The Bermuda Sun’s James Burton heads down Victoria Street, closely followed by other members of the Run Strong group. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
The Bermuda Sun’s James Burton heads down Victoria Street, closely followed by other members of the Run Strong group. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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Anyone remember that Kate Bush song Running Up That Hill?

A song so flippant in its reference to conquering steep inclines was clearly written by someone who never suffered the mental and physical torture of actually doing it.

Mind you, she got one bit right, singing about ‘making a deal with God’.

Halfway up Tee Street I was ready to do just that, believe me.

Our Monday Week 5 run may be one of the more modest instalments on the schedule (above) but with the emphasis on pace and the inclusion of that hill, it was a genuine lung-burster. And I thought running up Corkscrew was tough.

Still the (relatively) fresh faces at the finish point back at Courtyard seems to suggest trainer Colin Ayliffe’s Run Strong team are on track to shine at the May 24 half-marathon in a month’s time — even if the subsequent impromptu debrief on the hills that await us on race day didn’t fill me with a whole lot of joy.

We’re around halfway through the training schedule and, as the training distances continue to increase rather alarmingly, the legs are definitely getting more adept at dealing with the tri-weekly pounding.

My own seminal moment occurred during a solo run, on one of those days when the brain is constantly fighting the urge to lie down in a breathless, petulant fit of exhaustion.

In a group, of course, that doesn’t feel like an option as personal pride takes over. But on my own, as I plodded along Palmetto Road, I was overtaken by Chris Estwanik — who went on to finish 21st in the recent Boston Marathon that so sadly will be remembered for the abhorrent bombings that left three people dead.

Having met Chris before, I raised my hand in readiness to acknowledge Bermuda’s very own running machine.

You’ve heard  sprinters talking of going on the ‘B’ of the ‘Bang’, well Chris went on the ‘H’ of my ‘Hi’. I was left to embarrassingly run my hand through my hair, like when you wave at someone and then suddenly realise it’s not who you thought it was.

I can only assume Chris had got word of the potential speed Run Strong had injected into my legs and decided to hit top gear himself. Possibly.

Seriously, though,  trainer Colin has got us in increasingly good shape.

The latest of his exercises are designed to increase our power — two of which are explained down the left hand side of the page.

The others include the Squat Jump, Ankle Hops, and the Get-up, which sounds like a James Brown move but is, in my case anyway, more like watching Usain Bolt’s less-gifted brother in super slow-mo.

All these lunges, jumps and thrusts are new to me. In amateur football it’s a case of groins, quads, hammies, sweet, let’s play.

And more fool me for all these years because, as part of this excellent, determined group, we’re getting stronger.

I also sense a increased collective belief in our May 24 mission, which is a good feeling and great motivation for the long training runs that lay ahead.

Just don’t play me any bloody Kate Bush.

This is the second of three Run Strong features leading up to May 24. For more information about Run Strong contact Colin at cayliffe@courthouse.bm.