First race of the year

First walking race of the year. Five miles at Donkey somewhere down in London. Equalled my time of two years ago. That seems good to me. I'm as fit as I was two years ago. Not a teenage athlete any more. If I am as fit in ten years as I was two years ago that will be quite an accomplishment.


That's the thing about veteran athletics. You just know that your times, distances, heights are going to get worse. However, the silver lining is that as you get older your results are compared with your peer group. So, the moment you reach 55 you are suddenly the youngest in the next age band. Once you are in your late 50s you can't wait to get to 60 and be the youngest again.


Actually, I wasn't feeling so fit. Back ache. Advice from John my coach is to see an osteopath. Never seen one of these before. I find out that my sister in law, a GP, might not approve. But on the other hand I would get to see an osteopath a lot quicker that a specialist on the NHS if I went to see my GP and complained of slight back ache.


Back to veteran athletics. There really is an extraordinary world of septuagenarian and octogenarian runners, walkers, jumpers and pole vaulters out there. Plus a load more younger athletes who are just a bit older than those you see on the TV. I regularly get beaten by those ten years older than I am, and I am quite quick for my age. (I now know why the school children I used to teach complained about our forays to local museums). If I want to know how I rank I can always look it up on Power of Ten. This amazing on-line database enables all active athletes to rank themselves against any other individual or group in the UK. After today, I will be able to see my UK ranking for the 5 mile walk against everyone else who has done the same distance this year, last year, the year before ..... I haven't actually checked to see how far back the records go.


So, I finished 8th I think with a time that means I can honestly tell people I walk at 6 mph. But even better, I got a medal. Not for today, not even for last year, but for a race I did in 2014. Now that is impressive; a community where no achievement is forgotten, even two years after the event.


Why do the walk in the first place. Well, fed up with my phone telling me that I wasn't reaching the target of 6,000 steps imposed on me, I thought 5 miles would do. For the first time, I get a nice encouraging message - well done, you have exceeded your daily target.


So, what will I need to do tomorrow?