Introducing a new regular feature on the blog – Friday Finds
Every week I come across lots of interesting articles and posts on running and fitness topics. I save them, read them at my convenience and then discard them. But actually, what I’d really like to do is share those articles with like-minded people who might also find them interesting, so I’ve decided that rather than constantly sending articles to Steve or flooding Facebook with them, the best thing to do would be to start a regular feature on the blog where I can collate some of those articles for you to enjoy too. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All will be things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
With marathon season well and truly underway, much of what I’ve read recently has been on the topic of 26.2. Whether you’ve run a marathon before, are training for your first, or have no intention of ever even considering it, it’s difficult not to become captivated at some point with the tv coverage of a race, the individual stories that come out of them, or the marathon journey undertaken by someone you know. Not only has the Paris marathon already taken place, other cities such as Brighton, Manchester and Zurich have also hosted successful marathons in recent weeks. Monday saw the holy grail that is the Boston marathon take place, and this Sunday is The Big One – that’s right, the Blackpool marathon date has finally arrived! Oh, and I hear there’s a small event taking place in that there London this Sunday too 😉
First up, an article from The Guardian which will appeal to all the stat-lovers out there. I’m not usually one to have much of a head for figures, but I do confess to a bit of a weakness for running statistics, and given the amount of data we all obsess over these days from our GPS watches and running apps, I don’t think I’m alone! I was particularly interested in the figures related to women’s participation in marathon running and average finish times. And for those of you in the clutches of race-week maranoia ahead of the London marathon on Sunday, there are some comforting statistics on finishing rates:
Speaking of London, this year’s edition is special not just because it’s the 35th, but because it will also be Paula Radcliffe’s farewell from marathon running. Much has been written about her preparations for this final race and I can’t help feeling an affinity with her as she has battled injury and will be toeing the line unsure of how that injury will hold up. Sounds very familiar! This article by the author of Running Like a Girl is a fitting homage to the world record holder and her legacy. #thankyoupaula.
Paula has inspired many, but inspiration does not always have to come from the elites. I’ve come across two inspiring stories from this week’s Boston marathon. First up is video footage from Fox TV of bombing survivor and amputee Rebekah Gregory’s emotional crossing of the finish line on Monday. Secondly, another video, this time from ABC News featuring Boston’s final finisher – Maickel Melamed who, determined not to let Muscular Dystrophy stop him, has now completed 5 marathons. Boston took him around 20 hours and he didn’t give up. That’s some real courage and tenacity.
- Bombing Survivor Rebekah Gregory Crosses Marathon Finish
- Boston Marathon’s Final, Most inspiring Competitor
I also noticed recently that organisers of the Boston marathon were asking competitors not to post photos of their race numbers online ahead of the race after issues which came to light last year of runners competing with false numbers. It seems that one female runner in the recent St Louis marathon took “banditing” one step further by actually crossing the line first. It turned out later that there was no evidence she had run the race at all and, although disqualified, her actions robbed the real winner of her moment of glory. This really made me think about how freely we all post pictures of our race numbers on social media and whether or not that now almost traditional feature of pre-race excitement will have to come to an end in the face of unscrupulous individuals. It also angers me that in races that people try and fail to enter legitimately, such as Boston and London, there is a risk that some people may take part in such an underhand way.
And finally, if you do have a marathon coming up, here are some timely reminders from Martin Yelling to help you prepare in the final days. Lots of sensible advice for first-timers and veterans alike so set your hand sanitiser aside, make sure your surgical mask is secure and enjoy Martin’s soothing and practical advice. It might even counter the maranoia, briefly!
The Running Princess