Digested read: marathon running records smashed this weekend for men and women and humankind. I found some big pants up a tree.
Wowsers, it’s been quite an epic weekend, running wise. Really, it has!
Yesterday, Eliud Kipchoge, cracked the 2 hour marathon, today Brigid Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe’s women’s marathon record and I went on a Runners Against Rubbish litter pick, ahead of the British Fell Relay Championships and found some enormous Calvin Klein boxer shorts up a tree whilst on a running related litter pick. I know, beyond exciting, no wonder we all looked so delighted with ourselves, with me the most delighted of all!
Like I said, a weekend of running related triumphs.
We’ll do it chronologically, parkrun morning and whilst I was snug under the duvet, contemplating whether or not my back was up to a walk round parkrun, Eliud Kipchoge was staring into the tunnel of future history in the making, in readiness for his attempt on the sub 2 hour marathon.
Whilst I ambled down to the park, he was more than half way through, and before I’d completed one kilometer, he’d smashed it. Loads has been written on this, so I’ll resiste the temptation to repeat it all here, but in summary, courtesy of BBC news
Eliud Kipchoge has become the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours, beating the mark by 20 seconds.
The Kenyan, 34, covered the 26.2 miles (42.2km) in one hour 59 minutes 40 seconds in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria on Saturday.
It will not be recognised as the official marathon world record because it was not in open competition and he used a team of rotating pacemakers….
Knowing he was about to make history on the home straight, the pacemakers dropped back to let Kipchoge sprint over the line alone, roared on by a large crowd in the Austrian capital.
The four-time London Marathon winner embraced his wife Grace, grabbed a Kenyan flag and was mobbed by his pacemakers, including many of the world’s best middle and long-distance runners.
Kipchoge, who compared the feat to being the first man on the moon in build-up to the event, said he had made history just as Britain’s Sir Roger Bannister did in running the first sub four-minute mile in 1954.
“I’m feeling good. After Roger Bannister made history, it took me another 65 years. I’ve tried but I’ve done it,” said the Kenyan.
“This shows no-one is limited,” said Kipchoge
Also, to put this in some kind of context, just in case running 26.2 miles in less than 2 hours is too much for you to get your head around, parkrun thoughtfully informed us of this:
Someone else posted somewhere else another parkrun fact, which also pleases me. Perhaps I am finally opening my heart and mind to my inner stats geek. I’ll be doing spreadsheets of my runs next!
Food for thought – there are currently 1704 parkruns in the world, and Eliud Kiphoge’s slowest 5km split this morning of 14:14 set whilst running his sub-2 marathon would have set a course record at 1693 of them.
Strava also helped with this infographic, which I include to further delight stats geeks out there:
and that’s all lovely and everything, and kudos to him, and the footage of him running made me cry – especially at the end, when he sprinted to the finish without throwing up or anything, and still waved at the crowds and crossed the line wreathed in smiles.
I LOVE this man. See him run!
What’s more, afterwards, as reported on the BBC news website, he said this:
“This shows the positivity of sport. I want to make it a clean and interesting sport. Together when we run, we can make it a beautiful world.
and this made me cry (in a good way) because I can relate to what he says, especially after the emotional awesomeness of last week at Bushy parkrun for the 15th Birthday Bash. I caught a bit of the coverage before heading off to Sheffield Hallam parkrun for my own parkrun fix, and just happened to hear the commentator saying ‘of course this isn’t a race as such, because it’s unofficial, it’s rather a challenge‘ or words to that effect. I’m paraphrasing, not for the first time. And that made me think again of how Eliud Kipchoge running his sub 2 hour marathon is basically identical to me (or anyone else) taking part in a parkrun, because that’s also a run not a race, and also all about personal challenge, and waving at supporters. He had crowds lining his 26.2 miles of running, but we parkrunners have on hand our hi-vis heroes to cheer us round, dishing out the waves and high fives, and even post run hugs as required. Bet you can’t tell from the photos below which is from a marathon and which is from parkrun. The enthusiasm is infectious at both. I rest my case.
See, it’s exactly the same. He even has porridge for breakfast the morning before a long run. Me Too! Me and Eliud, basically twins separated at birth. I know, who’d have thought it? Sub 2 hour marathon, going for that is basically exactly the same as being at parkrun. It’s about friends, fulfilling personal potential, team-work and seeing the best in the world. Running as therapy, yay! We can achieve more together than we can alone, and what seems impossible can be overcome. Sometimes. But that’s an important hope to hang on to in desperate times.
It’s really just what parkrun is at the end of the day.
There are great pictures of Eliud Kipchoge’s great challenge everywhere, and rightly so, I thought my allergies might settle after last week, but I’ve still got leaky eyes. Maybe there’s poor air quality in these parts. I need to up my antihistamines.
So that was him, marvelous.
Meanwhile, I was back at my home parkrun for the first time in weeks. I’ve been doing a fair bit of tourism, but fancied returning to base partly because I’ve knackered my back and so driving is probably a terrible idea, and partly because I’ve not seen my parkrun buddies in far too long. It was nice to see familiar people again, but I struggled even to walk parkrun. Time to book in to see a physio. Having said that, I think I got my last Running Challenges bingo number today. Always a bit hit and miss as there are inevitable discrepancies between watch time and parkrun time. However, and this is a bit sad, for some reason my number and /or new commemorative 15th birthday flat band failed to scan, so I’m currently unknown on the results. I’ve emailed all the info through, and I’m sure they’ll update it, well hope so anyway, but it does mean if I do get my last bingo it will be a bit anti-climactic because I’ll never know if that was in fact the ‘official’ parkrun time. Oh well. As long as they record my run I can live with that. And you know what, if I do get my BINGO as well, then my delight at having a new running challenges badge will outweigh any unease about whether it was truly bagged or not. I’m shallow like that…
So BINGO, fingers crossed…
STOP PRESS – did get a time added, but it didn’t match my watch time, so this is a challenge badge that still eludes me. Never mind. I still have my big brave pants to wear to keep me strong. …. More of those later.
Back hurt so much I cried though. I hate being me.
Fast forward to Sunday. On sunday, I joined a Runners Against Rubbish litter pick, organised in conjunction with Dark Peak Fell Runners. Long story short, Dark Peak Fell Runners are organising/ hosting the Fell Running British Fell Relay Championships for 2019. I don’t really understand what this is, but as it’s the dpfr it will be pretty hardcore. Runners Against Rubbish, is basically a group set up locally:
Runners against Rubbish is a small charity, committed to stopping the dropping of rubbish, particularly by runners. To join us please visit us as www.runnersagainstrubbish.org
They have stickers, and it’s only £2 a year to join. They organise group litter picks, as well as trying to instil an ethos of leaving our lovely countryside better than you found it by taking home a couple of bits of litter with you everytime you go out for a run. It’s depressingly easy to find it. Anyways, Runners Against Rubbish, was doing a litter pick in conjunction with Dark Peak Fell Runners, the idea being, to leave the national park a better place than found on the occasion of hosting this auspicious event.
We’re proud of our Peak District National Park home, and we know you’ll be impressed when you run over beautiful wilderness moors in the Relays. But sadly, parts of this cherished landscape are being blighted by the fly tipping, car-flung rubbish and general littering that are afflicting so much of the British countryside.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Runners Against Rubbish (RAR) to try to make sure that our hosting of the Relays leaves the national park a slightly cleaner place than before we turned up.
So who are Runners against Rubbish?
They’re a simple but dynamic charitable campaign group that was set up three years ago by Dark Peak Fell Runners club member Stuart Walker. The RAR motto is that ‘Binners are Winners’ and that we can all make a difference by picking up rubbish every time we come across it when we go running.
Hooray! I’m always up for a good community litter pick, weirdly, you get to see some awesome places. And whilst finding rubbish when on your own is soul-sapping and depressing, if you are out with a group doing something about it you can make an impact and that is conversely good for the soul, and surprisingly entertaining. Mind you, I am very easily entertained. Also, on this occasion picking litter is as close as I’m likely to come to actually participating in any running event as gruelling as the British Fell Relay Championships for 2019, so I’ll take glory by association, and consider that a grand morning’s work.
I say that, and then the morning dawned. Absolutely torrential rain. A post went up on the Runners Against Rubbish page weeks ago suggesting the meet, but hardly anyone responded. Now I was sat in the car parked up outside the Ladybower Inn with rain beating down on the car like it was the end of the world, I was a bit dubious as to whether this litter pick would be happening at all. Would anyone else turn up at all? Well dear reader, I should have had more faith. Runners in general and fell runners in particular are not to be deterred by inclement weather, the DPFR positively thrive on temperatures that plummet and stair-rod rain that plummets also. Where others see misery and hypothermia and misery they see personal challenge and adventure. Of course others came. Quite a few others. Whilst it is massively depressing that there is a need for litter picking initiatives, the more heartening aspect is that if someone takes the initiative and suggests a pick, others will rock up and help. Happened before at the half marathon litter pic, ended up plogging in the snow round Ringinglow, that was fun too as it happened. Strange but true!
Trail runners will turn out and turn up in all weathers it’s true, but they also seemed to operate on just in time principles, so it seemed like there was no-one else coming until about one minute to ten, and then loads of cars rolled up like we were going to have an impromptu road rally, aquaplaning our way along the bends of the A57. We didn’t though, we just parked up politely, and allocated grot patches.
My patch, along with some others, was down an embankment at the back of the car park for the Ringinglow Inn. It was quite a scramble down, I was a bit wary, didn’t want to end up stranded down there unable to get back up, adn having to forage from the discarded waste of others until either the water levels rose enough to wash me into the reservoir, or mountain rescue stumbled across me whilst doing a training exercise of some sort. In the event, a merry band of us went down, armed with litter pickers and bin bags, and once we’d got into position, it was surprisingly sheltered from the rain and therapeutic. Tasks like this would be overwhelming alone, but as a team, we made good headway, and enjoyed sharing our litter ‘treasures’. My fave find was a leather boot, so weathered and moss covered it was almost an art form. Lots of plastic, depressingly, it is even worse when it starts to break down, creating thousands of shards of plastic that can contaminate water systems even more powerfully than a bottle remaining whole. A helium balloon, they are depressing, I feel the tide will turn on those, and they will be as unacceptable as plastic straws one day. There is so much evidence that balloons blow the marine conservation society has a paper on this for starters. Perhaps the party is over (nearly) for helium balloon releases. Why would you want to celebrate anything or commemorate a loved one by littering our precious earth? Madness.
We made good progress, and although the wet weather meant some of the area we were hoping to clear was now underwater, and the litter perhaps already washed into the reservoir, we did make a difference in that small patch. We agreed we still were sufficiently motivated to carry on, so next stop, convoy of cars to a layby up the A57. For future reference this is the Cutthroat Bridge layby/ carpark/ illicit coupling area off the A57. It didn’t look too bad, but when you start digging around it’s amazing what you can find. We had a photographer on hand – two in fact, who were documenting the pick, so we took delight in the more extraordinary finds. This is why I was so delighted to find previously referenced moss-covered boxer shorts tossed into a tree. So bizarre. A slightly more tolerable variant to the tossed dog poo bag, pre-filled with excrement – what is that about! No wonder I was so delighted to be able to retrieve them. There was a surprising amount of clothing, what with discarded tops and socks to go with the shoes and pants. Not my size though, and also, I was already dressed, mercifully.
At some point two cars pulled up in the layby at alarming speed, like they were being pursued by gun wielding assassins or something, but it turned out they’d had to pull over in an emergency as one of the drivers had found she was sharing her vehicle with a spider. She burned her tyres pulling into the layby and jumped out of the vehicle as if it was on fire. Not sure how the spider was dealt with, but they drove off shortly afterwards, in calmer mood.
There were plenty of comedic camera moments, but unfortunately, the camera angle for one picture in particular created consternation amongst my Facebook community, with an alarming number of my so-called friends, thinking I was posing with a used condom in my teeth for suggesting there are no limits to what I will do to sate my hunger for personal fame. It also begs the question why the person who took the photo didn’t intervene if that’s what she thought I was doing. I thought there were risk assessments for this sort of thing, and I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be putting such things in your mouth, particularly when you have a very good idea of where it might have been. On the plus side, I learned a new word ‘gip’ as in ‘I know Lucy throws herself wholeheartedly into these things, so thought it was just another demonstration of her commitment to the cause. Did make me gip though!’ which means in Northern England informal – to vomit or feel like vomiting. Yet again, I discover every day to be a school day. Oh good.
Maybe not one for the album/ autobiography, but included here on comedic value criteria. You’re welcome. I might need to get an agent to vet my photos pre publication in future however. This image could be a problem if I ever achieve great things in my future life. Fortunately, that’s not massively likely so unlikely to be too much of an issue. Even so…
You do wonder how all this crappiness ended up in our lovely peak district, it is horrible obviously, and I sometimes despair at what is going through the heads of people who think it’s ok to dump stuff. Even so, pity the poor person who brought along a pot of dulux in error when he was actually responsible for the durex. As for the purpose of the hose and the nooky lube, doesn’t bear thinking about. No really, it doesn’t. Clear your head now.
As well as the more ‘novel’ items, there was a huge number of cans and bottles tossed a few feet away from the cars, it’s still littering people, it just makes it harder for us to retrieve. Full nappies and a cardboard box of human excrement. I’m going off people a lot you know, not runners in general and parkrunners in particular, but pooping people who leave a trail of their literal as well as figurative crap in their wake wherever they go. So many wet wipes. These made me gip (see what I’ve done there) judging from the discarded condoms and other aids I dread to think which body parts they’d been in contact with. So much crap!
There may have been some posing for photos. Juxtaposition of flowers and flotsam. I have no idea how these will come out. Might add them in later if they come my way.
Layby sorted, off down the Strines road. The views from there were quite amazing. It was more challenging picking here, as the verges were so overgrown, and you couldn’t really see that well. One to come and do again in winter when the undergrowth has died back. Still, we got what we could, and one of our number one the find of the day award for a solitary, vertiginous bright red high heeled shoe. Excellent work! Hidden delights eh?
By about 1.00 ish, we were flagging a bit, and one van and one car were squished to the brim with bags full of rubbish, so we called time. The weather amazingly had stayed clear, but now it was beginning to rain, so we could not have timed it better, which was extraordinary really. I gather that we got around 50 bags of rubbish which is impressive, though also depressing. Still, a lot of that rubbish was pretty old, and had been there for ages, so here’s hoping it will stay clearer for a bit longer at least.
A group of us drove up to the RAR HQ vehicle, which had thoughtfully left its windows downs and lights on so easy to spot and steal. I left my hi-vis on the passenger seat, and we left a couple of bags of rubbish with the red high heeled shoe on top in pride of place, and then headed back to the Ladybower in to collect remaining cars. I hope our leader isn’t still driving up and down the Strines road wondering where we all are? Oh well, he’ll work it out eventually.
Bye bye new litter-picking/ running/ plogging friends! Reet nice morning’s work.
A morning well spent. Though I did feel icky afterwards, and undressed in the hall so I could put my clothes from the day straight into the washing machine. Don’t worry, I had the front door shut. I’m not that much of an exhibitionist. Also, it was definitely a bit nippy by now.
Came back home to the news that Brigid Kosfgei had won the womens Chicago Marathon, and not just won it, but smashed the previous women’s marathon world record, previously held by Paula Radcliffe. She won the event by 6 minutes!! That’s insane! Sky sports reported the achievement thus:
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei has broken Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record as she defended her Chicago title.
The 25-year-old finished in a time of two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, beating Radcliffe’s mark of two hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds – set at the London Marathon in 2003.
Kosgei finished more than six minutes ahead of Ababel Yeshaneh, who ran two hours, 20 minutes and 51 seconds, and Gelete Burka who ran two hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds as Ethiopia finished second and third.
She was so far ahead, she must have felt a bit lonely out there, like she ran on her own, still sprinting to the finish though. Wowsers.
This is completely amazing, but disappointingly, if not altogether surprisingly, she hasn’t got anything like the coverage that was given to Eliud’s achievement. Still, as a consolation prize, 25 year old Brigid Kosgei earns $100,000 for the win and $75,000 for breaking the Chicago course record, which was 2:17:18, also held by Radcliffe. She’s probably feeling OK about things.
There is a cloud, and I don’t know enough about it to know if it arises from legitimate concern or disguised misogyny, but The Guardian no less added:
If there is one question mark over Kosgei’s thundering achievement it is that her agent, Federico Rosa, has had a high number of athletes who have been banned. They include Asbel Kiprop, the former world 1500m champion, Jemima Sumgong, the 2016 London marathon and Olympic champion, and Rita Jeptoo, who won this race in 2013. However there is no suggestion of wrongoing by Kosgei or Rosa.
Some will also point out that Kosgei was wearing the Nike Next% training shoes, which have been estimated to give between 60-90 seconds of performance benefit over other shoes. But on a stunning day in Chicago few appeared to care about that as she blasted into history.
Hmm. I don’t believe shoes are that much of an advantage, I mean in principle anyone can access those, it’s not like she rode an e-bike on the tour de yorkshire or something. Or that the shoes have springs in them or anything like that! Oh wait, they do pretty much have springs in them? Her’s and Eliud’s too. Hmm, bit like the shark skin mimicking swimming suits that got banned from competitions for conferring an unfair advantage? I honestly have no idea now. Still think they can run very fast, and I still think they are faster than Zebedee would be, though I concede marketing the shoes as the 4% ones is a bit of a clue that they may also be advantageous to the wearer. Oh dear.
As for her coach. Tricky, but I think if Mo Farah has ridden that wave, than why not she? I hope the sport is clean, I honestly think it would be pointless otherwise. It’s a shame she had to respond to questions about that on what should have been an untarnished day.
On the subject of clean, back to litter picking. What larks eh?
So like I said, one way or another, quite a memorable and stand out running weekend. Also potentially for me BINGO! Albeit a bit anti-climactically, and as it happens, not at all! Oh well, at least when it happens eventually it will be the real thing.
It’ll happen one day. Eliud waited a long time to get his sub 2 hour marathon, he didn’t lose faith, his belief didn’t waiver. I’ll get my last outstanding bingo time one day, and then I can enjoy the moment all the more for appreciating it appropriately when the time comes – literally, as well as figuratively. Don’t worry, you’ll get to hear about it.
Also, remember now:
Well, some of us might be a bit to be fair, but maybe the limits can sometimes be simply those of our imagination. Simply believe. Not the one about flying though, that’s not going to happen. You’ve seen the ads right? He was not able to fly. I will concede though, we can do more that we often realise, and you have to move out of your comfort zone sometimes to find what your limits are. It’s always worth just testing the boundaries a bit. After all, what’s the worst…
Make today the day you just feel the fear and do it anyway – just plunge right in, it might be awesome, it might be wet, but it will be an adventure, and adventures are fab, even when they are type two fun, so much better than a life half lived, which is what a life lived in fear all too often becomes. So the saying goes.
Enjoy being human, there are no limits. Also, drink tea, that’s one of the great boons to being human. Yorkshire tea for preference. And have a nice day.
You can find out more about the British Fell Relay Championships 2019 here
And this Runners Against Rubbish litter pick here.
But really, don’t waste time reading about litter picking, far better to just get out there and do it. No regrets, no limits remember!