Running for #TeamAccelerate, as well as Sheffield’s Steel City Striders & her local ladies club ‘Smiley Paces’ – she competes within the V60 category (outdoing many in the V50 & V40) and runs like she means it.
2018 – A mix of trail, fell, road and cross country running.
When planning the year ahead the key aspiration was to finish the year injury free and running stronger and faster than twelve months ago.
It’s now two years since surgery on torn meniscus reduced my training to little more than a regular walk. I did wonder if it was time to choose a new pursuit since running was proving painful and slow. With that in mind I determined to build on my strength and form and try to recover enough to achieve my goals for 2018.
Starting the year with a scenic half marathon in Grizedale Forest was the tonic I needed to raise my spirits and motivate me to improve. First V60 in 2:07 was an encouraging sign that my legs were recovering at last.
I focussed very much on trail and fell races during the first half of the year, generally having a good run and enjoying the challenge. Hawkshead Trail race in April with it’s infamous ‘Coffin Trail’, a long hard climb taking us to 1600’ elevation was particularly tough so first in age with 1:41 for 10.3 miles showed I was increasing strength and speed in line with my goals for the year.
A shift of focus in early August took me to the British Masters 10K road Championships at Trentham, Stoke. The temperatures, close to 31C and elevation of 568’ made it a particularly difficult race. However the preparation in fell races through the first part of the year paid off well giving me first V65 and gold in 49:30 mins.
That set me up nicely for an unexpected opportunity just a week later.
A chance meeting with friends in July led me to taking up the place of an injured friend on the Sierre Zinal Mountain race in Switzerland in early August. I hadn’t trained for it so the idea was to treat it as a bonus event and enjoy the scenery. At 30K and 2500m of ascent it would be my toughest challenge since the Snowdon Half Marathon in 2015. It took 5hours and 3 minutes to complete and turned out to be the most thrilling mix of walking, climbing and running, all the while marvelling at the wonderful backdrop stretching away to the snow capped Matterhorn in the distance. Although there was no age category women above 50 I note from the results that I was 15th V50 and 2ndV60.
With success in road running I decided to try a couple of Northern Masters events in September, winning gold in both the 10K at Spen, Cleckheaton in 46.17 and the 5K at Leeds in 22.46. These results gave me the qualifying times needed to apply to England Athletics for a place in the annual British and Irish Masters International Cross Country Championship in Swansea in November. To my astonishment I was selected and despite a dreadful cold, ran the 3.7 mile course with the England F65 team of Yuko Gordon, Penny Forse and Ros Tabor to win bronze in the individual race and a team gold medal. Gold medals in the South Yorkshire Cross Country leagues and Championship followed.
The year ended with two hard fought events. I had had to sit out the 2016 Percy Pud 10K, injured, so came back for an attempt at the title in 2018. An unusually warm and still December day gave me the conditions I needed to run a winning time of 45.51 with a 92.26% age grading. My last run of the year was at Bakewell Parkrun. Another mild and still day made the conditions perfect. I pushed myself to a 7.06 average pace to complete in 22.04, 94.71% age grading and category winner.
I started the year aiming for an improvement in strength, pace and position in the UK rankings and with lots of support from friends and family achieved more than I’d believed possible. I currently stand at 7th in age and sex in the national ladder positions.
run: 1199 miles
time: 227.5 hours
Number of runs: 253
Average weekly distance: 19m
Elevation gain: 126.112’.
Average runs per week: 4.
Accelerate Sheffield, particularly Stuart Hale; Steel City Striders including Mick Wall and Richard Pegg for coaching and support.
Smiley Paces Running Club, for coffee cake, the odd run and much laughter.
England Athletics Masters Association EAMA for selecting me for Cross Country debut.
Parkrun UK for giving all the stats I need to stay focussed.
Dot Kesterton, FV65.