Andy Dixon, Editor-in-Chief
Runner since: 2007
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Achieving a new marathon PB (3:08:33) at Boston in April. I trained hard for four months, gave up booze and organised weekends around long runs, so it was nice when all the hard work came to fruition in the race.
2012 running resolutions: I'd like to try a few different types of races – I’m planning to do an ultra and I’d also like to do more adventure-type races. I would also like to run the Chicago Marathon to complete my 'Marathon Major' set.
Races planned and targets: Currently the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series Ultra in South Devon in February. As that will be my first ultra I’ll just be happy to get round. And I'm still toying with the slightly scary idea of trying to dip under three hours in London.
Joe Mackie, Deputy Editor
Runner since: 2001
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Not a vintage year. An ankle injury and the resulting surgery in March meant I couldn’t run at all until the summer, then over-exuberance/ stupidity put me out again with Achilles tendinitis. What’s that we’re always telling you about the ten per cent rule? But sometimes running is all about bouncing back.
After a long lay-off your goals change, and I’ve got a real sense of achievement from just being able to cover some ground again. My best bit of running in 2011 was breaking sub-18:00 in our three-mile ‘friendly’ race with the guys from London Marathon HQ. I’ve still got a long way to go, but that gave me a taste of where I’d like to progress to next year.
2012 running resolutions: Single leg squats, calf raises, stretching, and building slowly and steadily towards the important goals rather than just pushing every session.
Races planned and targets: The Virgin London Marathon is the big one. It’ll be my first attempt at London and I’m aiming for a marathon PB. A year after coming out of the hospital on crutches that would be especially satisfying. If all goes well with that, I’m aiming to build to a longer trail event in the summer, too.
Alice Palmer, runnersworld.co.uk Editor
Runner since: 2007
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Completing the Cyprus International 4-day Challenge in November. It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t pretty, but I’ve rarely felt prouder crossing a finish line. After a year when my fitness went AWOL thanks to a lethal combination of injury and laziness, it was the kick up the backside I needed - and a last-ditch effort to make sure 2011 wasn’t a totally wasted year!
I also slipped into a wetsuit for the first time over the summer, taking on the swim leg of a sprint relay triathlon with the web team and a 1500m open water swim. It was lovely to get back into swimming – and unlike running, I’ve actually got a chance of beating my boyfriend in races!
2012 Running resolutions: First things first – getting rid of the extra padding I’ve acquired this year. Once I’m a lean mean running machine (ha) it’ll be time to get cracking on some of my PBs (chiefly my 2:09 for half-marathon and 54:54 for 10K), which were all set at least eighteen months ago. To round up my friends for a summer of open water swimming around London – there are some beautiful places to swim in the capital and I want to try them all! And last but not least… I run, I swim, all I need now is a bike and a triathlon is surely on the horizon…
Races planned and targets: Regular Saturday morning parkruns to keep me on my toes, Winterswim to kick my off-season swim training into gear. My big racing targets will probably be my first triathlon - the WomenOnly Triathlon at Dorney Lake in June; and then a sub-2:00 autumn half-marathon attempt.
Alison Hamlett, triathletesworld.co.uk Editor
Triathlete since: 1998
Biggest running achievement in 2011: My biggest running achievement in 2011 was completing the Marathon des Sables in Morocco. I'd never tackled a race where you have to carry all your own kit, and I struggled with blisters, so making it to the finish line after 250K and 50C heat felt like a big deal. I also did my first 100K race, the Norfolk Coastal Ultra Race.
2012 Running resolutions: My main running resolution for 2012 is to get in shape for the The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. I've wanted to do this race for years and have finally collected the qualifying points I need to enter. I'm not sure how I'll train in London for a 166K race with 9,500m of climbing (that's the equivalent of running from sea level to the summit of Everest!), but I'll give it a go.
Races planned and targets: Once the new year begins, I'll get back into Tuesday lunchtime speedwork sessions with everyone else in the office. That should set me up to be part of the Runner's World pacing team at this year’s Virgin London Marathon. I might have a crack at my marathon PB in Berlin in the autumn, but that's too far away to think about right now.
James Barnard, Multimedia Designer
Runner since: 2007
Biggest running achievement in 2011: This year I managed to run three half-marathons and three 10K obstacle courses in the space of two months. It was a gruelling ride but I came away with a new half-marathon PB of 1:41:41 at the Bupa Great North Run and a massively improved base level of fitness. However, my proudest moment of 2011 was successfully pacing the Virgin London Marathon for the first time. It was a very comfortable pace for me (11-minute-miles) but no less difficult, and helping people reach their goals was incredibly rewarding.
2012 Running resolutions: I've managed to get myself a place in the Virgin London Marathon 2012 ballot. From midnight on January 1, I'll be quitting beer until I've finished the race. I've always struggled with training after a boozy session on the ale, sometimes taking a full two days to fully recover - and it's only getting worse as I get older. So four months off should help and, hopefully, reduce that gut slightly!
Races planned and targets: The Virgin London Marathon is the big one for me this year and I've yet to crack sub-4:00. The last time I attempted it two years I failed miserably in 4:21:21, but my running has come on in leaps and bounds since then. Now my target time for April is a whopping 3:45:00. I think with hard work and some decent nutrition advice, I should come home on time - fingers and blistered toes crossed!
Dominique Brady, Online Editorial Assistant
Runner since: 2008
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Running my first half-marathon in Liverpool and mixing it up with a few triathlon challenges. Completing the run at the end of the Valencia Triathlon was probably my toughest feat yet. I hadn’t put in enough brick sessions but I won’t be making the same mistake twice.
2012 Running resolutions: To tick off my third half-marathon, another sprint triathlon and a few adventure races. I’ve also got to work on setting realistic running targets and not overtraining before events.
Races planned and targets: Fingers crossed, the Bupa London 10,000, the London Triathlon and plenty more along the way.
Kerry McCarthy, Senior Writer
Runner since: 2003
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Running three marathons in four weeks earlier this year, in LA, Paris and London. That was quite an achievement as I hadn’t done much training but I got to the end of the month faster than I’d started.
2012 Running resolutions: I’m doing a big charity event called ‘12 in 12’, which is where a team of us are doing 12 hard events in 2012 to try and raise £250,000 for an African HIV charity called Hope HIV. That will involve me running five marathons and three ultra marathons next year including the Marathon des Sables. My resolution is to complete all the distances and to get to the end of 2012 unscathed.
Races planned and targets: I want to get sub-3:45 for the Walt Disney World Marathon in January, which is my first race. I want to complete the Marathon des Sables, without getting helicoptered out of there and then I want to get sub-3:30 for the Chicago Marathon in October. Everything else in between I just want to survive.
Ruth Emmett, Contributing Editor/Warm Ups Editor
Runner since: 2009
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Crossing the finish line at the Virgin London Marathon in April - it was my first 26.2-mile race. Four hours in, I swore never to do another one; four hours afterwards, I'd already signed up for the next.
2012 Running resolutions: Get over a stress fracture by training and racing at my own steady pace. (Although, I also secretly want to better my time significantly on marathon number three.)
Races planned and targets: Most excitingly, my fourth marathon will be in Sierra Leone in June. It'll be tougher than anything I've done before so I'm not pressuring myself to get a PB.
Neil Tillott, Print and Digital Ad Director
Runner since: 2002
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Helping to pace the Virgin London Marathon.
2012 Running resolutions: To do more than just pace – I want to bring my 10K time down and steer away from becoming a long-distance runner.
Races planned and targets: I’ve not got any races planned yet, but I’m keen to target some summer 10K’s. My aim is to nip under 37 minutes.
Katherine Kendall, Senior Sales Executive
Runner since: 2010
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Finishing the Thame CPM 10K in June. By 9:30am the weather was already a blistering 23 degrees, though it felt more like 40, as there was no breeze at all. While the crowd support along the route helped, the heat was draining and the journey to the finish line seemed never ending! With this race in mind, every other 10K since has seemed so much easier!
2012 Running resolutions: To increase my pace - I’m all too happy to keep at a comfortable pace and just get to the finish line. I also want to increase the distances I can run. Someone once told me to run a distance three times before stepping up the next. Now with 10K ticked off, it’s time for a half-marathon and maybe even a marathon.
Races planned and targets: I’m already committed to the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series half-marathon in South Devon (February 18). The race is less about PBs and more about completing the distance on an unfamiliar surface. I’m also hoping to take on some sprint distance triathlons later in 2012. To improve my finishing times, I’ll enter more 5K and 10K distances to work on my pace.
Julia Sobik, Classified Sales Executive
Runner since: 2009
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Committing myself to more than one race! I had hoped to get a PB in the Bupa Great South Run but in the end I wasn’t able to run it due to flu. Instead my biggest achievement for 2011 was completing Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest series: London in one piece and actually enjoying it.
2012 Running resolutions: To get into a regular running routine and not to train as and when I have races. I would also like to run a ‘comfortable’ half-marathon in 2012.
Races planned and targets: I will be doing the Endurancelife Coastal Trail Series half-marathon in South Devon (February 18). This will be a challenge because of the terrain, and it’ll be the furthest I’ve run to date. I’m hoping to finish it in sub-2:45.
Andreia Rola, Online Sales Executive
Runner since: 2009
Biggest running achievement in 2011: Three half-marathons, with two of them just two weeks apart, as well as surviving the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest series: London.
2012 Running resolutions: Increasing training, more pacing at 10-minute-miles and surviving my first ever marathon. I’ve already started one of my new year’s resolutions, I’ve stopped smoking to achieve my marathon dream.
Races planned and targets: I’ll be running my first ever marathon in Rome on March 18 and I hope to finish in 4:30. I’m also planning to move away from road races and to take on more adventure/ trail races, so I’ll be hoping to tackle the Midnight Grim for Macmillan.
James Fricker, Display Sales Executive
Runner since: Biggest running achievement in 2011: After a slow start and getting involved in triathlon, I was dead chuffed to place second in my Trailblazer heat. I was also pretty proud to finish 217th out of 6,000 people in the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest London race.
2012 Running resolutions: Simply to cover more miles than in 2011, to tick off more ultras and compete in more races. I’d also like to get a nutrition strategy nailed for race day to give me greater confidence.
Races planned and targets: To complete the Marathon des Sables and break all my running PBs along the way. The race offers a new adventure over a longer distance and I’m excited about stepping up to the challenge.