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Member of the Month - Nelly

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pedroscalls asks: Congratulations on winning MoTM. My question is, if time or money was no object is there a route or race you would love to go and do?

Nelly says: Thanks pedroscalls. My best friend moved to the US a number of years ago, and up until recently he lived near to Crater Lake, so I'd have loved to have combined a visit to see him with running the marathon as it looks stunning (see www.craterlakerimruns.com) but I think I've missed that opportunity now. So, I think it will have to be Comrades, as everything I hear about the whole experience sounds fantastic.
milemonster asks: Marathon Talk question : From today, 6 months perfect training, what do you think you could do for a mile?

Nelly says: Interesting question milemonster, and despite being a Marathon Talk listener something I've not really considered doing. As my shortest race (since middle school at least) is 5k it'll have to be an educated guess, although one thing I'm sure of is it'll be no way near as quick as you! My 5k PB pace is 6:02mm, but with a 6-month focus on pure speed work, I'll say 5:19.
B Rubble asks: Congratulations, well deserved MOTM. So now that the 3:15 is in the bag what is the next target, is there a longer term goal and how do you plan to get there?

Nelly says: Thanks BR. The long term goal is sub 3, so the next target is a step in the right direction towards that (although exactly how much of a step is still to be determined). Given HR training seemed to work so well in the build-up to the sub 3:15 then I'll be sticking with that, so the plan is more of the same for now.
HappyG(rrr) asks: Congrats Nelly and on training and executing perfectly to get your marathon time goal. My question - how important is time and performance in running for you, versus just being out and enjoying fresh air and general fitness? Congrats again. :-) G

Nelly says: Thanks :-)G and thanks for the difficult question! I love the whole process of working towards and ultimately hitting a time goal, and the sense of achievement that comes with it, as I am a competitive person who likes to test himself. But equally, from an early age I've always done at least one sport regularly, so fitness is a very important part of my life. And I love the different highs than running (not racing) can give me, whether that's running a 20-miler on a cold wet winter Sunday night, or seeing wild rabbits jumping out of my way as I'm the only person to run along the Transpennine Trail. So without targets and performance I'd still do something in the outdoors to keep fit and enjoy the fresh air but I can't hand on heart say it would definitely be running. That said, hopefully I've got many more years of performances to come yet (maybe my targets will switch at some point to WAVA related, or distance, from time targets).
DuncanG asks: What do you think was the key thing that made this year's Manchester attempt more successful than all of those 'shorter' races? And should shorter races be reserved for those under a certain height?

Nelly says: I'm convinced the single biggest thing was standing on the start line with the self-belief that 3:15 was possible/probable, I just needed to execute on the day. This is in contrast to previous attempts where I've always missed a few weeks through injury, and not been quite so committed, so have previously stood on the start line more hoping 3:15 was possible than believing it.
Having personally spoken (via email) to the AUKCM, the whole "short courses" is such a disappointment for everyone concerned. However, I do think everybody over 7ft tall should have been told in advance ;-)
jennywren asks: Congratters Nelly! So pleased for you. So. When are you going to sort out Xtra Mile Events - they need your consultancy skils :-)

Nelly says: Thanks Jenny. They do seem to have been unlucky with some circumstances, but could definitely improve in other areas, most notably their communication. Hopefully 2017 will be the year with no mishaps!
Autumnleaves asks: Congratulations and well deserved :) Which is your favourite race and why?

Nelly says: Thanks AL. That's any easy one... Greater Manchester Marathon, because I love the fact a "major race" passes within 200m of my house so my family can walk down the road and support me so easily. It also brings great benefit to the local community, in terms of the financial benefits of bringing thousands of people to the area, but more so the community spirit it fosters in the local people who come out and support the runners. And with the exception of the biblical conditions of 2012, it's normally a nice day. Finally, as a runner targeting PBs it is fast and flat course, and I have the added advantage of being able to do as many long runs as I want on the race route, so I know the course like the back of my hand.
Huntsman asks: Well deserved winner. In my opinion you built a decent mileage base before training and then went injury free through the training schedule. What's next? Are you going to jump into a sub 3 hour attempt for your next campaign? If you're not what are going for and are you going to change anything about your next marathon training schedule? Lots of questions :-)

Nelly says: Thanks Hunts'. I did miss about a weeks worth of training due to illness, and my target build-up race was also affected, but I arrived on the start line knowing I'd prepared as well as possible. I think jumping straight into a sub 3 campaign is unrealistic, as this years improvement was "only" 5mins, so the next target will probably be around 3:10ish (to be confirmed closer to the time). Given how well everything went this campaign then I don't plan on making any significant changes to my next marathon training schedule, it'll just be a case of building on the progress I made earlier this year.
Bintmcskint asks: Congratulations, Nelly :-)
So...you are stranded on a desert island. You can take one type of food, one book and one Fetchie. What and who do you take and why?


Nelly says: Cheers Bint. Food: I've a very sweet tooth, so probably chocolate cake. Book: I've read some great books but not many that I'd like to read again... I really enjoyed Binks' book, even though I'd read almost all the stories before on his blog, so I'll say that. Fetchie: There's so many wonderful people on Fetch I couldn't possibly choose one... unless I choose Hgvwill/Hawkins, as he's top of the Training League for swimming (if you disregard the people who appear to have accidently logged the wrong swim distances), so hopefully he'd be able to swim to get help and I could therefore get off this damn island! :-)
monsenb1 asks: Fully deserved. Your dedication to your running and your home town marathon over the years is impressive. See you in 2017 at the start of GMM. My question, what other 3 local races are you favourites?

Nelly says: Many thanks monsenb1. Actually, I'm still in two minds about whether to run GMM '17, or try something different for a change... but that may all have changed by the time this is published (and even if I'm not running GMM I'll be out supporting on the course)! As somebody who doesn't race very often, and when I do they're often the same races year-on-year, then I don't have many races to choose from... 1) Trafford 10k is another fast and flat (and previously short) course that is just a few miles from home, it has plenty of people to run with at my pace without being overcrowded and Dave Norman does a wonderful job of organising it. 2) Wilmslow HM is another favourite, as I love the mixture of relatively flat countryside but support from the few smaller villages/pubs we run through, and there's the added bonus that my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are normally marshalling so I have guaranteed support. 3) is much harder to choose, but I'd probably say Four Villages HM (when it's not affected by the weather!).
postieboy asks: Congratulations Nelly, you fully deserve to be MoM. My question is, have you fulfilled your marathon ambitions or are you going to do what I did by pushing on after your sub 3:15 and achieving even more?

Nelly says: Thanks postie, and well done on your own MotM in April following your own well judged and deserved race at London. As I've said above, long term sub 3 is the aim, so no my ambitions aren't fulfilled yet. I'd love to kick on just like you, but as I don't have your HM pace (yet), I think it will take me a bit longer between sub 3:15 and sub 3s!
Windsor Wool asks: Well done on an overdue award Nelly, my fellow late night runner! Have you thought about joining a club to perhaps give you some more mojo in between mara cycles?

Nelly says: Thanks WW. Although it doesn't suit everybody, I've grown to love those Sunday night long runs! I think joining a club could be greatly beneficial to my running, both in terms of motivation but also in terms of improving my speed. However, the reason I stopped playing rugby was the inflexibility of training nights being on a Tuesday and Thursday, and the effect this had on time away from my family. Whilst I acknowledge the pressure may be much less at a running club to attend training I wonder whether, given my personality, I'd be drawn into attending more than I should. That said, it's something I will consider if I see my progress plateau, or as a final push to get sub3.
Bazoaxe asks: whats the best piece of running advice you have received and how did it change you as a runner

Nelly says: I've picked up so much great advice here on Fetch, and from the sub3:15 thread especially, but I think the most crucial learning point was when I realised not to "race" all of my training runs. This allowed me to train "properly" for my marathons, and ultimately helped me get quicker at shorter distances as well.
Corrah asks: Many congratulations :) My question is, do you have any running superstitions (strange or otherwise)?

Nelly says: Thanks Corrah. No I'm not a superstitious person, running or otherwise.
Captain S asks: Congratulations Nelly. 😀 What is your favourite bit of running kit, and why?

Nelly says: Thanks Captain S, I must admit I've never really given it much thought. Although I love the stats that my Garmin and heart rate monitor give me, I think I'll have to say my trainers (Mizuno Wave Inspire) as I seem to have found a model/manufacturer that don't cause me any problems; ultimately everything else I could manage without.
STOOSH asks: congrats Nelly - given your devotion to the GMM, would you consider a different springtime marathon now you've achieved a long term goal in smashing through the 3.15 mark??

Nelly says: Cheers Stoosh. As I mentioned to monsenb1, I'm actually considering going elsewhere next year. But it's difficult to find a course that is just as fast; cost is also an issue, as GMM works out cheaper for me as I've no travel or hotel costs, and I love the fact I can sleep in my own bed; and finally, because the race goes past both ends of the crescent we live on then we can't actually drive anywhere between 8am and 1pm on raceday anyway so I "may as well run it". That said, if I ever get in through the ballot, or when I get GFA, I'll go back to VLM at least once to do that race justice after my poor showing in 2012.
Night-owl asks: Congratulations Nelly. If any established author was to write the story of your life yet to come who would that be?

Nelly says: Thanks NO. I'm not sure I'd force that fate on any author, as it would sure to be a pretty boring book and certainly not a bestseller!
mushroom asks: Well done Nelly :-) Do you have a tried and tested, well used, running mantra that you quote to yourself if you're going through a bad patch?

Nelly says: Thanks mushroom. Sometimes I wish I did have a running mantra, but nothing I've tried to date has really worked for me.
pedro asks: Nice one Nelly. Great GMM threads from someone who is obviously passionate about this event. Sooo, 'most' memorable running moment?

Nelly says: Thanks pedro. You've noticed I have a fondness for GMM? ;-) I've got two memorable moments that I can't choose between, I hope that's ok; a) Windermere marathon 2011, my first sub-4 (by only 13secs!) in beautiful surroundings on an undulating course. Passing a few 10-in-10ers really inspired me to keep on pushing to the end; b) sitting on a crush barrier with my head in my hands at 20.5miles into GMM 2014, my first sub-3:15 attempt. I learnt so much that day, and the feeling of desolation I felt at that time still drives my determination in training to not return to that place.
clare1976 asks: Congratulations, a long overdue and worthy winner.

How did you first get into running and what was your first race(s)? Is it something you've always done or did you start relatively recently?


Nelly says: Thanks Clare, and thanks for your support over the years. As I mentioned to :-)G above, I've always done one or another sport, but I didn't run my first event until 2004 when I ran the Great Manchester Run, but even then I was predominantly still playing rugby. I'd always watched "the marathon" on TV and fancied running it, but the training wasn't conducive with rugby, so it wasn't until 2010, a few years after I finished playing rugby, that I started training seriously for running and decided to do my first marathon (even if it wasn't "the" one).

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