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Running column: Embrace the pain... Mark Armstrong is feeling inspired after the Valentine's 10K

PUBLISHED: 06:00 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:36 22 February 2019

Matthew Stone digs deep on the home straight at the Valentine's 10K last Sunday. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Matthew Stone digs deep on the home straight at the Valentine's 10K last Sunday. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

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Running columnist Mark Armstrong feels ready to hurt himself, in a good way, after watching the Valentine's 10K

Nothing quite demonstrates the pleasure/pain principle as running.

There’s no getting away from it, as fun as it is to run, sometimes it really hurts.

I’m not talking about injuries, I’m referring to the kind of hurt you experience in the latter stages of a race… when everything in your body is just telling you to stop.

With taking my foot off the pedal, race wise, this year to focus on only a few events it’s given me the chance to cover more of the races in our region.

The Valentine’s 10K was the latest race I went to at the weekend and I was able to see first hand how our runners are willing to put it all on the line in pursuit of cutting a few seconds off their time.

No-one demonstrated this more than Ryan Davidson (Bure Valley Harriers), who came fourth overall.

As he crossed the finish line Ryan slumped to the floor for a good minute, long enough for a couple of marshals to grow concerned.

He was absolutely fine, just exhausted from the sheer effort he had just put in.

I’ve got so much respect for anyone that is willing to put themselves through that much pain, just for a race.

I like to think that I rather enjoy the pain of racing but I’ve got nothing on these guys towards the front, male or female… perhaps this is why they are so much quicker than me!

I had the pleasure of talking to race walker Tom Bosworth, who was the special guest at Sportlink last weekend, and I got talking to him about what he thinks about when the going gets really tough in a race.

He highlighted how important it is to distinguish between what is ‘good pain’ and ‘bad pain’.

Injury or illness falls into the ‘bad pain’ category and you should immediately stop if this is the case but in talking to Tom you could tell there was a pleasure he takes during a race when it gets to the ‘good pain’ part.

“If I know I’ve only got a few kilometres to go then I think this is what I’ve trained for – how much do you want it to hurt?

“This pain is probably going to last for another 12 minutes, the pain of not winning a medal is going to last a lot longer than that.”

MORE: Check out our 2019 race calendar here

This is arguably what sets the elite apart from the rest – the places they are willing to go, both physically and mentally, when you are straining every sinew to keep moving forwards.

It’s something that I’m trying to take into my training for the Greater Manchester Marathon. As well as the training has gone so far (and long may this continue) I know there will come a point in the race where my body will be telling me to stop.

I’m both dreading and excited about this scenario in equal measure.

How I deal with that situation will determine whether I deem it to be a success or failure. In previous marathons in the last few miles I’ve got to the stage where I no longer care about what time I do, I just want it to end.

I don’t want to lose control as I have in previous efforts, which is why it’s so important in the next few weeks that I nail down my marathon pace in my training.

If it’s hurting I can ask myself ‘how much do I want it?’

If I care about the answer then I’m doing something right.

n I couldn’t let this column go without mentioning the reaction of Coltishall Jaguar Emma Blake at the end of the Valentine’s 10K. She had just posted a fantastic time of 40:51, which was enough to win the female V40 age category.

Upon finishing she sunk to her knees and let out an almost primal ‘YES!’

It was fantastic to see and you could tell in that moment how hard she had worked to get that result.

Well done Emma – you’re awesome!

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