The Tony Mackness Running Pages

2014 Race Reports
Centurion Grand Prix Series / Silverstone 10k / Two castles / Arden 9 /  Spa Striders 5 / Dingle Half Marathon /
Centurion Grand Prix Series /  Sphinx AC Coombe 8

Centurion Race #4

Web Site HERE

Centurion Grand Prix Series -  Distance 5 miles

Organised by Centurion Running Club, consisting of 6 races over a 5 mile traffic free course round parkland in Chelmsley Wood.
One small loop and two larger loops.

November and December 2013 reports HERE

race turned out to be a little slower than the previous month,  but I put that down to all the water and mud on the course. I had also run quite a bit over the Christmas period (including 2 8.5 mile runs) which I'm sure had an effect !

February was to be even slower, in fact my slowest time so far.
Again, alot of water and mud on the course, and It was my first run for nearly two weeks as my achilles hadn't been feeling quite right. I think the rest did it good.

March The conditions were still a little muddy, but thankfully the water was limited to a few small puddles.
I had done a few miles on the treadmill this week including some fartlek efforts. I was determined to do well this month and allthough not pushing myself too hard came home in a respectable 36.30.

Next month its the V55 age category competition and I would dearly like to put in another good performance and get a decent finish to build my confidence.

Conditions were perfect, with the exceptions of a puddle or two the course was dry for once.
Nice warm sunny day with a slight cooling breeze.
Lowest turnout of the series, I wonder how many had forgotten that the clocks went forward overnight and they got up too late !
In the V55 competition I made third place and picked up a 5 cash prize for my effort, as well as recording my best time over the series making it a very enjoyable race day.
 Now all I need to do I figure out what to spend by prize money on!

In the meantime I look forward to getting some serious, and INJURY FREE training in over the forthcomming months. 

Race NoOverall Position Age PositionTime
Sunday 3rd November6058/1342/937.02
Sunday 1st December18351/1214/935.58
Sunday 5th January37844/1224/936.15
Sunday 2nd February18256/1353/10 37.19
Sunday 2nd March7438/1053/836.30
Sunday 30th March27237/92

Wednesday 7th May 

Silverstone 10k 

Distance 6.21 miles

Running Number 923

Finishing position 347 / 1106

Age Position 18 / 56

Full results HERE

Part of the East Midlands Grand Prix series of races which take place between May and July, at Silverstone, Rugby, Blisworth, Corbry, Banbury,Harborough, Weedon and Milton Keynes.

I decided to enter this one as it was an opportunity to run on the world famous Silverstone motor racing circuit.
 Because of the excellent surface and flat course it's regarded as a PB potential course but I thought I would use it as a tester to guage my fitness.

Strong winds on the night would make it a tough challenge for those looking for a PB, but that wasn't me !
My strategy was to take my recent Parkrun times and add a minute on - that would be a good result. As it was I finished in 45.32, which was 32 seconds over my anticipated time. I put this down to two things.The week before I had a tooth out and this was still causing me a great deal of pain. I had been on painkillers and antibiotics and feeling pretty miserable and secondly the wind played a big part.   

However I did enjoy the race,especially the feeling I got standing on the starting line surrounded by all those runners. It's something that I have really missed over the last couple of years, and really reminded me why I love running so much.

Sunday 8th June 

Two Castles 10k 

Distance 6.21 miles

Running Number 309

Finishing position 363 / 3490

Age Position 8 / 192

45.27 time

Full results HERE

This will be my first Two Castles since 2011, and I'm really looking forward to it. Race wise i'm still long way off the pace and happy to get round. Theres a few hilly parts on this course which doesn't make it an easy race. After doing 45.32 at Silverstone 10k on a windy night I reckon I can get under 45 for the 2C.

The forecast for Sunday was good, but not necessarily for runners. Even with the race starting at 9am the medics were kept busy with runners unable to cope with the conditions. Having the first water station at 5km, thats half way was not very well planned, even under norml conditions. A further two water stations followed on in close succession. They should have been more evenly spread out. Toilets were pretty sparse at the beginning with long queues forming, but being a bloke does have its advantages .......


Sunday 22nd June 

Asics Arden 9 

Distance 9 miles

Running Number 297

Finishing position 105 / 368

Age Position 10 / 48

64.27 time

Full results HERE

Another race which I last did 2011, and being a local race it's one I enjoy doing.  I had structured my training over the last few weeks to get up to nine miles in readiness.

The middle of June, and a 10.30 start could make it a hot run, and the British weather didn’t disappoint. I prepared by drinking plenty of water the day before and prior to the race.

Looking back at my previous four times, I had run between 57.43 and 61.17, and I thought a realistic target for this year would be about 67 minutes, which equates to 7.27 pace.

I started nice and steady with a first mile at 7.06 pace and tried to maintain an even comfortable pace. There’s a few ups and downs but nothing too bad, so running evenly isn’t a major issue.  Everything went well, but at about eight miles the run goes off road round Barston Lakes, so it’s a bit uneven underfoot,  on narrow trails, and you have to avoid the fishermen’s poles !

Exiting the off road part I felt myself getting tired (which reflected in my slowest mile at 7.33 pace) but focussed on the runners in front, just trying to keep up with them and not dropping back. The last mile is uphill and I found myself actually getting passed some who were finding the hill hard going. That was followed by a short downhill which then brings the finish into sight and the opportunity for a final push.

I crossed the line in 64.27 which I was very pleased with.
Another race done and the comeback continues !

Arden 9 2014

"The future's so bright I've gotta wear shades " !

Wednesday 2nd July 

Spa Striders Ryton  5 

Distance 5 miles

Running Number 499

Finishing position 112 / 232

Age Position 8 / 21

35.52 time

Full results HERE

This was a new race on the calendar, and the very first race ever to be organised by Spa Striders. The location was Ryton Pools country park, just a few miles from Coventry and Leamington Spa

At only 5 to enter for UKA affilliated runners it was great value, which was more than could be said about the after race refreshments.  Coffee 2 a cup, and burgers 4.50 - I had a coffee !

Anyway, what about the race..... two and a half laps race on flat unsealed paths. Due to recent dry weather and 232 runners the paths kicked up alot of dust at the start, which was not pleasant. It got in you eyes and down your throat. Maybe the organisers could have dampened down the first couple of hundred yards, as once the runners became spaced out it wasn't too bad.

Apart from that a very well organised and marshalled race. For me comming in a couple of minutes ahead of my anticipated time was another good result



Saturday 6th September 

Dingle Half Marathon 

Distance 13.1 miles

Running Number  1304

Finishing position 323 / 1460

Age Position 5 / 23

Full results HERE

At work we say "Shit happens, deal with it" !
Well my friends with less than six weeks to go before Dingle the shit has well and truly happened and I have to find a way to deal with it.

Monday 7th July I did about 8 miles, which was less than my long run of 10.5 the week before. I remember how much I enjoyed that Monday run, a day off work and a run, what could be better.... that was until I got up the following morning and realised that something was not quite right. My achilles and calf was a bit sore. I put my sensible head on and decided to take a week off and fit in a visit to the physio. 

After my self imposed rest it felt good enough to run on, and I ventured out round the Memorial Park, a steady four mile. Again no problem whilst running but the following morning, soreness again. Then, I take 12 days rest, before doing a very slow Park Run. Exactly the same happens. By 5pm that afternoon I could feel the tightness developing. Now I am taking another rest. 

One thing is for sure I dont know how long I can keep this stop start thing going. It really does get me down, ask anyone who has to put up with my bad moods. When i'm running everything in the garden is rosey, but when i'm not give me a wide berth ! 

After another rest of three weeks I started running again, doing a few laps round the common on grass to minimise the inpact. I went every other day and slowly built up getting a last "long" run in of 5 miles a week before Dingle. Ideal preparation !


So the day finally arrived. I had no race strategy in place and absolutely no idea how it would go. It truly was "Into the unknown"
Conditions were ideal for running, albeit it a bit cool standing round on Dingle quayside waiting for the off. The first couple of miles are fairly flat and they  went by at 7.30 pace. The race then start its uphill climb along the coastline towards the race finish at Dunquin. Things seemed to be going well until about 4.75 miles when I felt my right calf getting tight. This was totally unexpected as it was my left achilles which had been giving me so much trouble. It got to the point that I had to stop and stretch my calf at the roadside. Quite a few passing runners asked me if I was OK, which I thought was very nice of them. After stretching I tried to start again but to no avail. I had to stretch again, and again, then walk, which was proving very difficult. Even walking the remaining distance would be very painful, and doubts set in.

The first thing that went through my mind was that if I didn't finish there would be no medal and no T Shirt and that meant no photo of Grumps and baby Isla wearing the medal.
That was not an option, determination and sheer bloody mindedness which I have spoken about so many times in the past was required now, more than ever

After walking/jogging I found a nice solid brick wall where I could stretch properly. A few minutes later I tried to restart, and thankfully it seemed to have had an effect. Mile 5 had taken nearly 11 minutes and the following two miles were 9 minute miling. All the time I was digging my fingernails into my palms. That hurt like crazy, but it had the desired effect of diverting my thoughts away from the calf pain. Miles 8-10 were covered in an average of 8.15 pace and 11 and 12 both at 7.45. On those two miles I had been running with an American guy and had obviously ran at his pace rather than dictating my own. I eventualy felt that I was getting out of my comfort zone, and thanked him for his company, and said I was dropping back. The last mile was a tough one but I was relieved to be so close to finishing as only an hour ago it could have been so different.

I got to the point where marathon runners stay on the right hand side of the road, the half runners stay left, and the finish is in sight. I was so glad I was only doing the half !

After the race I had a massage, and the physio said my calf was really tight, but he didn't think there was any damage. Only one thing now and that was to head off to "Dick Mack's" for a celebratory Guinness. On the way I noticed runners standing in the harbour "icing" their tired legs. That seemed like a good idea so I joined them. It was bloody cold !

It was only because it was Dingle that I ran. Any other race I probably would have been a non starter, but I was determined to run and suffer the consequences.
This was the toughest race I have ever done in all my 30 years of running. Not because of the hilly nature of the course, which I knew all about, but because of my calf. If anything was going to give me problems I thought it would be my achilles, and I could have accepted that. However I was totally unprepared for my "good" leg to give me grief.  
There we go its that bloody mindedness again !

Certainly the toughest race ever, but without doubt the most rewarding.

I was fully expecting my achilles to be sore the following day, but nothing.
Overlooking Dingle harbour is a big hill with "Eask Tower" on the top. I had said on previous visits that I would like to walk to the top, and this time I did. The views over the peninsular and the Atlantic Ocean were breathtaking. I was the only person up there surrounded by sheep, on a glorious sunny September morning.
On the way down I twisted my ankle, which came up like a balloon and was black and blue. Thankfully I had the sense to do the walk after the run !

On the way to Dingle I was reading Neil Young's autobiography. In there he mentions a saying used by one of his producers.
"Life is like a shit sandwich. Eat it or starve".
I guess that on this ocasion I ate it !

It would be another seven weeks before I put my running shoes on

dingle finish time

dingle2014dingle harbour

Chilling out in the Atlantic Ocean
Dingle Harbour

Click on images to enlarge

dingle 2014

Centurion Grand Prix Series

5 Miles

Centurion GP#1

Full results HERE

Organised by Centurion Running Club, consisting of 6 races over a 5 mile traffic free course round
 parkland in Chelmsley Wood. One small loop and two larger loops.

My second year of running the Centurion GP, and looking forward to a better series than last year.

After Dingle I took about six weeks off to allow my ankle to recover, which was longer than I had hoped for.  The doctor told me that sometimes recovering from a broken ankle is quicker than the recovery from a twisted ankle !

I had done 6 runs over the preceeding 11 days before without any problems so was looking forward to the race, albeit taking a cautious approach. There was great Northbrook support on the day, and all went well until the start of the final lap, when my right calf started to tighten, exactly as it had done at the Dingle half. I immediately slowed down and just hoped that I could see out the last mile. It was a case of damage limitation and get you round tactics, which worked out fine. 

After a weeks rest I went for a run a 3 mile run and the calf was fine. Two days later I had to stop after 2 miles when I felt it tightening up once more.
Another 11 days off before I would try it again.

Having run the Coombe 8 a week before without any problems I went into the December Grand Prix race feeling positive. It was a tough race this month with a strong wind in your face and unfortunately heavy rain from about three miles in. On a circular course you would expect to get the benefit of a tail wind on the homeward stretch, but due to the trees you don't really notice it. I bettered my November time by just under a minute so my positivity was rewarded.

Click here to jump to the 2015 Centurion 5 results

Race NoOverall Position Age PositionTime
Sunday 2nd November25067 / 134
3 / 8
Sunday 7th December423
49 / 107
5 / 7

Sunday 30th November

Sphinx AC Coombe 8

8 Miles

Running Number  227

Finishing position 95 / 261

Age Position 5 / 17

coombe 8

Coombe 8
Click to view larger images

Full results HERE   /  Sphinx AC web Site HERE

Sphinx AC are a Coventry running club who organise the Coombe 8 and the Summer 5 which both attract runners from  Coventry and the surrounding area. Click the link above to find out more.

With my unfortunate history of usually being injured at this time of year I had marshalled this race for the last four years. Having experienced standing round in temperatures of minus 10, wading though shin high water, barely being able to see because of fog, and only once when the weather was good for running, I was looking forward to actually taking part as a runner !

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, (anyone under the age of 25 ask your Dad what that means !) recent recurring problems had limited my training and it was only after a 6 mile run on Thursday that I gave myself the all clear to take part. 
The race is limited to 300 and does get full a month or so in advance, so dont delay entering to avoid dissapointment.
It is a multi terrain race through the Coombe Abbey Country park on the outskirts of Coventry. The route takes you
through fields, woodland, water and a few "bomb craters". With a longest run of 6.5 miles in my legs I knew that I would flag towards the end, and the bomb craters certainly sapped my strength. Getting down was no problem but I couldn't say the same about getting out !
 Allthough not a cold day, hot soup was available at the end, and this year instead of a long sleeved
 top an embroidered Coome 8 beanie hat to all finishers

Crossing the line I was handed an envelope.... I had won a spot prize of 5 

Congratulations to Sphinx AC for an excellently organised race with great support from the marshalls. 

Finishing Time 67.02

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This page was last updated 4th December A S Mackness  2014