The first week of 2013 has been a bit of a blur and hence no recent posts, but I’m hoping to resume normal service now that the initial flurry has passed. I’ve managed to fit in four runs out of five on the marathon schedule and covered 30 plus miles so am on track distance wise. Thursday was a tempo run of about 6.5 miles with the Stragglers at an average of 9mm pace. Saturday was the Bushy parkrun at 8mm and today 10 miles in Bushy, Home park and along the river between Kingston and Hampton Court.

The park run was another big event for Bushy with 1051 finishers, which is fantastic although it does bog down a bit at the start. I came 407th in a time of 25.11, still slow but better than recent efforts, so should hopefully soon get back into the 24 minute band.

Other than running its been very busy kicking back into work projects. The Care Agenda forum takes place on February 6th and although its going well has lots of admin to sort out over the coming month. Teams are signing up for the Property football which starts in early April and the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon takes place on March 31st. We have also taken on a new race for the summer period.

The Harry Hawkes 8 miles is a very well established local event which has previously been organised by the Thames Ditton Cricket Club. Due to organisational problems it did not run in the last two years, but will be reintroduced as a Perseverance Events race in 2013, with a new format. the race distance will change from 8 to 10 miles and it will become the Harry Hawkes 10. Ten mile races were extremely popular until the rise of the half marathon saw many fall away, and now there are very few options to race this distance. Yet 10 miles is a classic race distance and great to run. I ran the Cabbage Patch 10 last October and really enjoyed it. So we are confident of putting together a large field for the Harry Hawkes 10 in 2013. A date will be announced soon.

My key New Years resolution was to lose weight and I have been watching my calorie intake with more fruit and less chocolate! Too early to say as yet but I am confident I can shift half a stone and get down the 11 stone seven by the end of January.

The Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon takes place on March 31st. We currently have 410 runners entered and anticipate a field of 1200 plus.See for details.

The Harry Hawkes 10 will take place this Summer with details and date available soon.

parkruns take place throughout the UK and are developing worldwide. The Bushy parkrun this Saturday had 1051 finishers and was my 177th parkrun. The winner Richard Kowenicki achieved a time of 15.48. The last person home recorded 59.30.



Plan A may have worked if it had not been for my daughter Victoria and friends being at home when we got the cab back from the Edward’s New Years Eve party. If  I had gone to bed then I would have undoubtedly had a hangover in the morning, but would at least have managed a few more hours sleep. As it was we sat around drinking and playing articulate until 4am and I didn’t open my eyes until 8.45, too late to set out for the Bushy parkrun at nine.

I had recognised Plan A. which involved doing Bushy at nine, Kingston parkrun at ten and then the Stragglers round Richmond park at 12.00, might prove a tad ambitious. So I had backup plans for New Years Day in place.

Had I got up at 8.45 and made a cup of tea, then Plan B would have come into play, which would start with the Kingston parkrun and then move on to Richmond Park. Instead I closed my eyes for a few more minutes doze, and when I woke again it was now too late for Kingston as well!

Fortunately plan C was still in place. I decided I had time to run over to Teddington and pick up the Jag where I had left it the night before and get back to Richmond Park in time for 12.00. Head still fuzzy from New Years Eve, it took me longer than anticipated to get out of the house. Also, I misjudged the distance to the car. Its 2.5 miles to Teddington Lock and if the car had been there I could have done it in 25 minutes. But the Edwards live in Stanley Road, adding another 1.2 miles to the distance. As a result it was mid day by the time I reached the car and 12.15 when I got to the meeting point at the Kingston gate car park, and the Stragglers group were long gone.

Still it was a nice day and I did the lap of the park anyway, albeit at a pretty slow pace. The weather and New Years resolutions had brought the public out in force and the path was rammed with walkers, dogs, small children on scooters, cyclists and of course other runners. I finished the lap, drove home for a shower and scrambled eggs, then cycled down to the Wych Elm where the Stragglers were meeting for a New Years Day drink. I sat at the bar with Alan Pemberton and Jim Sell and enjoyed a very convivial chat over a few pints of London Pride. In fact it turned into a very useful session, as we discussed reviving the well known Harry Hawkes 8 as a ten mile race later in 2013, but more of that another time.

And Plan D? Thankfully this was not required. It involved not doing the run and going directly to the Wych Elm. But the Beer would have not tasted so good, nor would my conscience have been clear if I had gone to the pub without running 11 miles beforehand!

Total distance covered = 11.2 miles, 3.7 recovering the car and 7.5 round the park. Average of around 10 miute miling.

Entries to the Richmond 13.1 are gaining momentum (New Years Resolutions?) with 22 so far today and 69 since Saturday bringing the total to 250. With over 12 weeks to go should easily top 1000!

As its New Years Eve I couldn’t really let it pass without throwing i  some resolutions for the new year. Usual problem is to be realistic. It’s easy to end up with a list as long as your arm and see most forgotten within the first week.But here is a list of achievables which I am aiming for in 2013, all of which are based around running, although they may well have other life benefits as well.

  1. Lose weight. I will do a weigh in tomorrow and set a target weight to come down to. The bathroom scales (which I think are pretty accurate) showed me on 12 stone last week, which is 168 pounds or approximately 76kg. I am 5’11” tall (180cm), which doesn’t make me a porker, but I would run a fair bit quicker at 11st 7lb (73kg) and an ideal racing weight would be 11stone (70kg). So resolution number one is to hit 73kg by end January and aim to crack on towards the 70kg by March.
  2. Enter more races. At the moment I have the Brighton Half in February and Brighton Marathon in April and that’s it. Need to get in one or two more before the Marathon, including one long one, probably the Spitfire (20m) or Cranleigh 21m). Something to do tomorrow afternoon perhaps? And maybe a 10k in January?
  3. Keep to the schedule. Very easy to let “pressure of work”, “feeling slightly off colour” etc get in the way of training, especially with the dark nights and atrocious winter weather. It’s important to stick at it. Not necessarily every session on the plan – in real life you need to be versatile – but generally doing the right number and type of runs and miles over the week.

That’s it for me. I could add giving up alcohol, becoming a better person, writing my novel, moving to a smaller less time-consuming house, as personal objectives and then start in on business plans for 2013, but thats when it all starts to get silly. I think I’ll just stick to the measurable goals listed above and if I can follow those through, everything else will flow from there.

Good luck to all with their resolutions and let me wish you a happy New Year.


It’s a well-known phrase or saying. “In the long run we will all be better off” is the sort of comment which trips off the tongue of Government Ministers, usually when they are trying to justify the parlous state the country is in now. Never mind that you can’t afford to eat, think of the feast that awaits once we have sorted out the current problems. The draw back with this argument was succinctly put by the great British economist John Maynard Keynes who quipped “In the long run we will all be dead”.

For runners the phrase has more literal meanings. It’s true that in planning for distance races a lot of what you do in early training is really for the benefit of the ultimate goal, the race itself. So its fair to say that the pain now will bear fruit in the long run. But usually we are just talking about running a long distance in training. Most marathon schedules have a long run as part of the programme, usually on a Sunday (On the basis that this is the day you are most likely to have the time to fit it in.) The key concepts behind this form of training are:

  1. By building up the long run distance week by week you can condition your body to running for long periods. On runs of 18 miles plus you tend to run out of usual glucose fuel supplies (Although there is a whole nutrition thing that you can look at to prevent this from happening) and start to burn fat, which is less efficient and causes pain. However if you run a number of 18 mile plus runs pre marathon, you can start to condition your body to accept that this is OK.
  2. Long slow runs build muscle and endurance.
  3. Psychologically you get to believe you can do the distances.

So today was my first long run at the end of a first week of training. The schedule said 8 miles. The group of us that met at the Pheasantry in Bushy Park had mixed objectives and speeds and most wanted to run less distance. We set out fairly slowly and ran across bushy Park to Kingston, then alongside the River to Hampton Court. On this stretch which is probably just short of 3 miles we started to spread out, but to keep the group together the front runners circled round and joined the back of the group every mile or so, then worked their way forward again. This way we all finished  more or less together and everybody had a chance to fulfill their objectives.

Back in Bushy Park I said goodbye to the group to add on a couple of additional miles to make the 8. Jackie, another marathon runner who is also doing Brighton, joined me and we ran another two miles or so chatting about marathon training. So, a pleasant first long run for the campaign, which will hopefully benefit us both in the long run.

Total distance 8.75 miles on my Garmin (including the back and forth running on the towpath). Total time about 1hr 23 minutes. Average pace 9.32, but faster in reality as this did not take account of various stops.

Week one marathon schedule called for a total of 24 miles over 5 runs. With the Christmas break I did six runs and 32 miles, but its felt OK and a good start. Next week I am down to run a similar mileage with a long run of 9 miles on Sunday.

The Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon has had another 26 entries over the weekend and is now up to 207. If you are looking for a spring marathon check us out at





Gathered with 64 other lycra clad souls on the banks of the Thames at Ham this morning, a stiff cold wind ripping over surging brown floodwater, I briefly reflected on the joys of winter running.

Its getting out thats the difficult bit. From indoors where it’s (hopefully!!) warm and snug, the external weather rarely looks inviting. Depending on the winter we are having it will probably be raining, bleak and grey, dark, windy or snowing (And sometimes a combination of the above). Rarely will it be cold and bright with a light blue sky and a watery sun shining through. Such days do occur and are magical, but pretty rare between December and February, the deepest winter months.

This years winter has been wetter than most and we have yet to see any significant snow in the south. In fact only a few weeks have seen frost and ice. This makes training fully possible. A few winters back running became almost but not quite iout of the question at this time of year with snow slush and ice for the first week of marathon training. That was a true test of resolve and ingenuity, finding routes that were actually runnable. The outer track around Richmond Park was brilliant on the first day of snow. By the second day it had turned into a dangerous rutted ice ring. December 2012 is all about mud and puddles and dodging the rain.

Todays Kingston Parkrun was no exception. Once underway I soon warmed up and overall it was not a bad run. The time was slow at 25.17, but although I’m going better now, its taken a while to recover from the calf injury and I need to work on speed. That said it was my best time on this course in two months (October 27th, 24.28). Hopefully by the New Year I will be getting back into the 24 minute band again.

The best thing about winter running is how damn good you feel after you have done it. Strip off the wet kit and get into a warm shower, sit down to a coffee and toast. Stretch out and enjoy the rest of the day. So remember, running in winter is rearely as bad as you think. Get on the right kit and go for it. It’s not winter running that’s the problem, just the anticipation.

Kingston parkrun #143. Time 25.17 (average pace 8.11). 24th place out of 65 runners, age grade 64.01%. My 176th park run to date.

Meanwhile the interest in the Richmond 13.1 Half Marathon continues to build and we now have 189 entries, 13 weeks before the race. See the website if you are interested and do spread the word!




Its very easy to get carried away with enthusiasm, and this time of year structure becomers tricky with holidays weirdly falling midweek. If you read the top tips blog I did recently you will see one of them is not to run two hard sessions back to back (on consecutive days). Another (and if its not there it should be!) is “Don’t up your mileage too quickly”.

About halfway round Bushy Park last night chasing a small pack of quicker runners from the Stragglers as they receeded into the darkness, pushing hard so as not to lose sight of them altogether, I found myself reflecting on these nuggets of running wisdom.

Not long back from an injury which was causing concern, this was now my third consecutive day’s running in the first week of marathon training. Yesterday was a 4 mile race and today will be getting on for six and I must be at around race pace! The calf is not niggling but a slight ache lets me know its there. I definitely should have more sense!

Fortunately all ends well. I catch the runners stretching outside Mark’s House in Wick Road which is conveniently located opposite the Lion, a good if marginally expensive Gastro pub buried in the side streets of Hampton Wick. We cool down and change before heading over the road for a good selection of ales. Mark likes Naked Ladies; I stick to a more traditional London Pride.

The conversation is varied and not all about running. Arthur is talking to me about time. Not in the sense of how long it takes to run a mile, but on a cosmic scale. If the Universe began x billion years ago, then what preceeded the big bang? Was there still time or did time start then? I suggested maybe looking for a start and finish was perhaps too limiting. Is looking for the start of time like trying to find the beginning of a circle (or more interestingly a sphere?)

Having forgotton the cardinal rules of running I at least remembered those of drinking and made a point of leaving after the third pint, probably just as well judging by a slightly erratic cycle back through Kingston, although in fairness not helped by my trouser let catching in the chain at various inopportune moments!

Rules are there to be broken and runners achiever personalities may push us to do so, but its wise to heed the Cardinal’s rules, particularly at this time of year.

A little slow to start after a very pleasant Christmas afternoon eating and drinking with the family. Today I was heading over to Twickenham for the club annual boxing day race – the Cabbage Patch 4. Registration was at the famous Cabbage Patch Pub near Twickenham station. Setting out later than planned I had a fairly brisk 4 mile cycle ride before arriving a10.50 for an 11 oclock start. I was not alone in setting out late and there was a queue for race numbers. Eventually everyone was registered and we jogged down to the river front at Twickenham just beside the Church. The good news was it was not raining and quite mild.

A field of around 85 runners took off and we were soon following the swollen waters of the Thames downstream towards Richmond Bridge. I got into a stride and overtook a few people and had a few come past me. Then the race settled and i don’t think there were any changes to my position in the second half, although I was running really hard over the last mile, convinced I would be caught and outsprinted on the run up to the finish. The course came up short on my watch at around 3.8 miles.

Afterwards I had a pleasant warm down run with Dave Olsen, probably .75 miles, so about 4.5 miles in total. We went back to the Cabbage Patch and had a pint and a chat. One of the traditions of the race is that everyone brings a wrapped present of approximately £3 value, which goes into a tub. I donated a large bar of Toblerone and came out with Ferrera Rochez, so a pretty fair swap. Then the four miles cycle back for lunch. Getting in some reasonable miles towards the first weeks marathon training tally. Entries continue to move steadily for the Richmond 13.1 with another 6 today making 161 to date. How many by March 31st?

No results available for the race, but my Garmin stats were 3.83 miles in 31.40. Average pace 8.15, with last 0.83 miles run at 7.53 pace.