Martin’s epic tale of sacrifice, struggle and eventual theft….

After taking the decision to change my normal training plan of, “the race is in a week?! I best get running then!” to an actual structured approach, I set my sights on a familiar face in the form of the Belle Vue House 10k. It started and finished at my old university of Edge Hill in Ormskirk. Previous courses incorporated a multi-terrain mix of road and trail. I know the area very well and I’ve run sections of the route several times in my university days. After doing the race last year in my target bracket of sub 50 minutes, I decided to go one better – get a course PB!

I started my training regime in February; it took a lot of very early mornings and lots of miles to blow the cobwebs away. A good mix of being on the bike and being on foot kept all the serious injuries at bay.

The training went well and I was confident that I would beat my previous time.

A week before the race I checked the website for start times etc, only to see the heading, ‘New course for 2014’… Oh, right ok…checking the route on Google Earth, yes, it was a new course. Far more off road sections. So this wobbled my confidence a bit, seeing as all the training I had done was road…

My motivation was the possibility of finally getting my hands on ‘The Running Wood’ which is a very cheap wooden trophy with £1 coin glued to the front. A friend and I compete for this sacred talisman. Alas, this ‘wood’ have to wait for another battle ground, as he decided that my threat to his crown was too high and dropped out. Race day would be a solo outing for pride.

Finally, it was the day of the race, and it was perfect. Sunny, not too warm and still. I could smell a course PB. My support crew: my wife Kim and my boy Miles, came down to offer post-race re-hydration and a lion bar.

The first 2k of the route was quite congested, so I didn’t get to my target lap time. It was hammer down for the mid-section that was mostly through woods and along uneven tracks. I was expecting to turn an ankle or come a cropper in some way, shape or form, but I blasted through these bits like a boss.

The last section routed through the ever expanding grounds of the university and back on to the track. After misjudging where the route entered the running track (the last leg) I started my kick way, way too early – I was running on red. However the running gods were smiling that day, I came round to the last 200 hundred meters, opened my gait and gave it one last push for the line. A barrage of beeps and a frantic fumble to stop the various timing devices strapped to me (I’m a magpie for statistics) later, I looked at the time…. Nailed it! 47minutes – 2 minutes faster than last time, an epic course PB.



My support crew found me and dished out the water and lion bar and told me to sit down. After some photos and the theft of my medal by the younger member of my support crew, it was homeward bound.

First of the season down, my sights firmly fixed on ‘The Running Wood’ for next time.

Photo by: SportSunday Event Photography