Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap

In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)


There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!


Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.


Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.


So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!



Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

Great Edinburgh Winter 5k Run

In Which I Wasn’t Expecting To Go So Far Up

Saturday morning. Odd day for a race, a Saturday. I think every other race I’ve taken part in has been on a Sunday. Probably because there was a televised cross country run around the same area later on in the day, but still. A Saturday. 

We woke up around 7am then snoozed til around 7:20, as is the tradition. I got up and made myself and Hayley a wonderful home made breakfast (microwave burger to share, I normally have one to myself but as it was only a 5k that felt greedy.)

Got to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived (handy) and stayed on it for around 40 minutes before getting off quite near Holyrood park where the run was taking place. (Which is obviously why we got off there…)

Ten minutes steady walk and a quick look around then it was pretty much time to line up for the warm up. I don’t usually take part in the warm up for two reasons:

1. I use the first mile as my warm up, and:

2. I don’t want to look like a knob.

However! I took part this time for two reasons:

1. It was a 5km run so not long enough to use a mile as a warm up, and:

2. It was chuffing freezing.

Warm up done, it was go time. I’ve not been around this area so much but figured that it would be a lap of Arthur’s Seat and so nice and steady. Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and popular with climbers, it’s not too hard to get to the top. (Been there, done that.) The views from the top of Edinburgh are amazing. 

Back to the run! Started off easy enough, nice and flat route for a few minutes then we turned a corner and… hill. Big hill. BIG hill! Should’ve checked the route.

Turns out the first mile included 200ft of climb. And I felt every foot. In my feet. And legs. But the views from the top were amazing. There was a bloke playing bagpipes at the top and he must’ve had a lift up because otherwise he would’ve not had enough air in his lungs to play. 

The down hill section was fun though. Not done many 5k races and so it seemed over very quick. Especially the last mile. Before I knew it I was over the line and getting my goody bag with a brand new medal and t-shirt. 

Found Hayley easy enough and we watched a few of the runners finishing before heading off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast and to recover. 

I love food. Normally, right around now I’d show you the medal draped over a cool, refreshing pint of lager. Unfortunately I’m still doing Dry January so here’s my medal with diet coke instead. 

Looks just as good, right?

Next Up: Mad Dog 10k on Feb 4th. Can’t WAIT!

Scottish 10k Recap 24th Sept 2017

In Which I’m Not In Berlin 

Quick catch up:

I’d signed up to run Berlin marathon for charity, and agreed to raise £500 for the cause. The marathon was yesterday, in Berlin, but I wasn’t in Berlin and I definitely wasn’t a marathon. (How would that even work? Why would you even think that?)

The reason I wasn’t in Berlin is because I was in Scotland. The reason I was in Scotland is that I now actually live in Scotland, and so find myself quite often in Scotland, what with living there and all that. I work there too! In Scotland.

“But you live in Yorkshire! In England!” You cry. 

No. Scotland now. Keep up.

ANYWAY that’s why I wasn’t in Berlin, because I’d met a wee Scottish lassie and we decided to move here (Scotland) last month. Moving ain’t cheap, and so Berlin has been deferred until next year. The charity is fine with this, which is good.

So what with living and working in Scotland (Edinburgh to be precise) I looked for a run somewhere around to take my mind off Berlin and found a run three miles from my front door. Can’t get much more local than that!


The 10k route was a relativity flat, out and back route starting and finishing at Musselburgh race course, just outside Edinburgh (in Scotland.) Hayley (wee Scottish lassie) dropped me at the race course at 8:40 and went off to park up while I lined up and watched people stretch and looked at clouds and stuff. 

There was a half marathon going on too which started a way away but finished at the same bit as the 10k which meant less runners doing the 10k. Just over a thousand (according to results.)

Turns out I must’ve been quite confident on signing up as I was right behind the elites. Bet they felt nervous when they saw me looking all athletic and with my number hanging off.

Few minutes to go. Minute to go. Ten seconds. Go.

Hayley and her little sisters were at the start cheering me on and the elites sped off into the distance like the chuffing show offs that they are.

I wanted under 50 minutes but decided the run the first half on feel and without looking at my watch. Needed a pace of around 8 minutes a mile to get under 50. The weather was nice and overcast and at 2km I was feeling quite well.

This event would be ideal for someone’s first 10k run due to the lack of hills, but unfortunately there was a lack of support on the route. A few people were knocking around outside their houses but nothing major. Unless they were all waiting on the 1/2 marathoners coming by later? How should I know, do your own research.

4k went by then before long the turn around and the 5k sign. I was averaging 7:45 a mile! Quicker than I thought! Just realised that this is gonna be a very boring post as not much happened. Didn’t see any fancy dress or cats or anything so if that’s what you’re after then you probably want a refund.

Got a bit of an ache in my right knee so took it a bit easier as York marathon is coming up next month. Walked a little at each km marker and had a sip of water too. Before long, race course was back in view and I could see the end. Gave Hayley a wave as a flew by and then I was done!

WELL under my 50 minute target! Chuffed! Rest of the day was spent relaxing, visiting, and drinking beer. Standard recovery.

Next up: York Marathon! (5th year in a row!)

Who’s This Now…?

In Which I Make My Triumf Triumpfi Tryumph Happy Return

Check check… Is this thing on?

Hi. You may remember me from such blog posts as “that race recap” and “that other race recap.” Its been a while though, and your memory isn’t what it used to be, so let me remind you.

I’m Marc Hemingway and I’m a runner.


Hail Hydra

You look nice today.

So where have I been! Nowhere really, I did York Marathon (was aiming for sub4hours) and didn’t write up my race recap. Not sure why, it was always in the back of my mind to do it but as the days turned into weeks, other races were raced, and I thought “I can’t recap this race til I recap York Marathon.” Before you know it, seven months have gone by since you SMASHED YOUR TARGET OF A SUB FOUR HOUR MARATHON (3:59:15 to be exact.)

Not long before it I got a new 10k PB (old one was 50:12) of 47:57 in my home town run in Bradford.

Since then I’ve run three official 1/2 marathons, Mad Dog 10k for the fourth year in a row, a few 5ks (one dressed as Santa) and got a new 5k PB of 23 minutes dead.


Just like REM, that's me in the corner

Not sure what else I can tell you apart from I’ll be back to my old style updates constantly now, and that I’m training for a 24hr run in August which will be… Holy balls…

Thank you to everyone who’s messaged asking why I’ve not updated for ages, and hope you have managed without me. You’ll be ok now.

(Also, I almost adopted a duck. But you knew that.)

Bradford 10k recap – 27th Sept 2015

In Which I Do A Home Town Run

Got picked up by Ironman Tony and Susan just after 8. Just after just after 8, we came back as I’d forgotten my arm pouch for my phone.

We parked up in Bradford town centre and walked the few minutes to Centenary Square, as the race was starting in front of the town hall. 

Running the 10k, along with about 800 others, were:

  • Me
  • Ironman Tony
  • Ironman Rob
  • Ironman Robs sister, Sarah
  • Ashley from work

Tony and Rob had their Lanzarote Tri club tops on and ended up getting interviewed for the Bradford  radio station, as you do…

Then it was go time. It was Ashley’s first ever 10k run so I started off with him for the first half mile or so, then I left him behind. (Meant in the nicest way.) 

The route took us by the new Westfield shopping centre, then up a bit of a hill through Little Germany (where I saw no Germans, of ANY size.)

We then got onto Canal Rd where the main stretch of the run was taking place, out and back. I wanted to keep 8min/mile pace as my PB was 50:21 and that pace would get me just under 50 minutes.

My hill practicing paid off at around 3km as there was a hill that wasn’t advertised, but I kept the same pace up it as on the flat. Running at 7:54 a mile! Wouldn’t be long before my body realised I was going too fast though.

Although it hadn’t by the time I reached the turn around, so was waiting for it. I took a jelly baby off a spectator (it was offered, didn’t just steal it) and then grabbed some water from the water station. Averaging 7:52 a mile…

As I’m from Bradford I could picture the last few miles in my head and so it seemed easier than other runs. Before long I was approaching the town centre, along Market street, sprint finish and done! I’d love to have more to say about the course but it’s pretty much just one long road out and back with not much to see. Oh! There were a couple of bands! Will that do you?

Official time, AND NEW PB…


VERY happy! Two minutes quicker than I hoped and almost 2.5 minutes off my last official PB


L-R: Sarahs friend (dunno her name), Sarah, Rob, Me, Tony

Afterwards we went into Lloyd’s bar to rehydrate:


And had a bit of food too. Then three more pints… Well earned!

Next race: York Marathon on 11th October… Eek!!

In Other News

A stray cat seems to have decided she now lives with us. Seems nice enough. 


In Which I Get Back On Track (Not A Running Track, But Back On Track Running)

It’s been a fair few weeks since I didn’t start at Ironman UK and it took me a week or so to get my head sorted out and to get over the disappointment. York marathon is on the horizon however, so I can’t be too lazy.

I’ve not touched my bike or a swimming pool (my wet suit is still to get wet) and instead have been concentrating on running. I didn’t do much for the rest of July, but am over 50 miles so far for August. Aiming to finish on around 70-75, then to hit 100 in September, then try get under 4 hours for York marathon. Hence, #ProjectSub4 !!

My times over the last few years are:

2013: 4:48

2014: 4:27

2015: ……3:59? 

Last week I had a steady 10 mile run planned after a 12 hour shift at work. I set off from work and ran towards Shipley with my Nike+ app on loud. When I got to 3 miles it said it’d run it in 24:59… Bit quicker than I normally go!

Then a little voice popped into my head saying ‘ooo, hurry it up a bit and you could get a new 10k PB..!’

Stupid voice, making me work hard.

But, I listened. And I ran quicker. And I hurt and sweat and wanted to stop, but I didn’t. And I did this: 

A brand new personal best and MY FIRST EVER SUB 50 10k!!!

My mile splits perfectly negative, each mile quicker than the last:

  1. 8:28
  2. 8:17
  3. 8:14
  4. 7:55
  5. 7:42
  6. 7:09

No idea where that last one came from! Need to get a decent long run in this week of around 10-12 miles or so and keep working towards a sub 4 hour marathon and get back into regular blogging.

Hope you’ve not missed me too much..!

Ironman UK 19th July 2015

In Which There’s No Happy Ending

Friday 17th July

Leaving it late as always, I chose two days before the Ironman triathlon to try on my wetsuit that Ironman Tony had given me. It was too small. At least I had plenty of time to find a new one, eh!

Today was registration, race briefing and expo day. Myself, Sarah, Tony and Susan made our way to Bolton with Tony driving. We parked up at Reebok Stadium (Macron Stadium now) and found the registration tent. (Wasn’t hard, it was quite big.) 

I handed over my I.D. and received my race stuff in this:


Awesome rucksack!

They also put this on me to mark me as an entrant:

  I went to the Scope stand (the charity that I’m racing for) and had a bit of a chat with them. They gave us a load of supporters tshirts and banners and stuff which was nice of them.

Tony had told me I’d be able to get a bargain on a new wet suit at the expo so found someone selling them and tried one on. The only changing area they had was a tiny, tall tent, probably around a metre square, with nowhere to sit and nothing to hold on to. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried on a wetsuit, but that wasn’t ideal conditions to put one on… Even harder when I took it off and I almost went over, with the wetsuit around my ankles! Anyway, it fit and I handed over £82. (Checked later on the website and the same wetsuit was £189, so it was a bargain!)

Bought myself a race number belt and an official Ironman UK 2015 tshirt with my name amongst everyone else’s.

After the expo it was time for the race briefing where they went through the rules and regulations and had a few guests talking about stuff. It went on for like an hour. 

After that we went for food and I had a mixed grill. Quite nice too.

Saturday 18th July

I woke up with a stiff back. Must’ve slept funny. Hurt a bit getting down the stairs but wasn’t worried. Spent the morning getting all my kit bags ready. They give you four bags, one to carry your stuff there, one for between the swim and the bike, one for between the bike and the run and one ‘special needs’ bag which you fill with anything you might need when in the bike. As the bike was two loops, you went by the needs bag twice. I filled it with gels, cereal bars, cans of coke and ham and cheese croissants. 

One of the coolest things they give you is race tattoos for your arms. I put these on too.

Then Tony arrived and we loaded up and set off back to Bolton where you needed to go rack your bike and hand in your race bags.

Went to Pennington Flash first where the swim would take place and the cycling would begin. I got out the van and my back was worse. It was a bit painful to walk. Ah well, I was sure it’d pass.

Here was where I dropped off my blue bag which contained my cycling stuff (helmet, gloves, shoes, gels etc) and racked my bike next to my number. 

Got my timing chip and then we went to Reebok stadium to drop off my red (run) bag. I was still stiff and sore so after dropping off my bag I took advantage of one of the masseurs (not like that!) Told her where the pain was and she concentrated on that area. It chuffing hurt. I told myself I’d be back to normal in the morning, but I wasn’t convinced.

Home, then, and an early night (half 7!) as I was getting picked up by Tony at 3am!

Sunday 19th July – Race Day

All the months of training had led to this day. All the hours or swimming, cycling or running instead of being in the pub or asleep had led me here. To today.

I didn’t sleep well due to the pain in my back. It hurt getting out of bed and when I was getting dressed it hurt so much I let out a cry of pain. Decided to see how I was when we got to Bolton.

Tony arrived just after 3am and I told him how I felt. Sarah saw us off and we drove the hour to Bolton pretty much in silence. Parked up at the stadium where there was a bus taking people to the start. They were taking athletes first so I told Tony I’d get there and find a medical tent to get looked at. The bus was full of nervous energy and anxious faces. 

Arriving at the swim start I went and had a word with a paramedic who prodded me a bit in the back of an ambulance.

“If you were just running a marathon today with this pain, would you go through with it?” He asked.

“Umm, probably not…” I replied.

“So you think you’ll run a marathon after swimming and then cycling 112 miles do you?”

“I… I don’t really know.”

He looked at me. “No, you won’t. You’ll end up causing lasting damage. I know it’s crap, but there’s always other races. Don’t do this one.”

I said “thank you” quietly and got out of the ambulance. I text Tony to say I wasn’t racing. I was gutted.

I met up with Tony, along with Sarah, Susan and Hannah and said I needed to go get my bag and bike. We walked back to the bus area as the announcer was shouting that Ironman UK 2015 had begun and everyone was entering the lake. It was a long walk back.

Busses weren’t transporting people back to the stadium until 9:30am so we asked at a hotel for them to call us a taxi. Not long later a minibus arrived with a taxi driving telling us to hurry up as, due to the road closures, he’d told the marshals that he had to pick up a pregnant woman so they’d let him through. On the way back he lied to every marshal to make sure we could get back through the road closures (bless him!) and he chatted friendly all the way. 

I approached the entrance to where I’d dropped my red bag the day before and it was pouring rain. I could see someone inside the expo tent so approached to ask about getting my bag back. A woman came out. This is actually the conversation:

Me: I’ve had to pull out of the race and am wanting to get my red bag back?

Her: What?

Me: (repeated the above)

Her: You’ll have to find a race organiser.

Me: Where is there one?

Her: At the swim start.

Me: Is there anyone here I can talk to?


Me: What?

Her: (actually ushering me out with her arms stretched out) PLEASE LEAVE THIS AREA.

Nice woman. (Is not the phrase Tony used to describe her.) We went round to the far side of the baggage tent to see if anyone was inside. There was, as it happens, a very friendly Welsh lad. I explained it to him and he said he’d ask his supervisor. I asked if it was the woman in the expo tent and he said ‘ah, you’ve met her then?’ I looked back at the expo tent and could see her looking over at us. 

He told us that she’s told him we have to wait until about 12 o clock for my bag. 5 1/2 hours away. While we were chatting her voice came over the radio.

Her: ARE THEY STILL THERE? (She could see us.)

Him: Yeah they are.


Him: (confused) No?


I thanked the Welsh guy and we went back towards the van. As we got around the other side, I saw a woman enter the tent area. She asked if we were ok and I explained. No problem, she said, I’ll get your bag. Before handing it over she checked it against my wristband and that was that. 25 minutes trying before she arrived, took about 2 1/2 minutes for her to sort it out. Cow from earlier watched us the whole time. Wish I’d stuck my middle finger up.

Drove home and updated my Facebook. Got lots of nice messages of support. Soon as it was an okayish time I started on the beer.

I was expecting to end the day as an Ironman, not recording a DNS (Did Not Start) but it wasn’t to be this time. So what now? Well, York marathon is just under 12 weeks away and I have no triathlons on the horizon. I want to start running again but my back is still killing me so can’t do that. Having a lazy few days. 

Thank you to everyone for your support throughout this journey, all the comments and likes I get seriously motivate me, but obviously now it’s not ended yet.

It won’t be ending until I’m an Ironman.


(Cue Rocky-esq training montage)