A reflection on 2021

I shall start off by summarising the main events of this past year before moving on to analysing the goals which I had set myself at the start of the year and then finishing off by reviewing my performance highlights.

2021 was another eventful year for me, which saw me move back to Tunbridge Wells at the end of January, having moved away from the area to Forest Row 13 months prior. I continued to provide virtual running groups and online PT sessions for my clients during the lockdown period and in the Spring returned to providing outdoor group running sessions in Southborough.

July proved to be a busy and exciting month as I provided an interview for ITV on the return of parkrun and then, on my birthday discovered that I was to become a dad for the first time!

As I continued my training for the Budapest marathon, I competed in a few races in July and September before entering the tapering period and travelling out to Hungary at the end of September.

6 weeks post-marathon, a return to racing at the British Masters 10km at Gravesend in November, saw me collect a team silver medal for Tonbridge AC and a week later my first cross-country race of the season. Whilst in December I competed in another cross-country race, the South of the Thames Championships at Beckenham Place Park, before taking a Christmas break, which included a 4-night stay in Hungary before returning for New Year’s.

South of the Thames cross-country Championships

Goals for 2021 – achieved or failed?

CoachingI signed up for an England Athletics “Endurance: Event Group” online course and would like to complete this during the first half of the year. There is a lot of content to get through and so I will likely need to use some of my annual leave in order to dedicate some time to the course.

Achieved – I spent a week going through all of the online content and attended the online integration weekend at the end of April 2021, which means that I am now qualified at the highest attainable level in terms of running coaching in the UK. I am now a UK Athletics Event Group Endurance running coach.

RunningI have just one goal race this year. My training for this third marathon attempt is geared towards running a time as close to 02:50:00 as I can.

Failed (?)Whilst I did complete the Budapest marathon in a respectful time of 3:14.51, it was almost 25 minutes off of my “A” goal, 15 minutes off my “B” goal and just under 6 minutes off my PB (3:08.05).

ReadingI would like to read at least 1 new book each month.

Achieved – I had a strong start to the year, getting through 8 books before the end of April and ended up reading 15 books in total during 2021.

My 2021 Running journey

After a pretty consistent 12 months of running (at least 100 miles per month, with a high of 195 in March) leading up to the marathon in October, I recorded just 50, 69 and 52 miles in the final 3 months of the year.

Performance highlights

6th July, Tonbridge Athletic Club open meeting 5000m – 18:48

My first race in 16 months came at a Tonbridge AC open meeting in July where I competed in my first track race in over 2 years (the last occasion being a 3000m race at the Southern Counties Veterans’ League Final on 1st September 2019). This was my first real life race with other people since before the Pandemic. As well as my “return debut” for Tonbridge AC this was my first attempt at a track 5000m race, having previously only raced over distances of 1500m and 3000m. Although I was hoping to run under 18 minutes, I was pleased with an 18:48 clocking.

Tonbridge Athletic Club open meeting 5000m

5th September, Britain’s Ocean City half marathon, Sunday 5th September – 41st place, 86:34

This was my first mass-participation event since the Lydd 20 miler in March 2020 and my fourth outing at this challenging half marathon. I decided to enter this race in order to provide me with the experience of racing against other people and an opportunity to push myself at marathon pace. I was pleased with my result as I was running on tired legs having run a total of 13.1 miles the day before – 5 miles each way to Plymvalley parkrun and the parkrun iteslf, where I finished 3rd in 19:46.

10th October, Budapest marathon – 3:14.51

You can rad a full review of my thrid marathon attempt in this detailed blog post.

11th December, Hove Promenade parkrun – 18:39

I ran my 3rd fastest 5km and the fastest I have run the distance since 2018.


And there we have it, a year in the life of me! I hope that you had a good year and one which was much improved on 2020.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post and be sure to check back soon as I preview my plans for 2022. Please feel free to leave any comments in the section below and if you have any questions or would like assistane with your own training, exercises, fitness or health in general then please send an e-mail to joewatts@plegafit.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *