Monday, 26 March 2012

An interview with Last Years Winner!

In this weeks blog we catch up with Graeme Taylor of Jarrow and Hebburn AC (has now switched clubs to Morpeth Harriers) who won the race overall in a time of 71 minutes 07 seconds.

RHM:     Did you enjoy last years race and what were the highlights of the race?

GT:         It was a highly enjoyable race, I've done it for the last three years, in 2010 I made the mistake of not getting to the start in time and had to start at the back playing catch up the whole race eventually finishing 8th. Last year I made sure I was at the start on time and got away with the front runners , I enjoyed a good battle with David Kirkland of Alnwick Harriers finally getting away with two miles to go, it was nice to the get the win in such a big race with great crowd support along the sea front. Another highlight was improving my time by over six minutes from my first Redcar attempt in 2009.

RMH:     How did your training for last years race go?

GT:     I entered the race with my London Marathon training in the bank, although I didnt quite run the race I wanted to at London the training stood me in good stead and I was  in good shape to run the race, after a few easy weeks recovering from the marathon I was back in to my normal regime which roughly consisted of: 
Monday- 11 mile steady
Tuesday- Track session e.g 20 x 400 at 72 sec pace, 4x 1mile, 8 x 800.
Wednesday-2x6 mile runs am/pm
Thursday- Interval session in local park or tempo run around 5:30 min mile pace
Friday- Rest day
Saturday-fast run/Park run
Sunday-long run 90-120 minutes steady.

RHM:     What would you recommend for someone tackling the half marathon distance for the first time?

GT:        Gradually build up your level of fitness over a couple of months, once you have built a reasonable base start increasing your mileage and try to add in some faster efforts. Try to mix your training up with steady runs, speed work and longer easy runs.

My top tip would be listen to your body if your plan says rest day take it, or at least do something very easy there is no point causing yourself an injury by training when your tired or pushing yourself too hard too often.

RHM:    Are you entering this years race and what is your target?

GT:        I am hopfully entering this years race (fingers crossed) I am due to have knee surgery (torn cartilage) in the next couple of weeks so everything is on hold running wise for the time being. I have provisionally pencilled in Redcar to be my come back race as the new date gives me extra time to get back upto speed again. My target is first and foremost to be fit enough to compete at the very least, and I would be lying if  I said I don't want to defend my title.......also if im being optimistic a sub 70 time would be most welcome!

RHM:   What is your favourite training session and why?

GT:       I am always willing to try out a new sessions and running routes to keep my training varied and interesting. However I do really enjoy doing hill work in the winter, my background is in cross country running  so I feel at home doing these efforts. A typical session is normally 10-15 reps up a series of varying hills near to Jarrows base in Monkton, this is where I  build my strength, endurance and I feel this helps me to attack hills in races without fear.

RHM:    Our final question for you is who are your top tips for a gold medal in 2012?

GT:       Although I would love to see Mo Farah win gold in his home country I just cant see anyone getting close to Kenenisa Bekele if he is anywhere near fit. The man is a legend probably the greatest there has been, if he is in good shape then hes my tip for gold over 5000 and 10000 metres. Also I think like most people it would be great to see a couple of world records from Usain Bolt as he is so talented and a great entertainer.

Thanks for your time Graeme and we hope to see you fit and well post surgery at Redcar in September to defend your title!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

2011 Race Winner Carolyn Summersgill

Today I caught up with last years ladies race winner Carolyn Summersgill of Middlesbrough and Cleveland Harriers to ask her about last years race and talk running!  Carolyn won last years race in a time of 1 hour 24 minutes 57 seconds and was only 18 seconds off her pb despite the Redcar wind in the final few miles.

RHM:   Did you enjoy last years race and what were your highlights of the race?

CS:   Yes I really enjoyed the Half Marathon, the atmosphere was really good and there were lots of people along the course which helped me tremendously and pulled me round.   I led the race from the start and there were plenty of men around me to help me round.   I was only 18 seconds off my best ever half marathon time and was using the race as a build up to the Great North Run.

RHM:   Can you give me an idea of the training that you did for last years race? 

CS:   Typically my training would consist of a weekly interval session of something like 6 x 1 mile hard at my 10km pace.  This would be off a 2 and a half minute recovery so quite a tough session.   I would also do regular long runs of up to 90 minutes usually at an easy relaxed pace (being able to talk is a good indicator of the right pace to do these at) and also tempo type running typically at around 10km pace - I would cover up to 6 miles at this pace.    I had a relatively short build up to the half marathon (about 6 weeks) as it was a build up race and I wasn't really focusing on Redcar as an "A" race.

RHM:      What would you recommend for someone new to running who is thinking about tackling the half marathon distance?

CS:        I would build up the distance gradually and look to do some shorter races in the build up (ie 5km and 10km races).    Start by running up to 1 mile and just keep adding distance on gradually and build up to covering the 13 miles in training.    Joining a good local running club with a beginners section can really help people who are new to running.  Finally a good pair of running shoes is an essential if you want to enjoy running and stay injury free.   (Half Marathon sponsor Bike Traks can offer a gait analysis service to ensure good shoe choice and fit!).

RHM:   Are you entering this years race and what is your target?  

CS:   If the summer goes well and I stay injury free then yes I will be entering and trying to lower my pb.  The Redcar Half is a good fast course with pb potential and I hope to be there.  I am concentrating on the track and shorter distances over the summer so will see how that goes.  I have only been back in training for about 10 weeks as I was injured over the winter so fingers crossed!

RHM:    What is your favourite training session and why?

CS:    I love running easy on the hills or around the moors but for a training session I like doing mile/800m reps on the cross country course at Acklam Grange.  I am definitely a fan of strength endurance training rather than all out speed so this is the sort of session I love in the winter although it is hard work! 

RHM:   Who are your top tips for a 2012 Gold Medal in Athletics?

CS:   I would love to see Paula Radcliffe finally get a gold medal in the marathon.  It would be a fitting end to a long career.  Paula is someone who I have long admired and would love to see her do it in 2012.   Also Hannah England in the 1500m stands a really good chance of medalling as she is in really good shape.

RHM:    Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Carolyn and best of luck in your training.  We look forward to seeing you at the race in September to see if you can defend your title.

In the next blog we will be catching up with the 2011 Redcar Half Marathon winner Graeme Taylor of Jarrow and Hebburn AC.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

New Marske Harriers Road Race Series

The Half Marathon in Redcar has always enjoyed good support from our local running clubs.   New Marske Harriers have an excellent, good value race series that start on Good Friday 6th April with a 10km.   The entry details for this race and the rest of the series can be found at:

There are five races in total and they all are all held in and around Redcar.  These races would be an excellent stepping stone to the Half Marathon.

Happy Running


Monday, 19 March 2012

2012 Launch - New Date, New Start and Finish

Here we are in 2012 with what should be a great year of Sport.   In this Olympic Year when better to have a really good summer of training for the 30th anniversary of the Redcar Half Marathon.   This blog will provide news about the race, some training tips and any events associated with this years race.

Entries are now open for the race in 2012 which will be on the 30th September 2012.  The race this year will start from the Redcar Leisure Centre on Majuba Road.   Entry details are here.

You will probably have noticed that Redcar is undergoing a bit of a transformation.   We have new sea defences being built, a new leisure centre and community facilities under construction, a vertical pier and a new youth building called MyPlace all underway and nearing completion as we speak. 

The 2012 race has had to accomodate these works and as such has had to be delayed to September 30th and as a result of this change the start and finish has moved to Majuba Road as we were unable to secure the fields at Green Lane as the football season will be underway. 

The course remains essentially the same with the outward leg heading towards Marske, turning and heading back along the seafront to Redcar and up the trunk road.   We hope to create a special atmosphere at the Leisure Centre which will be a great place to see the race both at the start and finish but also half way into the race.   I am sure there will be some people who need that extra bit of encouragement at that point to smash that second half of the race.

Best of luck with your training for 2012 and keep visiting this site for more information, tips and news!


Monday, 13 June 2011

Congratulations & Time to Recover

Well done to all finishers!

Congratulations to all of the finishers of the Half Marathon yesterday! It was a great event and a huge success for all involved.  

The conditions were quite good for the race first thing but there was a noticeable sea breeze building up around the seafront and as the race progressed the wind became a little bit stronger and made the last few miles a little bit tougher.  

It was great to see so many people crossing the line with smiles on their faces and obviously ecstatic about completing the Half Marathon which is a great achievement…I’m sure many people will have been raising money for various charities, completing some personal challenges or simply running to try and gain a personal best.

This is the second time we have used this course and from last year we made a few changes. There have been a lot of positives about the course and the race but as always we will be using the feedback from runners and marshals to help us make the event even better next year.  

I am sure many of you will be a little bit stiff and sore this morning so a few words about recovery!   

It is expected that after an effort such as a Half Marathon you may be a little bit stiff and achey! This is down to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Don’t worry it wont last long but over the next few days you may feel sore due to tiny microscopic tears in the muscles. This should only be temporary and will ease after a few days. Sometimes active recovery can help ease some of the symptoms but there is no miracle cure. Increasing blood flow to the muscles through gentle exercise (walking, swimming) may help or ice, compression or in extreme cases some anti-inflammatory medicines may help.   

Once the dust has settled and you can start to think about running again why not think about a new challenge? There are lots of good quality races in the area – Middlesbrough 10Km, Darlington 10km,  Hartlepool Marina 5 mile race, New Marske Harriers 5km and 10km’s to name just a few. Or if you fancy something a little bit different why not try a Triathlon. 31st July will see a new Triathlon in Redcar with a 750m Sea swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Further details from

For those unattached runners out there (Unattached simply means you do not run for a UK Athletics affiliated club) why not consider joining a running club. In the Redcar and Cleveland Area we are blessed with a number of running clubs who cater for all abilities from fun runners to International standard runners.  

Here are details of the three clubs who have been particularly helpful to the Redcar Half Marathon and supplied many of the Marshalls as well as being represented by lots of runners taking part in the race.

North York Moors AC
New Marske Harriers
Redcar Running Club

Friday, 10 June 2011

Last Minute Preparations

Race Day
After all that preparation Race Day is almost here. Sunday morning will be the pinnacle of all your months of training and it is ready to unleash the racer in you!
Getting to the race and toeing the start line may have involved many miles of training so don’t let last minute lack of preparation let you down.
Now is the time to think about Sunday and your travel, kit, shoes, strategy etc.
Firstly the race starts at 10am. It wont wait for you so you need to be on site at the event area in plenty of time. That means getting up in enough time to breakfast, travel and arrive on site to have a warm up, visit the toilet and sort out any last minute issues.
I like to be at races about an hour before the race starts. This gives me plenty of time to sort out my kit, jog a mile or so, visit the toilet. This last hour at a big race like Redcar also gives you enough time to put your kit into the baggage store, familiarise yourself with the location of the start and finish as well as enjoy some pre-race “reflection” to sort your head out prior to the race.  
Here are my top ten tips for race day.....
1.      Arrive in plenty of time. The park and ride buses are running early and will run often but don’t leave it to chance. Better to be on site early than late!
2.      Breakfast well and early enough for it not to give you any problems. You should know by now what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t eat anything you wouldn’t normally eat but maybe lay off the fry up!
3.      Drink plenty of fluid – sip little and often but don’t overdo the coffee and tea! There are drinks stations at 4 miles, 7 miles, 9 miles and 11 miles.
4.      Sort your kit out the night before and do a, watch, socks, shorts, vest, number, CHIP!!!, safety pins, old t-Shirt to wear pre race once you have put your baggage in, baggage label, Vaseline (to rub on parts of your body that may chafe!), race instructions, drink, snack and anything else you may need.
5.      If travelling with others ensure they are as prepared as don’t want to be turning round half way into the journey because someone hasn’t been as organised as you!
6.      When on site check out where the finish is and also check out the start. The start on Sunday is about 500m from the finish area. It is located near Salisbury Grove so allow enough time for the short walk or jog to the start.
7.      Don’t fight to get to the front unless you think you are likely to stay at the front.  Your chip will record your time so an easy start will do you more good than harm.
8.      Maintain a positive has been proven that a positive outlook will help you run faster! It might not be true but every little helps! Also please be aware that most of the marshalls are volunteers giving up their Sunday to help you. If something goes wrong please don’t give the marshalls a hard time! Everybody wants the race to be successful in every way but sometimes things go wrong.
9.      Don't wear new kit to race in...the kit you choose to race in should have been worn a few times so you know it wont rub etc and cause problems.
10.  Finally please remember there is a load of information available on the website  There is also an event helpline to help with any last minute issues such as lost chips, missing numbers etc. The number is 0757 278 3796.

Enjoy the race and best of luck!


Thursday, 2 June 2011

It's Nearly Here Sunday 12th June

The Final Countdown

With just over a week to go until race day I thought I would take a look at the final week in terms of preparing for race day.

You may have heard the old saying “fail to prepare – prepare to fail!”

This week we had a question from a participant asking what training to be doing in  the final week and also to suggest a nutrition strategy. There is a huge amount of information that covers these subjects on the internet so I thought I would try and answer this with a mix of tips gained through my own experiences.

In terms of training the last week is an opportunity to fine tune the training you should, and hopefully will have, already done. In the last week before the half you should certainly not be doing anything strenuous such as your longest run or a hard interval based session. Training volume (or number of miles) should be at least two thirds, possibly even half of what you have been doing in the build up to the half marathon.   This is an opportunity to refresh yourself (known as tapering) ready for race day. If you normally run five times a week it may be a good idea to run just four times and run slightly less miles on each run. In my last Half Marathon I ran 28 miles in the 7 days leading up to the race and had two full days off in the week (compared to close to 55 miles per week and running 7 days!). This worked for me but the critical things were that I didn’t do any hard sessions in those seven days and had a day off the day before the race to replenish energy stores.   It is also a good idea to try and keep off your feet the day before the race and not do anything too extreme. A day shopping or climbing Roseberry Topping should not be considered the day before the race!

It does take a bit of experience to get the “taper” right before a race and how much you taper will depend upon how much training you are doing. As I have tried to explain stick to some golden rules for the last seven days:

1.                   No speed work or hard sessions
2.                   Don’t cram miles in last minute – reduce your overall training volume.  Last minute miles in panic will not do you any good and may have the opposite effect.
3.                   Take one or two days at least as rest days
4.                   Don’t do anything unusual the week or days before that will make you stiff or sore or tired!

Nutrition – again this is a massive subject that is far too complex to cover in a short blog article so here are a few rules of thumb to help guide you. I would say that in the days leading up to the race you should eat relatively normally. By reducing your training load and eating normally your body should be storing up energy as glycogen in the muscles which will help provide valuable energy on race day. Drink little and often in the days leading up to the race – particularly if the weather is hot. Don’t overdo the tea and coffee or alcohol in the last week and stick to fairly simple, normal foods. The night before the half marathon is not the time to experiment with rich, spicy foods – as tempting as that may be! You may also be tempted to over snack as you may be tempted to substitute normal training with snacking on biscuits, crisps and the like!

In my next (and possibly final pre race blog) I will cover in more detail race day and will look at race nutrition, final preparation and race day strategies.

Finally use the last week to sort your kit, your travel arrangements, make sure you have your number and chip (which will arrive in the next few days) and fill in your medical details/next of kin on the back of your number.   If you have bought new kit make sure you have tried it once or twice at least before the race (longer if you have bought new shoes).

Happy Running.