Tuesday, 13 March 2012

fifty years running

Posted by speedygeoff on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 with 2 comments
Today marks 50 years of running.

I started a diary in January 1961, the year I started High School. The entry for 13 March 1962 reads: “Today I threw away my tennis racket and took up running.” Fifty years later, 13 March 2012, I am still running. I don’t suppose there are many athletes who can boast membership of an athletic club for fifty years in a row; and having run all that time, nearly, without a break.

A few years ago I wrote three tongue in cheek Vetrunner articles entitled “my lesser known career highlights.” Now might be the opportunity to mention some better known highlights!
• May 1965 – winner SA Schools one mile track championships, 4:32.2, just before my 17th birthday.
• July 1978 – seventh in the National Marathon in 2:30.05 in “steam-bath” conditions, Caboolture, Queensland.
• November 1978 – winner Canberra Marathon, 2:26.58, a new ACT open record at the time.
• 1979 – ACT Distance Runner of the year.
• January 1984 – 3000m in 8:47.3, still the AMA M35 Australian record to this day.

In all this time, what have I learnt? Let’s just sum this up in a few short sentences.
The three C's of running.
• Commitment. When you decide you should run regularly, do you really commit to it? Or do you drift off to something else after a few days?
• Consistency. Far more important than speed, or effort, or what training group you join, is consistency. Have you established a routine where you frequently and regularly do the exercise you know you should do?
• Common Sense. Yes you can miss the occasional day. When circumstances warrant it, have that day off.
 Three C's to avoid
• Cockatoos. A good night's sleep is vital for any runner. If you are tired and cranky, you don't necessarily need to cut back your exercising. Sleep in instead, if the cockies let you!
• Cars. Canberra drivers are feral. You don't want to become a statistic. Stay off the roads. There are plenty of places to run where it is quiet, shady, and away from it all.
• Coffee. I have given up coffee so many times I am an expert. Coffee gives you a boost in the short term but destroys you, one way or another, in the long term, and it is addictive. I am running a lot better without coffee.

I still set annual goals. Which shows I still like to achieve things and I am still not satisfied with the way things are! These were my personal goals for 2012:
• Run 4k or more every day - so far, done! This is day 74 of a streak.
• Run many 100k weeks - so far, 7 of the first 10 weeks have been 100k or more.
• Do at least 4200k for the year - well on track.
• Break 20:12 for a 5k race - done, on 6 March.
• Break 90:18 for a Half Marathon - yet to attempt, this Sunday is the first go. Though I don't expect to get close on this course. Later in the year is more likely.
• Complete a 50k ultra-marathon - will do soon 15 April, have plans to retry later in the year if  I fail to complete this one.
• Two gym sessions per week - I have done 15 one hour sessions so far this year.
• Two exercise circuits per week - no, have only done a few of these, will pick up on these I hope.
• Ten reverse chin-ups; ten normal chin-ups. - so far, managed six reverse but my shoulders haven't allowed the normal kind yet.
• Flexible enough to wrap fingers around toes without bending knees of course. - getting there!
• Three minute plank - haven't started on this specifically yet.
• Stay coffee free - so far, no coffee at all this year!
• Weight in the low 60’s - getting there, down to 64 from 67.
• Don’t get injured - so far no injuries this year despite all the running.
• Watch every Coen Brothers movie - so far two down, thirteen to go.
• Turn 64 - bound to happen in May!

So I say from fifty years worth of experience: keep challenging yourself. Have the attitude that there is no finish line. You’ll do OK.

Ewen the bearded one's streak of 100 days was celebrated on Sunday 11 March. I plan to get there on Sunday 8 April. Coincidentally the same day my wife turns 64. So much to celebrate!


  1. Congratulations on 50 years of running. Great blog and good luck in the 50 km ultra.

  2. I'll excuse you if you have the 8th off running for your wife's birthday - you know, get her breakfast in bed and spend the entire day with her...

    50 years! Strikes me you must be close to qualifying for the 100k club.