The Tony Mackness Running Pages


Fortis Rotterdam Marathon  |  Oxford Town And Gown  |  Upper Boddington 10k  |  2 Castles  |  

Asics Arden 9  |  Kenilworth Half  |  ING Amsterdam Marathon  |  Rugby 10  |  

Snyed Striders Pudding Run   


2008 has not got off to a good start.

The day after the Pudding run my left calf started giving me problems, and has continued to do so. 
Six days off and I then went for an 8 miler. Calf felt reasonable until the last couple of hundred yards when 
it started to hurt again. 

Although I knew it wasn't right, after four days of rest, ice, heat and anti inflamatory gel I gave it another go. 
After two miles I was struggling and turned for home early. That was Dec 27th  and I haven't run since. 
My physio has told me that this sort of injury can mean 3 - 6 weeks out. 

After four weeks off I have been given the go ahead to resume light training. My first "run" was 32 minutes 
at a very easy pace. No problems during or after. The following day was a day of rest, then a treadmill 
run of 35 minutes. Good news is that once again there does not seem to be any pain or discomfort, so
I am hopeful that I can continue to run and do a bit more each time I get out. With only 11 weeks before 
Rotterdam, that's 9 weeks training, and a 2 week taper I have decided that the Ashby 20 will have to be 
forsaken this year, and more likely than not also the Milton Keynes Half. 

The most important thing now is to recover from the injury, and don't make problems for myself by 
trying to do too much too soon. 

By 10th February I had worked up to a long run of 10 miles. The following day 4 miles into a 5 miler 
my left  hamstring started giving me problems. A visit to to the physio found no obvious problems, 
but on my Wednesday run I had only gone about a mile and a half and it was uncomfortable, so I turned
round and called it a day. Time for a few days off .....  

After six days off I went out, more out of frustration than anything else. Those around me were talking 
about their runs and that made me determined to get out. I only did 5 but the hammy eased off as I ran.
That was a good sign. With only seven weeks to go I was going to have to try and stay injury free, and 
increase the miles. A difficult balance. With 4 weeks to go I had built up to 16 miles on a long run, and 
followed that with an 18 and a 20 and then a two week taper of 15 and 12 miles.  

Not ideal preparation for a marathon, but I am resigned to just doing my best on the day. 
No sub 3:15 for me. 

The 18 and 20 went OK, but then on my Friday run with half a mile to go the calf stiffened up. I did
however manage to do my 15 on the Sunday. A physio session on Wednesday left me feeling particularly
sore and I took the decision to take a few days off. One week to go and the planned 12 mile became a
steady 6. Came through alright and ran 6 again on the Wednesday night. Will run 4 on Friday and then
that's it until the Marathon.  

After Rotterdam I shall have a two maybe three weeks complete rest, and then start some quality training incorporating some hill, speed work and races. As long as I stay injury free I will then work towards a
marathon in August or September. I am determined to do a sub 3.15 and get a GFA place in the London
Marathon 2009.   

A few years ago I heard a saying that certainly has a true ring to it at the moment...

There are three types of runner:  
Those who are injured,  
Those who are recovering from an injury, 
and those who are about to get injured.


The Fortis Rotterdam Marathon

Sunday 13th April 2008

Running Number 9597

My 9th marathon, 20 years after my first "Mars London Marathon"

The Fortis Rotterdam Marathon Logo

Good news is that I made it to Rotterdam and the start line. Even better news is that I completed the run.
After checking the weather forecast every day the week before the signs were not good. On Friday
the forecast was heavy showers, by mid afternoon it had changed to sunny spells..... Was Michael Fish doing the weather forecast I asked myself ?

Anyway Saturday turned out to be dry, and Sunday was just perfect for running. Cool breeze to start  with warming up later. It did rain in the afternoon, and we only knew that because we saw it on the highlights on TV. We had finished and gone back to the hotel for our post marathon nap, totally oblivious to what was happening outside.

If you want to run a flat, fast course with loads of PB potential then this is the one for you. If you don't get a place in Paris or London, or you just want to try somewhere new you can get there in little over 90 minutes flying from Birmingham to Amsterdam then train to Rotterdam. 
The highest spot on the course is the Erasmus bridge, which you go over twice, the rest is, "Pancake flat" Not the most interesting of courses I have to say. A figure of eight takes you from the start line on the Coolsingel in the City centre,  out to the south of the city, passing the Feyenoord football stadium, back through the centre and then a loop round the north returning to finish at the start !  Well supported apart from the north loop which goes round a park between 30 and 40k, (or 18 and 24 miles depending on your preference !!). That's where the going gets tough, and the extra support would be a real boost. The good thing is upon leaving the park there's only 2K to go so you know the job is nearly done. 
Pre race plan was to try to stick to a steady 5 min per kilometre, as long as the calf and hamstring which had caused so much problem in the training held up.  I started off well and felt comfortable, covering the first 5k in 24.23, and continued to run at slightly under my target pace, after 35k I was 5 minutes ahead of target. By 40k this was reduced to 2 minutes ahead and at the end I was spot on target. 
Overall, very well organised. Toilets and pissoirs in the starting pens !!. Fresh oranges, bananas, tea, plenty of water and "Extran" sports drink at the end. No rip offs on the race photographs either, as they are available to download for free from the marathon website. 
Only have one criticism, that being the starting pens were a free for all, unless you had a sub 3.15 previous time. For everyone else it was a mass start. Yes, we had ChampionChip timing, but even when you cross the start line it still takes a bit of effort to get into your stride and past the slower runners.  

Official Time 3:32:56
Chip Time 3:30:04
Overall Placing 1427 out of 6841
144 in Age Category M50 out of 786
rotterdam result

rotterdam finish

Oxford Town and Gown

Sunday 18th May 2008

Distance 10K

Running number 2351

This is a race that I enjoy doing, a nice fast, flat course. As in previous year the weather was ideal for running. Went into the race not really having a plan, as I hadn't done any speed work. In the back of my mind between 42 and 43 minutes would be OK. Maintained a nice even pace throughout the race, finishing in a gun time of 42.38. For some reason my chip time is not on the official results, but I reckon that would be six or seven seconds under the 42.38
at the most

Official finishing time 42.38
Finishing position 244 out of 2666

Upper Boddington

Monday 26th May 2008

Distance 10k

Running Number 351

This was one of those last minute decisions. Typical bank holiday weather meant that gardening was out of the question, so off to Upper Boddington, a small village in Northamptonshire. It was a very windy day with some rain thrown in for good measure. Nice course through country lanes, which on a good day could well be a PB course. A fast start due to a downhill mile the rest of the course reasonably flat, with the exception of some canal bridges, and one or two small climbs. My first mile of 6.05 mins. gave me an encouraging start but with the high winds it was difficult to keep an even pace. 
Finishing time of 42.44 
Position 46 out of 178

The Northbrook Coventry 10k

Sunday 1st June 2008
Distance 10K
Running Number 291

My third 10k race in three weeks. Hopefully that will help me with the speed work that I have been missing.
Conditions were ideal for the 357 runners taking part, with good support and marshalling along the way.
Knowing it to be a tough course I was very pleased to finish 26 seconds faster than last year !

Finishing Time 42.11
Position 118 out of 357

Two Castles

Warwick Castle to Kenilworth Castle

Sunday 8th June 2008

Distance 10k 
Running Number 1255

This race used to start in the grounds of Warwick Castle, but as the number of participants has increased over the years it now starts in St Nicholas Park, next to the Castle. Good job this one started at 9am as it was a nice, warm sunny day. An undulating course with a nice bit in the middle through the leafy country lanes of Leek Wotton.  

I obviously didn't put enough into the race, as when I returned home I went out and ran another 4 miles.

Finishing Time 41.03  
Position 109 out of 2132

Asics Arden 9

Sunday 22nd June 2008
Distance 9 miles
Running Number 62

This event was celebrating its fifth anniversary, but was my first time, and, it wont be my last. 
Only 20 minutes drive from home, so its a local race. Run round the lanes of Hampton In Arden, Catherine De Barnes, Barston and round the lakes at the West Midlands Golf Club. Not too hilly, but there is a few ups and downs. The worst one coming between 8 miles and the end. 
Target was to do under 63 minutes. Started well, and with the assistance of my new training partner, Mr Garmin, I kept a close eye on my average pace as the race progressed. Running at an average of 6:50 pace I was well inside my target.
 Nice goody bag at the end containing some Asics stuff, a cereal bar, Cadbury's choc,  and a box of tea tags !! 
There was a problem with the marshalling at the eight mile point, (there wasn't one - marshall that is !!) which resulted in the leader going the wrong way, having to turn round, causing him to lose his lead and come third. 
Glad to say by the time I got to 8 mile the marshal was in place. 
No medal or t-shirt, but instead a fantastic paper weight. Really nice touch. 
And, as I have never done a 9 mie race before, a new PB !!!!!  
Finishing Time 60.34 
Position 37 out of 347

Kenilworth Half Marathon
5th October 2008
Distance 13.1 miles
Running Number 586

What is usually a great run through the leafy lanes of Warwickshire turned out to be a rather wet race today. I could hear the rain before I had even got out of bed, and driving from Coventry to Kenilworth I encountered loads of standing water along the way.
The race got of to a bad start, when after only 50 yards the marshal's directed us left, but the correct route was to turn right. The front runners duly followed the instructions before being called back. For some runners who did turn right it was their moment of glory as they led the pack for a short distance before the leaders managed to make it back to the front !! There were two places on the route that were completely flooded, but I managed to run on the grass verge and so avoided soggy shoes and socks. For most of the way the rain continued to fall.

Another problem was the finish. Coming off the road and then having to do the final  .1 mile around a field is not a good end to any race. Today's wet conditions made it a quagmire and any chance of a fast finish was out of the question. Just staying on your feet was a bonus. My pre race target was to complete in sub 1.30. Bearing in mind the conditions and that I had failed to shift my cold I thought it was a reasonably target.  For some reason the official clock was 30 seconds out, hence the difference between my time and the official time. 

Official time 1.29.16
Unofficial Finishing Time 1.29.47

Finishing position 59 out of 475


The ING Amsterdam Marathon
Sunday 19th October 2008
Running Number 7090


The training for the run has gone really well and I have managed to avoid any major injuries. As always I set a few personal targets in preparation, all have now been met. The three targets were:

And so to the big day.......

Second marathon in six months and both in Holland.
Our flight to Schiphol was departing Birmingham at 7 am so it was up at 4 am and out by 4.30 am to pick up my running colleague Howard. It was so early that even the larks were still asleep !!  
Upon arrival in Amsterdam we dropped in at the world famous coffee shop "Starbucks", not to be confused with the many other Amsterdam coffee shops...that don't even serve coffee !
Once the formality of registration was over we then had Saturday afternoon for a short stroll round the "Leidseplein" area and made a booking for our evening pasta meal at an Italian restaurant which I had been to
on a previous trip to Amsterdam. This turned out to be a strange coincidence as Howard recognised it as
the same restaurant he had been to 28 years ago..  

Sunday morning and race day...... Due to road closures we allowed plenty of time to get to the start which was at the 1928 Olympic Stadium. The easiest and quickest way to travel is by tram.  When the tram finally arrived at our stop it was packed. I know know how John West sardines must feel....

Conditions on the day were ideal for running, a slight breeze but nothing to worry about. The course as you would expect is pretty flat, with only a few inclines that us marathoner runners laugh at.  It starts with a loop of about 9 km, taking in the largest park in Amsterdam, Vondel Park, before heading out along the River Amstel. This is quite a long stretch of about 15 km. As you run out along one side of the river you get a good view of the leaders heading back on the other side, passing the half way point.  Between
26k and 30k the route takes you through an industrial area where there is very little support, and its at about this distance (18 miles) when the going gets tough. It was on this section that my pace started to drop, but a 3.15 was still on.  
From this point on the course heads back towards the centre, mainly through suburban areas, and well supported. At about 35k I gave up any hope of a sub 3.15 finish when the Runners World 3.15 pacer came past me, and there was no way I could keep up with him. His little red balloon got smaller and smaller before disappearing into the distance, and I knew than if I could cover the final 7k at the current pace I should be on for a new PB at least.  
The final 3k repeats part of the initial loop through the park, and on getting to there I gained confidence knowing there was only 16 minutes or so of running left.

The race finishes in the Olympic Stadium. Turning onto the track for the final push of 300 metres was very emotional. The crowd cheered and music blasted out, it made me feel like I was an Olympian, and I guess on
planet Mackness I was !!

Official Time 3:18:55
Chip Time 3:18:02
Overall Placing 758 out of 5972
58 in Age Category M50 out of 504

Amsterdam 2008 Result

Amsterdam Marathon 2008 Finish

Rugby 10
Sunday 9th November 2008 
(Race at Draycote Water, Daventry)
Running Number 106

A very blustery day which made it tough on the more exposed sections of this run round the reservoir at Draycote. Two and a half minutes slower than last years time, which I can only blame partly on the weather !!
Overall pleased with my performance. After about 4 miles I was in 65th place, and moved up through the field to finish in 51st. From 5 miles onwards only two runners came past me, but I managed to get revenge on both of them. Nearly managed to get the scalp of club mate Dave Halford in the final 50 metres but he just managed to hold off the challenge.

Finishing Time 1.09.40
Position 51 out of 222

Pudding Run 2008
Sneyd Striders Christmas Pudding Run 
Sunday 9th December 2008 
Distance 10 Miles
Running Number 58

My last race of 2008, and one of my favourites. For the 
first time in six appearances the weather was perfect. 
No wind, rain, snow, or sleet.

Not for the first time however I found myself going into 
the race less that 100% fit. An ITB / knee problem over 
the last three weeks had been troubling me, but after
five days rest I felt confident. All was fine until the last 
half mile, so I soldiered on.

Finishing Time 1.09.50
Position 116 out of 725

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