Wednesday, 18 January 2012

New Contributor: Craig Smith

Name: Craig Smith
Home parkrun: Newcastle
Date of first parkrun: 06/02/2010
Total Number of parkruns: 78 (2nd in Male points table in 2010 and 3rd in 2011)
Number of other parkrun locations run: 2 - Edinburgh and Braunstone
Number of times volunteered: 9
My parkrun history:

I started running in 2005 when I trained for and ran my first Great North Run (GNR) in 1h:56m. I have now run the GNR 7 times and it is still my favourite run of the year despite the snobbishness it sometimes attracts from some club runners. I have managed to bring my time down every year and last year ran a GNR PB of 1h:27m.

I am a club runner myself having been a member of Heaton Harriers since 2008. In 2008 I also ran my first Marathon (Edinburgh) and completed that in 3h37m. I was then lucky enough to get a place in the London Marathon in 2009 through my club which I completed in 3h:39m. The following year (2010) I again got a club place in London and set myself the target of beating 3h:30m which I did by 8 seconds! (3:29:52). In 2010 I also found parkrun and this was a revelation. I had not done many 5k runs before then and had only just cracked sub-20 minutes the previous year. I soon became a Newcastle parkrun regular getting a PB of 18:25 in 2011 and also getting my 50th run in the same year.

In 2011 I also decided that I wanted to run all of the 5 Marathon Majors (London, Boston, Berlin, New York and Chicago). I qualified for a good for age place for the 2011 New York Marathon via my 2010 GNR time in 2010 and I had already run London twice. I needed to get a Boston qualifying time which I managed in London 2011 (another club pace) by running it in 3h:19m:01s. I applied and got a place for Boston in April 2012 for which I am training at the moment. In Nov 2011 I ran New York in a time of 3h:29m after struggling with an injury.

I am signed up for Berlin in Sept 2012 where I will attempt to break 3 hours for the marathon. I have a place for London 2012 but will defer that until 2013 and will run Chicago in Autumn 2013 too. That will be 10 marathons in total and then I plan to retire to focus on shorter distances like 10k and halfs.

My training and PBs owe a lot to parkrun. Last year I used the weekly 5k to hone speed and this year I have been using it as a tempo session within a longer run (I run 3 miles from home to parkrun, run it and then run 3 miles home) which is a great session. I also volunteer as a 20-minute pacer once a month which is great as I love helping other parkrunners achieve their goals and targets.

It;s nice to contribute to the blog. I will keep you updated on my adventures. If you want to follow me on Twitter I'm @CraigAlSmith

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