The Tony Mackness Running Pages


Gloucester 20  |  Milton Keynes Half  |  Ashby 20  |  Flora London Marathon  |  Oxford Town And Gown  |

Northbrook 10k  |  2 Castles  |  Midsummer 5  |  Kenilworth Half  |  Rugby 10  |  Coventry Half  |  

ING New York Marathon  |  Snyed Striders Pudding Run  



Gloucester 20
Sunday 4th March 2007
Distance 20 Miles
Running Number 549

Slipped this one in at the last moment, only deciding to do it four days before. I was told on Saturday that the weather forecast for Sunday was not very good, so that was bad news. Leaving Coventry wasn't too bad, but travelling down the M5 it started - heavy wind and rain. The start of the race is a good fifteen minutes walk from the changing area, so I donned a fetching black bin liner and headed off.

The course itself is pleasant. Three miles out and then twice round a seven mile loop before returning. Through some little villages, and with only a couple of hills (which you run twice)
Rather exposed at times, the wind and rain brought back recollections of my first Ashby 20, back in 2004 ..
One drawback was having to wait to get back to the changing area at the end. You have to cross the canal via a swing bridge. Just my luck that it closed as I approached, and had to wait until a barge had passed before we could cross. Standing around getting cold is not what you need, and a steady jog back added another half mile on the distance !!  
I think that had the weather been better I would have possibly run a PB, but who knows, therefore I return to the site of my current PB, The Ashby 20, in a couple of weeks, to have another chance. 

Official finishing time of 2:31:06


  Milton Keynes Half Marathon 
Sunday 11th March 2007 
Running Number  658

Conditions for this race were totally different from the previous week's Gloucester 20. Cool to start but warming up over the last three or four miles.  The first half mile or so was spent doing the usual slalom, avoiding those slower runners who had started to far up on the start line.

What seemed like a slow start was dispelled when I went through the first mile in 6.49. The previous weeks run told me I was in good shape, and I knew that this was a great chance to get close to my target of 1.32.  I had to average less than 7 minute milling to have any chance of that, as I was bound to slow down as the race progressed. Checking my watch at every mile marker I was on target, and at 10 it was definitely achievable, but it would be hard work. Putting in a 6.30 thirteenth mile brought the finish into view and a real push for the line gave me not only a finishing time of 1.31.29 but even better was the fall of my half marathon PB of 1.32.40 which had stood since the Coventry Half Marathon of 1985,  some 22 years earlier.


Milton Keynes Half Result 2007


 Ashby 20 
Sunday 18th March 2007
Running Number 1663
As with my two previous runs in the Ashby 20 the weather was not ideal. This year we had strong winds, which always seemed to be against, and a couple of hail storms. Started off at a nice even pace, and missed the first mile marker !!  
As always I was working out in my mind what I needed to do to get in under my PB of 2.29.06 At ten I was on track and I had a target to be at 15 miles in under 1.53, which would give me a chance of setting a new PB. I got to 15 in 1.49 and it was definitely on. All I had to do was keep the pace going, which I did, and was rewarded with a new PB, finishing in 2.26.09, thereby knocking 2 minutes and 57 seconds off the PB set at the Ashby 20 in 2004

Ashby 20 result 2007




The Flora London Marathon
Sunday 22nd April 2007
Running Number 6404


The last few days before the race were more usually associated with summer days rather than April, when it's supposed to shower. The forecast was for temperatures of 23, and for once the forecast was right, making it the hottest London Marathon in it's 27 year history. Given the heat it was important to ensure you were well hydrated before the race commenced, and take water on throughout the race. Just sitting around on Greenwich Common at 9.00 o'clock was hot enough. The first four to five miles were slow going, and, with everyone closely packed in there was no breeze to help keep you cool. The sweat was pouring out,  but once the field thinned out the body regulated and it became more bearable.  The hot weather, brought out the crowds, who lined the course throughout the 26.2 miles. Their support was fantastic, which really helps the runners when the going get tough.

Two years ago I got to about 18 miles when it all went wrong. This year I was more prepared because I got through without any real problems.  Again, I would have loved to have done a sub 3:15 finish, and to do this I needed to get to 20 miles in 2.29. Unfortunately due to the heat I was two and a half minutes behind target at 20, so I knew that I would miss out, as there was no way I could make that up. As it was I covered the last  6.2 miles in 48 and a half minutes to finish with a new PB of 3:20:08, smashing my previous PB by a massive 6 minutes and 47 seconds, and a ranking of 152 out of 1852 in my age category.

Before the race I knew that I was capable of completing between 3.20 and 3.25 so I was over the moon with my performance.






Oxford Town And Gown 
Sunday 20th May 2007 
Distance 10k  
Running Number 991

This was my second time of running the Town And Gown. A nice run round the centre of Oxford, and passing many of the Cties colleges, with a massive turn out of 2,743 runners. It also supports the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign.
Since London I had only done two runs. The Northbrook Summer Handicap over 5k, in which I recorded a new PB, and the Coventry Godiva 5 mile around the War Memorial Park, where I equalled my PB, so going into the T&G I was confident that a new 10k PB could be achieved.
I started off near the front of the pack knowing that to do a PB I would have to push it, which wasn't going to be easy as only 48 hours earlier I had stepped off an 8 hour flight  from Florida, and then spending 15 hours asleep. Perhaps the three runs I did in Florida helped, as Oxford was a warm sunny day with only a light breeze. Over the last three kilometres I kept an eye on the watch and calculated that a PB was on. As I turned into the home straight I gave it one big push, and crossed the finishing line in 41.17
PB achieved and a finishing position of 181

Northbrook 10K
Sunday 3rd June 2007
Running Number 146

As in previous years the organising committee managed to pick a great day for the race. A real summers day, but not necessarily a good one for the 354 runners !  The course is not a easy one. The first 6k is tough with a couple of hills, then downhill, before one more climb and then pretty much downhill to the end. I wasn't expecting a PB on this one, but I can honestly say a finish of 42.37 was better than I had expected. 

Two Castles 
Warwick Castle to Kenilworth Castle 
Sunday 10th June 2007 
Distance 10k Running Number 715 

This race starts early... 9am !! 
An overcast morning with the sun trying to break through made for ideal running conditions. A reasonably flat course with the exception of a couple of climbs at about 5k and 8k. The only downside of the race is the last 3k (ish) which takes you through the suburban area of Kenilworth, lots of turns, which do slow you down a bit. Otherwise a very well organised and marshalled race. Pity that the digital time display at the finish line wasn't working !! 
A big turnout of 2108 runners suggest the organising committee would be well advised to consider using timing chips for next years event. A good race from me, fairly even running throughout.   
Finishing time 41.38 
Position 65 out of 2108

Coventry Godiva Harriers 
Midsummer 5  
Wednesday 27th June 2007 
Distance 5 mile 
Running Number 249

I wouldn't normally detail a race like this one, but on this occasion there is a good reason.

My running recently has been on the up, and this was the race that I had targeted to get a new PB at this distance. Reading articles in Runners World and conversations with fellow runners it became obvious that I needed to approach the race in a different manner. I have always started races conservatively, and then tried to pick up the pace with a strong finish. For this one the tactics changed and I would go for it from the start, and try and hang in for a long as possible, after all its only five miles.  

After clocking 6.03 for the first mile I knew I had gone off faster than necessary, but had to maintain the pace.
There was no point in slowing down. Subsequent miles were fairly consistent, therefore giving me a bit of time
in the bag should I flag towards the end. With 25.35 gone after four miles that left me with over seven and a
half minutes for the last mile and still get a PB. I managed to stay with my New York partner until a quarter mile
from home, but he pulled away and I couldn't keep up. 
I had got this far and sheer determination saw me through the finish in 31.55.
Not only a new PB but a massive 1 minute and 18 seconds off the old one. 
2007 started off with me targeting a new PB at every distance. 
This was my sixth out of seven. Only a 10 miler to get now !!!

Kenilworth Half Marathon
Sunday 7th October 2007
Running Number 622 
My New York schedule had me down to do a 20 today, but with Kenilworth on my doorstep, and having
enjoyed this race two years ago I changed things around. Originally I considered running the half,
and then continuing back to Coventry, a further 7 miles or so, but decided against it.
Today was a chance to see what fitness level I was at, and therefore allow me to fine tune my next three weeks training.
Confident from my recent performances I went into the race with a PB in mind, meaning I had to better 1.31.29,
set at Milton Keynes earlier this year. 
Conditions were perfect for running, and I got into my stride right from the off, with a first mile of 6.36.
The pace continued throughout the race with only one mile taking over 7 minutes. After about seven miles I started to
move up through the field, with only a couple of runners passing me. Things were looking good.
I went through 10 miles in 1.07.48 which I was really pleased about. All I need is to do that or better next week...
Today I also made a concerted effort when going up the hills (and there were plenty of them). That is one area of my
running where I need to improve.
 A lot of hard work went into the run, so you can imagine how I felt when I crossed the finishing line in 1.28.09.
My first half marathon at sub 1.30.....and another PB knocking a whopping 3 mins 20 secs off the previous one.
Finish position 47th out of  532
An additional bonus was finishing third in my age group and winning a pair of socks.
Rugby 10
Sunday 14th October 2007 
(Race at Draycote Water, Daventry)
Running Number 308


This was my chance to achieve the target I had set myself at the beginning of the year, which was to record a PB at 
every distance during 2007. I put a lot of pressure on myself for this one. Doing a PB meant I could go to New York
with my target met. Failing meant I would have to wait until my next chance at the Pudding run in December, and what if I
were to fail.... Unthinkable !!

The race was a late start at 11pm, but I arrived in good time and jogged down to the start / finish area to familiarise myself.
The finish line was on a 200 yard straight, so it was going to be a fast finish. First few miles were uncomfortable.
My right calf was tight, and all the negative thoughts were going through my head. Should I run it off, should I stop ?
If I carried on would it end in disaster and put paid to my marathon? Needless to say I carried on and after 5 miles I had
run it off.

The course was two laps of the lake, with a loop tagged on at the beginning, and whilst the course could not be described
as hilly there were several short inclines which were testing, but as with my race the previous week I kept working up them.
As the miles went by I knew that the PB was there for the taking. All I needed to do was keep going, as each mile I completed
was well under 7 min pace.
Rounding the last corner, the finish came in to sight, one last effort, and I crossed the line in 1.07.20 a new PB !!

Finishing position 26 out of 121

For the second week running I was amongst the prizes -  4th in my age group, and also 2nd in the team prize.



Coventry Godiva Half Marathon
Sunday 21st October 2007

Running Number 199

My third race in three weeks, and only four days after my long run of 23 miles, meant that this was going to be

more of a training run than a race... well that's how I intended it to be !  
Lined up well down in the starting pens, but was hampered by the usual runners who should have been further

In a effort to get through them, because I didn't want to run too slow, I made the first mile in 6.45 ! The pace was
comfortable so I just carried on going. As you would expect, due to my marathon training I had plenty in the tank
and had no problem maintaining an even pace.
A strong finish saw me powering up the finishing straight to record a time of 1.28.36

It seems incredible that only a few weeks ago I was talking about probably never breaking 1 hours for the half,
and now I've done it twice in two weeks.
In retrospect, I'm a little bit disappointed to have finished within 27 seconds
of my PB, as I think I was more than
capable of setting a new one today.
That will have to wait for another day.....

Finishing position 69 out of 1619


 ING New York Marathon

Sunday 4th November 2007
Running Number 3305

ING New York Marathon

This is one that I had always dreamt about doing, but never thought that one day I would actually do it. 
Running round Central Park in 2006 ignited the flame, and I knew that I had to return to fulfil the ambition. 
My only problem was how do I tackle this one ?

I take my running very seriously, (you've probably realised that by now !!) and there's a part of me that's saying,
go do it, and enjoy the day. Take in the sights as you run through the five New York Boroughs, Starting on
Staten Island
, cross the
Verazano-Narrows Bridge, into, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Bronx and finishing in
Central Park.
Lap up the atmosphere as 2 million people line the route and another 35,000 runners take part.

Then there is my competitive edge that tells me to go run and look for that sub 3.15 time....

Central Park Run 2006

Central Park, New York. December 2006  
It may have been a sunny day, but it was bloody freezing !!!

ING New York Marathon 
Race Report


If you have been following the reports from the last couple of months you will have spotted that my running has improved dramatically. Not only have the races brought PB's, my general training has been carried out at a higher threshold, and not surprisingly, confidence was at an all time high going into this race. 

After completing 6 London's it was interesting to see how the Americans did things. There was nothing I could really fault them on. Everything was done with precision. If there was one tiny thing they could improve on, that would be to make the mile markers more visible. Boards on lamp posts is more your local half marathon thing, not something that you would expect from a big city major marathon. 

To get to the start on Staten Island by 7am meant being in line for the bus by 6am, which meant getting up at 4.45am !! Truly an early start.  Two alarms were set, and just to confuse things even more clocks went back an hour at 2am Sunday morning, so one good thing was the extra hour in bed. Waiting at the start went really quickly with free tea, coffee and bagels supplied. Before long it was time to get lined up, and await the start cannon, which was followed by Ole Blue Eyes "New York, New York" being blasted out. I was off the green start, and on the lower deck of the majestic Verazano - Narrows Bridge. 

Support was fantastic throughout the race, "way to go" and "looking good" were to be heard all along the course, together with bells and whistles. For me the biggest buzz was coming off the Queensboro bridge, where you have just run over a mile without any spectators or noise, then turning the corner into Manhattan, where you are met with a wall of sound. Absolutely fantastic. 

This marathon is tough. Its not flat. The bridges make it hard. My pre race plan was to try and do sub 3.15, and at 20 miles it was on. From 22 onwards it slipped away. The pace dropped to 8 minute and over and I was finding it hard. Mental resolve, sheer determination and not to mention bloody mindedness kicked in and kept me going. The last three miles through Central Park are up and down, and it was obvious that the 3.15 was a bridge to far. Now I had to focus on beating my PB 3.20.08. Sensing that I was almost there, and a PB was within my grasp, from somewhere I found the energy and picked up the pace for the last mile. The half mile to go sign was a welcome sight, then back into the park and the finish line loomed ahead. I gave it one last push and crossed that line, arms aloft in triumph. Time 3.19.46 a new PB by 22 seconds.  

On reflection did I push myself too hard at the beginning ? To do 3.15 is 7.27 mile pace, and I was running faster than that. However I believe my strategy was correct. 20 miles and beyond is when most runners find the going tough, despite all the hard training that's gone in before. A race is not the same as a training run. I was putting some credits in the bank knowing I would slow down later, and hoped that it would work. It didn't, but I'd do the same again. I would have been gutted to finish and have something left in the tank. There wasn't  I gave it all over the 26.2 miles. 

Finishing position 2519 out of 38760


Click on the thumbnail to view larger images
Enjoying a pint of Guinness after the marathon.
My first drink for about 8 weeks !!!!

Tony and Mark proudly wearing finisher T Shirts and medals.

Monday in Central Park
Central Park on a beautiful Autumnal Monday. The park (or me) didn't look this good 24 hours earlier !!
Tony with Deena Kastor Tony with 2006 London Marathon Winner Deena Kastor
I ran New York as part of the "Heart Runners" team raising funds for the 
British Heart Foundation, raising a fantastic
BHF Logo
Registered Charity No. 225971


Sneyd Striders 
Christmas Pudding Run 
Sunday 9th December 2007 
Distance 10 Miles Running Number 260

My fifth time of running this race, and it's one that I look forward to. 
After having run a 10 mile PB at Rugby in October the motivation and need to go out looking for a new PB was not that important, but If it started well my target was 67 mins. Any chances I had of doing it were very slim right from the start. This year the course had been altered slightly... its a pity it wasn't conveyed to the runners beforehand.  We all stood around expecting to be walked to the start, but instead a pathetic "horn" sounded, taking us by surprise and we were off ! The road was far to narrow to accommodate all the runners and a slow start was guaranteed.  It was then an effort to pass the slow runners and get into your stride.
A first mile of 7.37 was not a good start. The next three miles averaged out about 6.45 pace, but confusion arose when the five mile marker popped up, well before it should have done. 4.12 for the fifth mile... I don't think so. 
The 6 mile marker was missing so it wasn't until mile seven that I had a chance to see how I was doing, and I was just over three minutes off the target. The sight of a Northbrook vest in front had kept me focused right from the start, and it was getting closer. After eight and a half miles I managed to pull level with my club mate and went past him. Looking at my splits of 5.04, 6.54 and 5.59 for the last three miles it would suggest that the markers were not accurate. Since about 4 miles I had been having a nip and tuck battle with a guy from  Black Country Triathletes. We both produced a sprint finish, but I lost by a second. After crossing the line we congratulated each other, and no doubt that little battle had spurred us on.   

Official finishing time 1.08.17 

Finishing Position 99 out of 683

All the hard effort put in during 2007 brought not only many PB's but I was also rewarded when, at the annual Northbrook A.C. presentation evening I picked up the "most improved runner of the year" award.

This award is voted for by the club members, whoever polls most votes is the winner ! 
It was a great honour to be recognised by my fellow runners. I thank all those who voted for me, those who helped, advised and encouraged me throughout the year.

TM Receives the "Most improved runner of the year" award


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This page last updated on  Saturday 5th September 2009   A S Mackness 2009