Monday, 29 March 2010

Happiness is the Open Road

The above is true in more ways than one, apart from the obvious running connection it is also the title of Marillion's last studio double album, released in 2008. I have followed the band since 1980 and been a fan of all they have done from Market Square Heroes with Fish as lead vocalist to Asylum Satellite with Steve Hogarth as lead singer. But why the mention o here - its because they have come out to support Alex and I in our running of 10 Million Metres.

I wrote a speculative email to them a few weeks back, asking if they could offer us support in some way and on Thursday last week, I got a call from their press officer, Lucy Jordache, saying that the band have decided to have Cure Parkinsons Trust as their nominated charity for their 2 weekend conventions, in Holland and Canada, in March 2011 - Totally Gob-smacked - and we cant thank them enough. We are getting together a press release for them to use on their web-site when the tickets for the convention go on sale, so our publicity should soar.
And if that wasn’t enough……………

A very large parcel has arrived from Sarah at Buffwear, with t-shirts, shorts, socks, buffs, etc, all in the new "zebra" style and colours, and all added straight away to my running kit for this weeks training (the tights will come in very useful if the weathermen's prediction of snow is to be believed). Buff have supported us from the start of our Million Metres Challenge and continue to do so with great gusto, offers of races, contacts and constant help.

And if that wasn’t enough……………

I have just received an email from Nicki Reid at Ardblair Sports saying that Sleep Monsters have just added our Polaroid press release to their website -, which will get to the running community even more. Nicki has also been paramount in getting our challenge advertised around the UK, working very hard with X-Bionic and Polaroid to try to maximise publicity and getting newsletters out and working with us to get the best for us.

We owe a huge amount of thanks to both Sarah and Nicki for all that they have done and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future - Thanks Ladies.

More later this week, regarding Fitness Footwear and Lowe Alpine - stay tuned.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Back to training

2 weeks off running and last Saturday I had the pleasure of heading out onto the Ridgeway with Alex, so a casual 10 miler. No re-occurrence of the thigh strain and felt fresh throughout (although there was an obvious drop in fitness level, despite swimming, weights and cycling during the break). I can now get back into a training schedule, with the Crawley Marathon in my sights on 10th April.

This will be a challenge in more ways that just the distance, as this is a track marathon run at the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley and is entirely on an athletics track, but it will be a good mental challenge and it will be nice to run on flat ground for once rather than the twist and turns of rutted farm tracks and mud sodden towpaths. I am hoping to do the run in a new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider trainers from Fitness Footwear (suitably broken in of course), for which I will post a review, and compare how much different they are from the version I used in the 2004 London Marathon.

Talking of races - Alex and I have been looking at other races to add to our calendar, which "may" include, 50 Mile Challenge in mid July, Venice Marathon in October this year, Grizzly race in March 2011, hopefully the London Marathon in 2011 (I should have a guaranteed entry this time after 5 rejections) and 6633 ultra in March 2012 , as well as organising our own races to take place in late 2011, consisting of a 50k and 100k races, as well as looking at other ideas - more to follow……..

Apart form the above its been a quiet few weeks sports-wise, although life is still as busy as usual. Alex is holding a kit seminar in Swindon Sports Hall on Thursday (18th March) and we are hoping that James Cracknell will be there, as well as a TV crew (James is also doing the MdS this year - a walk in the park after his Antarctica event last year!!!!). We have an agent now looking at other sponsors (medical and automotive names suggested already) but still early days and will wait to hear what he comes up with. Alex has been asked to abseil down the Deliotte building in May, for charity - hope he doesn't suffer from vertigo, but all this is on his web-site at
I have also received a couple of items from Sealskinz, which I have yet to try out, but once used I will report back with my findings and comments and hopefully nice dry feet too.

Keep healthy


Monday, 1 March 2010

Moonlight Madness

Last Saturday saw my latest race, or rather challenge in this case - Moonlight Challenge, organised by Mike Inkster at Challenge Hub in Kent. Every year Mike organises a 50 mile challenge and this Moonlight one. Both are held over the same course at Marshside, near Canterbury in Kent and are multi-lap events. They are billed as Challenges rather than races, with the aim being that you do what you can in the allotted time and take satisfaction from completing the desired distance….. My target for this event was 3 laps (20 miles), after the events of the Thames Trot and my thigh strain - and I entered with the thought that after 3 laps I would see how I felt and decide from there on the rest of the event.

Saturday arrived after a very wet couple of days and we were able to enjoy the warmth of the Gate Inn at Marshside, before the event and watch Ireland beat England at the rugby, however without a pint in my hand it lost some of it occasion. After a briefing from Mike, regarding the state of the course and impending water hazards we set off along the lanes and farm tracks that made up the course. My aim was to try to complete each lap (6.75 miles ) in about 1 hour, and duly finished the first in 55 mins, un-flustered, feeling ok and finding the footing ok in my North Face Hedgehogs. This was to be their last outing after clocking up over 400 miles in training and racing since I got the from Fitness Footwear last year and they have served my well, the grip is still tremendous, despite miles on road and tarmac, the uppers still water-tight, but the spring and cushioning has started to slip and so they must be laid to rest (must try the new model from The North Face and see what the differences are).

Quickly stopping at the end for the second lap I was starting to feel the tension in my thigh increasing from the lack of off-road training in the last few weeks, and although I was comfortable on the flat road sections it was obvious that more than 3 laps would cause the problem to re-occur on the rutted trails and I was happy to call it a day after 3. 2 years ago I did the same event and pulled out at 3 laps, but with a knee strain created by a misplaced footfall, and was hoping for more this time, but it wasn’t to be….c'est la vie!!!!

After some hot food and a quick promotional photo for one of the challenge sponsors (9-Bar) link I headed home and an earlier than expected night. Sunday and I could hardly move my left thigh and quad, due to the tightness from the event, so was very thankful that I had pulled up earlier than the total distance, and was happy to add a further 32,380 meters to the challenge total - bringing us to 321,184.

However I have now decided to have a total rest from running over the next 2 weeks and change plans for the next few months, as follows;

March 21st - Wiggle 12 hour - Cancelled
April 10th - Crawley Marathon - Track race, so totally flat, although mind-numbingly boring - good for Grand Union
May 9th - Halstead Marathon - original plan for Sedburgh SkyRace collapsed as race was postponed 1 year - however Alex and I may be doing a 100km race instead that weekend, as the closing date for the Spartathlon is the 31st May and the Grand union (qualifying race) starts on 29th May, so we may need the 100km as a fall-back entry race. So with this in mind I need the break and recovery period to make sure I am fit for these flat races.
Hopefully once I get some pictures of the Moonlight Challenge I will post them on here, and give my sponsors something to be proud of.
Update again soon - now where's that sauna?????