Autumnal Advances

A snapshot round up of a host of recent achievements by coachees across performance levels from fully fledged international through club big hitters to others with slightly less all-consuming goals. Mainly marathon focused but definitely not entirely so.

December 3rd brought the ever-anticipated Valencia Marathon which is gathering a huge reputation. It isn’t an official world major and it seems that serious runners seeking fast times care not a jot about this particular branding niche as they flock there in numbers. This year the depth was extraordinary with 300th place at 2.24 and 800th at 2.32 – and almost 5000 runners sub 3 – so about 15% of the entire field. From the posse there were 8 out of 10 PBs, headed by George S with a high 2.24, almost 2 minutes progress since London; chased by Hallam G in 2.32 (3.5 min PB), Immie M leading the women with a 2.56 PB, Luke J 2.58 (22 min PB), Brad with a fine 3.02 (6 mins progress since London ), Francois 3.04 (11 mins PB). Particular viewing bonus was that the BBC provided live coverage online with quality commentary by James Thie and Richard Nerurkar – keeping the comms IQ as high as the aerobic ability on the tarmac.

A week earlier on November 26th, Josh C had a super debut with 2.54 at San Sebastian and at exactly the same time in Florence Sal C was doing very similar, his 2.57 achieving a whopping 18 minute PB and excellent progress over 6 months of build up.

Plus big progress from Joe H chalking up a 2.43 in Ravenna on November 12th which is a 15 minute PB. Highly recommended course and organisation too. His build up included a swift half PB of 74 minutes too.

Whilst down in the rhone valley Jess A notched up a 10k PB of 37.55.Racing at similar level Immie M ran an almost PB of 82 mins in Amsterdam Half following her progress over summer to 37.31 in the musselbrough 10k and 17.54 over 5k.

Chicago in early October brought a super new PB by Nick Impey, 2.24 at age 41 and a 2 minute improvement from his fine run at London this spring. First UK Male to finish too. And another with a 3 minute advance was Alessandro down to 2.51. Just a few seconds ahead of Jeremy  A, now well into the V45 category . 

In some non-marathon highlights…..having started coaching Highgate big beast Jacob A in August it was very exciting to see him place a mighty second place in the classic great south run 10 miles with a sparkling 47.13. He has pedigree over some years but this was a breakthrough. 

George S notched up a 5k PB of 15.21 and almost PB of 69.50 at the Cardiff half marathon whilst new coachee  Ed C since May ran a fine 3000 PB of 8m27 , a strong 30.45 at the Stirling 10k and on his favoured cross country surface has raced very well with 3rd in the London championship followed by a win in the south of Thames champs and a swift 4th in the highly competitive Surrey league. 

September 24th marked the weekend when the autumn marathon really starts up. That's right, it’s Bedford Aerodrome day and there are also a few who attend the Berlin Marathon. 

From the perspective the day had 10 marathoners and 9 PBs.  The one who missed out was Alex L with a mid 2.18 in Berlin, not a meltdown but not quite what was sought after the excellent 2.15.01 in London. After a solid 64.42 in a warmish big half marathon there were hopes of shaving the PB.

Leading the rest of the Berliners was Jess A with 2.54 (3 min PB) then debutant Connor with 2.56. Fine progress in his 50s by Jan F with 3.22(5 min PB).Also a shout for ex high flying sprint swimmer Philip L with a 3.23 debut, which from a 1.48 half marathon just over a year ago is great progress. And newly minted 60 year old Philip D improved his PB to 3.44 at Bedford. 

April Marathons And More

London this year was a big highlight for many. Weather was ideal for racing and almost every coachee had a very fine run relatively to their level and experience. First home was Alex L, who I have coached towards his debut marathon since December 2022 (he is already National 10k champion with 28.47 PB) so his 2.15.01, for 15th place in the whole field and 6th Brit (beaten only by GB Olympians and Internationals) was a very strong debut. As a generic coaching point, his garmin had a truly bad day – it showed him covering a somewhat extended 27.3 miles(!), with a heart rate of a  measly 129 after a 4.58 opening mile yet soaring to 182 after the 2nd mile. Neither bits of statistical nonsense bothered him en route, which is as it should be.

Setting highly deserved PBs both at 2.26 and both improving by about 90 seconds were Nick Impey and George Suthon – and both ran negative splits too. Nick had planned to pace a friend to 2.40 until the week before the race! Close behind was Martin Green , yet another super 2.30 in his 49th year. Then a big 5 min PB of 2.37 by Fred Damas and not far behind was Frank S, his fine 2.42 a PB by 3 minutes. Next home with his first marathon as a 55 year old, Paul H ran tremendously well to log 2.52.

Leading women, running really even well judged races, were Immie M with 2.57, a 12 minute PB, and just seconds behind on 2.58 followed Kate M, herself with an 11 minute PB. Then the meticulous 64 year old Clive A with 3.08, the best as he’s ever achieved with age factored in. Racing simultaneously in Vienna, Alessandro P ran 2.54, taking his 2022 PB apart by a 24 minute margin, which I don’t think he or I had foreseen a year ago. While over in Madrid at the same time, dealing with a hilly course, hot weather, and 700 metres altitude, Catherine E ran excellently to score 3.34, a 12 minute PB in her second marathon, based on 4 runs per week (so far!) Some fine debuts by some much newer runners too, creeping under 3.30.

Prior to London, big improvements notched up by Welsh runner Hallam Girardet with wins in the Les Croupiers Cardiff 10 miles in 54.58 followed by the Berkeley half marathon in 71.28 and a very pleasing 2.35 at the Newport half marathon, all substantial PBs. 

Much more seasoned Welsh compatriot Martin Green has held things together amazingly well in his 49th year including a new half marathon PB of 71.33 at Wrexham plus fast 10ks of 33.07 at Chester and 30k at Rhayader in 1 hour 48, placing 3rd in the race and as ever right at the front of his age group at national level in his London Marathon build up. George H picked up a half marathon win in Olympic park with low 75 mins, whilst in Cannes at a similar level Frank S took his won Half Marathon PB down to high 76 minutes.

A lively handful of Masters runners raced the ever-difficult Boston Marathon and arguable highlight was Jan F with a big PB of 3.27 in the 50+ category, and also a worthy-of-PB 3.35 by 63 year old Bob Empson the inspirational Fulham Runner.

Clive A from Berkshire ran a very impressive 88 mins at the Reading Half in his 65th year, backed up by 2.20 over the Bramley 20 miles and a near PB in parkrun of 19.38.   Immie M scored PBs at 5k and the Cambridge Half Marathon (by nearly four minutes) HM with 18.12 and 82.08 respectively. Isaac L’s 10k PB came down nicely to 33.23 at Battersea whilst Kate R raced within 7 seconds of her HM PB of 88 mins after taking much of 2022 away from any running. Speedy 55 year old Paul H has pushed on very well with a 79.56  Half Marathon at Fleet and equally impressive 2 hours 6 minutes at the Essex 20 miles. In the same 20 miler Cara P ran a strong 20 miles in 2.20 in her own marathon prep and won the V40 category in the very hilly Coniston 14 miles in 97 mins.

Autumn Race Highlights 2.0 - 12 December

The autumn road races roll on.

On 23rd October Paul Piper raced to 69.03 at the prestigious Valencia half whilst at the very much wetter Abingdon marathon that morning there were a trio of fine results. Martin Green ran his first marathon since turning 48 and placed a splendid 3rd in 2.35. A big breakthrough by Hallam G, 2.39 representing a 22 minute PB and a super conversion of his 10k and half progress. One of the lowest mileage sub 2.40s so hopefully plenty more to come. Whilst Dom H finally kept the marathon mental demons at bay, ran very sensibly and with a little in reserve and scored a big PB of 2.51.

Particular plaudits for Amanda W who after a rollercoaster of a build up that was majorly hit by long covid persisting throughout September, somehow trimmed her PB in Chicago to 3.32. In the preceding days we had discussed a regular run/walk pattern to reflect how covid was still affecting all her training, and calculated this might bring her home just under 4 hours. A week later in Amsterdam George H knocked out a 9 minute PB in 3.18,with two even halves to the very second. 

The later autumn target races had various climactic weirdness to mess with runners' minds and plans. There was heat in both New York city and Richmond Virginia, both up to 23/24 celcius at race time in November. And very strong winds in Indianapolis, with 20mph for most of the race before a brutal wave of 40mph in the final 10k. Particularly excellent then was Martin O’Connell's new PB of 2.25.56 placing him 11th . The big hope now is that he can take this fitness into the next one in milder conditions. 

 Absolutely no weather issues in Valencia, the best marathon that isn't a major. Stunning elite depth as ever and slightly further back was a tremendously strong PB of 2.23.10 by Paul Piper fresh from his 41st birthday, making him the UK V40s' 6th fastest for 2022. 

Also with a PB was his age peer Nick Impey, 2.27.37 with a series of toilet stops in the second half depriving him of the hoped for 2.25.

Also an 8 minute PB with a very well judged 3.12 by Brad W and holding back the years, now well into his 50s, Luke S ran a meticulously well-paced 3.16, negative split included. Not a PB, by some margin, but with over 30 marathons in the log this was one of his most pleasing. 


Autumn marathons – Phase One; October 5 2022

A very diverse array of marathons this autumn, with coachees channeling their efforts across 14 marathons from late September to early December.    

You'll be spared the splits of all the highlights listed below, but the one incontovertible trend that the standout runs share is something very close to even pace throughout. 

Debutant Alex H kicked things off at Goodwood with a coveted 2.59. Nine months prior he was running just over 10 miles per week and was mainly cycling, albeit cycling quite hard, so had a gradual transition to reallocate more effort towards running.

In Berlin Ryan M ran a 12 minute PB of 3.23 in his second effort.

 On to London. First coachee home was George Suthon trimming his PB to a swift 2.28.01, whilst Will G ran solidly by his own outlying standards with 2.30 (age 47), including a freakish running off course by around 50 seconds in the final mile. Paul Piper ran a controlled 2m37 as a paced training run in his Valencia build up. Luke Browne took home a 4 minute PB with 2.45, slowed by a back injury as 2.40 beckoned.

 Particularly striking and delightful was an 11 minute PB of 3.31 by Gloria B, just shy of her 55th birthday, which caps a 39 minute gradual progression over 3 marathons since we started. Another major improver was Anglo Australian Deborah D , who shares this coach's year of birth, (which puts her some years beyond the human performance peak), but nevertheless hacked over 30 minutes off her last PB with a very well earned 4.10. Slightly further up the age scale, Clive A, now claiming a youthful 62, ran his usual sensible way and was rewarded with 3.18.

Running in Lyon concurrently as London was happening, Frank S ran a metronomic even 2.45 which swiped 9 minutes off his PB.


Summer Scribblings - Summer 2022

Some excellent runs to finish the spring marathon season. In the Cheshire elite marathon Martin Green was Mr Consistent as ever and powered round in 2.31, at age 47 one of the very top in Britain, and indeed Europe, in his age group. Also a 5 minute PB of 3.12 by Ben M in Dorney while jet setting Gloria B at 54 years youn  ran a well judged 5 min PB with 3.42 in Copenhagen .

Stepping down distance, Hallam Girardet in Wales continues to progress and won both the Wye Valley 10k and the Severn bridge half marathon, setting a fine PB of 74.12 on a hilly course. Nick Impey, having now turned 40, actually equalled his PB with 69.18 in the Gold Coast half marathon in Australia, having won a swathe of Singapore parkruns and placed second in Vietnam's ho chi minh half marathon. By way of novelty Nick dabbled with his ultra debut, which turned out to be a hilly off road 56k in the tropics of Singapore. Which turned out to be a race he won!

Paul Piper trimmed his own parkrun PB to 15.30 at Dulwich, won the Harry Hawkes 10 miles in a controlled sub maximal 54.18 and ran a strong 69.35 at the Great North Run. Martin Green snatched wins at the half marathons in Conwy, Lancaster and Bedford over summer with perhaps his strongest result being in the Bristol 10k, clocking 33.16 as he builds towards his autumn marathon. 

April 2022 - Marathons On The Go

And so into April and the heart of the spring marathon season. Starting in Manchester where Chris Oddy ran an excellent 2.23,within seconds of his 2021 PB. Fred D had a super debut,running 2.43 with a notable negative split, whilst James Smith ran a very impressive 2.59, breaking the iconic barrier at 43 and having improved by over 20 minutes since we linked up 10 months ago.
A week later in Brighton Will Green placed an impressive 3rd overall, his 2.30.02 no mean result on the undulating course and particularly swift as he is now 47.
Then onto Boston, never the fastest route with its famous hills in the last third and it's often tricky weather which this year brought a headwind for the point to point course. Particular credit then to the 4 coachees who excelled there. Megan A running a 4 minute PB of 3.15 to reflect her onward improvement across distances; Paul Piper 2.28 to complete his sub 2.30 portfolio across the 6 world majors; and super close to PB results by Jeremy Agnew, 2.41 at age 46, and 2.54 by Andy Yiannouzis.

March - Onwards

Early spring has brought numerous fine results from coachees. These include Isaac L taking his marathon PB down further to 2.38 at the great Seville race, while a week later at the Wokingham half Paul Piper ran a fine 68.50 chased by Chris Oddy with 68m58 and now turned 40 year old Nick Impey scoring a swift 69.18 PB. Cara Perretta ran a big best of 84.21 and continues her progress. Andy Y also chipping away at his PB with 81.18. Still at half marathon, a week later at Cambridge Bob Empson again held back his 63 years of age with a great PB of 91.37, whilst Kurtis Gibson took his PB down to 67.09 placing 5th. Out in Anglesey Welsh star Martin Green continued to shine, placing 2nd on a tough and windy course, his 72.12 just literally a tick away from his PB, and great strength at 47 years of age. Two weeks later he scored another podium place with 3rd at the Trimpnell 20 miles on exactly 1.54, a strong effort whilst retaining a little in hand.  

Whilst making the trek from East to West Coast USA 46 year old Jeremy Agnew ran a very swift 73.37 to win his category at the Ventura Half Marathon,  a net downhill course that uses the famous Ventura Highway. He backed this up with 76.05 at the much hiller New York Marathon in late Marc . Another making hefty Half Marathon progress is George H, his recent 74.56 on the undulating Stafford course marking a 5 minute improvement since last autumn.

Winter Racing - 16 February 2022

Late autumn and early winter was a kind of evolving state of limbo in the world of Covid and Races, with many races going ahead either on their planned dates or on dates postponed from the spring, but a few others being further postponed. At the time of writing much of the world has got to some sort of grips with Omicron and society in many nations is edging towards normality.

Some notable results from those who raced though, with many PBs across the racing distances. Chris Oddy made a big advance in Valencia with a swift 2.22.40 whilst Paul piper ran 2.26.30, strong but not quite matching his April effort. The previous week Jeremy Agnew headed to the Philadelphia marathon and brought his PB down to 2.39.06 super running at age 46. 

On the same day in Dorney Johnny A ran a breakthrough 2.57 marathon, a PB by 10 minutes. Also logging a new PB was Ben M ,with 3.17 in Plymouth shortly before Christmas.

Cara P ran her best race at any distance with 63.27 at the hilly St. Albans 10 miles in January. Over the half marathon new coachee Kurtis G ran a solo 67.45 to win by a country mile in Dorney and followed that up with 24.18 for 5 miles and a 14.46 road 5k amidst some strong cross country results. Fine progress too by George H, taking swathes of time from his 10k time now down to 34.42 and similarly Dom B has progressed to 34.52 (which is 8 minutes advance over 10k in 2.5 years) and 76.30 for half marathon    Isaac Leigh has brought his PBs down to 34.13 and 74.05 over winter as he builds to his next marathon.

Whilst over in Madeira Sonia M has been racing strongly and picking up various V40 wins on road and trail. James S continues to progress consistently, his 83.50 at Farnborough Half showing a 9 mins improvement in about 8 months. Fine parkrun PB by Bernadette M breaking a big barrier with 19.46.after many many dozens of parkruns over recent years, whilst similarly getting back to her better form after a traumatic injury Sekai Z is now sub 20 for 5k as she looks to a spring marathon.  


Summer and Autumn Highlights

As we find our way through managing the Covid risk in road and track running and in wider life the racing menu had gradually reappeared over the summer in abbreviated form and with the autumn offering something closer to a full agenda of options. Indeed the World Marathon Majors are positively tripping over each other in a very narrow window over October and early November. Below is a selection of the results and progress made by runcoach1to1 coachees over recent months.

 Perhaps the best single result of the summer was by Paul Piper, winning the Lydd 20  miles in Kent in a course record of 1 hour 50.13, on a thankfully mild summer morning. He backed this up with 69.20 at the great north run  just ahead of Chris Oddy in 69.46 making a cautious comeback after long term injury.

Setting Pbs was Cara P,  notably 86.23 at the Dorney half and 18.42 on a hilly 5k in Essex. Returning after niggles was Chris W, getting back gradually to his level with 15.14 over a 5k road race. Also fine PBs after years of trimming his best by 46 year old Martin Green, the North Welsh whippet recording 5k in 15.59  and Half marathon PB of 72.11 in his marathon build up.  .

Well deserved Half PB of 75.20 for Isaac L at the big half. Further afield in New York, Jeremy Agnew now 45, clocked a very solid 56.44 in the undulating Bronx 10 miles race. 

The autumn marathon season started off very encouragingly in Berlin where on a warmer than ideal day Nick Impey dug in really impressively to score a PB of 2.28.11 and 50plus Gloria B came through in 3.47, to manage a 9 minute PB.

Just outside London a week later Cara Perretta ran a wonderfully even paced 3.07 at Dorney Lake, a 12 minute PB and second woman. 

Meanwhile within the London marathon itself, highlights included 49 year old Paul Cheetham came home in 2.38, whilst  62 year old Bob Empson trimmed his PB further to a neat 3.26. 39 year old stripling Paul P in training for Valencia sauntered round in a controlled 2.38,keeping his top gear in reserve. Andy Y with 2.53 just missed his PB as did Michael McD though at age 53 a 2.53 is very impressive racing. Another fine PB of 3.19 achieved by Megan A, particularly notable as it comes just 9 months after giving birth and a very meticulous return to fuller training.

In addition a rock solid 2.30 at Manchester marathon by Martin Green now 47, replicating his time from Cheshire in April. And a 9 minute PB of 3.06 by Andrew Gibb, the same day as an  outstanding 51.19 10 miles in Philadelphia by Martin O Connell, his best race of all while also over the classic Cabbage Patch 10 miles Chris Wright continued his return to better form with 51.48.Similarly returning herself after a catalogue of misfortune was Izzy C, a recent parkrun of 17.23 no doubt an initial step back towards her better form.






April 26 2021 The shutters finally come up

After Lockdown Phase 3, April brought some fine results for coachees.

The performance highlight was the much-awaited Cheshire Elite Marathon, a new and wonderful event in the rural Welsh borders. In a perfect environment 48 men ran under 2.30 and 24 women under 2.45, with Olympic qualifying standards being hit by both men and women. Also a personal spectating thrill on my part, the first such race I’d actually been able to attend in 14 months.

 Leading results were those of Paul Piper, 2.23.23 in 14th place, a PB and 8th English runner; Will Green, a slight PB of 2.24.15 at age 46, which places him 6th All Time on the UK lists for over 45s; and an 11 minute PB of 2.28.33 by George Southon. Just outside his PB with his swift 2.30.08 confirming him as one of the UK’s leading V45s was Martin Green.

 Also over recent weeks Izzy C has been returning towards her better form, with a 35.13 10k in QEOP in late November and a 5 mile Virtual race in 28.13. Whilst in Harrogate Chris Oddy bounced back very nicely from ongoing injury setbacks with a swift 10k road PB of 31.27 at the Pitstop event. The benefits of strategically beasting himself on the watt bike.

 Further down the Welsh borders in Shepherdine Hallam G ran the Half Marathon in a 7 minute PB of 73.49, having made big progress in the last year. Over Easter Isaac L set a 4 minute PB at the Dorney Marathon in 2.39.04, followed by Andy Y, another 2.51 PB and a fine debut of 3.07 by Johnny A.

An ultra highlight was Bob Empson, at 62, wining his age category at the truly gruelling South Downs Way 50 miles, in 9 hours 30, a big improvement on previous attempts. Further down the distances, George S ran a big PB of 32.02 at QEOP 10k, as did Dmitry V in 37.06. In addition to these, numerous others have been making good progress in Time Trials at 5k, 10k and Half Marathon as they await their racing renaissance.