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Martin Yelling: December 20, 2009

by Martin Yelling
Monday 21st December 2009
Sometimes we can all get a down in the dumps about our running and search for inspirational stories to kick start our mojo.   I found my inspiration very close to home recently.  After carrying bags and a baby whilst my wife made her return to competitive (low key) racing in the Christchurch 10k recently we stopped by a friends house to watch my sister race the European Cross Country Championships in Dublin.  For those of you who follow running you may know that she retired from top flight racing in these Championships last year.  To race again this year was a last minute ‘bit of fun’ as she put it the week before.  

Watching her take the race literally by the scruff of the neck in traditional ‘Yelling’ style right from the start made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  She was putting into practice aggressive front running and saying to the rest of the field, “come and get it.  If you’re going to beat me today you’re going to have to work hard for it”.  Ok, I had my doubts like everyone else if she could keep up the relentless pace but I also knew that the longer she stayed away the more confident she’d become.  Liz and I screamed at the TV for the next 25mins.  When she rounded the final bend having lead from start to finish a smile crept across her face and a tear down mine.  I was so proud of her for a typically gutsy run.  She’d made the race an honest test of proper cross-country running and was a deserved winner on the day.

Perhaps I should take a leaf out of my sister’s book and return to competition after ‘retirement’ 2 years ago.  Then again, perhaps not.  I think I’ve gotten too comfortable with my relaxed runs along the beach and coast paths.  But surely this isn’t a bad thing is it?  We all run for different reasons, we are all fortunate that we can, and the thrill and enjoyment of just doing it is reward in itself.  I’ll put the racing flats back in cupboard now.  

Time right now seems to be spent frantically trying to meet a few end of year work deadlines whilst wrestling with Christmas present purchases and never ending food shopping.  With Christmas almost on top of us I’m just wondering how to fit my festive running in around a hectic social calendar and have come up with these ideas to keep the miles banked:

  • Time your runs over Christmas around going out when the most dreaded relatives arrive.  Best of both worlds.  More time running.  Less time engaged in pointless social dialogue and probing.
  • Ask for running related gifts then you get to try them out immediately upon receipt.
  • Run fast when it’s dark.  Wear all black and look like you’ve robbed something.  
  • Run fast when it’s dark.  On Christmas Eve.  Wear red.  Plus a big white beard.  You’ll look like your giving it all back.
  • Convince your overweight friends and family that actually running is good for you as it helps you burn off another mince pie – but you have to go when it’s time to do the washing up for this to be effective.
  • Convince your husband/wife/partner that you going for a run at Christmas is all about their investment in you as a person.  You’ll come back in a much better mood.


About The Author

Martin Yelling

Martin Yelling used to do a lot more running that he does now.   He once sneaked a AAA’s medal over 1500m, finished in the top 10 in the National XC, clocked some sub 30min 10k’s and even won a few races. 

Once his legs stopped enjoying the pounding quite so much switched to multisport and won the British elite duathlon championships a couple of times, competed at some scarily fast world championships events, came top 15 at Ironman Switzerland and bagged the big one in Kona. 

Now he enjoys running on leafy trails, trying (and failing) to keep up with his wife (2xOlympic marathon runner Liz Yelling), and helping coach runners and triathletes of all standards achieve things they’d previously thought impossible.  He also likes trying to paddleboard, eating the same amount as he used to when training very hard and smiling. www.lizyelling.com


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