Over the summer the coaching headlines (well, this coach’s headlines) shift away from people doing marathons to more races in the 5k and 10k range on road and track, the build-up towards autumn goals and from a spectating point of view to the peak of the global elite athletics circuit. This year the latter was of course focused around the IAAF World Championships in London and I was able to go to four of the big evening sessions, which handily captured Double Mo and all the GB Gold medals. Hugely exciting and the only downside at the time was the ever reducing lack of athletics knowledge amongst most of the media who cover the sport, although there are still some gems to be found. It will be interesting to see how the sport copes without Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. Personally I am optimistic enough that people are more intelligent than being able to only recognise and admire two individuals across the programme. The BBC studio interviews with most of the English-speaking gold medallists shows that there are some very lively role models achieving great things across the event groups and you really don’t need World Records to make the sport nail-bitingly thrilling to watch.
As it has been summer holiday time I have to be a smartarse and point out that if you are doing the Berlin Marathon and you are a parent of school age children and you book a fortnight trip spanning 3 weekends to somewhere in the Mediterranean then with the best will in the world you are likely to struggle to cover the sort of long runs you would ideally do in the build up.
I also received one of my favourite quotes from someone aiming for an early autumn marathon who stated ‘ I will try to carry on with normal training while I am in the jungle’ Fair enough, he downsized the trip to a French altitude centre and came back in PB shape but without any lemur photos.
Back to home though, and, after a series of races for many people at tracks and road events plus the ubiquitous parkruns, the first big focus of early autumn came today. On the roads, the Maidenhead Half was used by several as part of a marathon build up. Highlights were PBs by Paul P in 3rd place with 70.46 and Nick I improving by over a minute to 74.12 and Alex C progressing further to break 85 minutes. The Sunday evening focus was the exciting new Ladywell 10,000s on the track part of the welcome growth in the longer distance tack events. Particularly notable breakthroughs were by Richard P 33.30; Peter W, who has been improving his PBs all through the summer, 34.00 and Jamie G going sub 40 by some margin. Further afield in Lancaster, consistently speedy Welshman Martin G, 42 years young, set a new PB of 1.56, placing a close 2nd in the Golden Ball 20 Miles as he builds towards the Abingdon marathon.