Getting Back To ‘Normal’

Hello folks, it’s been a while! How are we all doing? I feel like we’ve all been in running limbo for the past few months. In my last blog post, at the end of April, I wondered if things would be back to some kind of normality by the summer, but as it turned out that was a tad optimistic! So many events have been cancelled or postponed until next year that my 2021 schedule is already looking pretty busy.

When we were all in lockdown I kept my runs local, but as things eased slightly I ventured a bit further afield to parts of the Cleveland Way, Dalby Forest and the Wolds Way – always on my own to remain socially distanced. Although there have been no races over the summer I’ve been trying my best to keep fit.

I do like to have a goal to keep me motivated though, so entered the Boston (UK) Marathon. I don’t really do road marathons these days, but it seemed to be the only thing that was actually happening. I did more interval and threshold training than usual to prepare for this, and began to feel the benefits. The Boston organisers put all the appropriate Covid safety processes in place, obtained approval and were convinced it would go ahead… but then with less than three weeks to go it was cancelled. I was disppointed, but not totally surprised. At least I had a good block of training under my belt, and I do feel fitter for it.

The following week I took part in my first post-Covid trail race, the Temple Newsam Dash, organised by It’s Grim Up North Running. I’d entered the half marathon version of this as part of my Boston taper, and it was an interesting experience. Registration was oudoors and contactless, with staggered start times in socially distanced groups of six. I thought it worked pretty well, as no big groups developed and the course had plenty of space. The only refreshments were bottles of water, but I’d taken my own Camelbak so I didn’t have to touch anything. I must say, staggered starts make for much shorter toilet queues! It felt really good to be back out running with people and see a few familiar faces.

After that my thoughts turned to the Hardmoors 55 in October, which had been postponed from April. I’m fairly confident this will happen (barring a local lockdown) as a couple of other Hardmoors events have already happened (socially distanced, obviously) and seem to have gone OK. So I’ve moved from my road marathon training plan onto my ultra plan! This has seen me doing back-to-back runs of 10-12 miles over the last couple of weekends, with some bigger runs coming up over the next few weeks. First there’s Punk Panther events Reservoir Dogs in late September. I’ve been meaning to try one of their events for a while but the timing has never been right. This will be a 28 mile hilly run starting and finishing in Otley and apparently taking in seven reservoirs! Then at the beginning of October there’s the Endurancelife Northumberland marathon at Ravenscar. I’ve done this event once before and it’s really lovely. Ravenscar is one of my favourite places and I haven’t been there since the Hardmoors 60 a year ago, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Next week I’m going for a break in Scotland, and am looking forward to exploring some trails while I’m up there. I was supposed to be running the Highland Fling in April, but obviously that’s now happening next year. Looking further into autumn, I have the Hardmoors Goathland marathon and the Tadcaster 10 (miles) in November, then the Helmsley 10K (postponed from Easter) and the Hardmoors Roseberry Topping half marathon in December. Fingers crossed that these events will be able to go ahead. The future still isn’t totally clear at the moment, but hopefully 2021 will be slightly more normal than 2020 has been.

Keep on running!