2013 in running

I do enjoy looking at stats and taking a look back at my running over the course of 2013 gives me a massive sense of satisfaction at what I’ve attempted and achieved through the year and the contrast between the person and runner I was in January 2013 and the one who stood at the start of the final race of the year on the 29th December at the Ribble Valley 10k.

There have been so many highlights and adventures I can’t wait to crack on this year and train for the races I’ve entered and got planned.

The stats

I like Strava for recording all my training and running and for the year, I’ve actually done more than I thought I would. Here’s the stats:

Distance: 1,588.7 mi
Elev Gain: 129,665 ft
Time: 240h 12m
Runs: 222

Follow me on Strava if you’re on there.

The racing highs

Manchester Marathon – A massive PB of 3:36 although a winter of disrupted training meant I made it to 20 miles comfortably and then had to grind out a slow and painful last 6 miles. Not sure if I’m going to do a marathon this year but I’m pretty confident I could train for around 3:10 this time.

I won two races! – Our friends at Team OA have recently started organising a 3.2 mile fell race on my doorstep, I’ve been lucky enough to win the first 2 races. It’s going to become a more and more popular race over time and I’ll no doubt lose my crown but what a buzz it was winning.

Hardmoors 60 ultramarathon – Being on your feet for 15 hours teaches you a lot about perseverance and tactical running and the value of good friends and support. There’s no doubt it was a painful day and I felt ill for a couple of days after too from the exertion but finishing that race has given me a sense of inner strength I never knew possible and there’s a lot of challenges both running and in other areas of my life I would now consider possible that I’d never thought about before. If you get a chance to push yourself to a similar or greater level, go for it!

Ribble Valley 10k (29/12/13) – I’d run a lot of miles from October through to December and knew that there was a significant step up in my shorter race pace in the legs and I wanted to find a race I could run at full pace to see just where I stood at the end of the year both speed and stamina wise and also tactically.

Ribble Valley is a pretty flat course and in the end I was super pleased to run an official time of 37:50 for 10k and paced myself very well with pretty much even mile splits for the duration and recorded a massive 10k pb at the end of the year.

Other race highlights

It’s been a busy year for sure including some great fell and trail races like Lactic Flashback, King of the Hill, Marsden 10, Hepworth Dryad and Dovestone Diamond as well as taking part in the first White Rose Ultra with Ally and having an interesting experience running in dire weather at the Adidas Thunder Run.

The racing lows

Dusk ’til Dawn 50 mile ultra DNF – I needed this race to go well, it was one I’d signed up to in order to try and get over the disappointing end to the Manchester Marathon but on the day, I’d bitten off more than I could chew as it was a tough race through some challenging terrain in the Peak District and needed navigational skills I didn’t possess. In the end, I ran strongly in joint 4th place to the 31 mile checkpoint but didn’t safe enough to continue so withdrew. I’m not racing another navigation required event until I’ve got the skills. I’m learning those as one of my main goals for this year.

What’s planned for 2014?

I initially wanted to spend 9 months training physically and mentally to attempt a Bob Graham Round but the reality is that the amount of training required to attempt one makes it more likely to be a 2015 goal.

So with that in mind, I’ve got a couple of key races and goals set for the year and I’ll be focusing a lot of effort on pace. I’d love to knock another minute off my Parkrun PB of 18:07 and get down into 35:xx for 10k. Ambitious targets for sure but I’m going to give them a go!

My entire focus for the year is the Ladybower 50 mile ultra in September. I want to run it in less than 8 hours. Based on the 2013 results, that would be top 3. Again, ambitious to the max but I figure I should aim high! Working on my speed and endurance for 9 months should stand me in good stead for that.

I’m also running The Grizzly 20 miler in March down in Devon and I’d love to run that in a sub 3 hour time which in 2013 would be good for top 50 in a field of 1500.

There are lots of other races including the ones I’ve done this year that I want to do again, particular favourites are the Marsden 10 and White Rose Ultra.

Overall, an amazing year for me personally running wise and the friendships Ally and I have made through running mean a great deal to us so look forward to running more with everyone and hope you all have an injury free and successful 2014.