Cool Runnings

On Sunday 28th October 2012 I’m taking part in the Great South Run. I’m running as part of the Oxfam team to raise money for the charity. Apparently the Great South Run is quite famous; the following is from the Run Infinity website:

Bupa Great South Run is the world’s premier 10 mile running event which takes place in Portsmouth, United Kingdom and has a IAAF Gold Label status. The 10 mile event televised live on Channel 5 with highlights on ITV 4. In all, about 23,000 runners take part in the run. Known for a fast, flat course through Southsea, Portsmouth, the Bupa Great South Run is Europe’s leading 10 mile road race.

I’ve been a passive supporter of Oxfam for many years. I think that it’s one the world’s most worthwhile charities as it strives to combat poverty and global inequality through action and education. So while my motivation are largely to do with personal challenge it is important for me to raise at least the £250 I pledged for the charity. I am asking for donations at my Just Giving Page.

I have been training for the run since June by pounding the streets of Newham but the only picture I have of me running is one of me running barefoot and bare chested on the sands of Barbados.

I keep a log of my running on the Daily Mile website. I’m posting some screenshots of my entries here.

My first road run was on June 23rd:

On June 30th I was able to run just over half a mile without stopping:

This is my training programme leading up to the Great South Run on 28th October. Spike put it together for me:

I ran four miles on 21st August:

And five miles on 28th August:

Interestingly my pace is a little better on the five mile run.

On 30th August I run for 30 minutes maintaining a reasonable pace:

On 11th September I do a long run of 7.81 miles. I know that I wouldn’t be keeping strictly to schedule during the two weeks that I’ll be in Barbados.

I run again on Thursday morning, 13th September, but only for 2.76 miles.

In Barbados I do five runs. One on the beach with Dane, one on the road with Lisa, and Dane, one on the road by myself and two by myself on the beach. The two runs I do on the beach are the hardest, the most intense and the most enjoyable as I blend yoga practice with the running.

The running and the yoga are part of my ‘inner quest’ and part of my path. It’s important that they work together. It’s important that everything works together.

Back in the UK I miss running on the first Tuesday but I run 2.77 miles on the Thursday and Saturday. On Tuesday 9th October my schedule says that I should be running 9.5 miles. I only manage 7.45 but it’s a good run nevertheless and different as I go beyond Newham, running along the Limehouse Cut canal.

The long runs and the cold days are new territory. With just over two weeks to go before the Great South Run I am beginning to feel apprehensive.

On Tuesday 16th my run is more successful. Nine miles.

Finally on Sunday 28th October I complete the first part of my running journey. Here is the short description I wrote late on Sunday evening after Sandy and I had returned home.

I’ve just completed The Great South Run in Portsmouth. Running with around 25,000 people was a very different experience as I have always run alone in training. It was cold, not quite as cold as the previous day, but stripped down to my running kit cold enough. I got to the start area with Sandy at about 9.30 am. The runners set off in waves, Elite, Orange, White and Green according to ability. The Elites and the Orange wave set off at about 10:00 am. I was in the Green Wave and we set off at 11:05. I think part of the challenge was waiting in the cold even though there was a mass warm-up. My other challenge was wanting to pee so badly that I thought about running into a pub en route. There were two official loo points with chemical toilets; the first was at around the three mile point and I waited three or four minutes in a queue before deciding that the wait would be too long and running on. The next loo point was around the eight mile point and I decided I had to wait in the queue for maybe five minutes. The loo by the way was yukky and I felt particular sympathy for the female runners who would be using it.
Maybe the break at eight miles was the turning point at which my running became much more difficult. By the nine mile point my running was ragged, I was feeling some cramp in my legs and I was running and walking alternately, trying to maintain a good pace by bursts of fast running. As I approached the last 100 metres I wanted to run to the finish and managed to do so with a kind of crouching run.
It was a good day. I was proud to be running with many people who looked more physically challenged that I was; it would take a long time to recall many of them but there was one guy in his seventies maybe who was power walking very impressively and overtaking many of those running. All in all the achievement was worth the effort. Many thanks to all those who supported that effort and donated to the cause (Oxfam) but special thanks to Spike for his advice and encouragement and Sandy for being there and for doing to much to help me achieve and exceed my fund raising target.

My intention after the Run is to do more and I’ve set my sights on a marathon in 2014. At best I think I should do another 10 mile run or a half marathon next year. Overall I would like to improve my health/fitness to the point where running for two or more hours is comfortable. After using the achievement to excuse non-effort and non-discipline for a few days I get back on the road on Friday 2nd November with a half hour run of 2.77 miles.