running blog

Clive Whaley


Finished Business

Day 111 - THE LONDON MARATHON - 26.2 miles

3 hours 33 minutes 41 seconds



Tough 10K Test

Day 96 - Marathon Training - 10K Race - Exmoor - Coastal Trail Series

I drove 80 miles today to take part in a gruelling 10K race - in fact probably the toughest 10K I have ever done. To start with it was actually 7.3 miles long (not 6.2 which it should be!) and it included a mere 1,200 feet of climbing. It was part of what's called the Coastal Trail Series run by Endurance Life. I've done a few of their events and I 'enjoy' the challenges they put on. They are always well organised and in the most remote and rugged and vertical places you can find along the UK coastline.

I was reasonably pleased to finish 12th out of about 150 competitors and to win my age group (male vet 55+) - to be honest there were hardly any other old geezers like me taking part! The photo here was taken about 4 miles into the race and you can see on my face how hard it was. Nearly all of those first 4 miles involved climbing up and along incredibly steep and narrow coastal paths and then the remaining 3 miles were a scramble downwards over rocks, branches and through wooded paths back to the finish. There wasn't a level patch on the whole course and there wasn't a bruise free part of my body by the time I had pummelled it to bits over the complete circuit.

The start and finish were near a pub called The Hunters Inn - part of the Heddon Valley - a lovely spot and the course itself was rugged and spectacular and wild. The trouble is, when you do an event like this, it is so punishing that you fail to really take in the beauty of it all. I would love to come back sometime and maybe just walk the same route and then 'see it' properly for the first time.

The event is full of young, trendy types wearing the latest running and adventure sports kit, usually in the brightest of colours and just before I left the event, I spotted this guy, Mr P Cock, wearing one of the most lurid outfits of all.

Grizzly Baby

Day 69 - Marathon Training - Raced 9 miles of beach, hills and mud!
(The 'baby' version of The Grizzly - called The Cub)

Great day today. I did enter that most wonderful event called The Grizzly. Reluctantly but sensibly I did the 'cut down' or 'baby' version of the main event - otherwise known as The Cub. In other words I only went for 9 miles of shingle beach, vertical coastal climbs and muddy fields, instead of the full 20 mile version.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think the official finish photo shows it. The fun and pleasure came from, not only getting round with the knee intact, but also from the great weather and the fantastic spirit associated with the event. I was also pleased to be on the first page of results - or 35th out of about 500 finishers (approx 85 mins 'chip time').

The Grizzly is held at Seaton in East Devon and this was its 30th anniversary. Somewhere in the region of 2,000 runners take part in the two races. It seems to be extremely well organised and has an army of hundreds of cheery volunteer marshalls, musicians and performers lining the route. At the bottom of one of the steeper climbs you find a makeshift sign labelled 'Stairway to Heaven' and as you start to climb you encounter a guy dressed as some sort of manic wizard. He was spouting dire warnings and flinging out spells and incantations. It was hilarious. The whole thing is just a smiley, feelgood event that gently warms you with it's positive mood. Mind you, that view might have been helped by the fact that I only did the shorter route. If I had done the 'full works' I suspect I wouldn't have been in a fit state to appreciate the generous welcome from spectators at the finish line.

Mindful of the problems I've had with my knee leading up to today, I decided to take advantage of a £5 charity massage from the East Devon Sports Injuries team. It was torture - far more painful than running the event - my quad muscles are so unbelievably tight - but I am sure it did me the world of good.