Archive for November, 2009

Sport’s science blog

November 30, 2009

I’m reading a very interesting book entitled “The Runner’s Body”. It is a sort of précis, for the general reader, of all manner of scientific research on the physiology of running. But more about the book later when I’ve finished it.

What I wanted to point out is the blog written by two of the authors of the book, Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas. It is an excellent and informative blog called “The Science of Sport” and it is full of “scientific comment and analysis of sporting performance”.

It is well worth reading !

Posted by Xavier


Breast Cancer Charity Run

November 22, 2009

I had expected a quiet post race season but that’s not the way it is turning out !

Yesterday, a group of us joined in a running and spinning event at the gym I go to in Brussels called Aspria to raise money for research into breast cancer cures and treatment. We booked a treadmill for eight hours but we were victims of our own success and ended up colonising other treadmills when a slot fell vacant.

It was a huge lot of fun : a guitarist, a drummer, a DJ and even a couple of dancers provided entertainment as we ran and span.

I don’t know how yet much money we all raised but the organisers seemed very pleased with how it was turning out.

As for the running part, I simply couldn’t stop and ran for five hours – two hours, followed by a break for an hour or so and then another block of three hours or near enough. I had never run for so long in a single day before. In truth, 24 hours later, I feel great today !

Posted by Xavier

Athens Classic Marathon: End of Season

November 9, 2009

That’s it, the season’s over. It is sort of sad but it ends on a high note !

I ran the Athens Classic Marathon on Sunday. What a truly magnificent race it was too.

It starts in the town of Marathon and follows the same route as the one used for the 2004 Olympics. It also more or less follows the route taken by Pheidippides (or Phidippides, or again Philippides) when he ran from Marathon to Athens in 490 B.C. to announce the victory of the Greeks over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon.

The race ends in the magnificent Panathinaiko Stadium built in white marble for the first modern Olympics in 1896. That is also the place where remains of an ancient stadium used for the original Olympic Games in ancient Greece were excavated.

The course was quite hard. The start is near the sea and the finish in Athens is 110 m higher. In between are several long climbs, just to keep things interesting.

Tthe organisation was very good: plenty of buses to take runners from Athens to the start, refreshments and water every 2.5 kms. Dozens of cheerful, dedicated volunteers handed out bottles and provided encouragement. There was even a stand at the airport to greet runners and give them a free card for public transport during the weekend. Greek hospitality at its best !

And what a collection of runners too ! Russians, Americans, Canadians, Japanese, Colombians (in some flash kit printed in Greek and Spanish), Italians, Spanish, French, Belgians, British. Greeks of course. And those were just the amateurs !

My own race was something special. I loved every minute of it. What a pleasure to follow such an historic route! Above all, I met a young English runner, Duncan, who is in the armed forces, on the bus and we discovered we both wanted to run at about the same pace. So off we went together, keeping each other company the whole way. Running with someone like that makes a big difference and I would not have achieved another personal best with Duncan’s company.

The trip to Athens was also the opportunity to catch up with co-blogger Maria who ran the 5 km race that was organised at the same time.

Posted by Xavier

Final Countdown to Athens

November 2, 2009

It is the final countdown to the Athens Classic Marathon. It will take place on Sunday 8th and it will be the third and final marathon of my autumn season.

I’m really looking forward to it. I have to confess that I’m a little apprehensive about this flu business and an annoying ache in my heels. With a bit of luck, though ….

Posted by Xavier