The Tony Mackness Running Pages


Gloucester 20 |  Ashby 20   | The Virgin London Marathon  |  Oxford Town And Gown |
Coventry Half Marathon
| Asics Arden 9 | Kenilworth Half Marathon |
Chicago Marathon
| Toronto Half Marathon | Sneyd Striders Pudding Run|

Gloucester 20

Sunday 7th March 2010

Distance 20 miles

Running Number
Last did this one in 2007 in a time of 2.31.05.
Conditions were terrible, so lets hope that this year will be better.
Its a new course this year - more details when I know more.

 The curse of the Spring Marathon has once again been bestowed upon yours truly for the third year running, and I have decided to withdraw from the race. The first week of Feb my right calf tightened up and I knew from last years experience that it wasnt going to be good news. Initially the physio thought that I may have a small calf tear. After a week off It felt 100% better, and I was told that I could commence light training. Every other day starting with 15 minutes and increasing by 5 mins every run. My left calf then decided to come out in sympathy. It's been a bugger on and off for twelve months, but I have been taking it cautiously. Sensibility says to do 20 next week would be foolish. Better increase the long runs in smaller increments and hopefully I will be able to take on Ashby.
As always its about doing the 26.2 so I must use what common sense I have !!

The Aldi Ashby 20

Sunday 21st March 2010

Distance 20 miles

Running Number 318

Finishing Time 2.26.46

Position 105 / 795
Ashby is my current PB course
2007 in a time of 2.26.09, I think that this will be safe for another year !!

With a week to go I have completed my longest run of the campaign, 18.25 miles in 2:24:18.
The calf seemed to hold up well, but lack of long runs certainly told on the hillier parts of the route, and getting round in one piece was the most important factor. 

Race Day :
Driving over to Ashby I was pondering what would be a "good" run, and decided that due to lack of training over the last six weeks, a 2.30 / 2.35 would be a credible result.  
The race started with some steady miles, on what is an undulating course. I was managing to maintain a pace around 7.20 minutes per mile, which was comfortable. Between 16 and 17 miles I calculated that if I could continue at the same pace, I should be able to finish not far off my PB of (what I thought) was 2.28.09. Pushing on I came to the last mile, which includes a long uphill drag before levelling out, and then a downhill over a rough track before entering the finish in the park. A speedy last mile of 6mins 46 seconds, I crossed the line in 2.26.46, and in my head a new PB. Unfortunately my PB was (and still is) 2.26.09...... not 2.28.09, so no new PB but only 37 seconds over the PB set at Ashby in 2007.

All in all a good days work and importantly a real confidence
booster with London only 5 weeks away.



Virgin London Marathon

Sunday 25th April 2010

Distance 26.2 miles

Running Number 20510

Finishing Position 2434

Age placing 147 / 1850

VLM Finisher

VLM Logo

 28.3.2010 - With four weeks to go I ticked two of my four "must do" boxes in the VLM training programme.
Firstly a run of over 3 hours, and secondly a 23 miler. Both were achieved yesterday in 3.03.49. (7.54 pace)  This weeks target is to tick the third box, and get in over 50 miles for the week, and with yesterday's run, i'm nearly half way there !
The fourth box will not get ticked, 5 runs totalling more than 100 miles,
but with another 20 miler coming up on Sunday I'll settle for three runs of 20 miles or more.
It was a tough 20 with a fair few hills along the way, but what doesn't kill you makes
you stronger... or so they say !!

4.4.2010 - Three weeks to go. Ticked another box after getting 53 miles in for last week. Todays planned run of 20 miles turned out to be 21 miles, in a time of  2.40.13 (7.38 pace) A bit faster than usual for long run but it was comfortable, so whats the point in slowing it down ??
Now its time to start the taper, reduce the weekly mileage, and generally take thing a bit easier. 

11.4.2010 - Two weeks to go. 15 miler. Good steady pace, picked up the pace over the last 4. Target mileage for this week 36.

17.4.2010 Fantastic confidence boost today, when I achieved a new 5K PB at the
Coventry Park run. My first sub 20 min run at the distance, knocking 13 seconds
off my 2007 PB to record 19.56.

18.4.2010 Final "long" run today 12 miles in 1.28.24.  36 in total for the week.
Short runs planned for this week - Monday 4, Wednesday 6 and Friday 4,
and then its RACE DAY !!!!

25.4.2010 RACE DAY

After months of hard training the day finally arrived. 
I had been checking the weather since midweek and early indications were for a warm, sunny 23, but the day before the forecast was slightly cooler with rain early afternoon. As it was the rain came down in buckets at about 9.15
as I was on Blackheath getting prepared, but thankfully it stopped by 9.30.

My plan was to get round between 3.12 (7.20 pace) and 3.15 (7.27 pace)

I made my way to the blue start, pen 2. No marshalls were present, and looking around I found myself surrounded by runners who should have been further back. Great.
A slow first mile of 8.05 followed by 7.19, and a third (downhill) mile of 6.57 pulled my average pace back to 7.40, which was still 20 seconds slower than I was aiming for.
The next 16 miles I managed to run nice and steady, averaging 7.20 pace, before dropping to 8.2 pace for mile 19 round Canary Wharf. For mile 20 I threw in a 6 minute mile, due to a downhill stretch. My average then dropped to 7.40 pace, and at this point it was obvious that I would be nearer 3.15 than 3.12.
Seeing the Northbrook supporters at mile 24 was a real boost as they gave me a great cheer as I passed by. Then came the Blackfriars tunnel, and up the steepest incline on the course and onto the Embankment, firstly the London Eye came into sight and then Big Ben.
Mentally I knew that the finish was not far away, but try telling that to your body. The marathon has two components. You have to be both physically strong and mentally strong. You have to have both. Physical strength alone is not going to get you round.
The last section along the embankment is a challenge. You are running on empty. For the first time in seven Londons I arrived at Big Ben with the clockface showing before 1 o'clock, and less than half a mile to go.  Along Birdcage walk I gave it all I had, a right turn brings Buckingham Palace into view and another right you can see the finish, and hear the cheeing from the grandstands along the Mall.
At this point I knew that I was going to be outside 3.15, but I continued to push as hard as
I could up the finish straight. Over the line..... just missing out by 15 seconds.

This was my best London run, beating my 2007 time of 3.20.07 by a whopping
4 mins and 53 seconds and second best all time marathon.

VLM 2010 Result

VLM Result

Muscular Dystrophy
Oxford Town and Gown 

Sunday 16th May 2010

Distance 10k

Running Number

Finishing Position
128 / 2650

Age Position
5 / 190

Started this one with only one thing on my mind, getting under my 2007 PB of 41.17

A slightly different course to previous years, with the start being moved to accomodate the 3,200 runners taking part.  A fast first kilometre of bang on 4 minutes, and the first mile in 6.15 put me in a strong position, and I knew if I could maintain 4 mins. per kilometre all the way I would be doing well. I was doing mental juggling with miles and K's all the way !

Alot of twists and turns, on a flat course. The last three kilometres are on gravel footpaths in the park. On the last turn into the finish straight there is a very sharp turn, where in my haste to get round I was forced wide and nearly went into the barriers.

A hard push on grass to the finish line, gave me a finish of 40.37 and my target for the day was achieved. Job Done. New PB by 40 seconds.


Coventry Half Marathon
Sunday 23rd May 2010

Distance 13.1 miles

Running Number

Finishing Time 1.33.23

Finishing Position
80 / 1850

Age Position
9 / 243

A change of date for this race meant it had been moved from its usual September date to May. With the larger Kenilworth and Birmingham Half's being run in September the organisers had hoped to attract more runners by moving the date. The 2009 edition attracted 2011 entrants, the 2010 edition 1882 so it seems like their decision was not a popular one. Personally I think moving it to March would have been a better idea to capitalise on the pre London Marathon runners. 

The hottest day of the year so far happened to coincide with the running of this years race. Runners were sweating just standing on the start line !
To ensure a nice quick start I lined up towards the front of the pack, knowing that would guarantee me a fast start, and it did !!

As the race progressed it was quite clear that the temperature would have a massive effect on the outcome.  Although I felt comfortable I realised that I wasn’t going to get under 1.30, and decided that the best strategy was to run slower than my target and get round, rather than push it, blow up, and suffer ! 

Asics Arden 9

Sunday 20th June 2010

Distance 9 miles

 Running Number 96

Finishing Time 57.43

Position 22 / 270

Age Position 4/46


Race website can be found HERE

My third time of running this race.
The race start was delayed by 15 minutes due to logistic problems, and by the time
 we hit the off it was getting a bit warm...
A downhill start means you can get carried away, but I tried to run evenly, with my pace
averaging about 6.35 for the first 5 miles. At about half way I was joined by the first lady
runner and we worked off each other until about 8 miles, where the course took us along trails round Barston Lake. I knew that if I could keep in front off her going into that section I would have a good chance of pulling away, as there are not a lot of opportunities to overtake on the narrow (and uneven) trail. With the trail in sight, I pushed hard to create some breathing space between us, and the strategy paid off, exiting the trail she was well behind. 
A tough hill awaits in the final half mile into Hampton In Arden, and realising that I was running well spurred me on. However,  I could not keep pace with a Spa Striders runner who had joined me and he pulled away in the final two hundred metres.
I had calculated that a finish of about 58 minutes was possible and looking at my watch I knew that I could do even better than that. I was on my own in the run with nobody in front to target, so was telling myself to keep pushing, keep pushing.

 Turning into the finish straight I saw the official time, and pushed as hard as I could. The Spa Strider had made 8 seconds on me and I finished 30 seconds in front of the first lady.
Overall a rewarding run and a new PB by 2m 51 seconds.

Arden 9

Kenilworth Half Marathon

Sunday 26th
September 2010

Distance 13.1 miles

Running Number 405

Finishing Time

Finishing Position
36 / 566

I spent the previous few days thinking what I could realistically hope to get out of this race. Standing on the start line a fellow Northbrooker asked what my target was. I gave him the shrugged shoulders and told him I had a target but wouldn't tell him.  " If I say a time and come in ten minutes later, then I look a twat" I said. If I dont tell then I wont look a twat. !
 So, I can now say that I had two targets. 
First was to get under 1:30 and secondly was to push for a PB.
With all the marathon training I knew I was in good shape, but weeks of heavy mileage
could play a major factor.
With my previous PB of 1.28.05 I needed to average under 6.43 miles per minute, so right from the start I was checking my Garmin. The first 5 miles we had a headwind. After 9 miles I was running at an average of 6.43 and after having a Northbrook rival in sight since about 5 miles I passed him. I was spurred on by the first Northbrook runner who was about 30 seconds ahead, and I was confident I could catch him. The next three miles of 6.22, 6.38, and 6.24 put me ahead of my required pace to beat my PB, and I was closing in on the other Northbrook runner. I pushed as hard as I could and did mile 13 in 6.16 finally passing him and crossing the finish line 2 seconds ahead, for a time of 1.26.36, and a new PB by 1min 33 seconds.

To cap it off Northbrook were awarded the mens team prize, but due to an administrative error by the organisers it was discovered that Knowle and Dorridge were the winners and we had to give the trophy back.... but we did get to keep the wine as a consolation for our dissapointment.

Full results HERE


10.10.10 The Date To Motivate

Bank Of America
Chicago Marathon

Sunday 10th October 2010

Distance 26.2 miles

 Running Number

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Finish

Chicago is one of the World Marathon Majors,
and on completion I will have fullfilled my ambition to run in all 5

world marathon majors

4.9.2010 - 5 weeks to go......
Training has gone really well so far. I have done 1 20 miler and 2 21 milers.
Tomorrow will be the third 21 miler and next week my final long run of 23 miles.
I have tried a different approach this time and instead of doing all my 20 mile runs back
to back,  I have spread them out with runs of about 16  miles inbetween. This seems to
have paid off, as I dont feel as tired as I have done on previous marathon training, and there have already been a couple of weeks where more than 50 miles have been clocked up.

10.9.2010 - 4 weeks to go......
Last weeks 21 miles didn't happen... it became a 23 instead !!
Coming towards the end of the run I had done over 21 miles, and thought that I may
as well make it up to 23 and get that one in the bank, and out of the way !
The first 4 and the last 4 were on my own, inbetween running with a couple of fellow Northbrookers. A nice steady 8 min pace for 15 miles sandwiched inbetween some
faster running when I was on my own. Its always the way with me, whenever I'm solo
I tend to up the pace !!
3hr 5 mins to do the 23, which isn't bad for a training run. Felt fine at the end, and
could have done more. This weekends long run will be between 15 and 17.

19.9.2010 - 3 weeks to go.........
Birthday boy today and my last long run of the campaign is safely in the bag.
Another 21 miles, to take my tally to 1 x20, 3 x 21 and 1 x 23
Did Park Run yesterday and pushed myself, looking to get under 20 minutes. Happy to finish with a credible 19.42, but later that turned to dissapointment when I realised that I was only 4 seconds off my PB. Suppose with all the miles in my legs I should be positive, and look forward to having a go at getting under 19.39 a few weeks after the marathon.
The 21 today was completed in a steady pace of 2.47.18.
Next week its Kenilworth Half and that will be the guage of my overall fitness.  

21.9.2010....Excitement beginning to build.
My Participants guide has arrived. First page states
"You have been assigned to seeded start corral"
 I've never had one of those before...

26.9.2010 - 2 weeks to go and its Kenilworth Half Marathon......

3.10.2010 - 7 days to go....
Just a steady 12 miles this morning in the pouring rain. Not the best of conditions.
Why is the last run before the marathon the toughest?  Not physically because you should be in great shape, but mentally. You start thinking have I done too much... or not enough... and for the last two weeks you have tapered, and running less and less. I find it difficult to get my head round the fact that I am ONLY doing 12 miles !! You think that its a trivial distance to be doing, but its all in the mind.
The marathon is not just about your physical capability. You need to be mental strong as well. Its a double act, and you have to have both.

Yesterday I did Coventry Park run, in a new PB of 19.16 taking 23 seconds of my previous best.  That's two PB's in a week,
Physically and mentally I am well prepared.


Race day should have started with an alarm call at 5.15, but It didn't come. Good job I set my watch as a back up, allthough
the night before a marathon you never sleep that well, so I was awake on and off all night. After having my usual breakfast of bagels and jam, and a cup of tea I left the hotel for the mile walk to the start in Grant Park. I knew the way there as the previous night, one of my favourite singers, Jewel, had played at the neighbouring Millenium Park, which we had gone to. To see Jewel was a real bonus and even better it was free !!

Start time for the marathon was 8am, I assume this was because two years the heat was unusually high for the time of year, and the race was stopped. Again this year it was another warm day with temperatures reaching 73 degrees.

The starting area was a bit spread out, with the baggage tent being a bit of a trek from the corrals. Getting into the corrals was not easy, as security were busy ejecting those who should have not been in the seeded corral area. Once I got through there was planty of time to warm up and stretch, and also to run through my race strategy.

With a downhill start I knew I didn't want to go off to fast, but within the first mile my running partner Mr Garmin lost his GPS signal when we ran through quite a long underground section. When the GPS picked up I noticed I was measuring the official mile markers as being out, and also my pace was too fast. However, when I calculated in my head I was running about right pace.
I was feeling really good and maintained the pace, finding myself running with the 3.10 pacing group. As the race went on it was getting noticible warmer, so I took on water and some gatorade at the aid stations, careful not to have too much Gatorade as I had taken gels at 2 hours and again at 2.30.

 At around 20 miles the pace group seemed to kick in a bit and I was dropping off the pace. I dug deep knowing that the last 6 miles are always the toughest. Mentally I was thinking where I would be on the London Marathon course, at 24 I would be on the embankment, and could visualise the last couple of miles in my head. With 800 metres to go I turned the corner to see spectators lining both sides of the road, bells, whistles and somehow I heard Ellen call my name. I looked over and seeing her spurred me on.
Round the next corner and the finish line came into view. I pushed as hard as I could, and over the finish line.
According to my Garmin I had run 26.77 miles - half a mile over the marathon distance !!!
Three good things came out of the day:
1. I achieved a new PB
2. I had fulfilled my ambition of finishing in all of the 5 World Marathon Majors
3. My sub 3.15 time gives me an automatic good for age entry into the Virgin London Marathon in Olympic year 2012

Finishing Time

Finishing Position
1347 / 35837

Age Position 42 / 1660
(2nd GBR runner) 
Chicago time

Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon

Sunday 17th October 2010

Distance 13.1 miles

 Running Number

Finishing Time

Finishing Position
247 / 5239

Only seven days after Chicago I was ready to take on the streets of Toronto. A short treadmill run of 4 miles on Thursday went well with no tightness in the legs, which was quite surprising.
I remember trying to run Central Park NYC a week after the marathon
and my legs were screaming for mercy !

With another early start, this time 8am, I was up at 5.45 and lined up to get the bus to the start at 6.45, but the busses were late. By the time I got to the start there was only 20 mins to go, so it was all a bit rushed. Just had time to get the vaseline on and hand my kit bag in. The lines for the porta loos were massive so I just went behind a tree, and made my way to the start line.
After about 4 miles I needed the loo, but tried to block it out and push on. As the miles went by it was becoming more uncomfortable, and as I was not treating this one as a race, when I saw a porta loo on the side at 10 miles I stepped off the course.

I learnt something today, as when I came out of the loo I felt like a different person. Prior to stoppping I had been running at 7+ minute miling, but my last three were run well under that,
and I even caught up and passed runners I had been with earlier.

Pre race plan was to get round in about 1:40 so a finishing time of 1:34:23
with a toilet stop included was a good result !

Race website can be found HERE

Toronto Half Finish


Sneyd Striders
Pudding Run

Sunday 12th December 2010

Distance 10 miles

 Running Number

Injury curse strikes again.... on my third run back after my well earned rest, my right calf tore after 9 miles. Without warning it tightened up and after stopping to stretch even walking was painful. After a break of two weeks rest from running, and plenty of physio and I tried it out, only for it to tighten up again after 12 minutes running. Another two weeks rest, and physio followed and I have made a start running again.

With only two weeks to go it's a close call if I can run the race or not.
Shall take my training easy and should I make it on the day, it will be a "get you round" run.

Now with only 7 days to go it looks like i'll be missing out again this year.
Despite running every other day and building up slowly, on my fourth run back it tightened up again after 20 minutes.
More rest, more physio and more miserable.....
With my recent performances I planned to be pushing for a PB, but thats not to be.

Race website can be found HERE


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This page was last updated 30th December 2010 A S Mackness 2010