Mark Stevens

Mark Stevens

Royal Parks Half Marathon 10 Oct 2021


Total raised so far£0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00


Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]****** Race Day ******[/p][p]Well it's over, phew! So, last formal post, but if there are any good photos supporting Accuro then I'll share them.[/p][p]Firstly, a massive thank you to all those who sponsored me for the great cause that is Accuro, with just short of £700 being raised. On reading this if anyone would like to top this up then please do. I won't say no.[/p][p]Despite my thoughts as to what I could achieve the training must have paid off and maybe there's something positive about training in high humidity and heat in the weeks leading up to this. Today's conditions were absolutely perfect, 11 degrees C with a very slight breeze and no sun. The course as always was fantastic.[/p][p]I achieved a personal best of 1 hour, 26 minutes and 30 seconds, finishing 101st (provisional) overall out of 15661 runners and 13th in the Male Over 40 category. So given my target and sensible expectations, I'm very happy with that and oddly it felt reasonably comfortable.[/p][p]The training plan actually worked, in the sense that it gave some structure to 13 weeks of training, although it challenged my confidence in thinking is this really going to work when I just wasn't seeing that pace in my longer runs.[/p][p]That´s it, maybe time to retire from running ... or maybe not. But definitely time for a beer and that this opportunity hasn't gone to waste.[/p][p][br][/p][p]****** Week 13 Update ******[/p][p]A week today you'll be pleased to know that I'll stop the posting on my training updates. But I'll update on how I finished.[/p][p]Since returning from a warmer climate I've taken on the approach of tapering the training, rather forced by not having enough time to be honest.[/p][p]I received my runners number during the week and it's 1350 (Orange) and I'm starting in the first release wave at 9am. I remember last time starting about 2 seconds from the start line which made the running very free and unhindered without crowds especially in the first few kilometres. Mind you a quick pace is needed to keep it that way which I'm unsure about this time around. [/p][p]So, just a few more training runs this week, maybe one more interval/speed session to give some confidence or otherwise on the pace and then head to the run very early next Sunday morning.[/p][p]Well at least I'm only doing half the distance of those London Marathon participants today.[/p][p]And one final push to get over my sponsorship target so I'd like to encourage more sponsorship for Accuro if you can spare some funds with a thank you to those who have contributed so far and also to those who will.[/p][p][br][/p][p]****** Week 12 Update ******[/p][p]It's now just 2 weeks before the run and the overseas training camp is shortly to end. A couple of long training runs took place last week which were an improvement over earlier ones. The humidity hasn't been as high as previously but then again the weather has been pretty poor for those who like the sun. Where has it been? Behind the clouds actually.[/p][p]Pleased to report the various aches and pains are subsiding. Just need to be careful not to overdo in playing catch up with the speed work that's been missing over the last couple of weeks.[/p][p]The lengthy boardwalk down on the coast has proved invaluable in having a relatively flat terrain to work with. As I said before the hills are simply too steep without being acclimatised to the impact. [/p][p]So over the coming week I'll return to treadmill training; bizarrely I need a break from the repetitiveness of the boardwalk running. Looking forward to enjoy walking along it.[/p][p]I'll be really pleased to encourage more sponsorship for Accuro if you can spare some funds and a thank you to those who have contributed so far.[/p][p] [/p][p]****** Week 11 Update ******[/p][p]No real flat terrain, humidity and injury's on day one of overseas training has meant that the Runners World training plan has had to be adapted significantly. Day 1 - a 9km run, was a 3.5km downhill, 2km flat and a 3.5km uphill. The calves complained.[/p][p]Day 2 - a 30km flat run, back and forth along the 6.5km boardwalk. It was a real struggle. The calves were tightening and my pace was way off, almost 2 hours for the half marathon distance. I did subsequently realise the humidity was 91% and gave myself that as the excuse. More research suggested a 20%-30% performance impact in that humidity, so I'll take that.[/p][p]Day's 3-6 - very little running whilst I gave the calves a chance to ease.[/p][p]Day's 8 & 9. Learning (slowly) from the mistakes of the first few days I introduced a form of interval training. With very little flat roads I turned to running up in minute intervals, and walking back down. The next day what was meant to be a 19km run in 90 minutes was 17km in 95 minutes - humidity again very high.[/p][p]I'm hoping for some lower humidity over the next few days although the forecast of solid cloud and rain until the weekend at the earliest doesn't offer much hope.[/p][p]Still ... nothing to report negatively on the abductor, which is great news. So just need to keep working through.[/p][p]And another big thank you to everyone who has helped me raise money so far. The charity and I really appreciate this. As a reminder it´s for Accuro, who provide specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability in West Essex.[/p][p] [/p][p]****** Week 9 Update ******[/p][p]So, good news ... adductor still hanging on. Without jinxing it I think I've found the balance. Training hard and getting the physiotherapist to fix it each week. Actually no I'm being a bit more sensible than that, trying to take reasonable care in warming up/down and got going to heavy of the stretching. But still getting the physio.[/p][p]Training continues on the treadmill and since the last update it included an run of 25k (an eternity!) which is more that the 21.1km/13.1m half marathon. According to the plan this coming Sunday is a 30km plod for 2.5 hours!! Hmm now that is boring. Still, albeit on the treadmill, on the 25k run I passed the HM mark at a tad over 1 hour 45 minutes and felt I could have pick the pace up a little. So I'm very confident of making it around and it's work on the speed that's needed although feeling the the 1 hour 40 minutes target could be within sight.[/p][p]The interval training session is the toughest and the one I least look forward too. I can just about hang on with the speed but the recovery component isn't able to be achieved without a short walking pace element. [/p][p]I'm going to mix things up for the next couple of weeks with some hot weather training but I don't think I'll get away with calling it altitude training given the gym I'll be using is only 240 foot above sea level.[/p][p]Another huge thank you to everyone who has helped me raise money so far, the donations have started to build again this week. The charity and I really appreciate this. As a reminder it´s for Accuro, who provide specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability in West Essex.[/p][p][br][/p][p]****** Week 7 Update ******[/p][p]So, adductor hanging on, just. Ok I've not admitted to the physiotherapist that I'm running and probably need to ease off some of the over zealous stretching. Supplementing the aerobic side with in gym biking, rowing and HiiT.[/p][p]With less than 6 weeks to go I think the distance will be fine, it's the speed that's not there. 1 hour 40 remains a target but ... 1 hour 45 might have to be a realistic expectation. Anyway I'm aiming to knock the time down with careful interval training.[/p][p]Like before all training is being done on a treadmill and I'm having doubts about the effectiveness of the Runners World training plan. I'm considering taking control of it and seeing if I can exchange some of hard plan days to my own version akin to what worked before. I´ll report back ![/p][p]Thank you to everyone who has helped me raise money so far. The charity and I really appreciate this. As a reminder it´s for Accuro, who provide specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability in West Essex.[/p][p][br][/p][p]****** First post ******[/p][p]So, I'm getting myself off of the settee and will be participating in the 2021 Royal Parks Half Marathon on 10 October later in the year. Being lucky enough to secure a place in the ballot I feel it's only right to repay that luck by using this try to raise funds primarily for Accuro, a great charity who provide specialist services for children, young people and adults with a disability in West Essex.[/p][p]I had the opportunity to run this back in later 2015 and set my PB for the half 1h 28m 13s, eclipsing that which I had set back 28 years earlier. [/p][p]Clearly attempting to ignore the passage of time in my head I don't see why I can't beat it, but reality is likely to set me an expectation around 1h 40m. [/p][p]By way of an experiment I've decided to follow explicitly (well almost) a 13 week training plan constructed by Runners World. As I write this I have just completed Week 2 and I can report all is reasonable. Reasonable in the sense that I am getting physio treatment for an adductor pull 5 weeks back and a tweaked hamstring and that I shouldn't be running until mid-August. So let's see. I'll put up some occasional updates as to how the training is progressing. It's a stark difference to the technique that I used 6 years ago which was the crank up the speed on the treadmill and see how far I could go before I thought I was going to fall off the back.[/p][p]So, Accuro and I would be delighted if you are able to sponsor me to support those who will appreciate that extra bit of help in life. Someone said that the older you get the more tetchy we are .... if you sponsor me then I won't moan :-)[/p]
Royal Parks Half Marathon 10 Oct 2021 image 1
Royal Parks Half Marathon 10 Oct 2021 image 2
Royal Parks Half Marathon 10 Oct 2021 image 3

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Oct 21, 2021

Neil White

Almost forgot - great effort, great cause!


Oct 18, 2021



plus £1.25 Gift Aid

Oct 17, 2021


Well done. Lisa & Ian


plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Oct 12, 2021


Well done, you smashed it !


plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Oct 10, 2021



plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Oct 9, 2021

Carol and Melvyn

Good luck Mark xxx


Oct 8, 2021



plus £5.00 Gift Aid

Oct 7, 2021

Lynne S

Good Luck Mark!

Oct 5, 2021

Mark G

Good luck


plus £2.50 Gift Aid

Oct 5, 2021


Great cause... and all the best for your run Mark !!!


plus £7.50 Gift Aid

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