Monday 3/09

Stage 2 – East Kilbride to Motherwell (10.8 miles)

105 starters  –  Breezy but sunny and bright.

At start tent there were many wasps which were not very friendly! Dave Moorcroft was stung twice and Colin Reitz stung once. Rod Dixon was having problems with his larynx/throat – this apparently being an ongoing problem. Alan Rushmer (Tipton Harriers & Olympian) was having fitness problems.

Legs stiffish but I am content enough. Found out last night that if anyone now falls behind the 20% of leaders time during any part of the run, they are ‘pulled out’ of that stage. Their time is then the winners time plus 20% plus 5 mins penalty. This can happen on 5 occasions before ‘booted out of the race’.

Some top names are already pulling out with injuries and more after today’s stage – namely Rod Dixon and Fraser Clyne (Scottish marathoner). However, I am ok. Pace was ‘controlled’ for first half mile but main field steady pace for next few miles. Hills not too bad. Through 6 miles in 33mins 18secs and 10 miles in 55mins – however, the final 5.5miles were mainly downhill and flat but with the occasional climbs. Although I could have gone faster, I was trying to discipline myself to holdback as I was well within the 20% time limit. This is difficult as it is against all my instincts not to run to my best ability on the day. Stretched my legs out again over last 1200mtrs. Caught Cierpinski again. He is having problems with his calf muscle. Finished strong again and still content.

Wore Adidas Oregon shoes today for cushing purposes. Calfs and legs a little sore. Also top of hamstrings a little tight. However, received some massage treatment back at hotel and feel ok now. Will need to stretch more and keep an eye on any possible Achilles tendon problems.

Went out for a 2 mile ease down run when returned to hotel from Motherwell (race finish) with roommate Mike McGeoch. Last night at this Glasgow hotel as tomorrow we move on to Locherbie.

Of today’s race, some runners were easing their way round, one notable runner being Peter Klimes who was 3rd in yesterday’s stage but back with me. 

Time: 59m 48s  (winners time 52m 40s)  – Placed 87th : [Cierpinski 59m 43s – 85th ]

Stats: 14m 58s behind overall leader Overall position 88th Average stage pace = 5mins 32secs

Thoughts  – Now wondering if and when I need a slower run for recovery purposes, of over 6 min miling.  Will have to bear this in mind. If I can maintain the sort of effort I have been putting in, I will be ok but I must also be aware of my capabilities and run to them. The main test comes on Wednesday with the 17 mile race.

Tuesday 4/09

Stage 3 – Lockerbie to Annan (10.51 miles)

102 starters

A relatively easy course being mainly downwards. Set off at 5m 40s pace. Felt easy and relaxed throughout and holding back on pace. Passed Cierpinski after about 2 miles and latched onto a larger group – some of whom were out for a slowish run for them. This included the Klimes twins and Nigel Gates who leads the ‘King Of The Mountains’ category. Pace up front very quick again and this has taken some of the ‘stars’ with them although others are clearly suffering. For myself, the plan was to set off slowly and run my legs into a ‘free state’ and then increase pace as go along. Still well inside the 20% cut off limit. No problems at all. Myself and 4 others left the group after 7 miles by upping the pace. Finished strongly enough. Through 10 miles in 56m 33s.

And not only that, did I really see Steve Ovett (Moscow Olympic 800mtrs Gold and 1500mtrs Bronze medallist plus one time holder of the 1500mtrs and 1 mile world records) spectating on the course as I went past – apparently yes. He actually owns and lives in a castle nearby. He was taking in the stage race and meeting up with some of his running friends.

Time: 59m 23s. – (Winners time 50m 53s) : Placed 80th : [Cierpinski 59m 42s – 85th]

Stats: 23m 28s behind overall leader Overall position 90th Average stage pace = 5mins 39secs

After the stage race and on the coach to new hotel in Carlisle area, started suffering with stomach problems and appear to have diarrhoea. This is worrying me. Could be from the Gatorade I drunk after the race or the banana or the Mars bar. Hope it doesn’t last. Must have a good evening meal ready for tomorrow’s 17 mile effort.

Wednesday 5/09

Stage 4  –  Gretna to Carlisle (17miles)

101 starters – weather is heavy drizzle and slight wind.

Suffered last night with stomach problems – unwell. However, recovered sufficiently to do the run but at a slower pace. Neil Smart (Sale Harriers) gave me some medicine he’d bought 2 days earlier as he had the same problem.

Started from the original famous blacksmith’s cottage (where couples elope to for marriage). The pace was ‘controlled’ for the first 4 miles at around the 6 min per mile pace with the race over the last 13 miles. Settled down to 5m 54s miling which I carried out with regularity to mile 14 when  I then quickened the pace for the last 3 miles to 5m 27s per mile. Behind were such classy GB International runners as Dave Moorcroft, Mike McLeod and Steve Brace (Multi marathon winner and 1992 Barcelona Olympic marathoner).

Again the course was on mainly quiet country roads until we hit Carlisle. Because of the ‘controlled pace’ for the first 4 miles, I was able to settle down and feel more comfortable – the stomach problems settling down. Wore short sleeve thermal and nylon club running vest because of cold drizzle and wind – a good move. It was noticed that quite a few athletes wearing only mesh running vests were stopping for ‘dumps’ – result of stomach cramps. Ran with a good group and felt ok. Sips of water at drink stations. Was content with the pace. However, two of us were dropped from the other 3 and then worked together into headwind. Increased the pace without really noticing it over the last 3 miles into centre of Carlisle.

Stats: 31m 46s behind overall leader Overall position 84th Average pace for 17mile = 5m 48s

Thought I was going to suffer diarrhoea again within the last half mile but the cramp feeling thankfully did not materialise. A slower run but hopefully a recovery one. Cierpinski took 2m 20s out of me – he had a good run today.

Last 13 mile time: 75.28 –  (Winners time 65.09) : Placed 76th : [Cierpinski 73m 08s – 60th ]

Stage incidents

  •  John Graham (Multi marathon winner) talked to his wife on a mobile phone passed to him by a motorbike escort rider during the ‘controlled’ phase to the amusement of the rest of the group.
  • Kevin Forster was handed a miniature TV and was able to watch himself and the other runners around him on it as he was being filmed. This included me.
  • Dave Moorcroft and Mick McLeod had to stop for a call of nature.
  • The stage winner, Kip Kosgei punched Dos Santos (US team from Boulder, Colorado) on the left side of his chin during the last mile run in into Carlisle centre. Apparently, an incident happened between them earlier on in this stage. But not only that, he waited for him at the finish and slapped him again. The cause was that Dos Santos had run too close behind Kosgei and kept clipping his heels. Kosgei,a prison officer in Kenya, had asked him to stop doing it and when Dos Santos continued to do it, Kosgei decided to ‘discipline’ Dos Santos. The result of this was that Kosgei was relegated to the  back of the field for that stage plus a further time penalty and a monetary fine.
  • Nick Rose now gone down with a stomach bug.
  • Steve Brace suffering from bad foot blisters plus sickness and diarrhoea. He stopped during the stage at the 4 mile point and was ‘swept up into the broomwagon’. He is now penalised by taking the winners time plus 50% plus 5 mins as his time.


The Sun Life Great Race – Part #2