Running Is Funning!

In Which I DNS Due To Looking After Santa And His Reindeer (True Story!)

After I became a multiple marathon finisher (never getting tired of saying THAT!) I gave myself some time off from running to fully recover.

The first few days, I was a bit stiff (stop giggling at the back) but before a week had passed, my legs were feeling fine. I was cycling to work and back to keep a bit of fitness and then on the 28th, just over a week after York, I decided to try run the 3.5 mile home, most of which is uphill.

I kept a steady pace and was surprised to get home in just over 35mins. My left knee felt a bit sore from slipping in the marathon, but felt quite fit.

Fit enough to try the same route again a few days later and to push myself a bit more. Same route, but did it in 32mins. Still a bit knee-sore afterwards but not as much.

Confidence boosted, I decided to run a 5k at speed on my next day off. (6th November.) I set a route down to the park and then ran laps until I’d run 3.1miles. The lap around the park was a steady uphill that turned into a steep uphill, then a bit flat, followed by a steady downhill and longer flat at the bottom. I ran seven laps in total, with a shout out halfway round of ‘ GET YOUR KNEES UP!’ (Haven’t heard that in WEEKS!)

One year ago I ran a 5k in York in 33mins. This 5k was smashed in a time of 24:19!

With all this happening, I was looking forward to the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k yesterday, November 17th. Unfortunately it was on the same day as the Bradford Reindeer Parade, and as I work in security in the kirkgate centre in Bradford, they required all guards to work, to assist with the parade (and reindeers!) Sarah had to work too, so she was gutted not to come see the reindeers and Santa. (It was the real one.)

Me (to work): I need 17th off, doing a run in Leeds.
Work: Its the reindeer parade that day, but I suppose we’ll manage.

Me (to Sarah): Work said I don’t have to work the reindeer parade, so I can Abbey Dash!
Sarah: Oh, I wanted to see the reindeer…
Me: (to work): I’ll work the 17th.
Me (to Sarah): I’m working the 17th.
Sarah (to me): I now have to work the 17th! You may as well go run.
Me (to work): Can I still have the 17th off?
Work: Suppose so. It’s the reindeer parade though.
Sarah (to me): I’m on stand by on the 17th now, so I can see the reindeer!
Me (to work): I’ll work the 17th.
Me (to Sarah): Right, working 17th.
Sarah: Ah… I’ve been changed again…
Me (to the situation) ***SIGH!***

That's me in the beard. Oh wait, I mean that's me on the far right in a Hi-Viz

That’s me in the beard. Oh wait, I mean that’s me on the far right in a Hi-Viz

My number didn’t go to waste though, as a friend on Twitter snapped it up and ran a very good 53mins.

Abbey Dash 2012 is the first time I got a sub hour run with 59:58 so decided to go run a 10k today to compare. With it being Autumn there were lots of slippy leaves on the floor, and then the canal route was very muddy so took it carefully.

Got my first ever sub 55mins with a time of 54:54!

On't Canal

On’t Canal

I think if the ground had been more runner friendly, I could’ve gone a minute or so quicker, so getting quietly confident for a sub 50 at Mad Dog 10k in April.

So there you have it, if you want to improve your times, run a marathon.

Also, I’m now using Nike+ to track my running. Feel free to search and add me ‘Marc Hemingway’

Leeds Abbey Dash 10k – 18/11/12

In Which I Run A Good Race

My alarm went off at 0700 on Sunday morning. Never a good start. I pressed snooze, and so it then went off again at 0715. I switched it off and then checked Facebook. The other people running the race with me had all put status’s that they were out of bed. (The other people as in Rob, Nigel and Martyn, not the other people as in 9’000 entered. Not friends with them all on Facebook.)

I got up and dressed and then packed my bag for the day. Martyns dad was bringing Martyn and Rob to my house, and Nigel had arranged to meet us here too. Around about 0800 I was eating porridge and could hear voices outside so went out to meet them, and bloody hell was it cold! There was ice on the ground.

We all piled into my house and I made everyone a cup of tea. (I’m nice like that.) Before too long we’d woken everyone up so decided to set off to Leeds.

Car Journey: Uneventful.

After parking in a car park in Leeds we made our way down to the start line with the thousands of other runners. The queue for the toilets was about 200 people long so we did the intelligent thing and went into Wetherspoons to use their facilities. No queue at all. We then made our way back to the start and had a picture taken:

Nigel, Martyn, Me, Rob

Before too long the countdown had begun and then finished and we were off, crossing the start line to ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. All four of us stayed together as a group, chatting away nicely and setting a steady pace until about the 3K marker. After that Nigel was keeping pace with me until about 4K and then I lost sight of him until the turnaround at 5K, when we waved at each other as I headed back and he neared the turn around. The furthest I’ve ever managed running without talking a walk break is 4 1/2K which meant I was chuffed to reach 5K non-stop!

The first 5K (and I suppose, the second 5K, what with it being a race that’s there and back…) was along the streets of Leeds until you got out to Kirkstall Abbey, which is where the turn around point and water station was. Kirkstall Abbey is one of the most complete examples of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Britain.  Set in wonderful parkland along the banks of the River Aire, Kirkstall Abbey boast historic architecture amid a haven of wildlife and greenery. (Just copied and pasted that from their website.)

After the turn around, it got warm. The sun seemed as though it was at eye level above the buildings of Leeds, and combined with the sweat pouring from me, I was very hot. I didn’t stop at the water station because I had a bottle with me, but haven’t practiced running and drinking at the same time. I looked at my watch and figured I’d been running about 35mins non-stop. Before long I reached the 6K marker, still no walking, then the 7K.

As I approached the 8K I needed to walk to take a proper drink as my head was getting dizzy. I pushed on further, and managed to pass the 9K marker, but then thought about how embarrassing it’d be to pass out so walked, and had a drink. I looked back at my watch and figured I had about 6 minutes to finish the last kilometre and to finish under an hour. I pushed it.

Round about the last 200m my watch ticked into the next minute, the minute that I knew signalled an hour, so I sped up as best I could and finished the race strong and with a sprint. I was knackered. I went onto sports tracker on my phone and it read:


Even allowing for starting it before the start line and ending it after the finish, I didn’t think it’d take off much more than 30seconds. Still, it was a PB.

My phone beeped as a message came through.

It was from the Abbey Dash people, whos tracking chip I was wearing on my shoe.

Official chip time: 59:58.

I actually cheered! My first ever sub hour run. Absolutely chuffed. I looked back over the crowd and managed to spot Nigel who got his own PB of 01:02:41. Not too long later, Martyn and Rob finish the run. Rob finished his first ever official 10k (weighing 19stone, running in football trainers, and after a night of 9 pints and a curry) in a time of 01:05:46. Martyn had trouble with his legs on the way round the run so wasn’t at 100%, he finished a second behind Rob.

We made our way up towards the exit of the run to get our finishers T-Shirts, but as it turns out they didn’t bring enough for everyone so none of us got one. We were told to email the organisers who would send them out to us, but we were gutted not to be able to wear them there and then.

Looking at the stats on my tracker, I was amazed. Apart from the last part of the run, where I walked for a bit to have a drink, each mile was quicker than the last. I improved my pace all the way to the last mile!


After the run we went to Wetherspoons in Leeds train station to meet a group of people who were coming along to York for my stag do that afternoon and night. I don’t remember everything that happened, but I came home Monday with both my eyebrows and a hangover, so it was all good. We only got barred from one pub too. Brilliant weekend.

Next race is Bradford 10k on 2nd December.


Thanks for reminding me Nige, though I don’t know how I forgot this!

Just before we split up we were chatting away happily when we looked up. There was a heavy set bloke plodding along a little way in front of usand you couldn’t help but notice his outfit. Not for the fact that he was wearing just lycra shorts without any running shorts over the top, but for the fact that his lycra shorts had slipped down and were now halfway down his arse.

Seriously, a few more steps and they’d be down completely. He hitched them up, and carried on. A few seconds later, they were  down again. He might’ve been the reason I got some speed up…

They say that race day isn’t a day to try out new running shoes. They should also add that it’s not the day to forget to tie your shorts.