Week two – elite parkrunners

Whilst supporting my wife at the New Year’s Eve parkrun in Bushy Park I noticed how comfortable the first finisher looked whilst crossing the line in just over 15 minutes. He looked familiar and the results confirmed it was GB international 1500m runner Jake Wightman. Exactly one week later he was competing for Scotland in the mixed relay event at the Great Edinburgh XC, live on BBC One.

jake-wightmanAt parkrun, Jake was just one of 1200 runners. He turned up, ran, had his barcode scanned and disappeared amongst the masses. Whilst it is great that runner’s of Jake’s ability find value in parkrun, it’s also a shame that one of our best middle distance runners can go unnoticed amongst so many participants of his sport.

And he’s not the only one.

The list of fastest parkruns of 2016 for men is dominated by international athletes, duathletes and triathletes including Adam Hickey, Paul Martelletti, Scott Overall, Adam Bowden, Andy Baddeley, and Matt Hynes. Whilst the women’s ranking includes Rio Olympians Laura Weightman and Beth Potter, and many others who have won GB vests in the list year or two including Melissa Courteney, Rosie Clarke, Alison Leonard, and Katrina Wootten.

The next time you line up at your local parkrun, you might just be sharing your morning run with one of the best athletes in the country.

Day 8 – January 8

9.1 miles – 8:00 – 140bpm

Ouch! That was a tough, slow, wet, slog and my only focus was getting home as quickly as possible. But tell that to my legs!

Things aren’t looking good. Calves feel very tight and are starting to burn whenever I walk up more than one flight of stairs. It feels like they are the only muscles in my legs that are working. I need to spend more time with my foam roller and be more consistent with my rehab exercises.

Tomorrow is tempo day. Yikes!

Day 9 – January 9

3.2 miles – 8:15 – 129bpm

Tempo day! 3×10 minutes was the plan but I had to scrap that with my legs still very achy from the previous week so I replaced the tempo run with an easy 3 miles stopping in the park for stretches.

I briefly considered postponing the tempo session until tomorrow but if my legs are too tired to run a tempo on Monday, I need to focus on recovery in order to be fit enough to compete in the Surrey League cross country on Saturday.

Unusually for me, there was no mad panic and anxiety about dropping a session. I didn’t fret about the loss of fitness as by Saturday it would be 10 days since my last session and whilst I will have run every day, it has only been easy running. If I was in good shape and expecting to race hard on Saturday, I wouldn’t be this calm about spending so much time between hard runs.

Day 10 – January 10

5.8 miles – 7:30 – 141bpm

My legs felt quite good today so I pushed it a little bit harder nudging my heart rate about 140bpm.

Day 11 – January 11

Run 1 – 2.5 miles – 8:00

Gentle run to work.

Run 2 – 2.5 miles – 7:26

Legs feeling great! I am now really looking forward to Saturday’s cross country!

Day 12 – January 12

5.4 miles – 7:35 – 135bpm

Most encouraging easy run for a long time. Evenings attached to my foam roller and massage stick are working.

Day 13 – January 13

3.1 miles – 8:04 – 161bpm

Sometimes I worry about the quality of my heart rate monitor.

I’m ready for tomorrow.

Day 14 – January 14

8.2 miles – inc Surrey League XC at Mitcham Common

Feels so good to be back running cross country for Ranelagh. Coincidently, it is my first Surrey League since January last year also at Mitcham. My aim was to take the first lap easy and get progressively quicker and if I felt ok to push it hard on the third and final lap. Hopefully finishing under 36 minutes and without any calf pain.

The race went better than I could have expected. I started steady and maintained the effort up the hills, overtaking runners which was very motivating and on the second lap I tested my injuries with a few fast efforts on the downhills. I felt strong going up and fast going down but didn’t quite have the leg speed for the flat sections where those around me were starting to move ahead.

On the final lap I was starting to feel my left calf tightening so I concentrated on maintaining my position and was very relieved to avoid getting into a sprint finish. There’s no way I could have defeated the competitive voice in that situation.

The race felt far more comfortable than I expected and my time (33:43) was only 10s slower than 3 years ago and 60s slower than last year.

Unfortunately, it was my worst finishing position ever in a Surrey League (133rd), although Ranelagh stats guru Ken gave it 73% which is more than I expected.

Finally, the race produced a pleasing numberwang for me. My race number was 733, my position was 133, and my time was 33:43. If only I had ran 10s quicker!

Check out the race results featuring a storming run by Andy Maud for Clapham Chasers covering 5.3 miles in just under 27 minutes!

Ranelagh finished second, their best result for decades which sets up a thrilling final day meeting on 11 February. The top of the table is very close with Ranelagh in third only 3pts behind SLH and 29pts ahead of Hercules Wimbledon who host the final meeting.

Bring. It. On.

Weekly total

  • 8 runs
  • 7 days
  • 40.8 miles
  • Leg freshness 3/10

Yearly total

  • 16 runs
  • 14 days
  • 80.8 miles
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