A mild dose of man flu curtailed my activities a bit last week (any excuse will do!) so didn't get out as
often as I'd have liked. The weather was pretty grotty too, as no doubt everyone will have read about in the National news, so I've had to rethink my running programme to escape the gales and general nastiness. I'm going soft in my dotage. I considered going back to the dreaded treadmill but the lady I rang at our local Sports Centre informed me it currently costs £3:60 per session to use the fitness suite. Being a Yorkshireman, with a few drops of Scottish blood, that sounded a bit much, so the idea got put on a back burner until the weather turns really bad!
|River Wharfe in spate at Linton....
|The amazing Ed Whitlock in flight....
So what did I do? Well, I've been reading about old Ed Whitlock, one of my racing contemporaries who holds about twenty world age group records over all sorts of distances, his latest being an incredible 3:41:58 in the Toronto marathon after just turning 82. Not bad that, eh! Does he do his long runs on scenic country routes? No. Does he visit his local track for speed sessions? No. All he does is walk a couple of blocks to his local cemetery to run 600m circuits round the tombstones for an hour or two, or until he's feeling thirsty. He's done that for years and seems to prefer it to wide open spaces.
Coincidentally, one of my speedier running acquaintances, 43 year old Dave Watson of
Holmfirth Harriers, has also taken to training around the dead centre of our village, sometimes in the wee small hours with a headtorch, or by moonlight. Like everywhere else in the Pennines the graveyard sits on a slope so it's possible to do uphill reps for leg strength or downhill reps for leg speed. Dave sometimes does these twice a day - before his longer run over Castle Hill! He's no slouch and boasts an impressive set of PB's most folk would be proud of - like 5,000m in 14:41 and 10,000m in a respectable 31:46.
|Dave Watson, another speed merchant..
Last week I set off on a short trial run to suss things out. It's only three minutes across the fields to the gates of the cemetery, less when it's blowing a westerly gale, so I was soon teetering round the tombstones exploring the ups and downs and ins and outs of the many intersecting paths. On the second circuit I met a lovely old lady dabbing her eyes beside the well kept double grave of her husband and son. "It draws me like a magnet" she said, and I understood why. She was grief stricken when her only son collapsed and died while running over Castle Hill. He was 60 years old and she firmly believes he'd still be alive today if he hadn't taken up running. I've tried but can't convince her otherwise. His father was only 64 when he died.
|Snowdrops at Linton....