Saturday 18th August: Free Talk by Susan Partridge and Rebecca Robinson

This was the second talk in a series of free talks, organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

The day started with a get together of some runners at the Walsall Arboretum parkrun.

Photo: Susan Partridge, Rebecca Robinson, Dan Robinson (no relationship to Rebecca), Andy Lane.

This was followed by a drill session on the running track at the University of Wolverhampton (Walsall Campus). The drills focus on improving running technique and were led by Mark Nietz, a Strength and Conditioning Expert for the English Institute of Sport.

Dr Rebecca Robinson

The first speaker was Rebecca Robinson, an International Mountain Runner and Road Runner. Her dedication and strong mental aptitude propelled her to 5th fastest on the British Ranking list last year. She has a P.B. Marathon time of 2.36 and a 5km P.B., of 15.48.

If being a runner at this level isn’t enough, Rebecca works as a Physician at the Centre Health and Human Performance in Harley Street, London, specialising in Sport & Exercise Medicine. Rebecca is also Clinical researcher in physical activity at Sheffield Teaching Hospital and a Consultant in SEM in Musculoskeletal medicine at Moor and Ilcley Medical Practice.

The list doesn’t end there, Rebecca is also a consultant for the English Institute of Sport with the GB Boxing Team & British Athletics.

Today her talk was focused on her applied practitioner experience with runners athletes with Relative Energy Deficiency, due to dieting or the pressure of keeping at a very low body weight.

Rebecca explained that more awareness and education is needed both for the athlete and the coach to prevent underperforming due to extremely low calorie diets and dysfunctional eating. Training on a low calorie diets prevents the growth of muscles, she explained. It was a fascinating talk and its became clear that there are so many sides to Rebecca as she has so much running experiences.

Susan Partridge

Susan Partridge is a middle distance and long distance runner who has represented Great Britain at the World Athletic Championships and the European Athletic Championships. She also represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games. Susan has a 2.30 marathon PB, and she has won the Reading & Cardiff Half Marathon and The Great Birmingham Run Twice.

Susan shared her experiences of running from when she was young to becoming an elite runner. There was some very interesting experiences and she explained how she kept a balance between running and the rest of her life.

After they both spoke there was plenty of time to ask questions to both Susan and Rebecca. It was lovely, to hear and see two such down to earth, modest and interesting people. They both downplayed their abilities and performance.

There will be more free talks to come so keep following Twitter @RunHelenLane @andylane27 or Facebook to see when the next one is.

Monday 23rd July: Talk and Q & A by Dr Martin Yelling

This was the first of a series of free talks that are taking place at the University of Wolverhampton. Walsall Campus. Organised by Professor Andy Lane and Dan Robinson.

Dr Martin Yelling has won the Elite British Duathlon twice, completed the Hawaii Ironman, the Comrades Ultra and ran 260 miles of the South East Coast Path.

This only scratches the surfaces of Martin’s running achievements. n

Martin is one of the Official Experts at the Virgin Money London Marathon. He gives advice on training for the marathon on a series of live Q & A’s on the internet.

Martin is the Co-Founder of Marathontalk podcast and Marathontalk Runcamp alongside Tom Williams.

Martin has his own coaching business with his wife Liz Yelling who was a 2 x Olympic GB Marathon Runner and a Commonwealth Medalist. Yelling

Martin organise a number of running experiences including one in Austria.

Along with juggling his business, family and running, Martin still works as an academic. He has produced a number of Sport Science articles and works with PhD students.

The talk was fascinating, not what I expected. Martin explored the emotions of running. Highlighting, why do we Run? How does our family and friends fit into a running life? You didn’t have to be fast to enjoy the talk. Martin explained that he started running when he was very young at school. He said that he didn’t think too much into why, however he knew it felt good, especially afterward he went for a run. Martin said for him it was not just the winning. Running made him feel like he could do almost anything.

The talk focus a little on strategies to control emotions, e.g., when nervous or anxious think about your previous success, sets many goals not just one so you can stay positive and not put too much pressure on yourself. When coaching he said one of the most important things is to listen and supports their athletes, observes them and reminds the of their previous successes.

After the talk finished there was the opportunity to ask many questions. One that made me laugh was the answer given to a question on “what advice would you give to encourage young girls and boys to run”. Martin said, make it fun and don’t push them if they really, really don’t want to do it, but he made us all laugh when he said, “I’m amazed at just how many parents are so serious. I went down to a training session on an athletic track and the parents bring out gels, sports drinks, energy bars, even though their running distance maybe quite short.” It was a great evening on a very hot evening.

The Derby Half Marathon: Sunday 3rd June 2018

This event used to be called the Ramathon. It’s now called the Derby Half Marathon. It’s a big event with lots of support. A latte from Costa, collect number, get to the start area and off I go. Very, very well organised. Impossible to go wrong. Water and sports drinks available quite often. For the first mile it is a little crowded but after a mile it’s fine. I got hotter and hotter the further I ran, I thought to myself “I seem slower and find this a lot harder than I used to”. I plod on thinking of the medal and get to the end. At the end I get a nice medal and running top and walk down the river to meet my husband at the Dave Lloyd Centre to shower and have lunch. Easy.

Burton 10: Sunday 20th June 2018

A really good thing about this event is it starts late, a 10.45am start. A hot day again. My husband and I decided to cycle to this event as it was only about 14 miles away. My husband knee was sore so he watched. It was a very hot day again but this is another lovely race and good value for money as you get a running top included. It’s a two lap course with one big uphill on each lap. I’ve always liked this course because of the distance, start time and two lap course. When all the runners had finished we cycled home. We got home at about 4pm and all I had all day was a banana.

The Bosworth Half Marathon: Sunday 13th May 2018

Again, another hot sunny day. This event had the most beautiful scenery. We warmed up around the lovely lake and then headed over to the start. It was a struggle on some of the hills but there enough drinks stations and on the whole very well organised. Unfortunately the results took a few days to come out and I felt sorry for the organiser who seemed to get a bit of abuse from a few runners. At the finish we got a nice medal.

Lichfield Half Marathon: Sunday 6th May

The Lichfield Half Marathon starts near our house so it’s easy to jog to the start. It was two weeks after the Virgin London Marathon and hot. I don’t know how it’s described in race reports but I would describe as mostly flat with a few ups and downs. The start is at King Edward School and the finish is about a mile apart in town by the Lichfield Cathedral in town, but the 1 mile walk is worth it for the lovely atmosphere at the end and the walk through Lichfield City back to the start. You could park at the start in the school car park or a car park in town. We have done this event three times and we wouldn’t be coming back year after year if we didn’t enjoy it

The Swimathon: Saturday 28th April 2018

Six days after the Virgin London we did the Swimathon. It’s a 5km swim and you have a choice of swimming pools you can do it in. I think we have done the Swimathon about 3 or 4 times now, at a variety of locations. In the past the pools, counters and everything had been perfect. It had been a while since we had done one and we hadn’t done much train but we still thought it would be a bit of fun. I think we chose the wrong pool when registering. One of our friends said as a joke “I wouldn’t leave anything in you car at that pool and be careful that your stuff doesn’t get stolen.” Anyway it was fine, we did it which we glad but the counters didn’t count, so we did far too many lengths, it was ridiculous. Then we never got a certificate or medal. The pool had so many children in it and I thought the water looked a bit yellow. To round it off nicely I lost my new watch. We think about that event and now laugh.

Virgin Money London Marathon: Sunday 26th April 2017.

We arrived in London on the Friday and went to our hotel which was the Premier Inn at Stratford. Stratford has good transport links and is walking distance from the Hackney Marsh parkrun which we had decided to do on Saturday. We went to the Expo on the Friday, to pick up my husband’s number and look around. there were lots of excited people, it was buzzing.

They had lots of nice sports stuff but we didn’t buy anything but we ate free sample of anything on offer. We listen to a great talk by Martin Yelling and Paula Radcliffe and saw a few people we knew.

We had dinner at a restaurant in the Westfield Centre in Stratford. There are so many restaurants to choose from and it’s important prior to a marathon to eat well. After the healthy dinner we had a great big dessert.

On Saturday morning we walked via the Olympic Park to the Hackney Marsh parkrun. It’s a pretty parkrun, the whole area of Stratford has had a massive change in the last 20 years when I used to live in London.

Hackney Marsh parkrun is flat and so is also the type of course that would give you a PB. I was surprised that there were not even more runners.Afterwards we walked back to our hotel via the Olympic Park which I’d never seen before. We had the photo taken in front of the West Ham United Football Stadium which used to be the Olympic Athletic Stadium.

After parkrun we had a fairly restful day and had a healthy dinner out and early to bed so my husband and friend were ready for the Marathon the next day.

On Sunday morning it was quite a warm morning. I said goodbye to my husband and friend and was hoping it didn’t get any hotter. They had both done the marathon a number of times so they knew the routine. One thing we always do is put all our luggage in the baggage lorry, then pick it up at the end, meet at the Lions at Trafalgar Square, then go back home on the train. We don’t bring too much stuff.

It was interesting watching for a change. I couldn’t believe that out of all the people I knew who were running it, I only spotted two! I didn’t even spot my husband. It got hotter and hotter. I was not in the shade. I felt sorry for the runners who had to run the heat. I stood near the 17 mile mark and the lady next to me got a phone call from her husband saying he had pulled out. I then started worrying about my husband, I thought “what if he’s collapsed somewhere”, even a man tree and a lady tree had come past and I still hadn’t seen him. I had run in the London Marathon for last 3 years, twice by ‘good for age’ and once by gaining a place in my Club ballot. Initially I was disappointed I didn’t get a place in the ballot but as the day when on and it became hotter and hotter, deep down inside I now thought “this is not the year to run it”. Eventually, I though I must of missed him and went to the finish line.

Our friend had collapsed at the finish and was taken to the medical tent, so unfortunately not a good race for him. My husband jogged around. The finish was chaos, because instead of meeting at the Lions our friend wasn’t in the best condition to move. Finally, we got on the train at Euston, went to the Super First Class Virgin Lounge and had a shower, food and drinks followed by a gentle train ride home.


Boston UK Marathon: Sunday 15th May 2018

This was a great marathon. Not only is it flat and fast but you can say “I’ve done the Boston Marathon”. It’s very low key, it only has about 1500 runners in it. We did the beautiful Rutland parkrun, on the Saturday and then arrived at our hotel which was 400 metres from the start. At our hotel there was a get together of anyone who was running the next day. We chatted and met someone who came all the way from New York just to do the Boston Marathon. When we woke up the next day we walked out of our hotel 20 minutes before the start in our running gear, no bags. My husband ran with me again, he was a great windbreaker, although it wasn’t too windy. The locals also said we were quite lucky with the weather because it’s usually always windy. The marathon was hassle free. Perhaps it’s the easiest one too. An excellent one if you want to get ‘Good for Age’ in the Virgin London Marathon.

It was great to have someone to run with and to get our Medals and Boston Finishing Shirts.

Knighton 20: Sunday 11th March 2018

While training for the Boston UK Marathon we ran this 20 mile event. My injured husband, Andy said he would run with me for most of it. We both have done the race before but when we’re fit. It’s a very hilly course, maybe not perfect for London Marathon or the Boston UK Marathon but then again there don’t seem to be any flat 20 event at that time of year. It is very well organised and I love it, except that I find it tough. The weather has always been good. The race is inexpensive.

This event is friendly and it’s not all about prizes. I think it’s good not to use every event as a race.