MK5000 PB Special + 100 miles

Road to Berlin Blog 6 - Week starting 6 August 2018 (6 weeks to go)

Over the next few weeks I'll be explaining how a normal guy with two daughters, a wife and a full time job can try and realise his dream of running a sub 2.30 marathon in Berlin on September 16.  

This week was a huge week for me.  Not only was it planned to be my first 100 mile week it was also the week I’d been working towards for a long time; the inaugural MK5000 PB Special.  After travelling around the country to races in search of PBs over the past couple of years I was inspired to put on a quality race or set of races in Milton Keynes.  There are some superb races out there put on by volunteers with profits going back into their clubs and the events themselves to keep evolving.  The obvious one is the ‘Night of the 10,000m PBs’ put on by Ben Pochee & Highgate Harriers; it has quite simply been a game changer. I’ve also loved racing at the Armagh 5k and the Hercules Wimbledon 5000m Festival Night as well as following events like the Bristol 5000 and Orion Harriers’ Fast Friday.  None of these events take place near Milton Keynes and I was sure we could make an event work. 


My initial plan was to try and organise a 5k road race doing laps of the MK National Bowl (used frequently for cycle races), but with so many unknowns I put the idea of a track meeting to a few mates and was delighted when a few said they would be up for helping to organise it; we pitched the idea to Mick Bromilow (chairman of MMKAC) who was also very keen as long as it was a team effort.  


As much as I would have loved to have led the project with my family life already stretched I had to say from the outset that my role before the day would be mainly focused on marketing, social media and handling entries.  Fortunately, my good friends Paul, Lilli and JP were fine attending meetings and letting me feed in thoughts via Whatsapp/email!  Straight away we decided it was a good idea to try and get the BMC involved to try and encourage a high quality field and they were keen to support the event; with the A races to be ‘Gold Standard’. 


To cut a long story short between us we managed to organise the whole thing from scratch and the event was a huge success.  We had 11 paced races with athletes running from 22 mins all the way down to the winning time of 14.07!  Of the 167 finishers I’m delighted to say 60% had personal bests including athletes who had traveled a long way to be there and others who had only come from round the corner.  We had street food and drink (around 250 pints sold!), supporters in lane 4, DJ, commentator and some star names of amateur athletics.  Jess Judd won the women’s A race in a season’s best of 15.37 and Jack Crabtree won the men’s A race in a debut 14.07.  The weather was ideal until around 7pm, when it got worse and worse.  By the time the A races were on it was pouring!  We will definitely be back in 2019, hopefully the weather will be kinder!  Full results are available on Power of 10 and MKAC (with lap splits) and reports from Fast Running and Athletics Weekly


There were so many highlights.  Some of my personal favourites included:

  • Loads of family members coming out to support me; it was brilliant having them there!  

  • The women’s u20 national rankings top 5 now includes 3 from MK5000 PB Special.  Huge congratulations to Niamh Brown (17.40), Laura Wilkinson (17.35) and Charlotte Dannatt (16.46) for 3 superb PBs! 

  • One of my best mates (and fellow organiser) Paul Mizon running a new (9 second) PB of 15.32 after a summer where races haven’t gone his way.

  • Andrew Leach of North Herts running 15.59 for a PB and to go 3rd in the 2018 V50 national rankings.

  • The D race where the top 8 all ran PBs!

  • Seeing Jess Judd absolutely bury herself in the pain cave through driving rain to get so so close to a PB.  She sat behind the pacer (Charlene Thomas) until just after 2000m then went for it.  She had quality competition from Emily Hosker Thornhill (PB 15.57) and Emelia Gorecka (PB 15.07), but she finished 21 seconds clear in 15.37 just 3 seconds off her PB. 

  • The Men’s A race last lap burn up.  Jack Crabtree, Oliver Fox, Graham Rush, Mohamed Mohamed and Roger Poolman were all within touching distance at the bell, but it was Jack Crabtree who ran a 60 second last lap to take the win on debut in 14.07.  I’d have loved to have a few men under 14 minutes, but the conditions really were terrible!


Training for me focussed around the usual commute and nursery drop off/pick ups with a few treadmill runs very early in the morning.  I did my main long session on Tuesday morning as usual (24 mins, 18, 12, 6, 3 (all with 3 mins recovery until last one which I did 2).   The aim is to start around marathon pace and get quicker; although it took me a while to get going (is anything easy at 6am?) the session went very well.  I averaged 5.49, 37, 36, 26, 23 per mile for each of the reps; very satisfying. 


I started to feel a bit of discomfort on the outside of my right calf, obviously I ignored it and hoped it would go away. 


On Friday I planned to do a very similar long run/route to last week, but just add another 2 miles onto the effort section.  As I set off I could feel my niggle, but put it to the back of my mind.  We had no grandparent support so I had to set the alarm for 4.30am and after forcing down a banana, a bit of dry bread and some water I left at 4.55.  The run actually went really well and I was able to get down to a decent pace after 4 miles (although it is downhill) and then ran really consistently for the next 90 minutes.  Joanne from Momentum Hire came down to Willen again (yes really at 5.45am!) to take some photos and bring some water.  I couldn’t be more grateful!  I had to be home by 7.30 for when Lexi wakes up so I really wanted to make the most of it.  I managed 25 miles / 40km in 2 hours 36 mins; I was delighted. 


By Sunday I was absolutely exhausted; the thought of trying to fit in 13 miles to complete the week was horrible. No matter which way I looked at it I didn't fancy it; I could hardly get out of bed.  Eventually I thought 'I'll take Lexi out in the buggy and just do a few miles, it might get easier'.  I went out at 10am; it didn't get easier, but as I was out I dug in and got it all done, it rained too to add to the fun.  

Week Summary

Mon AM 8 miles (inc 4 TM) PM 4

Tues AM 15 (inc 24 mins,18,12,6,3) 

Weds AM 4 (inc 2 TM) PM 7 

Thurs AM 7 (inc 3 TM) PM 5

Fri AM 25 (6.14 avg)

Sat AM 4  PM 3 pacing Lilli to PB @ MK5000 PB Special 

Sat AM 14

Total: 100