Saturday, 17 January 2009

I can jump poodles

Posted by speedygeoff on Saturday, January 17, 2009 with 1 comment
While we wait for the last Thursday's track results to appear on the AACT and/or the ACTMA websites, and this month's Jogalong results to appear on the ACTCCC website, here is the latest ACTCCC news: "After positive feedback from the Spring Series trial, the club has decided to continue the 6:15pm start time for the ACTCCC Summer Series. First event is at the Stromlo Forest Park, on Tuesday February 3. There will be a 2km race and a 5km race, both starting at approximately 6:15pm."

Bare feet
Fifteen minutes of running in bare feet on the Stromlo grass was the highlight of my training this morning. That's the first time since school days! I feel like the boy on crutches who is elated when he first jumps puddles! I can run again!

My best run
There have been three memorable races of the thousands I have run. The combined schools mile win in 1965, the marathon win and ACT open record in 1978, and the 3000m in 1984 which was and still is the M35 Australian record.

The first of these was probably my best run. I started running in 1962, mainly sprints and 400s, then from 1964 until 1972 I specialised in the 880 yards (800m), except for a three month period at the beginning of 1965, when I trained specifically for the 1500m/mile.

Just before my 17th birthday, I represented my school (ABHS - Adelaide Boys High School) as its runner in the "open mile". This sports day had everyone from eight schools at Adelaide oval cheering, and one and only one representative from each school in each race. (In fact, there were seven colleges and one school, us). And there were separate races for under 14, under 15, under 16, and open. The head-to-head nature of each race added to the excitement.

My big rival was a St Peters boy who had pipped me in the under 16 800m the previous year. And at interclub that summer he had consistently beaten me in the 1500m, often by as much as 100m. But this was the big race!

So in bare feet (which drew comment from the rich college kids), black borrowed ABHS T-shirt, black shorts, I lined up against these confident opponents, the mile champions from each of the colleges. My plan was to sit for two laps and kick down hard in the third lap, knowing that David Looker of St Peters had a devastating kick. (but I had been working on that!)

First hundred metres I dropped into last place while pushing and shoving happened well in front of me. Then down the back straight, once they had settled down, I eased past the others bar one - David Looker, who was leading - and trailed him through. On the second lap I decided he was slowing too much, so at about 550m I took the lead and started my push to drop him. At 1200m, one lap to go, I was getting clear, and I sprinted. At 1500m, 100m to go, he had pegged me back and was on my shoulder, ready to kick home. But I found another gear and we roared down the final straight together, me staying ahead and winning, 4:32.2 to 4:32.4.

Now what are interesting about that race are the 440 yard lap splits: 68, 73, 70, 61. That's something I never achieved again! A last lap of 61 seconds for a mile/1500.

Also interesting was how happy my Sports Master was. Apparently he had made a little side bet on the result, with the St Peters Sports Master.

Reality rears its ugly head.
Wonderful achievements are often possible, particularly on the big occasion. But here’s a touch of reality. On paper I wouldn’t even make the top twenty 60 year olds, in Australia, were they all to run in the races I have planned this year. Even here in Canberra there are two much faster M60s who run regularly, and two others I can think of who if they turned up now, would also be invariably faster than me. I can list three from NSW who are consistently faster than me, and that may be the tip of an iceberg. Two from SA, Two from WA I know of. And in Victoria where the Masters Games is being held, distance running is far more popular than any other state, the odds are there are many lurking in the wings planning a come-back for these games. So am I delusional thinking I might win a race at this level? NO! Because the times M60 5000m races are won in at the national level, are times I am capable of, all stops out. But I also know there are many better performed M60s, and I also know I misfire in races as often as fire. But I will venture and see what I can gain.

I would put odds on me finishing 5th or 6th in these races, were I a betting man. I will do the best I can. I cannot control what others do, so I will tell you how I went in terms of my effort, not their's. But a rare win would be nice. My training is going well; everything is well under hand.

1 comment:

  1. Great story and race Geoff. 61!

    Centrebet has you at $9.00 for a gold medal - I'll follow the lead of your Sports Master and put on a lazy $50.

    Keep jumping puddles!