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Racing back to fitness at Parliament Hill  – 30 January 2010

David Long reports on his excellent WAC race debut

Parliament Hill was certainly a place not to forget. The sun was shining; the mud was glistening and the hill, well, looked big. The first race was the Under 15 boys, which I was participating in. Being my first time running in the South of Englands, I didn’t know what to expect. This was certainly a longer race than many of the others I had done and so it was a new experience. The ground was icy in places then a foot deep of mud in others.

The WAC base at Parliament Hill

After warming up, putting on all necessary equipment and preparing myself, we went down to the bottom of the hill for the start of the race. We first completed a ‘chip check’ for time recording purposes, another new experience. The atmosphere before the start was tense. The line was spread out along a wide stretch of ground. There were many people of different sizes, statures and height. Some looked like they were about to hit you with aggression, others looked as feeble as a fly, even Jack and I seemed to stand out, although we hadn’t a clue what we were doing, usually Callum sorts us out but he was unfortunately ill on the day. But at the end of the day, we were here to race…

About seven months beforehand, I was diagnosed with osteochondritis (don’t worry it’s not contagious) that is also named Freiberg’s disease. Cool huh. It’s basically a flattened metatarsal head located on my middle toe of my foot. It swelled up and the pain became too much to bear while running. We began seeing a physiotherapist to try and diagnose my, at the time, unknown injury. We believed it to be numerous things, from a broken toe to Morton’s neuroma. Although a good pain relief was ultra-sound. We finally gave up and chose to go to a specialist to get it thoroughly checked out. The verdict was Freiberg’s disease and I wasn’t allowed to run for, an apparent, six months. Within two months of resting and ultra-sound twice a week, I was back running. The pain was being controlled and I loved being back, although within the two months, I had lost a lot of fitness. From being able to knock off six 400m in an average of 79 seconds, to only just about able to get a seventh place in my school’s cross-country race. Many of guys, I use to beat consistently by two minutes were now beating me by three minutes. It was certainly an eye-opener.

I soon got back into running and continued to run consistently, while receiving constant support from my dad, I suppose he should get a mention. Within a few months back I was running 20 miles a week and for the last few weeks, is now 30 miles a week. That included, some quality sessions, some free runs, and a good long Sunday run, which was key. This meant improvement was bound to come.

…I was off on the ‘B’ for ‘bang’, and found the hill to be a true hill. Nothing like ‘Stone Lane’ or such, which were much like pansy hills compared. Once over the top, we started to run, then up the next hill through the trees, then around the meadow part, up what can only be described as ‘sinking mud’, then though a forest part and then down a hill so steep you couldn’t help but feel ‘I’m gonna get a face full of mud any second’ from tripping over. Then finally down the home straight to the finish.

David in full flight, averaging near 7 min./miles on a muddy and hilly course

My position was 144, which was very pleasing. Many of the boys, who had beaten me quite convincingly, were now behind me, and even some that were beating me even before my injury by two minutes, were now only a minute in front. The painful ‘62 mph capped’ minibus ride was totally worth it!

Then all the other junior races went off, from which I hear great results. Then finally at the end of the day, the senior women and men went off. Even more pleasing results, although, a certain person needs to start running up the hills faster and stop having a chat with supporters while racing, CRAIG!

Overall, a very good day had by, I believe, all. Thanks to Ian for making the day such a success and to the many others that helped organise and drive minibuses, etc.

Here is the link of the Garmin Connect site that has my run on it:



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