the support team was there meant you never panicked, even when you turned to take a breath and al you got was a face full of wave.

    There were lots of amazing people there who had done solo channel swims etc but we all felt like one big team which was great.

    The only downside was that we all had pickled tongues by the end which felt like you’d bitten all round the edge of your tongue, not pleasant!! And then my flight back was cancelled so had an epic journey back by various modes of transport.

    All in all an amazing way to spend the weekend and highly recommended for any swimmers out there!

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    1. As I've said elsewhere, this looked brilliant R&B, I appreciated the photos. Cor, they have some beautiful beaches in Scilly! As for the swells, I remember doing a sea based swim in a triathlon in Clacton and there were times when you would be expecting your hand to re-enter the water, but all there was was fresh air, and you rolled into a big hole! I was a little bit scared at first but quickly realised that the best way to deal with it was to laugh!
      The tongue anecdote doesn't sound brilliant though! Anyway, well done! I've got some swimming friends who might be interested in this.

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  23. Long time lurking, now it's time to participate... Thank you Kate for setting this blog up, it really helped me through some dark times.

    Managed to get a third in a competition of two people. Now that's an achievement! Turns out I was being tested by my youngest, who placed the results of my different tests (run fast, run slow, jump over "things in the road", cheering while jumping over things, etc.) compared to each other, not compared to his results - aaah! And I did really bad in the 'stop when stop is said'-test, which earned me a 3rd. My ability to cheer while jumping got me a 1st, so there's hope for me :)

    Youngest has taken an interest in running as it is possible to participate in a local family run and get a medal, even if you walk. And walk we will, 6 k is far too far for a boy of 6 years, but we'll run, walk, skip and jump as we like - and be proud medal owners afterwards.

    Besides the 6 k 'test-run' Sunday, I managed to put in 5 k Wednesday morning and 9 k Saturday.

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    1. Oh, and congrats, Kate, on your very nice looking medals.

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    2. Hi Helene, lovely to have you here. Your children clearly have some good rules, obviously stacked in their favour! Long may it last.

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    3. Thanks a lot - unfortunately it's only the youngest who wants to run, still trying to figure out how to bribe the oldest to participate...

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  24. I know it's not Monday, but here's my weekend debrief anyway :-)

    The Berlin Marathon was my A race of the year, by the end of Saturday I managed to clock up 11 miles (3 miles jogging, the rest walking). On Sunday...

    Race report:
    We start, we flow through the start line, it's quick, my watch says low 5:50s, high 5:40s. I see a local runner about 20/30m ahead. A pace car appears beside him around 1km down the road projecting 2:31, I resist the urge to close the gap and try to run comfortably. Opening 5k split around 18:20, it feels a little quick I'm not sure if it's sustainable. I carry on, over the next 5k I start to recognise people around me, there's a small number of us running loosely together. Nothing of interest really happens in the first half - this is ideal, I'm convinced I want to go as deep into the race as possible running comfortably fast and it's OK. Through halfway in 77:43, my third fastest HM time.

    I can see a pretty big group about 100m up the road, I guess around 2:35 pace, including someone I know - I continue to run an even pace. Somewhere between 25 and 30k the group ahead has broken up and people are coming back to the group I'm in, as we catch my mate we exchange words of encouragement, I hope I convey join this group if you can, but I can't afford to say too much. We carry on. I think I have some issues as I catch myself running on the blue line with my eyes closed for about 5 metres (while no-one was near me) - I think it relaxes me. A pace car comes alongside the little group of three that I'm in, one of the guys growls into the car, I shout 'race you' to the driver and we move on. I try out my 30-year old German vocab at one point for some light humour - then the other two run off. I can't go with the pace change and plough on, on my own, trying to keep them in sight. A cover of a Nirvana song by one of the street bands sends goosebumps through me. Later, I nearly collide with a hand-bike as he tries to get onto the blue line ahead of me, but I am running faster - I shout 'Links' and 'Danke' after he veers away. I get to 36k, it's been tough from about 30k but the 30-35k was slightly downhill and I could keep the pace going. Now it was flatter it was becoming more of a struggle. I thought about why I needed to keep running, why I could not let up the effort and kept going. I couldn't remember seeing the 37k marker and I was beginning to lose track of how far I'd run.

    Somewhere deep in the 30s I saw Elvis - Las Vegas style, white jumpsuit and big wig, I couldn't believe it, I was running sub-6 minute miles and Elvis had been somewhere in front of me the whole time. I may have been feeling bad, but I needed to run past him, I did.

    The next marker I saw said 39km. I was overjoyed, that's only 2 miles to go, I could do that. Soon I was at the turn where the 40k arch stood, I picked up my feet - I had visualised the layout of this final section, having run it two years before and knowing the shape of the course from there. I ran the section well, remembering how Kipchoge had looked running away from Adola here the previous year. Onto Unter Den Linden I am determined to finish strong, through the Brandenburg Gate onto the blue carpet near the finish I see I'm going to miss sub-2:36 by seconds, there's not enough distance left to change that, I run through the line, momentarily disappointed. Within five minutes I'm chatting away with a couple of runners, one who I'd run with for maybe half the marathon from Barcelona, another from South East London. I accidentally discard my garmin activity (hope I can recover this) but I'm in luck, my chip has worked: 2:36:01 a 1:56 PB and only a 35s positive split. I've finished 195th and 12th in my age category, only about 7.5 miles behind the GOAT.

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    1. .... and this is why we have The Monday debrief. Massive congratulations DavID for an amazing finish time, it was just as exciting to track you, couldn't believe how quickly you got there! Great write up, shame about the Garmin in a way, that sort of thing ticks me off! What's next?!

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    2. edit < 6 miles behind the GOAT.

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    3. kyd - I had another Garmin issue somewhere fairly early in the second half of the race - going from 2 display fields: current lap pace and timer to current lap pace and min. HR. I wasn't wearing a HRM so this change did not help. I didn't need to see pace at this point, but it could have been useful to see the timer - the only time guides I had in the second half were at 25/30/35/40 and about 30m before the finish.

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    4. Wow! Fab performance and brilliant write up. Well done. I started reading the 5:50 part, think kms then realised of course you're talking miles. Boggles my brain how fast that is.

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    5. David, my heart was beating heavily in my chest and I could feel a palpable sense of breathlessNess, and I'm just on the settee waiting to watch Liverpool v PSG! That is a brilliant write up to a magnificently executed marathon! Huge, huge congratulations!

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    6. Wonderful write up and brilliant performance. We must have cheered you on at 18k!

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    7. Wow, congratulations. And what a fantastic write up.

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    8. Thanks all! It's really good to be able to share my journey/experiences with all of you. Your running journeys inspire me (whether you are doing c25k, parkrun, trail-running or road) and I hope that mine can inspire you too.

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    9. kyd - I was able to un-delete the discarded Garmin activity - phew, it meant I could see the all-important segment info :-)

      What's next? Cabbage Patch 10 in October, some XC over the winter and I should race a flat 10k soon-ish. Next marathon? Don't know tbh. London would be the default choice I guess. Maybe a low-key one before that to test a higher opening pace?

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    10. I saw you got your 'run' back, that was a relief, not only that but Garmin wouldn't have clocked your PB! My watch didn't start for my 10k PB in Santa Monica in August so now Garmin doesn't have a record of it : ( Thankfully I could prove it to myself and others by doing a screen shot of the website results, and like you say, there's the important break down info we like to pore over.

      Cabbage Patch is a fave of yours, early under an hour no doubt! Good luck with the rest of it, I'll be following as always.

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  25. Outstanding stuff, very well done! And the notion of running 6-minute miles and 'losing' to Elvis was hilarious.

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  26. Brilliant write-up! And what a time! Amazing.

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  27. ive been following but not commenting here and the other place but have a question do people consider there pbs from official course measured races ie those with the certificate that are listed on power of 10/ run Britain or not

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