Tag Archives: westminster mile

Westminster Mile 2017

On Sunday the 28th of May I took part in the Westminster Mile. Having done it in 2015 I was looking forward to running up the Mall and crossing the finish line near Buckingham Palace again. The first time I took part in the event I didn’t know what time I would be capable of so ended up in the B race. I was in good shape and ran 5:05 which meant I lead the race from start to finish and took the tape. It was fun being at the sharp end of a race but on reflection had there been someone to chase I could well have dug a little deeper and scraped sub 5. With that lesson learnt signing up for this year I predicted I would run nearer my PB of 4:44 (achieved in the City of London Mile last year, thanks to some “pacing” from Ken Hoye) to get in the A race and have people to compete with.

With the sufferfest of Night of the 10,000m PBs still vividly in my mind I decided to take it easier in the couple of days leading up to the mile. 

I did a steady 8k run commute on Friday and swam with Lorna on Saturday morning to loosen the legs up. The A race started at 9:30am so we took the bus to get there around 9am, this gave me time to sort race kit and take an SIS GO Caffeine shot. I opted to try the Cola flavour; it tasted good and perked me up.

 

I did a few strides and then made my way to the start pen. Hugh Brasher gave a speech and there was a minute silence before the start to commemorate the victims of the Manchester attack on Monday. Something I was annoyed about was the fact that one runner had turned up late and was shuffling his way through the start pen while everyone else was observing the minutes silence. There are more important things than running, show some respect!

Hugh Brasher set us on our way. I was a couple of rows back from the start line so I was a little boxed in but was thinking “get up to speed, find some space and then push in the second 800m”. To overtake a few runners I went wider around the bend than I would’ve liked getting on to Horse Guards Road. Once I’d found some space I was feeling good, I glanced at my watch to check I was running sub 3min/km pace to finish in under 5 minutes. I passed the 800m to go sign and upped the pace; I had a few runners to chase which was good. 400m to go: my legs were burning and I was breathing HEAVY but I was on target. 

I turned the corner onto the home straight, I saw the clock showing “4:30 something”, I knew I’d gone sub 5 again. I sprinted through the finish, crossing the line in 4:48 in 20th position.


I was really happy with how the race went, especially off the back of increasing my mileage during the week. However, almost immediately after crossing the line I always wonder “how quick could I run a mile if I trained specifically for it?” and “could I have gone a few seconds quicker (PB’d) if I’d rested just that little bit more”. Maybe in the next couple of years I will set aside 6 months to a year to see how quick I can get over the mile, 5k and 10k distances. We’ll see…

After finishing the mile Lorna and I headed to Richmond Park for a steady 15k run. 

Lorna is using a coach at the moment, focusing on her form and doing easy trail runs before the mileage cranks up ahead of the Great East Run in September, I’m excited to see how much quicker she gets. It’s been really nice to run around Richmond Park the last couple of weekends, there’s no stress about the pace and it’s good to get off the roads especially with OCC coming up at the end of August.

June is going to be a pretty busy month for me. I have: Orion Forest Five, Endure 24, Strava Mile, LBH relays, Orion Fell Race, and the Orion Fast Friday (10,000m).

See a lot of you soon

Steve

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Brilliant Brighton Marathon Weekend

As I’m sure most of you are aware, the 11th/12th of April was a pretty big weekend in the marathon running calendar. The main events included Paris, Rotterdam and Brighton. After running Manchester last year I decided to sign up for Brighton, mainly because quite a few friends had run it and they really enjoyed it. After London, Brighton is one of the biggest Marathons in the UK and is well known for its great crowds by the sea. 

This year my taper went relatively smoothly. Leading up to Manchester last year was a bit of a disaster, running 26.3 miles two weeks before and being ill leading up to the race. I still managed to do well and was happy with my time of 3:28 but I knew this time round as long as I tapered well and changed a few more things I could knock off a fair amount of time. In hindsight I probably should have taken #TrackTuesday a little bit easier and I shouldn’t have walked around and stood up so much on Saturday but overall the taper was good. 

On the Saturday I headed to Brighton reasonably early (probably too early) to pick up my race pack and have a look around the expo. Due to Manchester posting race numbers this was the first expo I’ve been to. Due to being early I got my race pack without having to queue and then went and got my name printed on my t-shirt. I also spent some time catching up with Paul from Run247 and Michelle who works at Asics (that I use to work with at Sweatshop). Michelle is never far from a marathon and she was pacing 4:30 on Sunday, which she nailed. I’m thinking about getting involved in pacing at some point, It must be so rewarding.   I then grabbed some food and went for a stroll along the seafront and along the pier. It was a bit windy and I was slightly worried that on Sunday this could cause some issues. I ran Bristol Half Marathon a couple of years ago and it was really windy, not fun. I then headed back to the expo as they had lined up speakers to talk about race prep and nutrition etc. Nick Anderson said the race doesn’t start until mile 20. I found this out last year at Manchester! Another of the speakers, and race starter, was Jo Pavey. It was great to hear from Jo. She reiterated how important pacing is and said how she struggled in her first marathon. She went through halfway in 71 minutes and did the second half in 77. Still not bad! After her talk she signed race no.s etc and had a chat with each of us. I get pretty starstruck so just asked where she ran when she lived in London. I need to get to Richmond and Bushy park more often it seems. After the expo I went and got some pasta and then I had a relaxing evening reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn (great book!) before getting an early night. I slept reasonably well but woke up at about 2am, I then fell asleep again intermittently before waking up at 7ish. I grabbed some food and walked to the race village. I bumped into Sarah @littlerunnergal and Scott @ScottBrealey and had a quick catch up. She absolutely smashed the marathon and PBd by a massive 30 odd minutes! Sarahs been on fire recently and it’s so inspiring to see the amazing progress she’s been making. After getting rid of my bag etc I got to the start line. As in Manchester last year it suddenly dawned on me I had 26.2 miles to run, it came around so quickly. Thankfully this time I had the aid of my TomTom runner to keep me on a steady pace. I wasn’t really sure what time to aim for so set off at around 7min/mile pace. I started reasonably far up but still had some weaving to do hence the 7:43 for the first mile but I then found my pace and went through half way in 1:32. I felt comfortable at this point and started to up the pace to 6:40ish per mile to try and get close to sub 3. I was doing well with nutrition and hydration using the SIS isotonic gels every 7 miles and taking on sips of water at every station. I kept a solid pace until about mile 20 when I started to slow slightly. I was still feeling pretty strong until mile 24 but then near the beach huts my right hamstring started to twinge slightly. At roughly mile 22 in Manchester last year I had the same thing only more severe. It was weird because there were paramedics in that exact spot then and right next to me at mile 24 in Brighton. This time instead of needing to stop to stretch I carried on and it soon loosened up. My hamstring basically told me to ease up and make sure I made sub 3:05 and that Good for Age time for London an Boston Marathons. I’m glad I listened to it otherwise I could have pushed it and ended up finishing nearer 3:28 if not worse. I coaxed my hamstring home to finish in 3:02:49. A PB of just over 25 minutes and that GFA time achieved.  The event was awesome! I’m so glad I got my name printed on my shirt. A lot of runners that were near me didn’t so it was just loads of “GO STEVES!” There are always certain moments you’ll remember from marathons. My favourite from Brighton was an elderly man at mile 25 shouting “Just over a mile, you got this Steve!” I also really appreciated the shouts from Jon @LordJon, Scott, Sophie, Frankie @FrankieSaysRun and the @UKRunChat crew. 

Overall I’m really pleased with the run and my pacing. In hindsight I should have done my half marathons earlier on and got in more and longer runs closer to the day. Those runs should have been closer to marathon pace aswell but I will take all this into training for my next races. In May I have a pretty busy schedule race wise. I have Run Hackney Half May 10th, Richmond Park Marathon 17th, Westminster Mile 24th & BUPA 10k 25th. I think when I come to train for and do the Great North Run, Bristol+Bath Marathon and possibly Valencia or Nice marathon later in the year I can focus on them more and aim for certain times.

Well done to everyone that ran Brighton! From what I’ve seen everyone smashed it and really enjoyed it. It was a good day for the Run Fast athletes aswell, Dominic Kangor finished 2nd and Tom Payn finishing 10th paced Pennina Wanjiru to 1st woman. A big shoutout to those that ran Paris and Rotterdam Marathons. Kevin absolutely destroyed Rotterdam finishing in 3:10 including an epic sprint finish and Charlotte smashed Paris in 3:37! Amazing stuff guys!

I hope everyone’s recovery is going well and good luck to those of you doing Boston, Manchester and London Marathons in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to supporting at London. 

Steve

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The BUPA London 10000

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On Sunday I ran in the BUPA London 10000. I had been looking forward to this event since getting entry a couple months back. I got entry through being in the top 250 runbritain Grand Prix rankings, not quite sure how that happened but it was a nice surprise and I was more than happy to get entry to what is one of the biggest 10ks in the country.

This event came around pretty quickly and although I’ve been getting in lots of miles for work, running to and from work, exploring and running socially I haven’t really put in any speed work apart from at parkruns. However by getting in a lot of miles I knew my fitness was good going into the race.

Before I get into how my race was I thought I’d share how someone else’s race went. It didn’t go well, well it didn’t go at all. I was on the start line 15 or so minutes before the start, we all hear “not long until the start of the BUPA London 10000!” This prompted a guy standing next to me to ask “how far are we running today?” I replied “10k” he said “so this isn’t the Westminster mile is it?” I then looked at his race number and it was for the Westminster mile. I felt horrible for the guy and he just turned and slowly walked out of the pen and away. So just a heads up to everyone, always check the day of your race!

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The event was really well organised from the bag drop & pick up, to the course, support and drums etc. The setting for the race is second to none as you start and finish outside Buckingham palace and the atmosphere was the best I’ve experienced at a 10k. It was quite strange, but good, for me because I was at the front of wave B (due to putting down a slightly slower expected finish time.) I did this because I wasn’t quite sure what I would be capable of coming off the back of marathon training etc. This worked in my favour for the first half or so of the race because I had room to catch up with wave A, this was weird because I was running in a lot of space and it felt as though I was winning the race ha

In terms of pacing for the event I decided to run without a watch or my phone (that I carried around for the Manchester Marathon! Ha) This was quite nice for a change and allowed me to just soak up the atmosphere and enjoy it. I was aiming to run close to PB though and that’s what happened, I finished 13 seconds off and can’t complain with that. Had I carried my phone or used a watch I probably would have got a PB because at the end of the race I felt I had more to give but I am happy with the result.

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Another thing that was great about this race was the finishing goodie bag and the medal, they were both epic!!

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Unfortunately this blog isn’t very exciting because nothing exciting really happened in the race. I can share with you another strange thing that happened just after the event though. I just got into Green Park tube station and because I had so many bags I went into a corner to put them down and sort all my stuff out. After sorting my stuff out I looked up and there was about 50 or so tourists surrounding me staring at me! I asked “are you okay guys?” and they asked what was going on, so I explained and then with them still staring at me I walked through the crowd to get the tube. Strangest moment ever!

Since the BUPA 10k I have been doing the run club and today I got out for a little hill session in Greenwich Park to ready myself for the Ruby Run Half Marathon on June 8th.

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I hope everyone’s running is going well!!

Steve

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