Sunday, 17 May 2009

Great Manchester Run

Last week's Great Manchester Run went really well for all of TEAM fivemarathons. I managed 43 minutes and 22 seconds, which put me in the top 2.5%. When I consider how poorly I was running this time last year, I’ve got to be pleased with that. Amanda ran a fantastic 45 minutes 30 seconds, which made her an amazing eighth in her age / gender classification. Amanda must have a very specific gender. Lucy finished in a great time of 57 minutes 39 seconds, which suggests that a personal best must be on when she runs The Great North Run (half marathon) on 20 September – the same day that TEAM fivemarathons' Martin and I will be tackling the Berlin Marathon.

With Amanda and Lucy after the race

Manchester still suffered from people fabricating their estimated finishing time and causing congestion in the starting pens. Martin, Amanda and I were in the Orange starting pen, which sets off after the men’s elite runners. To get into that pen, you need an estimated finish time of around 46 minutes or less, but there were Orange runners who were having to walk after only half a mile. This means that the rest of the pen is hopelessly held back, as they try to negotiate their way past the bottlenecks created by people running too slowly or walking. This is a recurring problem – you’ll remember that the London Marathon was even worse. One solution would be to only allow access to the fast starting pens by reference to a recent finishing time in a similar race.

Promo shot for Christies, after the Great Manchester Run

After the race, I caught up with Christies and Macmillan in the charity village, hosted within the G-Mex centre. You can check out Christies’ photos from the race at

Sunday’s 16 mile run was unusually hard-going. The explanation lay in a mountaineering miscalculation the day before. I’d planned to cross the mountain tops from Windermere to Haweswater, around 20 miles in all, with my friend, Simon. We’d left Simon’s car at the finish, then taken my Land Rover over to Windermere. After a fantastic day in the mountains, you can imagine my incredulity when Simon remembered that he’d left his car keys in the Land Rover. With options thin on the ground, we had no choice but to turn back and re-trace our steps. All 20 miles. All over again. Laugh? I almost did. 40 miles over the mountains went some way to explaining my legs’ relative unwillingness to grind out yet another 16 miles on Sunday. To be fair, this isn’t Simon’s first visit from the foul-up fairy. In 2007, we undertook a four day canoeing trip down the River Spey in Scotland. After 48 kilometres on day three, you can picture the look on my face when he told me he’d failed to secure the bulkhead lid at the front of the canoe, and all of our food was now resident on the river bed. How he lives to tell these tales is anybody’s guess.

Last week, I met up for a drink with Noel Bresland, a genuine marathon running legend. Noel has run the Marathon des Sables three times, and over 90 other marathons. He holds a place in the Guinness Book of Records for running the world’s coldest marathon, has run the North Pole marathon and will compete in the Antarctica marathon later this year (see,, Noel has just embarked on a series of 233 (yes, two hundred and thirty three) marathons to raise money in memory of his nephew, Ethan. Considering what he’s achieved, Noel is a remarkably down to earth and friendly chap. I’m just back from training with Laith at The Endurance Coach, where Noel joined us to talk marathons and training techniques.

Finally, many thanks to Manchester’s Key 103 radio station (, who kindly donated two great tickets for the recent Enrique Iglesias concert at the MEN Arena. Kirsten auctioned the tickets and generated a fantastic donation for fivemarathons.

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 25 May 2009 3 miles easy
Tuesday, 26 May 2009 8 x 2 minutes hard, with 2 minute jog recoveries
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 4 miles steady
Thursday, 28 May 2009 8 miles, half marathon pace
Friday, 29 May 2009 Rest
Saturday, 30 May 2009 4 miles
Sunday, 31 May 2009 18 miles

Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see

Visit us at

Join the Facebook fivemarathons group

Check out the detailed training plan at

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004