Andy Talbot – Achievements & Awards

Andy Talbot a Jersey schoolboy however born near Accrington where the great Ron Hill was born.

At the age of 10yrs old I ran my first race it was the 400m around the grass track, that encouraged me to stop smoking and in my secondary school I started to acknowledge running was better than the boring lessons, winning the inter schools 800m & 1,500m in the under 14’s,15’s and 16’s also winning the x-country that year also beating the older runners too, the last school year was the under 17’s which I won the 800m and also the 3000m in a time of 10:15 on the hottest day being 38 degrees in the shade in June 1976.

Jersey Under 15’s team Shield – schools x-country 1975 – winning the Jersey inter schools 3,000m 1976

Later that year I joined the Army as an apprentice chef and left after serving over 26years.

As an Army Apprentice I helped the Army Catering Corps College win the x-country in both the 1976/77 & 1977/78 season during that time I also ran for Jersey in the Hampshire x-country championships in 1977 and then again in the English National  x-country championships where I came 444th out of over 4,000 runners.

winning the ACC x-country 1977

During my first few years I was lucky to have served with 3 of the best running regiments, I served with 1 Armd Div & Signal Regt from 1978 to 1982, coming 2nd Individual in the BAOR x-country as a junior in 1978.

Then in 1979/80 & 1980/81 season I helped the team win the BAOR’s  & Army x-country championships.

Whilst on leave in Jersey after running the army x-country championships in 1980, I ran in the first Jersey 20mile road race having to start 5 minutes behind the rest of the field I came second however I had the fastest time of the day and set a Jersey record with a time of 1:57:01

Jersey 20 mile 1980 1:57:01

The 1981/82 season we won the BAOR’s and came 2nd to 3 Para in the Army x-country championships.

In 1982 I then was posted to 1 PWO in Bulford near Salisbury, where I won the Wilts & Border x-country league Individual title as well as the team taking the title too it was no mean feat as there was one particular runner that ran for a RAF team, his name was Steve Jones (the future world record holder for the marathon and many more international achievement’s). we also won the South West x-country league and finished 2nd to 3 Para in the army x-country championships before being posted to Berlin with the Battalion we won the South West Marathon team with myself coming 3rd in my first marathon in a time of 2hr 46mins. Then a few weeks later we ran in the Inter Services marathon at RAF Swinderby. The team 1 PWO came second to 3 Para with me coming 9th in a time of 2hr 35mins (could have done better as was still under the influence of alcohol).

Not long after arriving in Berlin we had the inter unit athletics competition I ran as a guest runner as the boss already selected the team. I choose to run in the 800m as I was looking to get a PB and under 2mins if at all possible. Kriss Akabusi who was running for our team I quickly tucked in behind him and went through the bell in under a minute and just needed to hang on 200m to go he looked behind at me and smiled and he was gone now struggling with the pace I came 2nd in a time of 2:01 a little disappointed but it told our coach who was my direct boss I was correct in choosing the 800m and not the 5,000 steeple chase he wanted me to run.

1983/84 & 1984/85 seasons our team won every running event we entered in Berlin and won the BAOR x-country as well as the Army x-country championships.

In 1984 I ran in the Berlin 25k finishing in the stadium my finishing time was 1:25:34 running part of the way with Rosa Mota the exceptional Portuguese international runner, my time was an equivalent time of a 1:12 half marathon.

Berlin 25k 1984 1:25:34

In 1985 I was posted to 3 Para where we were 2nd to 1 PWO in the army x-country championships after that I was posted to other units and my running achievements were coming to an end apart from winning a few chef races.

In 1995 I had a mental breakdown and was off work for a number of months and never really recovered for many years after it still affected me in some way or another. After leaving the army in February 2003 I went out for a run and basically told myself I didn’t like it anymore I never did any physical exercise until the end of 2015 when I knew I had to do something as I was getting very depressed, so I started off with a very slow 2 mile jog walk and soon managed to run it in 20 minutes and started to get better and longer, then in the February 2016 I found out  about the Parkrun and ran one and was amazed I completed the 5k on snowy ground in a time of 22:23.

During 2016 I moved to Newton Aycliffe and between sorting the house restoration out, I managed to train for the Great North run in 2017 and ended up with a better time than I thought finishing in a time of 1hr 34min.

I then entered the Sunderland Half marathon in May 2018 and finished in 1hr 33mins, after that race I joined Aycliffe running club.

Later in 2019 I entered the Lancaster 20 mile and finished it in 2hr 23min the next day a member mentioned that I should run in the Masters qualifying marathon in 2020 to qualify to run for England so I entered the Milton Keynes 2020 Marathon that incorporated the Masters qualifier. However covid-19 hindered my goal as it was deferred and deferred during 2020 I managed to break nearly all the clubs V60 records from the 800m to the marathon and also managed to run my 3rd marathon a 10 lap course around Elvington airfield and finished 1st V60 in a 3hr 10min which was more or less what I was aiming for so now I knew I could run it and had to do it again in 2021 at Milton Keynes.

During the many races I managed to run, I found out that my track mile time of 5min 36sec was a North East V60 record and also the 9th fastest in the world for a V60 in 2020.

North East V60 record 5:36 2020

The Milton Keynes Marathon was a 2 lap race on a car free circuit around the pleasant walkways / cycle paths however they were very bumpy and was slightly undulating not flat as it was described with many twists & sharp turns not ideal wearing the springy platform racing shoes.

The aim was to run a 7:10 pace to finish in an expected time of 3:10, well it never happened I got a bit carried away and went a little too fast over the first half and knew I had to slow it a little and then around the 19 mile point the pain began with my piriformis issues mainly on the inclines and declines I tried to keep a steady pace but was slowing down due to the faster early pace struggling the last two miles but I knew whatever I had to finish. The official time was 3:11:33

Milton Keynes Marathon 3:11:33

Knowing I had done my best on the day, the results came in showing I was 1st V60 and it ensured me a place to run for England in the Masters Marathon to be held within the Chester 2022 Marathon.

A long wait was to come as it was 15 months to the Chester Marathon with lots of ups and downs soon after the Milton Keynes Marathon I slipped, coming down Catbells in the Lake District, dislocating my left shoulder and a hairline fracture in my arm, continued piriformis issues and then late January 2022 I somehow managed to slip and dislocate my right shoulder. So six weeks before Chester marathon I ran a 20mile race at Lancaster and completed it in a surprising time of 2hr 23min and was a great feeling I was on the right track to a very good performance wearing the vest of England. Two weeks later I trapped a nerve in my back and couldn’t do any training for two weeks. So with a 16mile week and then ran a 10 mile run a week before the marathon I confirmed to myself I would run it and do my best I could run a possible 8 minute mile pace for a 3:30 marathon was the best in my opinion I could achieve on the day. So my aim was to make the start line and hope to make the finish line and be proud to have worn the England vest.

Race day Sunday 2nd October 2022 – My 5th Marathon wearing the England vest

It was a mile walk from the hotel which was good to loosen my back up and met all the England runners. We all formed up behind the elite runners and at 09:00hrs the horn went off and away we went off the Chester racecourse and into the city centre finding myself right behind the 3hr pacer

I will never learn from going off too fast. I had taken pain killers for the first time in decades to help. I knew I was in for a tough time, well I went through the first 10k in 44:29 a 7:09 pace taking my first gel at the 5 mile point and water throughout the race, slightly slowing to a 7:34 pace for the next 10k, taking a salt stick tablet around the 10mile point after another gel and around the half way point.

There was some great support from the spectators as we went into Wales and through the villages the officials and markers were so encouraging too. The next 10k was slowing like you never knew it, having to walk up the small hills as I was in so much pain from sciatica taking 53:06 mins for that 10k, taking another gel around the 19mile point as well as another salt stick, the next 10k was a little slower at a 8:42 pace taking another 54:06 mins and had my final gel around 22 mile, the crowds supporting the race at the finish helped a little but I was in so much pain finishing the last 2k in 11:12 with a finish time of 3:30:45

Chester Marathon 2021 3:30:45

All I can say I am very proud of myself for being able to achieve what I did in having the privilege to wear the England vest.

Take note everyone has their issues either with mental health or ill health or both. I have had both over the years and know others have too, never give up and talk to someone it does help.

I know that I have inspired some people over the years and hope that I will inspire more of my running friend’s anything is possible.

Believe & Achieve.