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When you cannot run anymore with your legs, run with your heart

The enclosed photo below was taken at the London Marathon on 23rd April 2023 around 7:34pm.

The name of the runner is Tom Durnin who completed his run in a reported 8 hours, 10 minutes and 58 seconds.

Tom was the very last person to cross the finish line.

Whilst lots of participants had already finished and long gone and even left the capital, or were even laying in a deep bath filled with lbs of Epsom Salts, Tom Durnin was still out there in the rain.  He was putting one foot in front of another, doing his absolute best to put his heart, body and soul into reaching his goal and the finish line.

As the crowds cheered, applauded, smiled, wept, they waited with the volunteers in the pouring rain, patiently – to cheer as the lady reached up and the medal she held in her hands, was placed gently over his head and he duly smiled for the photographers.

It was clear he was in a lot of pain as he got nearer to the finish, but he was raising money for The Bone Cancer Research Trust and he refused to back down.  There was no way that he was not going to finish.  You can see it in his face and the videos from the news.   It is pure grit.  Determination.  Pain.  Relief.  Agony. Deserved elation.

The official Twitter account for the event wrote: “One of the greatest moments of every London Marathon – your 2023 final finisher. We’re in awe of your determination to finish what you started.”

Whether you want to run or walk 10 meters, 100 meters, 5k, 10k, half marathon or even 26.2 miles or further, it all starts with the same thing for all of us.  A single step.  Whether you have the pace and speed of Kelvin Kiptum, the incredible ability of Sifan Hassan (who stopped twice in her run to stretch her hip and then won the women’s event!) or the pure grit and dedication of Tom Durnin, it was all about the distance.  Every single person that crossed the finish line completed the exact same distance, irrespective of the time it took them.

It is all about putting one foot in front of the other and finishing what you start. It is not always about the time.  It is about digging in, pushing through the pain, enjoying the journey and being proud of what you achieved.  Pain is temporary, but the pride, oh how that pride lasts forever.

We all have to start somewhere and in doing so, we focus and concentrate on the goal that we set yourselves and with a positive mindset and guidance, everything is possible.  

VOYAC is an all inclusive club.  We welcome everyone, irrespective of your ability.  That means everyone.  We will take you from couch to 5k, through to your 1st parkrun and beyond.  We have classes for everyone and we give back to the community.   When you complete your first or 100th parkrun at Selby (Burn Airfield), make sure you remember, the winners of the marathon in London, Boston or other major events – none of them have ever beaten you at Selby parkrun and none of them have worn the VOYAC vest!

As Eluid Kipchoge said “No human is limited” and even though Tom was the last person to cross the finish line in London, he never quit, he never backed down and he completed his journey at the pace he was comfortable with. .

Just get up, dress up, lace up and show up and get started.  When you no feel that you can no longer run or walk with your legs, finish what you set out to do, with your heart.

You are incredible.


Featured Image Credit: Twitter/London Marathon


It’s all about the Tail – Walker… at parkrun

Kev Moseley – Vale Of York Athletic Community

When you are next at parkrun (in this case – our local Selby parkrun at Burn airfield), please make sure you say hi to the Tail Walker, for they are one of the most important people at any parkrun event.

So, what is the Tail Walker?   The official parkrun web site reads:  ‘Every parkrun has a Tail Walker volunteer (or volunteers) who sets off at the start of the event and walks at the back of the field. A Tail Walker is entitled to receive both a volunteer credit and a walk/run credit (providing they brought their barcode with them to be scanned) when carrying out this role.

Quite simple, isn’t it?  Very little to it.  You just set off at the back of the pack and when the Run Director says “Go”, you just walk.  You are the very last person to cross the finish line and in doing so, you get a time (the slowest of the day) and also, a volunteer credit.  All in, time to have a good walk and say hi to a few people.

However, I watch our tail walkers at Selby parkrun weekly and have learnt that there is so much more to this role than I ever realised .  It is a role that many happily undertake every week and in doing so, those who do it, have earned my utmost respect.  After reading this, I hope you may feel the same way.

When you set off, many of you – like me hit the tarmac and leave the tail walker in your wake.  The next time you will see these people is as you pass them on the way back.  So, why are the tail walkers so valuable to you at parkrun?

I have tail walked in the past with Janice at and so speaking from experience, I realised that it was not just about walking and talking to her.  For we found ourselves:

  • Supporting those who are at the back and walking but staying a respectable distance from them.
  • Constantly looking at the course as we walked and checking each part of it for future issues.
  • Saying good morning to other users of the airfield and keeping up good relations.  After all, it does state in the rules that We have permission to use the airfield, BUT we do not have exclusive use of the airfield, so if necessary, yield to other users (whether on two legs or four and also in our case, quite frequently – on two wheels), even when they may be in the wrong.  So, a little bit of tact and diplomacy is sometimes needed.
  • Checking in with marshals on the course and saying hello and ensuring that all is ok with each.  They are as integral to the event as the Run Director.  They have been stood out a lot longer that most will have because they arrived early to get to their assigned place.

Then you have the first set of runners coming back towards you as they head to the finish line.  Without realising I found myself:

  • Saying hi to as many individual participants as I can and applauding their efforts. 
  • Watching each participant for signs of injury and checking that should one step aside from the run, checking to see they are ok.
  • Without realising, you are always constantly checking people without their knowledge.  Saying well done and in doing so, you can tell a lot by body language, response, breathing and a whole lot more.  It is something we do without realising.
  • Constantly looking for hazards and ready to report these should the need arise.
  • Picking up any litter dropped by runners to ensure that the site remains clean and we are doing our best to keep it that way.   We do not want something dropped accidently to be blown on to the runway and can cause serious issue should this be ingested into an aircraft,  Should we be found to  be responsible, we could be asked to leave the site and lose our beloved parkrun.
  • Encouraging each person who passes us.
  • Should anyone need medical assistance, ensuring that they are ok and if not, contacting the Run Director who can make the decision as to the best course of action required.
  • As I passed the half way (2.5km) marker, picking up the three cones and moving them to one side. 
  • Picking up the small cones and bringing these back to the finish line.
  • The tail walker is a “Constantly Moving Marshal”.  There to make sure everyone is ok and then to finish last.  The Tail Walker is the one who goes through the finish line, collect the final token and report any issues that they have found whilst out on the course.

Based on the above, you really get an idea of just how important the Tail Walker role really is.  It is a role that without being filled every week, Selby parkrun cannot go ahead.

Next time you come run at Selby parkrun and when you see those incredible Hi Viz hero Tail Walker volunteers, please make sure you say hi and thanks as without them, there would be no event that day. 

It really makes you think doesn’t it and grateful.  I never realised just what I / they do every week and it is a lot more than a steady walk with a dog and a good talk.  Based on this article, don’t you agree?

In the meantime – get up, get out and when you are at Burn Airfield, I hope you really enjoy your run but don’t forget to say thanks as you pass those marshals with hi viz tops on.  They are there from the start to help keep you safe, and they will be there to get you safely through that final finish and over the line.

Have a wonderful run.

Kev and Janice.


Shin Splints – My Personal Experience & How I’ve Personally Managed This Painful Condition.

Kev Moseley (long distance & marathon runner) – Member of Vale of York Athletic Community –

25th 2023.

How you get them, what to do to ease the pain in the leg and how I do it to keep them to stay away – Kev

One of the things that often afflicts those of us who run, is shin splints.  The pain in the shin is agonising.  It can stop you from running and I can tell you, it really hurts.  So, in order to understand how to get rid of them – we need to understand what they are, how we got them and their causes.

The Shin

The shin is the bone along the front of your leg, under your knee. 

This bone is known as the Tibia.  Other than the Femur (the large bone running along the length of the thigh) it is the second largest bone in our bodies and it averages just short of 17 inches.  Shin splints occur along the front or at the back of the Tibia. 


The pain that occurs because of shin splints really hurts.  This I can testify to, having experienced them a few times in the past.  It often starts as a dull ache, that gets progressively worse as you exercise.  Every step, irrespective of the amount of padding you may have in your shoes, gives you pain.  It shoots up the shin and lets you know it is there.  The pain may ease significantly when you stop exercising or moving, which is a huge relief.  However, if you fail to stop moving/exercising and pushing yourself, it may deteriorate and the pain may become something that you experience all the time.

You must be aware that constant pain may eventually lead to a stress fracture, and that will put you out of action a lot longer than shin splints will.  A stress fracture will see you attending parkrun only as a volunteer, on crutches and possibly set in plaster.  Maybe holding your phone and pressing it every time someone crosses the line.  If you want to know how bad a stress fracture is, do ask me when next at Selby parkrun.  An x-ray confirmed mine and I had a couple of tiny ones in my Tibia.  That was last year and I have not forgotten it.  I had to still had to go to work, even with being on crutches and with the Tibia immobilised, it hurt.  On the scale where the hospital consultant asks you – on a scale of 1-10 for pain, where 10 is the worst pain ever – what would you give it?  He then moved my leg and touched the area where the stress fractures were & I gave him my score of 30! I jumped, lifted off the bed, passed him and was crashing through the roof and was last seen heading towards the stars!  Just trust me – it really, really hurt. It was and is more difficult for me as I have an electrical implant embedded in my left leg that is used for my chronic pain and the

As a man, I want you to be aware though – I made a huge deal (as I was seeking sympathy) out of it and as men do!

Where is the Pain?

As you run, you are continually putting stress on the bones and muscles within your body.  Running is an impact related sport and in doing so, it puts repeated strain on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach the muscles to the actual bone.   This repeated pounding causes stress which in turn creates tenderness, soreness and pain along the inner side of your shinbone (Tibia) and even possibly some localised swelling in the lower leg.  That was quite simple to understand!

Anything else affected?

The shin bone is not the only thing that is affected by shin splints.  The surrounding muscles and tissue become inflamed.  The main muscle is one called the Tibialis anterior.  Its job in simple terms is to stabilise the ankle joint as your foot hits the floor and then pulls it clear of the ground as the leg keeps moving forward. 

As I said, they are common in runners because they are caused by the constant pounding of the feet on the surface on which you are running.  If like me, you are a road runner (no, not like our feathered friend being chased by coyote below), its hard surface is more common.

What else?  Well, if you suddenly increase your duration, frequency or intensity of the exercise.   

Uneven terrain – If you run on uneven terrain such as the moorland, a woodland, cross country – something which rolls the ankle and legs during the exercise.

Flat feet – Often a cause of shin splints or having high arches (under the centre of the soles of the feet).

The next step:

Visiting a medical professional may be worth a visit to rule out a stress fracture.  If it really hurts when you put your foot down, then an x-ray may be needed to eliminate this.  Let’s look on the bright side though and assume the x-ray says no fracture, we need to look at dealing with the pain of this and making it go away.

RICE anyone?… Rice, Rice, Rice baby!

As it happens, this RICE thankfully, is not the sticky stuff that comes in grains like shown in the photo.  The 4 letters of RICE stand for:





Let’s look at each word now:

R – Rest.  As hard as it is, if you want this to go away quickly, then you have to stop with the very thing that caused the shin splints to start with.  By stopping running and taking a break and having a rest is an excellent first step in your recovery. 

I – Ice.  Some like it with their favourite spirit.  Some like it in a soft drink.  Some like to sit in a bath to help recover after a long run.  Even the singer Vanilla Ice sang about the clear cold frozen water that you may remember if of a certain age.  Do you recall that song –  “Ice, Ice, Baby”.  However, in this instance, you need to use ice to help reduce the inflammation.  Now you can buy ice at the local supermarket, however, it is a large bag and cumbersome.  

I use two different things when it comes to this part of the recovery. 

A bag of frozen peas is ideal as a 1st choice.  When I have had shin splints, I would put my foot up on something whilst sat on a chair.  I put a large towel under the back of my calf and rest the leg on this.  Then expose the shin, and lay something like a tea towel or hand towel on the top of the shin.  Then put the bag of peas on the top of this where the pain is.  Make sure the peas inside are loose (but the bag remains sealed) and lay it on the area affected.  You will find that the bag moulds itself perfectly.  

How long?  I would sit like this for maybe 15 – 20 minutes – no longer.  Then remove the bag and get it returned to the freezer.  You will need it again or even better – have 2 bags!  I do this between 4 and 8 times a day and by putting the towel on the leg first – it stops you getting a freeze burn.

Ice Pack:

A reusable ice pack is a god send for injuries for athletes.  Something like the photo are widely available on Amazon and from good sports shops.  You pop it in the freezer, it gets ice cold, but because it is a form of gel, it never gets solid.  It moulds to the shin and stays where it is.  These come in different shapes and sizes and are an investment.  They are not expensive and if you have (like I did in the past and for 40 years) or have suffered with migraines, a small cold one in the freezer – whilst it will not get rid of the pain in the head, it will help. 

C– Compression

I have a couple of pairs of compression socks at home that I swear by.  These are long socks that are often tight to put on my legs and I use them on a night, or once I am back from a run or having competed in a long distance race as they help me recover quicker. However, this depends upon how the legs feel at the time and is a personal decision. I do not have bright yellow ones! The great thing is that they fit most feet sizes and with me having size 13 running shoes, even I can get into these socks.

Compression socks have been used by athletes for several years after running to help the legs recover.  The purpose of these specially designed socks is to place constant pressure on the legs to prevent fluid from accumulating.  This compression aids in blood circulation, allowing more oxygen to get to the muscle tissues.  The socks place quite a bit of pressure that forces the blood away from your legs and back towards the heart.  So, wearing these will aid in your recovery and they help the legs to heal faster after a run.

You can purchase compression socks from specialist running shops where you can feel the material.  I have purchased these also from the likes of Amazon and prices are not bad at all.  They seem to start around £7 and increase from there.  It is all about support around the legs and that includes the calf muscles.  They also come in so many different colours and patterns that will surely satisfy everyone.

You can also get sleeves instead of socks as shown and I have found these as effective.  The main benefit I find is that they allow you to have the freedom to wiggle your toes and be able to wear other socks at the same time.  Giving the shin splints direct help to recover.  They certainly have their place in running. 

You can run in both sets of socks/sleeves if you so choose.  Look at Paula Radcliffe running and winning the London Marathon some years ago – she wore socks with great success.  Then again, she was an elite athlete and I am no where near her level, nor ever will be! (photo from Google images of Paula Radcliffe)


Time to get the legs elevated and rested.  We all know how important rest is for us all.  It is the time when our bodes recover from injuries.  It is a time for taking a break and keeping the affected leg off the floor.  Keeping your weight off that leg is extremely important.  I have sat in my office working with the affected leg on an upturned bin under my desk.  At home, the leg on a stool.  Whilst in bed or laid on the bed, I have put a couple of pillows under the calf and lay with this elevated. So, if you find yourself with shin splints, you do need to get off your feet and get some rest. 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, or so the saying goes.  So, how do personally I look to prevent getting shin splints whilst running. 

Warm up – I make sure that I have a decent warm up and stretch before I run.  The plan is to get the muscles and ligaments warmed up.   My body, like yours, needs blood to get into the muscles before starting strenuous exercise.  If you look up stretching exercises that can help with the shin splints, you will find a lot of web site pages dedicated to this.  My personal favourites are the Gastrocnemius Calf Stretch, Ankle Dorsiflexion and Calf Stretch and finally, the Achilles Tendon Stretch.  Before parkrun, I spend around 20 minutes warming up and a few times, have run the whole airfield before anyone has yet arrived.

So, That’s all folks for this blog! Don’t forget to share it and show others.

I really hope that you never suffer from shin splints.  However, if you do happen one day to suffer with a dull ache in that area whilst out running/walking- then stop, get home, reach for the ice, (maybe some in a glass as well as I like it) compression socks or bandages, elevate the leg and turn the laptop or your device on.  Then reach for this article and read it through twice..

Now, whilst resting – go watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime – maybe the documentary on Eliud running the sub 2 hour marathon!  It keeps the motivation going and it is an excellent viewing. It leaves you just wanting to better yourself and put your running shoes back on.

Also, please remember, Eliud Kipchoge, Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farrah and a whole lot more= have never beaten any of you at Selby parkrun!

I do hope that it helps you to get through this (and you will if you have shin splints) and before you know it, you will be back on your feet and putting those serious miles in without any discomfort. You will be wearing your VOYAC t-shirt or vest with pride and with no physical pain in your legs, you will be out there giving your all and feeling absolutely great again.

You will also be back at Selby parkrun/ parkwalk feeling very comfortable and loving every minute of it. As as you cross that finish line, take in the applause as you deserve it, then have your barcode scanned and you note that you were pain free,

Kev (Kevin Moseley – Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Photo below of my fiancé Janice, and I at the end of the GNR 2022, with me having run a 1:39:55. Ended up being 2831st out of 60 000 runners – so not a bad effort for someone who is 53. Both of us wearing our club T Shirts and vests. It was not my fastest half marathon by far and that huge hill just before the end just wiped me out. However, I did not stop and finished strong crossing the finish line in front of thousands of other spectators.

Unfortunately, I did not get into the 2023 GNR or London either, so I’m now searching for other races to be part of – maybe down south or a marathon in Wales where I can represent the club again.

In the meantime, if I can help any of you at parkrun, or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through the website or at Selby parkrun most Saturdays. I am on Facebook as well.

Look after yourselves and each other please and run/walk safely.

As a final thing, a short disclaimer. All my advice (if there is anything medical) is personal and from a lifetime of experience, as well as working for a period within the Ambulance Service and the NHS . I am not a GP or a medical professional. The information in this is also widely available online. If your symptoms differ or are worse, please consult your medical professional as soon as possible or if you are resident or are visiting the UK, dial 111. In the event of a medical emergency – dial 999.

Thank you.




The Side Stitch – It’s a real pain in every runners side!

Why do we get them, what exactly are they & how I personally get rid of them instantly – Every single time.

Kev Moseley – Vale Of York Athletic Community

Finishing strong at the Market Harborough 10k in 2022 and another race with no stitch!

The last time I developed a stitch when running that stopped me in my tracks was thankfully, many years ago.  Before this, I would get them pretty much every time I put on my running shoes and headed out.

Within minutes of setting off, you would often see me on the side of the road or even at a local parkrun, doubled up, both hands grabbing my side and stepping out of the way, waiting for the pain to end.

When I first started, it did not matter whether I was on a treadmill or doing couch to 5k, it hit and it hit hard. 

The side stitch is a common issue that plaques those of us who exercise – be it walking, jogging, or running, or even doing something that gets the heart rate up.  For those who have learnt how to master, control, prevent and break its agonising pain quickly, it becomes one less thing to think about when running.  We are able to enjoy the exercise, push harder and reach our goals faster.

As the season starts and a lot of us are training with long distance runs (or indeed, you may be just starting out on your own running journey), the thought of being side-lined for a few minutes is not something that any of us want.

What is a side stitch?

Ok, let’s be honest – do we really care?  We just want rid of it, don’t we?  The truth is though, we really do not know! 

There have been many articles written, meetings, conferences and discussions had over the years by everyone from runners to medical professionals and more. 

Some of the theories are that stitches occur because of a lack of blood supply to the diaphragm.   The oblique muscle producing lactic acid could be a reason.  Or you have been taking short, shallow breaths whilst exercising. 

Other theories include having had a stomach upset, a strain of the muscles around the abdomen and liver.  It could be about the amount of food/ fluids taken prior to the run (too little or too much) and this could be to blame and how long it is since you had this ?  Or that you did not warm up enough before heading off.   Like I said though, we really do not know what causes it, but we do believe it relates to the Diaphragm, so let’s look at this quickly.

Where is it and what does it do?

Before we learn how to stop it, maybe we should understand briefly exactly where the diaphragm is and its purpose. 

We all seem to get a stitch in the same place.  Under the bottom of the ribcage, on the front of our bodies and it can be on either side.  This is where your diaphragm is.

The diaphragm has an extremely important function within our bodies.  When we breathe in, it contracts and flattens, and the chest capacity enlarges. 

This action then creates a vacuum which pulls air into our lungs.  Simply put, the lungs expand, the diaphragm contracts.

In order to complete the breath, we need to exhale and in doing so, the diaphragm then relaxes and returns to its shape (as shown in the illustration above) and air is forced out of the lungs.  

Please, please, please – make it stop and go away!

I have seen many methods tried, written and talked about in how to stop this blasted pain in our side.  Everything from stopping during the run and bending over to touch your toes. 

Having gone from bending, others stop and go the opposite way, putting their hands on the head and stretching upwards and lifting the head and hands high.  I have tried placing my hands on hips and bending the opposite way to stretch the muscles.   The best for me though was seeing someone doing the letters to the song YMCA whilst singing to The Village People through their earphones!

I have read that staying well hydrated during a run will prevent a stitch – although it has not worked for me. Ensuring you stay hydrated is common sense and extremely important. It is something we should all do and even more so on the longer runs or hot days. As the majority of races start circa 9am, it is still cooI enough to manage and I do not take fluids in on any run under 10k. After this, I only start sipping from a bottle as I go through 16k (10 miles) and onwards.

Finally, I have seen about slowing the breathing and pace down (not easy if you are on for a pb and it was all going so well) and possibly, changing your rhythm.  If you are anything like me, the last thing you really want to do is reduce your cadence when you are pushing hard.

How do I Personally do it?

I have been running a few years now, with thousands of miles under my feet.  I have run everything up to and including a full marathon (and slightly more) and in those first few years, I got a stitch every time I ran. 

When I first started the couch to 5k program and then took part in my 1st ever parkrun (Portobello, Scotland), I could not get past 500 meters, before the dreaded pain hit.

I watched in amazement at everyone else going past whilst I fought with the demon in my side.  So, what did I learn?

I eat, drink and warm up!

I am going to parkrun (or I am racing), I will have something light to eat 2 hours before the actual start and no nearer.  I like peanut butter on toast as it is a slow release of carbs, so would have this around 6:30am (we have a 21-mile drive to Selby parkrun from home), so leave around 7 when doing the course inspection.

Others have something like a banana, overnight oats etc, but you must not eat within 2 hours of going running.  Whatever you had prior to this time, it must have time to digest and get into the stomach.   I do not drink acidic fruit juices before I run either (the acid makes me feel sick) but I do often drink water/coffee or other energy drinks (that remain nameless) on the journey – so I am well hydrated and I do enjoy my caffeine.  Not great for everyone’s stomach though, so to each their own and be aware.

Upon arrival, I will always have a gentle warm up starting with a 10 minute walk.  Get the air into the lungs.  Expand the chest cavity with deep breaths.   I then start getting quicker, gradually building into a jog and run for couple of miles at varying paces to really get the heart rate up. I build it up from a walk to a run, then for a hundred meters or so, I go as fast as my morning legs can carry me before backing down all the way to a walk pace again.

Now, Let’s stop it!

Selby parkrun

Imagine you are at Selby parkrun, after applauding the incredible volunteers etc, the RD shouts GO, and you with many others head off up the track to the 1st km mark.  Passing the distance cones, you feel good, the sun is out, lots of talking and friendly chat behind you. There is a cool & gentle wind, the deer are hiding in the trees and with the sound of the Skylarks singing as they rise out from the crops, it is perfect conditions. Then suddenly & without warning – the intense pain hits. 

The problem now is that you are running well, your cadence is high and if you can keep it going, you could be on for a new personal best.  But the pain in your side is intensifying and you need it to stop and stop now.

For me, having experienced thousands of stitches, I have had to learn to deal with them swiftly, without breaking too much with my pace and look to maintain position and momentum.  My method may not work for you, but so far, it has for everyone I have known and who has tried it.  When you have one though – then surely anything is worth a crack?

If I get a stitch on my right side (this seems to be the most common side for some reason) then whilst running/moving, I use one of my hands and make it flat & with the palm facing upwards.  I keep the fingers rigid and straight.

Now I take my hand and push it into the area direct where the pain is.  Right in and under the rib cage. 

In doing so, I bend forward and exhale as much as possible.  Whilst doing this, I push my palm in further and hold it there, getting as much air out of my lungs as I can.  Exhale, exhale, exhale.  Do not breathe in.

Given that this takes a couple of seconds and bearing in mind that I have not broken my pace or stride too much, I hold it, hold it, hold it, then slowly and steadily start to return to my tall running position whilst removing the fingers completely.

My experience has found that whilst I am/was running (I am no medical expert and this is just my personal opinion), I believe that the diaphragm goes into spasm.  In doing the above, (the upturned palm pushing into it and holding, whilst exhaling) this seems to stop the spasm swiftly in its tracks. 

If I got a second stitch (extremely rare), then I would repeat, however, I did not tend to experience two in any run that I had or have had again.

Even if I thought I could feel something starting in the area where the diaphragm is, I would do the same with the plan to stop it before it even started.

Having now broken the stitch, you can concentrate again on putting each foot forward and pushing on towards the finish line.  Becoming stronger, fitter, maybe faster (if that is your individual aim) but the overall plan is to get to the end, having enjoyed the run / exercise and without pain or discomfort.

Great North Run 2022 Finisher

I do hope that this method works for you and if so, do let me know.  Sometimes, the most basic and simplest things are those that work best.   It is all just from experience and if you continue to experience pain, then of course, stop and seek medical advice.

Keep pushing and may the only stitches you experience or find, are those in the clothes you wear.

Best wishes to each and every one of you.


Vale Of York Athletic Community  – February 2023


Coaching the shot put with children

Shot put safety

Safety is of the utmost importance when coaching any of the throwing events.

Children must be drilled from an early age to throw and collect only on instruction from a coach.

Always instruct athletes to collect throwing implements only once everyone has thrown. Never allow anyone to collect whilst others are throwing — no matter how soft the implement.

Shot put is a push throw

Introduce athletes to the shot put as a push throw through the use of a light (1kg) med ball or similar before you do anything else.

Use a chest push technique with two hands so they become accustomed to pushing an implement away from their body. The med ball challenge from sportshall athletics has some useful starting resources for the use of a med ball to replicate various throwing movements for athletics. Concentrate on the push throw as a specific exercise for now because the shot put is a push throw.

Athletics 365, England Athletics’ multi-event development programme, also contains a series of useful videos which demonstrate a shot put progression beginning with the basics of a standing shot put. There are some useful coaching cues along the way. Take time to study the videos and make not of the cues so you can use them in your own coaching practice.

Here’s a video of the first stage which uses a two-handed push throw using a med ball. Note the emphasis on safety. Knowing when to throw and retrieve is the first learning point.

You can encourage children to push up as well as forwards by providing a raised target for them to aim at. Indoors we use a basketball hoop or netball hoop in the sports hall.

To maximise upper body force production, arms should be fully extended through the elbows.

Athletics 365 Push Throw: Stage 1

Legs, wrist and fingers in the med ball push throw

The shot put is not just about the upper body, though. Encourage athletes to use their whole body to generate the force required for a really big push. This mean bending and extending their legs before they push through with their arms.

Once an athlete is comfortable coordinating the use of their lower body to move before elbows and arms, encourage them to use their wrists and fingers to flick the ball even further at the very end of the push throw.

Once athletes are able to use a flick action at the end of the throw, you can get them to think about their feet if they have not done so already. Is is best to have both feet together or apart? Should one be staggered in from of the other? There is a lot to think about so take this slowly but do encourage athletes .

Athletes should not take a run up but they should be encouraged to think about the effect of transferring weight from their back leg to their front, effectively stepping into the push throw in order to benefit from increased forward momentum. Don’t worry if they step over the line at this stage, but use the line as a reference point for them to think about as they progress towards competition where lines and the perimeter of the throwing circle will matter.

See the following video of Stage 2 of the push throw from Athletics 365 (up to 2:23) for some useful slow motion video footage and commentary. The backward overhead throws demonstrated after 2:23 is a useful general exercise that can be used for conditioning purposes.

Athletics 365 Push Throw: Stage 2

Once an athlete can consistently demonstrate good technique with a med ball they are ready to move onto the shot put. The following tables shows the appropriate shot put weights for ages up to and including senior level for female and male athletes. Note: for masters age group the weights begin to reduce again. See this page from Neuff for a comprehensive list of all throwing weights for all age groups.

Female athletes shot put weights

Age CategoryWeightDiameter Range
U132.72kg85 – 110 mm
U153kg85 – 110 mm
U173kg85 – 110 mm
U183kg85 – 110 mm
U204kg95 – 110 mm
Senior4kg95 – 110 mm
Shot put weights for female athletes up to and including senior age

Male athletes shot put weights

Age CategoryWeightDiameter Range
U133kg85 – 110 mm
U154kg95 – 110 mm
U175kg100 – 120 mm
U185kg100 – 120 mm
U206kg105 – 125 mm
Senior7.26kg110 – 130 mm
Shot put weights for male athletes up to and including senior age

It always best to start off lighter and progress to a heavier weight in training. Also you must make sure your athletes are well warmed up first of all. Throwing with one arm is tiring so don’t do too much!

Once you have the appropriate weight for your athlete then this video from Athletics 365 is a good starting point for some sensible coaching cues and techniques to look out for.


How can you get children to practise the shot put safely at home? Obviously you do not want them throwing heavy object around unsupervised. So the safest way is to get them to concentrate on the push throw mechanics with something light that they may have around the house.

How about using a few rolled up pairs of socks to make a ‘soft put’ which is what is suggested by Little Athletics News South Wales in the following video.


VOYAC Review of 2022

It is nearly the end of December and time to open the door to a brand new year. But before we do, let’s look back on some of the VOYAC highlights from 2022 with Sarah’s “12 days of Christmas” advent calendar.


Our first day of Christmas takes us back to January. It’s cold, its damp, its wet, its muddy. Yep, it’s CROSS COUNTRY!

On the 29th January 2022, 12 Vale of York junior and senior members entered the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships at Pontefract Park. This event is the biggest cross-country event in the north and it was great to see such a good representation from the team. Those of you that were there will remember that it was a very windy day – far too windy for the tents and the flags but on a more positive note, the results were impressive and Beverley brought some delicious homemade Brownies!

Team VOYAC were also guests in PECO Cross Country League and in January we were at West Park in Leeds for Race 4. PECO claim that this league is the most popular cross-country league in West Yorkshire and looking at some of the lovely locations, you can easily see why.

Some of you will shudder at the thought of Cross Country and at the very mention of it are taken back to those days at school when you were forced to trudge round the school field. PECO is not like that. It’s exciting, its inclusive; it will make you strong and it is perfect for keeping those winter blues at bay.

If you too would like to experience the joy of running at speed downhill then there is still time to join the team for the 22/23 season so do get in touch if you want to know more.

There really is nothing like it.


February can be difficult – the enthusiasm of your new year’s resolutions are beginning to wane, its dark, the days are still short and the joys of spring still seem so far away.

What February needs is an event.

On 27th February this year our senior team took to the streets of Pocklington for the popular Snake Lane 10 Mile Race. As the name suggests the course has a winding stretch that snakes its way through the East Yorkshire countryside at the foot of the Wolds. Eight of our members took part this year including Martin Nee and Neil Ryan who just the day before were part of the VOYAC PB club at Selby parkrun. The finishers hoodies were so popular a Facebook page exists just for photos of Snake Lane hoodies on tour. Hoodies have been seen all over the world. How far have you taken yours?

The race is back on in February next year but you must be quick if you want to secure a place. Pocklington Runners are releasing 45 more places tomorrow so if you fancy joining us there in February next year then pop on to their page for all the details.


Like Whitney Houston before us, here at VOYAC we believe the children are our future. We aim to teach them well and let them lead the way – especially when it comes to climbing trees, balancing on high ropes and swinging through a woodland wearing just a harness – “no, no, you go ahead darling, Mummy will be right behind you”

On day three of our countdown to Christmas we go back to March, and as we remember our VOYAC day out to the Go Ape Adventure Park, we are all very glad to have two feet on the ground.

During the winter our children’s athletics sessions go indoors. There is long jump, triple jump, vertical jumps, and speed bounce. We also work on balance and last year there was a mediball challenge. All the children really embraced the indoor training and everyone came away with a certificate of achievement. Our members Harry, Zyon, Matthew and Edward were also selected to represent North Yorkshire in the Inter-Counties Sportshall Athletics event which took place in Manchester on 26th March 2022.

The trip to Go Ape was a fun test of those newly developed athletic skills and because we were able to subsidise the event, it made it more affordable for all. And it wasn’t just the children that had fun. You don’t get the nickname GI Jane for just sitting in the car now do you Sally?

The Vale of York Athletic Community offers membership for all the family. If you are interested in learning more about what we can offer you and your little ones, then please do get in touch.


When you first start running it can feel really hard. Your legs feel heavy, you can’t control your breathing and you think that there is no way you will ever run a mile without stopping. It can often feel the same when you return to running after an injury. Or because you decided running wasn’t for you and you went off to try another hobby before realising that running is the best and it is for you, and you therefore must return to it at once – we’ve all been there don’t worry.

When it’s hard, running with other people really can help.

On day 4 we go back to April and remember ‘Run Like a Girl’, our FREE women’s only group that was available through VOYAC for beginner and improving runners. The development group met at Selby High School, a safe space for members to grow confidence in their running abilities before going out on to the road. The group was led by a qualified run coach and featured structured progression each week, over a period of 8 weeks.

‘Run Like A Girl’ supported over 30 runners during those 8 weeks and the feedback about how the course made them feel was fantastic. A number of those runners have progressed further since then and some regularly take part in competitive events.

To celebrate their success, members of the development group entered the 5km ‘Pretty Muddy’ event in York. The event looked like a lot of fun and it was fantastic to see so many smiles in the photos. Well done to all the ‘Muddy Vales’ who took part 😊

The ‘Run Like a Girl’ course may have finished but our community run on a Tuesday still provides a safe and inclusive place for you to run with others. If you are interested in joining us please do get in touch and if it’s the mud that has caught your attention, then don’t worry, there is still time to sign up to cross country.


What did you do during your lunch break today?

A little scroll through Facebook, a quick TikTok catch up?

Or maybe you stayed sat at your laptop and worked through your lunch.

Did any of you go out for a walk?

Connecting with nature and being outdoors beats exercise in the gym and on day five we go back to May and to the launch of our green social prescribing programme, Move More Outdoors.

Move More Outdoors was an outdoor bootcamp style excercise programme that was fully funded by HEY Smile Foundation. The aim of the programme was to improve mental and physical health outcomes through a range of creative and engaging physical activities in a safe green outdoor space. And we did just that. There was tyre-pulling, dead bugs, kettlebell swings, burpees, burpees again and much, much more.

Thanks to the funding from HEY Smile Foundation we were able to offer those sessions free of charge to 96 of you between May and August. 96!! Amazing.

Those sunny evenings might seem so far away now but don’t let that stop you getting out and moving more outdoors when you can.

Remember. You WILL feel better after. 🫶


In religion and folklore, hell is a location in the afterlife in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering as eternal punishment after death. Dante had his own ideas of hell. For some the idea of hell is ASDA at Christmas with the A19, the highway to it, and for others – hell is an ultra-marathon.

On day 6 of our countdown to Christmas we go back to June, to Dalby Forest and to the Dalby Inferno and the 10 Circles of Suffering, an ultra-endurance event that was set to test only the brave.

Those who took on the challenge were invited to run loops of the 5km hilly course on the hour, every hour, for 10 hours. Those who managed to complete the first 9 laps gained entry to the tenth and final lap. The RACE.

Everyone that took part enjoyed a great weekend of camping, running and socialising and 183 of the 200 starting runners made it to the end. All the finishers received a medal but, as inclusive as these things are, there could still only be one winner.

*drum roll followed by dramatic pause*

“Tonight Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, your two thousand and twenty two Dalby Inferno winner, Dr Ian Martin” 👏🏻

Entries are open now for next year.


On day seven we return to July and to the hottest part of the summer. This was the month that saw the thermostat reach a sizzling 40.3c which was a record breaker and the UK’s highest ever recorded temperature 🥵. Hard to believe really as we wrap up in our hats and coats this week.

This new temperature record was not the only record broken in July.

On 10th July 2002, in Bramham near Leeds, Nicola Henderson took first place in the women’s 5k race, and smashed their course record in the process. It was the ladies day because at the same event, Emma Winter also took first place in the women’s 10k race. Both Nicola and Emma were coached via the Vale of York AC’s Athlete Development Programme and this double win was built on top of a winter of strength training and a summer of speed.

The extreme weather didn’t deter the team later in the month either when 18 Vale of York AC competitors entered the Golden Acre Relay at Golden Acre Park in Leeds. Our Team Manager Beverley got us in order and it was a great event for all the participating juniors and veterans.

That day was the ladies’ day again though and Emma and Nicola, joined by Sarah Weston, stormed round taking 3rd place in the Women’s Vets category.

Well done to everyone that took part and a special thank you to Emma who brought the endless supply of ice lollies to keep us all cool 😎


August. It’s a funny month – the time of the big summer holiday but also the time when everything starts to change. By the second half of the month the good weather is often behind us, the annual trip away in the caravan is done, the children are just THERE all the time, and we all start to comment on how dark its getting on an evening. We are nothing if not predictable and by mid august the cravings for the routine of the school year start to kick in.

One thing we can count on every week, even in the weeks of August, is parkrun 🌳

Parkrun is there every Saturday, but we all know that parkrun is only possible because of the lovely volunteers.

On August 19th the Vale of York Athletic Community members stepped into the majority of the volunteering roles for our Vale of York Selby parkrun takeover.

On the day the team raised £130 from the cake and bake sale and this money will be used to support the vision of bringing an athletics track to Selby.

As a team we have supported other events throughout the year including the local Junior parkrun, and in June, we provided athletic activities for 82 children at Selby Town Council’s annual fun day. And what fun it was too.

The Vale of York AC, like parkrun, is built on volunteers and volunteering connects people, skills and good causes. We love it and if you want to join us there are lots of opportunities to get involved.

Please do contact us if you would like to know more.


The countdown to Christmas is flying by and Santa and his reindeer-led Sleigh will be here before we know it. Here at the Vale of York Athletics Community our own Sleigh comes out to play much earlier in September – September is the start of our winter programme, and the start of our indoor circuit training.

Circuit training gets your heart rate up and provides a full-body workout in a fun environment. We use lots of different equipment – kettlebells, slam balls, balance bars and, everyone’s favourite, the mighty sled. The sled push is a strength, power, and speed exercise that can increase speed, boost performance, and burn calories. Children love it, adults love it. Santa would definitely love it.

Circuits for all continues throughout the winter and runs in 12-week blocks. Thanks to funding from Selby Town Council and Selby District Council, the cost is just £40 for 12 weeks and it is available for everyone. Yes, even you. Our 5.30pm session is a family session with exercises adapted to ensure they are suitable for all ages and abilities, and the 6.30pm is for adults only, but again, suitable for all abilities. For those athletic members who want more, we have Olympic Plates and Barbells to offer a more strength focused session.

If you are interested in joining us, our next block will be starting in January so keep an eye out on our page for more information. Reindeers and elves also welcome.


We have all heard of the Three Wise men of the Christmas Story – no nativity is complete without them presenting their gifts to baby Jesus, but have you heard about the Four Wise Men of the Vale of York Athletic Community?

On day 10 we go back to October and remember the Yorkshire Marathon.

Apparently only 1% of the population have run a marathon but if you are a runner, it actually feels like 99% of the people you know have run a marathon! Each marathon has its own story.

The Vale of York AC have had a lot of world major marathon success this year. Ian Martin finally broke the 3 hour barrier in Boston after 28 years of trying; Gary Oates collected his second major marathon star in Chicago, Steve Middup sailed around the sights of London, and in November Chris Green ran the New York Marathon raising an incredible £1,353 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association along the way. Amazing.

But before New York, there was York.

On 16th October 2022, our wise men Chris Green, Steve Middup, Neil Darragh Ryan and Martin Nee all ran a marathon personal best at the Yorkshire Marathon. This didn’t happen because they saw a bright shining star in the sky and followed it, this happened because they were wise. Wise men know that the gift of a marathon pb comes with consistency, determination, preparation, and – importantly, a lot of hard work.

Our wise men therefore committed to a bespoke VOYAC training plan and took part in our senior endurance training sessions. Well done wise men.

At the Vale of York AC our team training sessions are coach led workouts set according to England Athletics endurance training and periodisation principles. This summer we trained on a 400 meter grass track at Selby High School and the grass helped the team to build strength as well as speed, endurance, efficiency, mobility and technique. Everything you need for a marathon PB!

All the team sessions are designed and delivered by a fully qualified England Athletics Coach and are completely free of charge as part of our Vale of York competitive membership.

Where do you want to be this time next year?

Get in touch if you want to know more about how we can help you get where you want to be. No goal too big or too small.


On day eleven we open the door to November. This is a special one.

On 28th November, Vale of York Athletic Community was awarded the 2022 Club of the Year at the England Athletics Yorkshire and Humberside regional volunteer awards evening in Darrington.

The club was recognised for our community-centred focus and the welcome we offer all athletes and runners regardless of age or ability.

Heidi Bradley, Club Support Manager at England Athletics said, “Vale of York has certainly made its mark in a short space of time. It has been my pleasure to support the club along the way and to help celebrate its achievements this week. We are all looking forward to what the team can deliver next.”

Thanks to help from local councils and charities, we have been able to ensure that our sessions are open to everyone. We have raised over £10,000 which has supported the purchase of equipment and allowed us to provide free athletic sessions to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and run a 20-week programme to help 100 inactive adults lead a healthy lifestyle and enjoy physical activity.

We couldn’t do any of this without you.

Our members.

Our coaches.

Our volunteers.

The children, the adults, the parents, the bakers and the creators.

So a big thank you to all who have participated in our activities and events this year.

Thank you for supporting Vale of York Athletic Community, England Athletics Yorkshire and Humberside 2022 Club of the Year.

P.S. There is still time to sign up for cross country!


Marty McFly famously said “if you put your mind to it you can accomplish anything”

December traditionally is the time to look back on the last year, but it’s also a time to look forward to the future and start thinking about what we hope to accomplish in next year.

Where do we see ourselves in 3, 6, 12 months’ time?

What are you going to put your mind to?

The Vale of York Athletic Community takes pride in our community focus. We won Yorkshire and Humber’s Club of the Year 2022 for our all-inclusive atmosphere where all ages, abilities and backgrounds are accepted and catered for equally.

Whatever your goal, you are part of our community and we will support you in any way we can. We run, but we also jump and throw, and strength train together.

On day twelve, we look back on our track and field journey which kicked off in June 2021 with our ‘Athletics 4 All’.

‘Athletics 4 All’ was our grassroots community-led athletics initiative with National Lottery funding provided by Selby Big Local. Monday evenings saw sixty-five children aged 6-16 take part in their first coached running, jumping, and throwing activities on the track and field at Selby High.

Naiomi Saunders, echoed the sentiments of many parents whose children took part. “Thanks to everyone for all their efforts. All the children came away buzzing.”

The track and field sessions included Athletic Foundations, FUNdamentals and at the same time, we ran our ‘Daley Thompson’s Decathalon’ for the seniors. Training continued indoors throughout the winter which led to this years long hot summer of success. New club records cemented and podium places taken.

This was just the start for us.

The Vale of York Athletic Community has a vision to bring permanent track and field facilities to Selby town that will allow everyone in the community to enjoy athletics and be able to train safely under coached supervision.

Today, a planning application for those track and field facilities was submitted, moving us one step closer to realising our vision.

There is no present like the future and the future at VOYAC has just got a little bit more exciting.

Stick around. The best is yet to come.

🎶The stars of track and field, you are….🎶

That’s A Wrap

Over the last twelve days we have looked back over our year at the Vale of York Athletic Community – I hope you have enjoyed revisiting some of our 2022 highlights as much as we have. It certainly has been a year full of athletic adventures.

There is just one last thing to do….

The Vale of York Athletic Community’s Christmas Party takes place this Friday, the 16th December. Please do come and help us celebrate a great year.

We have lots of fun and games planned for the children’s party which takes place at The Final Whistle between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. I’ve heard a whisper that Santa Claus himself will be attending “SANTA!!”🎅🏻

And later, there is Karaoke for the seniors. Rumour has it our head coach Ian has been practicing for a big rendition of Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses so this is not to be missed.

Party time means it’s time to pull out your glad rags and get your glitter on, 🎵Let’s deck those halls, trim those trees and raise up cups of Christmas cheer! 🎵


P.S There is still time to sign up to cross country


2022 Recap – January

Our look back to 2022 on the first day of Christmas takes us back to January. It’s cold, it’s damp, it’s wet, it’s muddy. Yes, you guessed it… it’s CROSS COUNTRY!

On the 29th January 2022, 12 Vale of York junior and senior members entered the Northern Athletics Cross Country Championships at Pontefract Park.

This event is the biggest cross-country event in the north and it was great to see such a good representation from the team.

Those of you that were there will remember that it was a very windy day – far too windy for the tents and the flags but on a more positive note, the results were impressive and Beverley brought some delicious homemade Brownies! 

Team VOYAC were also guests in PECO Cross Country League and in January we were at West Park in Leeds for Race 4. PECO claim that this league is the most popular cross-country league in West Yorkshire and looking at some of the lovely locations, you can easily see why. 

Some of you will shudder at the thought of Cross Country and at the very mention of it are taken back to those days at school when you were forced to trudge round the school field. PECO is not like that. It’s exciting, its inclusive; it will make you strong and it is perfect for keeping those winter blues at bay.

If you too would like to experience the joy of running at speed downhill then there is still time to join the team for the 22/23 season so do get in touch if you want to know more. 

There really is nothing like it.


Introduction to Road Cycling – Free Taster Session

This weekend saw the launch of our ‘Introduction to Road Cycling’ series on the traffic-free cycle circuit at York Sport Village.

Nine budding cyclists, aged 4 to 54, joined our British Cycling Coach, Steph Hiscott, for a free taster session to learn how to ride confidently in a group and communicate with each other on the road.

Feedback from those who took part was overwhelmingly positive:

“I thought it was professionally coached and very well organised. The benefits were obvious to see for all those who attended.”

Vale of York is securing £1,000 of funding to run an ‘Introduction to Road Cycling’ series over six weeks this Spring, culminating in The Great Selby Bike Ride on 22 May.

Places on the series are limited to 15, and will include helmets, Vale of York jerseys, and subsidised track fees.

The first nine places have gone to our taster participants. To register you or your family’s interest for the remaining six places, email steph@valeofyork.com now.


Charity status and membership for 2022

Vale of York Athletic Community is now Registered Charity no. 1197044!

Steph will be emailing out regarding membership for 2022 very soon. Those of you who have already taken advantage of the £50 household membership option, we will transfer your details to the new system. Your membership is valid all the way until January 2023.

It’s been a great year for Vale of York. We are making a real difference to the community with your support. We can all look forward to bigger and better things in 2022.


5K PBs for Vale of York three


Kudos to Neil Darragh Ryan, Martin Nee and Chris Green for lifetime 5K bests at Selby parkrun this morning. And an extra special shout out to Chris Green who joined the sub 20:00 club!

All three have been regulars at Vale of York sessions indoors and out this year. Their positivity, good humour and commitment to training are what every coach wishes for.

Well done fellas.