Happily Ever After

Life in The Rural Retreat with a beautiful wife, three cats, garden wildlife, a camera, a computer – and increasing amounts about running

Earlier posts can be found on Adventures of a Lone Bass Player, where this blog began life. Recent entries can be found here.


Brodie And Beyond

by Russell Turner - 10:47 on 07 November 2023

That’s my final race of 2023 done – the Brodie Castle 10k, in perfect cool and windless conditions, so it was a shame I took a couple of walk breaks near the end and failed to reach my sub-1hr target, finishing 27secs too slow. I could blame a long year of running, or no proper 10k training, but lack of mental fortitude was really to blame.

However, I’m not that disappointed. It was a good morning out, a decent route, and Matchgirl was there to see me start and finish. She had a tougher job, queuing 40mins for a coffee that turned out to be too sweet. Such is life.

The year’s medal haul (I’ll post the boast photo when I’ve got round to taking it) comprises one ultra, two marathons, two halfs and five 10ks. And there was a medal-less marathon as part of an ultra training run. The only PB I’ve managed this year was for a 1k sprint. Maybe I’ll improve again next year, although that will require more effort in training than I may be prepared to give. Time will tell.

One PB I should achieve (all being well) in 2024 is for longest distance when Matchgirl and I return to the Race to the Stones. Thanks to what we learned this year, 100k is within our grasp, however long it takes. Also in the diary are London Landmarks HM and Virtual London Marathon in April (when I’ll be raising money for Young Lives vs Cancer – justgiving.com/page/bassman66), a double-header at Malton in September when a proper 10k will be followed by a food and drink assault course over the same route, then the Oxford HM in October. Several other events are pencilled in but at the mercy of yet-to-appear City Limits gigs and financial considerations. Running doesn’t get any cheaper.

Notable for their absence from the 2024 calendar are York 10k (two gigs that weekend) and Yorkshire Marathon (the weekend after Oxford, and Matchgirl’s in Shetland so I’ll be cat-sitting). That’s a blow, because I’ve raced there and visited family every year since 2018 apart from the covid-induced break in 2020. But Malton’s not far away so it will have to do.

Another race I won’t be doing, despite having won my place in it, is the mass participation Paris Olympic Marathon in August. I should be disappointed, but I’ve been less enthused since learning it will take place at night rather than with the elites. Also, the cost of travel and accommodation will be enormous for an event I won’t have trained for properly, four weeks after Stones, and which risks being a huge anticlimax.

So as it looks like I’ll have no real marathon next year I’ve decided to make a proper effort for Virtual London, put in a full 16-week training programme and attempt a good finish time with a 6:1 run/walk, which seems to be where I’m best. I’ve even got what should be a quiet, spectacularly scenic route in mind, with the bonus that there’s a lot more down than up, so hopefully it will be much quicker than Google’s estimated walking time.

After a week’s break (although the Balmoral 5k and/or 10k at the end of it is tempting) I can complete the last 10 weeks of the Stones programme, which means I’ll have had more than six months’ preparation for my 100k challenge. What could possibly go wrong?

The marathon programme begins, by pure chance, on January 1st, which seems appropriate. In the meantime I’ll attempt to retain what fitness I have with walks and modest runs, weather permitting. Maybe 2024 will be the year I really become a runner.

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