Neil Featherby: Age is just a number, isn’t it?

Happy birthday to Neil Featherby - centre. Picture: Neil Featherby

Happy birthday to Neil Featherby - centre. Picture: Neil Featherby - Credit: Archant

Coming to terms with age is something I have always struggled with.

If anything this is one of the reasons I dedicated my column a few weeks ago to some of those elderly athletes who are still running fantastic times whilst still in their 70s and 80s. However, and as we know, there are certain things we are powerless to change and what with me turning 60 this week, let's just say I am caught between feeling a little deflated and at the same time perhaps just thinking, 'let's see what life there may still be in this old body of mine yet'.

Knowing six months ago this big milestone was approaching, I set about increasing the training load to see just how quickly I could run a mile again and whilst I knew the days of sub-five minutes have gone, I was still confident that with some real hard work I could get close to a target which I set myself, that being 5:14, which is the pace I averaged when I ran my marathon PB just over 31 years ago.

In all honesty this may have been a case of where the brain is willing and the body isn't, but I was still determined to have a go. I also decided to do a 60-miler which, in truth, was never going to be a problem. However, I went down with a nasty chest infection early November which is still causing me one or two issues, but when the big day arrived on Tuesday it was in my mind to still have a crack at the mile, albeit on my treadmill.

A brief warm-up followed by a treadmill setting of 11.7mph and I was away. Initially it felt comfortable, but after just one minute I could feel the lactic acid building up in my legs whereby the minus button was hit and kept getting pressed for the remainder of the run until it was just over 10mph. I managed a sub-six, but boy was I blowing, which was what shocked me most.


You may also want to watch:


I really do not like defeat, but with the issues I have had during the last couple of months, I have decided to give myself a few more weeks and give it one more good go. If I fail, so be it; I will resign myself to the fact I have many good years of running behind me and will just continue to plod the miles with my five dogs each day whilst accepting the fact I am aging. But failure is not in my vocabulary so watch this space!

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter