I started jogging after I entered a UK TV quiz called the Krypton Factor. One of the parts of this show was a physical fitness test over an army assault course in the hills near Manchester. Every contestant was given an 8 week "get fit" program. I played badminton and squash regularly so I was sure I was fit. Ha !

On my first jog I didn't get 800 meters before I had to stop. I tried to follow the training course but parts of it were beyond me, particularly when it came to what I now know was interval training. I remember standing at Stretford stadium absolutely shattered after 3 of the 10 400 meter laps I was supposed to do. Intervals haven't got any easier since !

I won my heat of the assault course (but lost the quiz on the very last question) and continued jogging. When we moved to Jeddah I joined the Hash House Harriers (a very social version of Hares and Hounds) and Jeddah Road Runners. I still wasn't very fit but when the JRR scheduled the first Jeddah marathon I decided to train for it. That did get me fit and my times dropped quickly. I finished the marathon strongly and clocked 3:26:04 (under my 3 and a half hour target).

These 3 photos were taken near the end of the first Jeddah marathon. I trained hard and paced it well but after passing many people between 32K and 40K I realised that I was on my own for the last 2K (photo left). With 1K to go it was really hurting (middle) - the finish line (right) was a great pick-me-up ;-)

I continued racing and found I was quite good at it. A little faster than Mr. Average and competitive within my ability range. My target became a sub 40:00 10K and I finally managed 39:53.

In the early 80's there were no English language TV stations available in Saudi so most of our social life in Jeddah took place with friends from the Hash and the JRR. Here are some photos:

These next 4 photos show the "A" team and the "B" team (from 2 separate years) for the Jeddah 24 hour relay (a team of 10 of us ran continuously 24 hours).

The long and the short.... me and Kevin Wickman. Kev never beat me ;-)

Mounting my camel - no comments required ;-)

I'd had flu and couldn't race flat out so I agreed to pace Dave Zebedee to try and get him under 6:00 in the Jeddah Mile

An illegal drinks party......(Kevin, Mary, Marion, Rosa and Jeff Clarke)

The next 4 photos show us at a Xmas party at Kevin and Mary's

Kevin and Mary Wickman

Seamus & Anne-Marie Robinson

Tommy & Marion Back

Us !

Our leaving Jeddah do

Our leaving Jeddah do (Liz straight ahead in green)

I still jog regularly (very early in the morning when it's as cool as possible) but I no longer race very much. For the last few years I've run for the Fast and Frisky 40's team in the Bahrain Marathon Relay charity race. We're a mix of Brits and Americans, most of whom work in Aramco, and our name's no accident - most of us used to be reasonably fast but regretably those days are now dim and distant memories for all but Trevor. Todd, our Californian captain, sets the team standard and is friskiness personified - however it's fair to say that of the 3 F's only the last is wholly accurate as all our runners are over 40 and most over 50.

Latest: I only needed to do 5 more legs to have run the entire relay course but they've gone and changed the route ! This year the race is on Friday 1st November and is only 16 legs rather than the previous 20. The good news is that the lovely finish straight along past the Holiday Inn and the SAS Radisson Diplomat Hotel has been restored. I've started the usual last-minute get-fit by running more but it's unlikely I'll improve on last year's abysmally slow performances - 13:25 for leg 8 (3K) and even more for leg 20.

Postscript: I never raced 3K when I was in Jeddah but I recall doing the first 3K of a 5K race in 11:24 (4K in 15:12 and 5K in 19:11) and I've done a mile (1.6K) in 5:15 so at my best I'm fairly sure I could have broken 11:00 ! - I'll get depressed if I think about this too much !

Bahrain Marathon Relay site Ex Jeddah Hash site





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