One day , two races and one legend

Ben AshworthI have dedicated my main post picture to several running legends and heros over the past two years and without doubt this fellow deserves his place alongside him. His name is Ben Ashworth (@ChemoDadRuns) and you can read his story [here]

December 20th will be a day i remember for a long time, for many reasons, one of those reasons will be that i forgot my watch on what would turn out to be a great day of running for myself. But the main reason that i will remember this day, is meeting Ben Ashworth, a fellow runner who i have been talking online with for a while, whose story is simply inspirational to kind of quote my friend John and quoting local race director/organiser/runner Brian Porter (@brianporterrun) he’s a legend and a hero.

So here’s how the day went…….

Leaving my home, late as usual, i was drove down to Preston parkrun for change, the reason being because after parkrun i was due to run a second 5k and i wanted to give myself a chance of getting around both in sub20 my self imposed target for the day. A challenge made even more difficult by the fact that i had forgotten my watch…..of all the days!!!!

So 9 am, i was lined up on the parkrun start line, watchless. luckily i had spotted a runner who often gives me a good race over parkrun and sometimes beats me. So to compensate for the lack of a watch, i decided just to try and keep ahead of him. Additionally i decided that i would take it easy up the hills and that i would not be sprinting for the finish line, so to conserve energy.

Starting off at a fast but comfortable pace i found myself slowly working through the crowed of runners, picking people off until i ended up in the top five before moving up to second with just half a mile to go. I could see first place down the road, within catching distance, but i decided to stick to my pace, a plan that saw first place gradually move away from me and another runner sprint past me over the final straight.

A 3rd place finish, my best positioning in the Preston parkrun yet and whats more, i later found out i had clocked a time of 19:04!! i couldn’t believe it, i had achieved a course and distance PB without actually pushing myself to the max…..further highlighting how wrong i got things at the Best 5k a few weeks back.

I also learned in this race, that things get pretty warm in a Christmas hat…..

parkrun xmas1Something that did not bode well for the Santa Dash where i would be wearing a Santa hat with attached beard….

So i ate a couple of cookies for energy, which some nice person had brought in for the traditional after Christmas parkrun cake feast and a drink of water for hydration and then it was a wait for Ben Ashworth to start the Santa dash. Something he was going to do after he had completed the first half of his 45 mile Guild wheel challenge and a little after 11 Ben appeared to much applause from the large gathering of runners keen to wish him well. Something which is captured well in this ITV news video you can watch [here] – Also if you watch closely your spot me in the back ground.

So off we went on race number two, which is nothing compared to what Ben was doing , plus a couple of other parkrun runners were also lining up to run their second race of the morning. The route, was something like this  [here] and as we set off i quickly found myself among the leading pack. However, after about 100 metres i felt that the pace wasn’t that quick and took the decision to move to the front and push things on.

To my surprise, no one challenged me and after a little while the pounding of feet behind me started to feel a good couple of metres back and this photo (thanks to Runningpix) taken at around the 340 metre point shows that :

cheeky5And this was how things reminded and i completed the first lap in first place.

Around 700 metres into the second lap i started to feel a little sore in the legs, the impact of two races was beginning… this point i was on a long straight gradual incline and i was beginning to wonder if i could hold on for another high position finish. But my legs were sore so doubt was creeping in with visions of a repeat of Vernons creeping in. Then i thought of Ben and what he was doing and what he was doing despite his situation and with that i pushed on, i wanted to give it my all, i wanted to repay Ben for what he was doing and for putting this event on by trying to win this thing.

Approaching the final hill climb i made the decision to ease off and wait until i reached a flat once more, before pushing on. I knew this would be a gamble as those behind me, would be motivated by my slowing down. However, i hoped this would work in my favor knowing a) how tough it is to charge up a hill and b) how much it takes out of you, those behind could end up over exhausting themselves trying to catch me on a hill climb.

Reaching the the top of the hill, the ground leveled out and I pushed one final time, beginning to believe i might actually be able to win this…..and then Helen Clitheroe‘s words on how she makes her move with a 1000 metres to go, came to my mind and on i pushed weaving in and out of those at the back, lapping a number of people. After fighting strong winds on bridge section, I made my way down the tricky narrow down hill section, made harder by having to move around a family with a pram. I reached the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill and remembering how over shooting such a turn cost me dearly in the Vernons 4 mile , so I eased off and took the turn in a controlled manner.

Then i was on the home straight with some race marshals beckoning me to go for it, glancing up the hill i just descended i couldn’t see any other runners meaning they were either closing in or they were too far back now to stop me….i decided this was no time to take a chance, i was metres away from winning my race since i was a young lad. So i went for it and sprinted to the finish line, crossing it with a sense of shock and joy.

i could not believe i had actually won the race, a feeling which stuck with me for the rest of the day, and even today its feels a little odd. Granted i doubt i got that great a time and perhaps the field was not the strongest but it was a win and it was my win and it will prove to be a valuable experience.

Afterwards i got talking with Ben and as well as finding out he knew one of my friends, i also found out what a nice guy he is. He is really humble , he has time for everyone and has a really up beat personality. He is truly a great guy and what has happened to him, at such a young age is very tragic but clearly he hasn’t let it beat him and is doing his up most to raise both funds and awareness of his illness.

And in the style of a shampoo advert, here comes the science….

Bowel Cancer is one of the most common cancers in England and between 2002-2011 an average of 24,179 people were diagnosed with the condition per year and an average of 9,405 died from it per year. Age plays a major factor in your likelihood of contracting bowel cancer with the major of diagnoses occurring in persons aged over 60. Other risk factors include lifestyle (being physical inactive, smoking) and poor diet.

Symptoms of bowel cancer include :

  • a persistent change in bowel habit, causing them to go to the toilet more often and pass looser stools, usually together with blood on or in their stools
  • a persistent change in bowel habit without blood in their stools, but with abdominal pain
  • blood in the stools without other haemorrhoid symptoms such as soreness, discomfort, pain, itching or a lump hanging down outside the back passage
  • abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always provoked by eating, sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss
  • a lump your doctor can feel in your back passage or abdomen
  •  pain in your abdomen or back passage
  • a feeling of a need to strain in your back passage (as if you need to pass a bowel motion)

For more information see [here]


Marathon training up date

I have completed 21/21 planned runs covering a total of 201 miles, i have slacked off my core work and my speed work. Although the latter of these has been disrupted by the fact i have done a number of races recently and you are always advised to take one day for each mile youve raced, as an easy day. Also things at work have been pretty busy and i had a major assignment to complete for uni. I aim to correct these things as of next week.

In preparation for the marathon i have been eyeing up, well places training races and I have entered the Boxing day 10k and the Trimple 20. i also was looking at the Inskip Half marathon but it turns out that its full already! which is a bit of a pain, its a flat fast half marathon, which would of been perfect practice. So i need to find a plan b for that one.

Anyway, ive waffled on a bit today, so see you !!




One thought on “One day , two races and one legend

  1. Pingback: The boxing Day 10k, Leyland | sjpc14

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