Tag Archives: british athletics

Reliving Olympic Fever At The London Anniversary Games

I am stunned. Some how I have managed to buy tickets for the Sainsbury’s London Anniversary Games in July. I am even more thrilled that I was able to buy enough tickets for the whole family to go. I can’t wait to take the boys to the Olympic Stadium. No doubt we’ll be up in the rafters but I’m guessing the boys will love that even more. Usain Bolt will be the size of an ant but we will be there to see some breath taking elite athletics. I only wish it had been this easy to buy Olympic tickets!

We are attending the Friday evening session. Events on the schedule include the men’s 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, discus and high jump. For the women it’s the 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 400m hurdles, pole vault and triple jump. I am itching with excitement as I think of the athletes who will be on the start lists for these events. A fantastic opportunity to see Olympic champions and competitors back in London.

Right now I keep looking back at the confirmation email because I’m convinced it’s a trick. When I told my husband that four of us would be going for under £75 he was astounded. Apparently that’s cheaper than a ticket for the Six Nations at the Millenium Stadium these days!

P1000572I think I might do a little kitchen disco to celebrate my tickets and a return to running and training this week. My body is still aching and sore from my Monday session of shoulder to overheads, front squats and squats and step ups with a 10kg weight. However I’ve managed to do two runs this week with no heel or achilles pain. I’ve kept it short and sweet to avoid ‘poking the bear’ too much. So let’s have a little bounce around the kitchen to this. If I carried an iPod while I went running I’d be tempted to add this to the playlist. Plus I think the video is a bit unusual as music videos go.





Running and A Massive Rambling Rant.

There were two pieces doing the rounds recently regarding marathon running and the detrimental effects that charity running have had for ‘serious’ runners. These pieces were written in relation to the larger races such as the London Marathon which is just around the corner. What frustrated me as someone who has been around athletics and running since the age of eleven was the cynicism and the ‘serious runners vs recreational runner’ implication of the articles.

Big commercial races no doubt become victims of their own success. They become gigantic beasts which in the end become money making machines. Who knows whether Hugh Brasher and John Disley envisaged that thousands of people would clamour to enter this race each year. Today it is on the World Marathon Majors list and a bucket list race for many people. Along the way though it became about the money. And I’m afraid it’s this that has lead to so many places being given to charity. The London Marathon charges thousands per guaranteed charity place. Subsequently the charities have to claw that money back somehow. They therefore have to ask their charity runners to raise unbelievable amounts of money to justify their place. It is not unusual for a charity to ask someone to raise in excess of £1500 but I really think it is unfair to blame charities or indeed charity runners for the fact that you can’t run the London Marathon.

As someone who has applied to the ballot many times and never been successful I understand the frustration of not getting in. But when you think that they take 180,000 names into the ballot it’s hardly surprising. So I ask you, why does it have to be the London Marathon? 26.2 miles in Tewkesbury is the same achievement as running 26.2 in a famous race. In 2012 I wanted to run a marathon. I didn’t get in through the ballot for London so I entered Edinburgh. A lower profile race, in a great city location, with great organisation. It was still measured as 26.2 and it still counted even though it wasn’t London. I got a phallus shaped medal and shared chips with an elderly German runner. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I did happen to raise a small amount of money for Macmillan along the way, and do you know what it felt good. I had set myself a running goal and I achieved it without being swayed by more commercial races.

So I ran a marathon and yet I’m still cross. Well as Uncle Bryn in Gavin and Stacey says ‘I’ll tell you for why’. There has been a change in running since I started all those years ago *cough 22 years cough*. People don’t use athletics clubs any more. They don’t use running groups. However running has become uber popular and has become really trendy and cool. But instead of joining clubs or supporting the sport, people are signing up to races run by huge brands owned by multi-national companies who offer great goody bags and a catalogue with their latest gear. All of a sudden people believe that this is the only way to run or race and it breaks my heart for the sport I love. The way running has gone lately has made me cynical about it. People shout about what was in the goody bag and I feel for the folks who organise the smaller races who can’t offer medals or t-shirts, just the thrill of having run a PB or completing a race for the first time. Running clubs that aren’t lucky enough to have an attachment to a sports brand are suffering and I really do think it will be do the detriment of the sport and the Olympic Legacy.

Over the weekend I learnt that Belgrave Harriers, at one time one of the most successful clubs in the UK, the home club of Dwain Chambers, are stepping down from the British League. The man who is resigning as team manager stated that the sport isn’t seeing any of the Olympic Legacy and that they are not seeing the elite athletes coming through like they used to. Elite athletes can help prop up athletics clubs. As does organising your own races. Many clubs run their own races for a pittance of an entry fee compared with large races. These clubs do this because they are passionate about the sport, wish to support it’s existence and the access to tracks that we take for granted and hope to provide a place for the next generation of athletes. But people prefer the big races and the kudos that apparently goes with the big name, commercial races and I feel as a result the athletics and running scene at club level will suffer.

So runners what are you going to do? You want to run a 10k/half marathon/marathon. You can’t get into the big fancy, glow stick race you want to do. You may as well not bother ‘eh because they’re the only races worth doing right? Wrong. On the weekend West 4 Harriers ran a Thames Towpath 10. Ealing Eagles are running a 10k for the paltry price of £12 (compare that to the £50 that is asked of entrants to one of the larger 10k races). Turn to the back of Runner’s World and you will find a plethora of races that have plenty of places available for runners. Join a club and get the low down on races that you would otherwise be unaware of. If you have the means set up your own local race and be a bigger part of the running community. Because if you really want to run that race, that distance, smash that goal you will. You won’t just wait around for the one race that all us runners have been brainwashed into thinking is the only one worth doing. If we don’t start supporting our sport rather than blindly paying money and expecting the earth in a goody bag there won’t be a legacy left at all.

My Running Obsessions This Week

There have been many running related topics rushing around my brain this week. I have many things I want to blog about at length but for my first post this week I wanted to share some of the running related subjects I’ve been getting excited about! I’m still officially injured so I’m allowed, indulge me.


Following my back injury the gluteal muscles on the right side are no longer buns of steel, more like buns of jelly. Pain has inhibited the muscles so much that my glutes are quivering at the top of my thigh in fear of all exercise. For runner’s this isn’t a good thing. In basic terms our glutes help with weight transference from trunk to lower limb, stabilise our pelvis and help with our propulsion. Right now I can barely single leg squat on my right. So my new rehab obsession to get back to running is working my glutes like they are the latest running revolution and everyone’s talking about them. My glutes need a BOOST (sorry Adidas).

Avocados and Pine Nuts

In between all the hen weekends, birthday celebrations and weddings I’ve had recently I have, honestly, been trying to eat healthily while my body heals and repairs. I have no idea if avocados are good for runners but I know they have plenty of the ‘good fats’. Pine nuts are full of protein for repair and I’ve been combining both of these in chicken spinach salads or popping the whole lot in a pitta or wrap. When you’re injured it’s all too easy to eat junk but these foods have been a tasty alternative to hitting the cookie jar.

Lorna Jane Active

Lorna Jane is an Australian brand that is now available in the UK via Active Instyle. Their designs provide a feminine twist on the standard running gear of vests, capris and tights. Adding mantras to their clothes give them an added bad ass runner girl feel. I’ve just purchased the ‘Determined’ sports bra and I’ll be blogging about it once I’ve given it a jog round the block.

determined bra

European Indoor Championships

The 32nd European Athletics Indoors Championships will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden over the weekend of 1-3 March. The buzz is building quite nicely for me with the UK indoor trials and last weekend’s Birmingham Grand Prix event. On the weekend we saw Olympic GB athletes like Mo Farah smash it. Today British Athletics announced a strong looking team although they failed to include any male 1500m runners. Paula Radcliffe was on Twitter slamming this as ‘totally ridiculous’ and I have to agree. GB have plenty of decent male middle distance runners. Seems a shame not to field any. They can’t blame Charles Van Commenee for any selection mishaps this time!

Jenny Meadows

Jenny Meadows missed last year’s track season through injury but she’s back! She made her comeback at the Birmingham Grand Prix on the weekend and has been announced as captain of the GB & NI team going to Gothenburg. Jenny goes as defending champion having won the 800m two years ago. Jenny is a talented, tenacious athlete and it’s exciting to see her back!

Go Jenny, go Jenny! Picture from britishathletics.org.uk

Mary Cain

Mary Cain is a 16 year old high school student from New York. Mary Cain is a middle distance runner. Mary Cain is coached by Alberto Salazar, the same man who coaches double Olympic champion Mo Farah. Mary Cain is breaking records all over the place and can run 1500m in 4.11.01. Mary Cain is 16 YEARS OLD. The world of running needs to get excited about Mary Cain. I hope she’s the real deal and I hope as she develops, she’ll be looked after and we’ll see her competing on the European circuit. There’s a strong team of U20 women in the UK right now too so female middle and long distance running has some exciting prospects in the years leading up to Rio 2016.

Mary Cain. Image from nationalscolastic.org

So these are my running obsessions this week. Happy training.