VAC featured in Runner's World!  2-06-20

The July 2020 issue of Runner's World includes a great article about VAC. Click to view the article. The journalist spoke to Ros Tabor, VAC's Chairman, and elicited quotes from two of our members. He has captured the spirit of the Masters scene as well as admiring our members for defying age and continuing to compete, with many successes. The article should appear in due course on the Runner's World website.

VAC Members Track & Field Competitions Survey 2020

On 10 January 2020, the Membership Secretary sent a survey by email to 492 members of VAC who have a track and field interest. 66 responses were received.

Here is a Summary of the Responses to the T&F Survey as of 7 March 2020.

More responses are welcome during 2020. See the background below and follow the link to theVAC Track & Field Survey. Send responses to Peter Kennedy at

Conclusions of the Committee

1. There is full support for continuing to have a traditional championship.

2. There is moderate support for multiple meetings when members would be competing against those of similar ability, leading to overall winners for the whole season.

3. A significant number of members would be willing to help in the organisation of the club’s T&F events.

Action Plan proposed by the Committee

1. Incorporate VAC championships into both indoor and outdoor South of England Masters Championships.

2. Continue to organise the VAC 5,000m and 10,000m Championships, as well as entering teams in the inter-area competitions.

3. Investigate whether both 2nd Claim and 1st Claim VAC members could compete in the Rosenheim League as guests or as a team.  Identify T&F Open Meetings which VAC members could compete in to make up a summer series, not necessarily the same meetings for each discipline (sprints, hurdles, middle distance, throws, pole vault, high jump, long/triple jump), leading to overall winners at the end of the year in each discipline and age group.

4. Give further consideration to awards for best age graded performances in each discipline.

5. Approach those members who said they might be willing to help in order to identify who would be willing to be part of a team to organise 2-4 above instead of having a single Track & Field Secretary.

Background to the survey

We are at a turning point in VAC in that in 2019 we lost Mike May, who was the driving force behind the track and field side of the club.  He had planned and organised championships and other events for many years, with help from the other members of the Committee. We now need to re-establish VAC’s direction with a view to maintaining what works well and thinking of new ideas for what could be even better.

What works well, we believe, are our separate 5000m and 10000m championships and what could be better is our overall T&F championship. In order to make decisions, we are seeking your views on what to do by your answers to the questions in the
Track & Field Competitions Survey

The Committee urgently needs help to plan and organise VAC’s T&F activities, either by one person who attends committee meetings or by a group of people who share the responsibilities and do not have to attend the committee meetings or preferably a mixture of the two. The distinction between committee members and other volunteers can also start to blur if we hold meetings via video conference on specific topics.  This technology is used within the BMAF and will be the basis for new groups established to listen to members’ views on the BMAF.  Anyone invited to a virtual meeting can participate via their home PC (if sufficiently modern), laptop or tablet or smartphone.  It is even possible to join such conferences by an ordinary phone, although you miss out on seeing the other committee members.


This is the story of 42 marathon runners who were created as the ‘Ever-presents’ by the London Marathon in 1995 after they had run 15 consecutive Londons.

Their story is a testimony to a ‘never say die’ spirit that has sustained them during the thousands of marathons they have run all over the world.

Dale Lyons, one of the last 15, has combined a detailed factual record from his research, with many heart warming anecdotes and astonishing hardship stories in tracking the Ever-presents’ journey for 33 years since 1981.

Their triumphs and cruel disappointments, the amazing sums they have raised for countless charities, their incredible running records at home and abroad, their entertaining media coverage and their fascinating and colourful lives away from the marathon treadmill provides absorbing and enlightening reading.

This is a book to honour their commitment to the London, one of the great city Marathons and provides a lasting tribute to a rapidly diminishing group, decimated by injury, accident, illness and death.

The book will provide information, inspiration and motivation not only to marathon runners but to those watching the London each year thinking “that could be me!”

Available January 2014 price £6.99 + £2.60 pp.

Paperback version. 230 pages with photos.

For orders contact Dale Lyonse-mail

5 Richmond Hill Gardens, Edgbaston Birmingham B15 3RW

“This remarkable book is a tribute to everyone of the Ever-presents. The London Marathon salutes them all!”
John Bryant. Author of The London Marathon book and Chairman of the London Marathon Charitable Trust.

Peter Kennedy's Decision to Run

Back in September I wasn't seeing any improvements in my 5 km/10 km times even though after three years in the Philippines I was fully acclimatised and my mileage was up at the 70 km level per week. I knew I was leaving the Philippines in March and when I heard about the BDM 102 I thought that it would make a suitable climax to my running in the Philippines.

Race Preparation - Endurance and Speed
I wanted to do my best I could in the race, even though it was my first ever and possibly only ultra-marathon. So I looked round for both a running coach and a nutrition coach. I needed coaches who knew how to train someone for top-class ultra-marathon running and in Ige Lopez I found someone who is both an experienced ultra-marathon runner and coach. He put me on a training schedule in three parts – 7 week buildup towards 100 km/week, 10 weeks of endurance/speed training which peaked at 160 km/week (including warm-up runs), and then one month tapering before the race. The training was very varied - long slow runs at weekends reaching back-to-back 75/25 km runs, moderate-paced runs up to 21 km, sometimes with hill sessions or fast intervals, aerobic-paced runs on alternate weekdays and one rest day a week.     

I was fortunate to avoid any injuries in training. However if I had experienced the BDM course before the race, I would have realised that I needed to do a lot more hill work (Ige did hint this to me), but work and family commitments would have got in the way. The highlight of this training was a 3 hours 20 minutes marathon in December. The lowlight of the training were forgetting to take my hydration pack on one of my trips abroad, which disrupted the nutrition plan for my 60 km training run.

My nutrition coach Harvie de Baron was excited to take on the challenge of helping me with the BDM 102. He has advised good athletes and those trying to lose weight before, but not someone doing an ultra-marathon who can't gain weight. In fact after a few weeks of additional healthy snacks (fruit, sports bars and milk) I gained 2 kilos which converted to additional muscle whilst my fat content remained very low at 5%. This can be explained by my high metabolic rate, equivalent to that of a 12 year old! The plan for the race was to get all my calories through liquid rather than food. I opted for wearing a hydration backpack and taking frequent sips of isotonic drink, with short stops every ten km for an energy gel and extra water. We slightly increased the concentration of isotonic drink to enable me to get 260 calories/hour. I could also carry a phone, torch and spare headlamp in the hydration pack and I got used to carrying all this weight on my training runs. Other key ingredients of the training were a protein recovery drink after all long runs and a weekly massage.

I decided to race in compression shorts and vest, much as the triathletes do, which avoided any chafing problems.
My GPS watch was essential to my training and the race itself, but I wore a second basic running watch as a backup just in case it failed me.

Life outside running
During the five and half months of ultra marathon training there wasn't much of a life other than running and sleeping. Moreover the demands of work as well as the training meant I often didn't get enough sleep Ð but not starting work until the afternoon most days allowed me to catch up with sleep after the early morning runs.

And reflections afterwards
Why did I do it? Were the long hours of training worthwhile? What next?
I run because it is easy to do and I am built for it, even though having the right running gear makes it an expensive sport. I like the competitive nature of races and the thought of winning is a great spur to action for me. I like the health benefits it brings Ð very high fitness level even at the age of 60, with not a day off work through illness in the last 10 years. With no weight problems I can eat and drink what I like within reason. Running also gives me extra energy for work which brings its own rewards as well. So I see myself continuing to run for many years yet, competing against the world's best runners in my age group. The change from middle-distance running on the track in England to an ultra-marathon in the Philippines has been very enjoyable and I intend to vary my competitive programme going forward with a different focus some years to others.

I hope this account inspires more people of any age to change their lifestyle to include exercise and good diet and others to extend their running beyond the fun-run level right up to the challenge of doing a fast ultra-marathon.

Peter Kennedy 2012