At last weeks Armagh 5km, 94 men ran under 15 minutes. This astounding depth is part of the reason the race is one of the most talked about races on the early season calendar. I can attest that it is a crazy race to take part of. I have only run in the race once, but my experience tallies with that of those who have run it many times. It is run with your foot to the floor the whole way as there is always someone there to push the pace on the front. With the race taking in five short laps of the mall, the encouragement from the crowd is always there pushing you onwards. I had a great time there last year and I had been looking forward to lining up on that start line again this year but a sore hamstring meant that I made the call to sit this one out.

Despite sitting out more races than I would have liked already this winter, I know this was the right call. I’m already back running, feeling good and everything seems to be back to normal (touch wood). There are always more races on the horizon and I hope to put some of the frustration of missing out on Armagh towards good performances in the months ahead.

As an athlete, I train to race. I enjoy the training, sure. But I wouldn’t put half the effort in if it weren’t for the carrot of racing. Regardless of the result, there is something liberating about racing – you have to put your neck on the line and test yourself. This is also one of the reasons I enjoy running different disciplines wherever possible, I get to test myself against different distance, terrain and competitors. Every race requires something different and I think this helps me overall. Over the next couple of weeks I will compete on the mud (Scottish National XC) and then the road (The Big Half) before putting in a solid block of orienteering training for the highlight of the domestic orienteering season (The JK). I’m feeling fit and hungry to race.

Forfar Multi Terrain Half Marathon – Photo: John Mill