Mr Ulster runs Nike’s The Human Race

I participated in a global event today. Nike organised an international
10K road race, whereby runners in 25 host cities would have their times
uploaded onto a single results listing: The Human Race 10K.
They are aiming for 1,000,000 runners. If you’re not able to run in one
of the host cities, then you could race it elsewhere, anywhere, using
their Nike Plus product (which connects to your iPod Mini and
calculates your distance and time). This alternative method is what I

Madame Oui and I went to the Mary Peters Track in South Belfast. I used the
exact distance of a track lap to calibrate my Nike Plus: didn’t want to
run any longer than 10K. The weather was abysmal: steady heavy showers.

I set my Nike Plus to 10K and off I went.

The first mile was very good (for this unfit 40-year-old): about
7:00. I knew I couldn’t keep that up, so I tempered it down to about an
8:00 pace. I hit the button at every lap to learn what my current pace
was. It was going pretty well, until just after 3 miles, when I started
to worry about whether I could even keep an 8 min/mi pace going for
another 3 miles; my paced dropped to 9:00. But that was just too slow,
and I picked it up to a 7:40 split for mile 5. I always finish strong
(for better or worse), and my last mile was sub-7:00. Finish time:

This finish time is a far cry from my best recorded time of 36:25
when I was a sprightly 16-year-old teenager at the Toledo Blade 10K.
I’d be happy with a 7:00 pace for a 43:00 time. I used to jog at 7
min/mi. I know age is creeping up on me, but aiming for a 7 min/mi race
pace doesn’t seem too unreasonable.

After all, in 1997 I manged to run the Belfast Marathon (26.2 mi) at
a 7 min/mi pace (3:03:00). Even taking into account my ageing, I’ll be
happy to run that pace for a quarter of the distance.

Anyway, it was all for a good cause. Nike hosted three charities for
the event, and my selection was the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I am
very grateful for my friends and family who took out a pledge. (I can’t
apologise for Nike for having such a user-unfriendly website for this

For posterity, Nike are selling a Human Race Book that provides a
first-hand account of what happened on the streets and stadiums in the
various cities, “The Day The World Stopped To Run“. Perhaps my submitted Belfast story will be included.

This event has inspired me to get back into the game, as it were. I
shall be returning to the Mary Peters Track on a more regular basis.

Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement.

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