Farewell to a 2022 season of (mostly) road running….Part Two…

Recap from part one…

In my last post here, I told you how 2021 had gone and of my fitness levels entering the new year. I had a few major mazza’s lined up, some time-related targets, I’d joined a running club (Blackburn Road Runners) – most of all I wanted to get more miles in whilst retaining my love for running! 

Dan Dan the Run by Feel Man

Some times being a ‘run by feel’ (Effort over Pace) runner can work against me if I have a specific time target in mind – as I either start looking at my watch loads (don’t enjoy the run as much and get bored) or I simply don’t hit my target as I’m not 100% on the required pace. I tend to ‘f*ck about’ – chatting to others, giving high fives, looking about and smiling lots. Often supporters/marshals will comment ‘HE’S SMILING!!!’ – My response is typically ‘ALWAYS’.

After all, I’m not an elite runner and never will be. I don’t take running too seriously and don’t spend lots on kit/shoes/nutrition/devices (my Garmin watch was given to me by a pal in exchange for a box of Brewdog beer, cheers Robert).

For me, running by feel makes it a more enjoyable and stress free experience, no constant bleeps or buzzes from my watch and if I feel strong then a good time is inevitable. It’s also great when ending a run – the anticipation and surprise – the cherry on top that is time. How did I do?! Finding out my time when I see the clock near a finish line or look at my watch (if a training run) is ace. If my time is cack, then I’ve enjoyed the run anyway.

Give it a try! 

First half (ish) of 2022 races (Jan to May)

See the table below. As you can see I mixed up the distances and terrains with a few cheeky trail races thrown into the first half of 2022. The Merthyr parkrun sticks out a bit, was done during a long training weekend in the Brecon Beacons! That training weekend in May was brutal, stunning and helped me heaps with the EMF just two weeks later and another THIRTY SIX (if you include parkruns) races planned from June-December!!!

Date Event Distance (Miles) Time
02 January 2022 Central Lancs HM 13.1 01:33:01
19 February 2022 Witton Parkrun 3.1 00:21:31
05 March 2022 Lytham Hall Parkrun 3.1 00:21:29
13 March 2022 Trimpell 20 20 02:27:22
20 March 2022 Wigan Half Marathon 13.1 01:31:39
26 March 2022 Coniston 14 14 01:41:46
03 April 2022 Manchester Mazza 26.2 03:25:36
18 April 2022 Boston Mazza 26.2 03:15:44
30 April 2022 Preston Parkrun 3.1 00:19:56
02 May 2022 Avenham Park 5km 3.1 00:19:19
04 May 2022 Astley Park Trail Series – Part 1/3 3.6 00:23:45
07 May 2022 Hierro New Balance Trail Run 4.7 00:30:04
14 May 2022 Merthyr Parkrun 3.1 00:20:28
21 May 2022 Ormskirk Parkrun 3.1 00:19:10
25 May 2022 Wesham 10km 6.2 00:37:51
28 May 2022 EMF 5km 3.1 00:19:29
28 May 2022 EMF 10km 6.2 00:38:58
29 May 2022 EMF Marathon 26.2 03:23:39

 A summary of each race, in case you ever fancy doing any of them – most are ace!

  • Central Lancs HM: A mostly flat (243 ft gain) loop on country lanes in between Preston and Kirkham. Chip timed. Typically a bit wet. Unsurprisingly not a great deal to see or support, a good wee test to start the year.
  • Witton & Lytham Parkruns: Witton (outskirts of Blackburn) is my ‘home’ parkrun and a belter on mostly trails – up and down. Great fun and typically under 100 runners, feels like a parkrun should – mega friendly. Lytham is also mostly on trails, but flat with twists and turns – still one for a quick time.
  • Trimpell 20: On cycle paths alongside the River Lune around Lancaster. Is very flat and typically ran by folk doing a spring mazza. It’s actually quite a nice route, but I’ve done it so many times now I notice even a twig being out of its previous place. Gun timed.
  • Wigan HM: I booked on to this last minute and rocked up late expecting a small race, I was mistaken! It’s part of a running festival, chip timed and had several hundred runners! The second half is a great wee challenge, going up and through Haigh Woodland. 728 ft of gain, most in the last 11km.
  • Coniston 14: Was even later for this one – starting 2.5 mins after everyone else! Thankfully it’s chip timed. A stunning loop around Lake Coniston, a sunny and cool day too (perfect) – 735 ft of gain, actually less hilly than Wigan HM! A beautiful run, you have to do it at least once.

  • Manchester Mazza: I DNF’ed in 2021 with badly blistered feet at 18 miles (had done a mazza the week before) so needed to come back and finish it. Ran it as a training run, it’s a flat course that many folk do for a quick time. The support is great during the first 10km, in Altrincham at miles 16-18 and the last 5km into the finish – other than that it’s quiet and along dual carriageways. It’s longer and less supported version of GNR.
  • Boston Mazza: Manchester mazza had served as a good last long training run 3 weeks prior, being a Boston Qualifier was a huge achievement for me – but the run itself…..well see my previous blog. It’s quite literally on a different level to any other race or marathon. I’ll be back….
  • Avenham Park 5km: A great slightly undulating loop starting/finishing in Avenham Park, Preston. Is a totally different route to the parkrun. Chip timed.
  • Astley Park Trail Series: You’ve got to do this! A three part series organised by Chorley Running Club, it’s not mega hilly but really tests you! 3.7 miles and 200 ft gain, gun timed. Great interclub fun. Kids races on beforehand too and a very cheap series entry fee.
  • Hierro New Balance Trail Run: A free race! Sponsored by sportsshoes.com – 4.7 miles and 500+ elevation gain and mud! Great fun on trails at Stonyhurst near Hurst Green (in between Longridge and Clitheroe).
  • Brecon Beacons and Merthyr Parkrun: Long weekend in the hills with a pal (a heavy weekend…). We summitted the main Brecon peaks and some of the Black mountain range also. Thu = 12 miles, 2.8k gain. Fri = 19.5 miles, 3.5k gain. Sat = Merthyr Parkrun (which hurt….) and then 7.7 miles, 991 ft gain. Finishing on Sunday with a hungover 5km in Dinepr Forest (just 200ft gain), before a drive home. Epic training weekend.

Brecons (going up Cribyn I think):

  • Ormskirk Parkrun: Is two loops of the modern and impressive Edge Hill university campus on part trails. Very flat and a quick course.
  • Wesham 10k: Some of the same country lanes as the Central Lancs HM on the outskirts of Preston – Start/finish in Lea. Chip timed single loop through the villages of Salwick and Clifton, not sure you go through any of Wesham? Anyway flat, 85ft gain, I ran by feel and PB’ed!
  • EMF: Again see my previous post, I love the Edinburgh Marathon Festival and considering I’d done a 10km PB just a few days before. The sub 20-min 5k (289 ft gain, all in first 2.5km) and sub 39-min 10k (440 ft gain) within two hours of each other (1st M40 and 3rd M40 in a big field) and then a 3.23 marathon the next morning (which now takes in more of the centre and goes down the royal mile!) are perhaps my greatest performances to date. The 5km and 10km course are great challenges, nice and undulating. The mazza is downhill for 5 miles and then flat (total of 256 ft gain), a fast one. I had Mrs P and Reuben at the finish and as we walked away I looked back to the finish and wept a wee bit, I’d fucking nailed that weekend.
  • EMF TIP: We stayed in Livingston at a great Marstons family inn called Chainrunner – highly recommended. Is dead easy getting a train into Edinburgh for the start. Mrs P drove to a Park N Ride near the finish at Musselburgh, avoiding going back into the crazy busy city centre. Was perfect. Left more time for beer. They’re fully booked for EMF 2023….we’re staying at a Haven camp in Port Seton (is on the mazza route).

Oh…and I set a new running sunburn PB at the EMF too…sexy….

Part three, coming soon….