Monday, 19 March 2012

New Contributor - Martin Allen

Name: Martin Allen
Age: 39
Home parkrun: Eastbourne, East Sussex
Date of first parkrun: 11/02/2012
Total Number of parkruns (to date): 5
Fastest time (to date): 23:53

I started running in March 2010, just on a whim. I have never been overweight, but, equally, I have never been what you might describe as fit. I have a high metabolic rate, so I'm one of those annoying people who can eat what they like and not put on an ounce. I'm short and lean and light and, for as long as I can remember, I have been 5' 3" and 8 stone, and I think I will be forever more.

My first run was that one we've all experienced - about 100 yards of action and a near-death experience. Fires of hell rage in your lungs, your throat feels like it has been stripped by caustic soda, your thighs are about to explode from your legs, your stomach wants to expel the contents of this morning's breakfast and that disappointing thought as you walk home that you'll never be a runner.

But, unlike some, I decided to look at what I had done wrong. Ah, yes, I had run too fast, my form was appalling and my muscles had no idea what they were supposed to be doing. I was going to have to learn this malarkey.

I had two days rest to enable myself to walk comfortably again and, this time, I tried to pitter-patter for 1km around my park, nice and slowly. I can do it!! I CAN DO IT!

Two years and several injuries later - you know the kind - small blister on little toe, toe-nail falling off, cramp in left buttock, strange red rash on inner thigh, cut lip where you trip on a kerb and fall flat on your face - and I am now completely hooked.

I am not a plan runner and I don't belong to a club. I enjoy the unstructured, free side of running - doing what you want, when you want. I don't follow a system, other than running two slow, easy runs per week (varying distances), one eyeballs out parkrun and one long-slow run with some home-made yoga in between. Occasionally, I throw in a hill session, but Hastings is so full of hills, it's enough of a challenge finding a bit of flat that doesn't involve wind-resistance training on the seafront promenade. I have undertaken a number of 5km, 10km and half marathons in the past two years and I am currently 'training' for the Hastings Half Marathon on Sunday 25 March. Sub 2hrs is possible.

I have been desperate to do a parkrun for months but the nearest one was Hove, some thirty miles away. Then, in January, one started a little nearer in Eastbourne. I missed the first couple as I had no idea it had started, but boy was I pleased when I found it existed.

My journey consists of leaving Hastings at 7:20am, catching a train and then a 20 minute walk to the venue. Then I have to do it all again on the way back. All in all it's a 3 and a half hour round trip each week, home to home. I'm dedicated.

My desire is to help Eastbourne parkrun develop and flourish, run fast, be kind to animals and wish for world peace. The parkrun, currently, has between 55 and 80 runners per week and it would be great to have a few more. I'm sure it will as the warmer, spring weather opens its doors to us. It's a very friendly place with a challenging, cross-country (ish) course - more on that in another post.

I find experiences on most of my runs and I look forward to sharing them with you. Next week will be a slightly different one though, as I am volunteering for the first time. I am going to be a cheerleader!! Now, where did I put my pom-poms??


  1. Great Blog...near death experience lol love it!

  2. Highly entertaining Martin! Allow me to make you some pom-poms

    1. I like yellow...and green...and blue...and brown...and red. I am colour-blind so I don't have any concept of purple or indigo or violet, whatever they may look like. Oh, and I like orange.

  3. Martin, you have a talent for writing. Loved it mate. Well done.

  4. ps - that was me, above, before I managed to sort out my profile!


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