Cycling - good for keeping fit and stretching the PF.
Put a plastic botte of water, with the top off, in the freezer. The bottle of ice is then great to roll back and forth on your heel.
Ultrasound - I was referred by my GP to a good-old NHS physio who blasted the heel with U/S. It was a pleasant warm sensation. Then it felt a bit worse before feeling better. I had about 6 treatments.
There is a lot of hocus pocus about PF. So, I'm sceptical about your physio's claims. Generally, it is a degenerative disorder rather than an inflamitory one so that non-steroid anti-inflamatories are good for relieving the paid but don't get to the heart of the problem.
This is a race that deserves to grow and one day reach its ambitious upper limit of 300 runners. Sadly, this day, only 49 finished, which must have been disappointing for the organisers and their chosen charity, Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue.
The organisers went out of their way to ensure a safe and well marshalled event. St. John’s Ambulance were out in force. The course was well chosen and, except for trek to the start and the last mile, the course was well marked, scenic and a pleasure to run.
The race HQ was at a nice campsite, which included free, hot showers and a tea room. However, the runners email stated ’please allow 18 mins to get to the start.’ That turned out to be a wee bit optimistic. True, a fit runner could do that but if any supporters wanted to come and see you off, it would have been better to allow 30 mins, given that it was up a steep hill. Still, given the small field, they waited for the stragglers. The alternative was to have an uphill start. What’s wrong with that?
It would be better to think of this as a 13.1 mile fell race anyway. The website’s statement that; ‘the only significant climbs being along the wall itself’ was the sort of thing a dyed-in-the-wool fell-runner would say. I really want to do this race again. It is very enjoyable but, next year, I’m going to take the sort of kit that I would always have on a long fell run: full body cover (carried if not worn), whistle, energy drink, phone and possibly a button compass. Even in June, the rain, visibility and temperature can’t be guaranteed.
The only other fly in the ointment is that quite a few people ended up getting lost in the last mile, as well marked trails gave way to open moor marked with bits of white tape attached to stakes. I wasn’t alone in wondering whether I’d followed the official course at the end or got mixed up with the course markers from the start. Up to mile 12, I was pretty sure I’d finish in under two hours. I ended up coming in after 2 hours, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I’ll wear the Garmin next year.
The men’s race was won by Les Smith in 1:34:14. The ladies race was won by Laura Davies in 1:54:41.
The name is a bit of a give away. This 5m race is around parkland and bits of dual carriageway, in Gateshead, a stones throw from the Angel of the North and the Angel View Hotel, the race HQ.
Nice race, shame about the hotel. I’ve seldom met surlier, rude bar staff as in the Angel View. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, if you will, but “will it be something quick, ‘cos I’m very busy” isn’t the kind of opening gambit I would use to a customer looking to buy a drink for himself and his partner. Given the unwanted attention she got from other patrons while I was running, I was left wondering whether the Angel View Hotel is more used to parties of swingers than runners and their families.
Anyway, back to the race. Generally, it’s lovely, scenic (apart from the bit of road) and challenging. There are no namby-pamby frills like mile markers, t-shirts or other mementos (except on the junior race preceding it, where they get a medal). It’s well marshalled and way marked. The only confusion came when, running back to the start from the second loop, I thought I was about to finish when I was told there was another loop up the hill to do. So, the course is more of a clover leaf than a figure-of-eight.
I’ll happily do this next year, so long as I don’t have to set foot in the Angel View Hotel.
As I didn’t get into London, I chose Belfast as an alternative, partly because I used to live there, but also because when I last did this race, ten years ago, I liked it a lot. But let’s consider this race on its own merits.
Belfast is a great city. True, it doesn’t have the elegance of Dublin or the endless variety of London but it is intriguing and has a beauty of its own, born of its industrial past. It’s small but still feels like a proper city and the same is true of the marathon.
Only about 3,500 people do the full marathon but about 20,000 enter the 5-leg team relay, so you always feel part of a big city event. The race starts at 9am, outside the magnificent City Hall, built in 1906 as a confident expression of wealth, industrial power and, it has to be said, Imperial Britishness. It then heads out of the city towards Holywood Road and returning via Sydenham, with its loyalist murals and views of the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard, birthplace of the Titanic. It returns to the city, West Belfast and republican murals. As it progresses to the Shankhill the murals may change but the warmth of the reception never does. The people of Belfast seem to regard the marathon as an expression of civic pride which gives the whole day a festive feel.
After a steady climb up the Antrim Road you reach the highest point at about the half way mark. Then you turn a corner to stunning views of Belfast Lough and a nice downhill run. Belfast is not a p.b. course. But do you always want a marathon to be dead flat? As I ran down towards Gideons Green I may not have been particularly fast but I felt as if I was flying, exhilarated in the warm sunshine and carried along by the support. The long flat run along the cycle path by the Lough’s edge is the beginning of quiet miles where few people live. Belfast always had this. Stretches of its industrial and commercial heart which make for a flat course but, by mile 20, you are longing for a bit of support. But after that it comes in by the lorry load as you approach the last relay changeover.
The finish is in the lovely Ormeau Park and our walk back to the hotel took us past a nice Victorian pub, the Hatfield, with ice cold Magners cider demanding my attention. The Hatfield sits on the Lower Ormeau Road, at one time a very republican area. And here is the point. Peace is here to stay. The welcome and friendliness is fantastic, whatever the colour of the flags or kerbstones.
My only criticisms are that there are not enough loos at the start, so a city centre hotel is very useful. Mercifully, there are many to choose from to suit all budgets. Also, the drinks stations serve up water and Poweraid in wee paper cups and, at times, the fantastic volunteers struggled to keep up with demand, on what must have been one of the warmest days of the year.
The men’s race was won, with a new course record, by Jacob Kipkorir of Kenya in 2:14:56. The Ukraine’s Vera Ovcharuk won the women’s race in 2:46:04 but for me the most incredible performance was by the Olympic walker, Colin Griffin, who completed the 26.2 miles in 3 hours, 19 minutes and 28 seconds! What could he do if he ran it?!
Me? I finished in 3:43:45 and enjoyed every minute of it.
Some years ago I did the Boddington 50k and thought it was very well organised and had a brilliant atmosphere - all the more surprising, given the multiple laps.
Does anyone know whether it is a pukka 26.2 mile marathon and therefore suitable for getting a qualifying time for the VLM? 'Good for age' VLM entries have to be in by the 11th of July, so this would be perfect. I'm not sure I will get under 3.15 but it would be good fun trying.