The Tony Mackness Running Pages


Boston Marathon 
|  Kingsbury Classic  |  Oxford Town and Gown 10k  |  Asics Arden 9  |  

Burnham Beeches Half  
| Coventry Godiva Harriers Autumnal 5 | The Real Berlin Marathon |

Kenilworth Half Marathon 
| Birmingham Half Marathon | Coventry Half Marathon

Sunday March 9th 2009
Milton Keynes Half Marathon
Running Number 1566

Not my favourite race. The ups and downs of the subways and the sharp turns mean that you do lose valuable seconds.

A calf tear has meant that I have decided to pull out of the race. Two weeks ago during a lunchtime 5 I felt my left calf tighten up. Thankfully I was only a short distance from the end. It slowed me down, and I knew it was not just a "niggle". A visit to the physio confirmed the damage, and a week to ten day layoff. For a young twenty year old that may be the case, but a similar injury (albeit more severe) last year kept me out for four / five weeks.  Only two days before I had completed my first 20 of the campaign. That has had a positive effect on me. Had I not had done that I would have been worried, and may have pushed it to make a comeback before I was ready.

With only seven weeks to go before Boston the most important thing is to focus on the marathon, and put the disappointment of missing MK and probably Ashby behind me. 

Sunday March 23rd 2009
Ashby 20

Still recovering from injury so it was the sensible option.... disapointing but Boston is the target.


Monday 20th April 2009
The Boston Marthon
Running Number 7846
Due to the injury sustained on the 16th Feb, my marathon training has been less than perfect.  Forced to pull out of two races and a five week lay off meaning any hopes of a competitive race have been well and truly fu**ed....
As I sit here typing this I am very disappointed that my participation in the most prestigious marathon in the world will be limited to a "get you round". I am finding it difficult to get my head into race mode as I just don't know what is going to happen on the day.
Despite getting up to a 20 mile run back in Feb, the last three weeks have been spent  starting with 15 minute runs, progressing up to 10.5 miles on Friday 3rd April, where I took it nice and steady, using the strategy of time on feet is more beneficial to me at this stage than how fast I am !!  
Because of a lack of long runs I do not see any need to enter into a two week taper, so am aiming to get a final "long" run in next week of about 13 miles. One thing that I am sure of,  and that is my inability to run for the complete marathon, and therefore will  probably have to use the Walk / Jog method assuming I can get up to 18 / 20 on the day without any calf problem. 
If it is a problem after say, 10 miles, then I would have to realistically drop out. 
I just hope that I can  tough it out and complete in under 4 hours.


Boston is one of the World Marathon Majors, along with London, New York, Berlin and Chicago. It is also the oldest with this years event being the 113th, and certainly regarded as the toughest.
Race day was an early start of 5am as we had to be on the bus by  6.45am for the journey to the race start at Hopkinton. Boarding the Yellow School Bus reminded me of "South Park" !  The forecast for the day was good, originally rain was predicted but by race day the rain was due to come in late afternoon, and I was certainly  hoping to have finished by then. 
Once I got to the staging area I sat down and prepared myself physically and mentally for the task ahead.
After a walk of half a mile I arrived at the starting corrals, and with 30 seconds to go I found myself still in the queue for the loo... which was impossible to avoid as the police were out in numbers giving tickets to anyone found not using the portaloos.  I then joined corral 7 and waited for the off. One thing I noted was the lack of any Postman Pats, Rhino's or Elvis'. There are 25,000 plus club runners who have earned the right to take part, all there on merit and eager to take on the challenge that only Boston can throw at you.
The start is downhill and after about three miles I was running at 7.20 pace, which, I knew was too fast, so I reigned it in and maintained a steady 7.30 pace.

To get round in under 4 hours I  broke the race into landmarks. The first was 10 miles, as in my last "long" run that was where I started to slow down. The next came at 14, which was my longest run  since February, and then 18 where I thought I may start to find the going tough. After that I would take it as is came !

At 12 miles you could hear in the distance the cheers of the girls at Wellesley college about half a mile away. 
Here, hundreds of young college women line the roadside giving kisses to runners, in what is known as the "scream tunnel".  I did a bit of window shopping, but refused to stop... 
For those planning to take advantage in the future, run on the right hand side of the road. To make sure all persuasions were catered for there were two girls  at the end of the line holding "Lesbian kisses here" signs. Some people would pay good money to see that !!

The infamous Newton Hills, start at about 17.5 miles, and continue through to 21. The last one is known as  "Heartbreak Hill" as this is the point where it can all go tits up !! I tried to maintain a steady pace,  and over the hills I averaged 8.20 pace, and I did take a quick look back when I got to the crest of the last one. 
They were not as bad as I had thought, but coming where they do, any hills are going to test you.  All the training running up local highspots such as Kinwalsey Lane and Harvest Hill had stood me in good stead and I had nothing to worry about.

From here on in it was more or less downhill except for a long climb over the interstate at about 25 miles. They say that when you get to the "Citgo" sign, you have a mile to go, only problem is that you can see the sign from two miles before you get to it ! The finish was awesome. Turning the corner onto Boylston street you can see the finish line in the distance, and the roar of the crowd is deafening.

It was with only 50 yards to go I incurred the wrath of my wife Ellen. She had staked a claim to a place about 50 yards from the finish, and had been patiently waiting there since 7.30am (Marathon started at 10am)  She was expecting me to stop and go over to her. When I saw her I waved and blew a kiss and carried on. Try explaining to a non runner that gold medals can be won  or lost in tenths of a second. I was a man on a mission and stopping was NOT an option, I had a sub 3:30 to beat.......

At the end I was ecstatic. Usually after a race I am very critical of my performance, thinking I could have / should have done better, but not this time. I couldn't have dreamt of a better performance. In marathons there are so many things that can go wrong on the day. Today I was fortunate, it was a day when every thing went right.

Marathon number 10 completed... next stop Berlin

Boston Marathon result 2009


Kingsbury Classic
Tuesday 12th May 2009
Distance 10K
Running Number 76

Finishing time 41.33

Position 16 / 111
An interesting run round Kingsbury Water Park near Coleshill. A multi terrain event on trails and paths, which due to the recent dry spell were very rutted. Care needed at all times, to prevent going over, and also making it difficult to race.   Being by water meant that the midges were out in great numbers, and it was difficult not to swallow a few on the way round.  Advertised as approximately 10k - I measured it at 6.11 miles.

Oxford Town and Gown
Sunday 17th May 2009
Distance 10K
Running number 2652

Finishing time 42.30
The man at the BBC weather centre got it spot on this time. Driving down to Oxford it was a nice sunny Sunday morning. As I got closer to my destination the skies started to get grey and I just knew I was in for a soaking !!
With two minutes before the off the heavens opened and continued to do so throughout the early stages of the race. This year the race took a different route for some reason. The start was on a road too narrow to accommodate over 3,000 runners, and we were faced with the age old 
problem of runners not lining up according to their estimated finishing time. A flat course with lots of twists and turns, and the last three kilometres through the park on narrow footpaths. 
Despite the rain an enjoyable run. 

The Northbrook Coventry 10k
Sunday 31st May  2009
Distance 10K
Running Number 94

For the previous 12 days I had been having problems with knee pain, and over the last couple of days before the race it had become a hamstring problem. I decided to be sensible and pull out of this one, as my long term focus must be on being fit and ready for Berlin in September.  
As always seems the case for the Northbrook 10K, it was a hot day, in fact the hottest of the year so far. I helped out by taking  entries on the day, before getting down to the finish line to assist there. In the end I was out in the sun for alot longer than I would have been if I had run the race !

The Asics Arden
Sunday 14th June
Distance 9 miles
Running Number 55

 Finishing time 1.04.16

Still on the comeback trail after my recent hamstring problem, so this was more of a steady run than a race. 
The start was not well organised, and I ended up a bit too close to the front. After a first mile of 6.55, I settled into a nice steady pace. which I maintained.
A hot day and a lack of any distance running for nearly four weeks meant I had 
to work hard. 


Burnham Beeches
Half Marathon
Sunday 23rd August 2009
Distance 13.1 miles
Running Number 758

Finishing time

Finishing Position
105 / 953
An early start for this one as its a good 80 miles from home. Up at 6.15 and on the road by 7.15, armed with bananas, bagels and malt loaf.

Well organised, and a lovely scenic double loop through wooded area. An undulating course with one or two challenging climbs. Not alot of PB potential.
Start and Finish at Caldicote school, with excellent changing facilities, plenty of loos and showers. A nice touch was the open air swimming pool (heated of course !) that we were allowed to use after completing the run.

Having been told about the course in advance I thought a time of  under 1.35 would be reasonable. It was a hot day with temperatures in the high 20's. Thankfully the trees provided plenty of shade.

 After the first three miles at a steady pace, I then picked up the pace and tried maintain it. A thoroughly recommended race
, and one which is marked in the calender for next year.


Coventry Godiva Harriers
Autumnal 5
Friday 4th September 

Finishing Time 32.46

Finishing Position
59 / 198
Good test of my general fitness with just over two weeks to go.  
Ran the race fairly hard, doing an average of 6.34 minutes per mile pace.
New course around the inside of the Coventry War Memorial Park,
with a nice downhill finish.


Berlin 2009

TheReal Berlin Marathon

Sunday 20th September

 Running number 19393

Finishing time 3.13.18

Position 2338

Age Group M50 132

Berlin 2009

Why is this the "Real" Berlin Marathon ??  Is there a "fake" one !!
Training for the marathon has been good with all the usual targets achieved, and a successful run at the Burnham Beeches half lifted confidence levels.

My final long run of 23 miles has been completed in a time of 3.05 sugesting that I am in good physical shape.
Two weeks to go and I have done my first long run of the taper 15 miles. Mixed some steady miles and some faster ones. Felt good.
One week to go and final "long" run of 12 completed. This week is a time to take things easy and get carbo loading, and taking it easy.


The last thing that I did before leaving the apartment was to write two numbers on my arm, 7.26 and 4.38. They were the paces in mins per mile and mins per km that were required to get in just under a finishing time of 3.15 The start was poorly organised with huge queues to get to the starting pens, and no checks being carried out to ensure runners were starting in the correct pen, As I climbed over the fence, world record holder Haile Gebrselassie was being intoduced, so I only just made it !!!

Temperatures for race day were forecast to be 26 so it would be a hot one, but I was hoping to get round before the temperature go anywhere near that. After the shambolic organisation at the start we were treated to more German inneptutide by only having drink stations on the right hand side of the road, meaning runners were cutting across from the left, creating havoc. On a few occasions I stayed left and missed the water alltogether.

My pace was slightly faster than planned at 7.19 but I figured as that was only 7 seconds faster, and I felt comfortable at that pace I would maintain it. Going through half way in just over 1.35 was spot on target. In the latter stages I knew that barring a catastrophe I was on for sub 3.15. Constantly looking at my watch I noticed that the pace had increased and the last mile was completed in 6.35.
Approaching the Brandenberg Gate I was thinking that I may scrape in under 3.13, but that was not to be. I put in the strongest finish I could muster, passing quite a few on the home straight between the Gate and finish line.

I had done it !!

A new PB by 4 mins 44 seconds was a superb result,
but to achieve sub 3.15 as well was such a fantastic feeling.

I remember sitting on the grass at the end, calling home, emotionally charged,
I uttered the words to Ellen, "I done it, I fuckin' done it" !!!!!



Kenilworth Half Marathon
Sunday 4th October 2009
Distance 13.1 miles
Running Number 399

 Finishing time 1.29.29

Position 49 / 460

Age Group M50 8 / 62
My self imposed break from running after a marathon ended when I did a 4 mile treadmill run on the Friday - 12 days after Berlin, and two days before the half.

Come race day I was expecting my legs might start to stiffen up after 9 or 10 miles, but it was completely the opposite. The first few miles felt like I was running with lead boots on, and the further I went my legs eased off.

It was a glorious day for running, in complete contrast to the previous years Kenilworth Half, when snorkel and flippers would have been more use than running gear !!

Pre race target was to get round in between 1.30 and 1.32. Steady running paid off, with only one mile over 7 minute pace. Average of 6.48 minute miling, saw me complete is a respectable 1.29.29, which was my third fastest time ever over the half marathon distance. 

Birmingham Half Marathon
Sunday 11th October 2009
Distance 13.1 miles
Running Number  923

 Finishing time 1.30.47
I had been looking forward to this one as I had not done it before. It  was also the IAAF world Half marathon championship, but alas we would be starting 30 mins after them, so my chance to guage my performance against some of the worlds best was a non starter !!
Race conditions were ideal, a still morning with a light drizzle to keep us cool.  Not the most inspiring of courses, but it was well organised.  

My pre race plan was to try and get under 1.30, and a first mile of 6.17 got me off to a flyer. Knowing that was faster than I needed to go I slowed it down to a more reasonable pace. Despite feeling good, I finished a little over my target time.  

Dissapointed yes, but
the effort expended at Berlin and Kenilworth had caught up with me, and  I should be happy with my time !!

Coventry Half Marathon
Sunday 25th October 2009
Distance 13.1 miles
Running Number 1684

Finishing place 122

Finishing time 1.33.53 

Turned out to be a tough race for me.
Maybe a marathon and three half marathons in five weeks was a bit to much.

After a couple of miles dropping out seemed like a good idea, but being the stubborn old git
that I am I soldiered on !

Its not an easy course, with one hill after another. After about 8 miles I started to feel a bit better and focussed on a couple of fellow Northbrook runners in front who had passed me earlier on. Slowly I narrowed the gap between us, finally passing them after 10 miles.

 Happy just to get round today, time to take it easy for a couple of weeks I think.

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This page was last updated 31st December 2009 A S Mackness 2009