Run to the hills!

As I’ve taken a last minute place in the Race to the Stones 100km, I needed to fit in a good training run this weekend, plus properly try out my new Inov8 Ultra 290s, as I am now trying to run as much as possible over walking these distances.

I decided to do around 25k from Berwick back to Eastbourne. This route would start off flat, on road towards Alfriston, before following the winding river cuckmere towards the coast, then over the very steep seven sisters hills towards Beachy head and back down into Eastbourne, and the flat of the promenade.

This was one of my longest runs in long time and was very pleased to do the distance in 3 hours 28 minutes.

As I’m more used to walking over the hills in walking boots, the new trainers were great. Still with good padding around the ankle but gave me much better flexibility and more natural feel to move in. I ran on wet grass, slippery mud, gravel, chalk paths, sticky clay and various man-made surfaces and had confident grip on all especially going up or down hill. They have great natural support and cushioning but still allow you to feel the trail. Can’t wait to get out in them more.

The Fitness Rooms Eastbourne


Very excited to announce the launch of a new website for a fitness and nutrition client.

London 2 Brighton 100km 24/25.5.14

After a lovely evening reunion with half of my challenge buddies, and a good nights rest, it was into the cab, and off to the start line. I was hoping for a good time, maybe even my best 100km time, but knew that would be hard. I would also be walking with friend who was doing the first 56km. His first challenge and the furthest he would have walked in one hit. I had a nervy sick feeling in my stomach as the flags and bustle of people at the event start came into view.

After registering and meeting everyone else my nerves soon turned to excitement. It’s a long way and you can never really know what is ahead. I had done this challenge 2 years ago and now about to start my 4th 100km knew that you can never know how the day will unfold no matter what your training.

100km would make a small book to recap everything so here’s some key points. Starting off as a large group we set off at our allotted time from The Old Richmond Deer Park, along the lovely Thames Path for a towards Kingston before heading away from the Thames into South London Suburbia. Walking with my friend we set a good pace as we weaved through the urban Surrey hills. The highlight of this section being Nonsuch Park, once established as a deer hunting park by King Henry VIII. Reaching Oaks park we completed a fairly easy but surprisingly hilly first 25km.

The next stage at last became more rural with rolling downland and pretty meadows interspersed with the something we would soon be getting very used to. Mud.
As the sun started setting the excitement of the night stages grew, but so did the amount of mud. My friend had changed his start time to an hour later to be the same as us, and he didn’t have a head torch as this wasn’t on the 56km kit list. Not expecting this amount of mud I soon slipped over, stupidly not using my trekking poles. Realising how tough this must be for my friend I leant him one of my poles, and as much as I could, kept turning around to give him some light.

Reaching the 56km and “halfway” point I was very happy to see my friend achieve his medal. Asking him how he felt, he replied, “fine up to 50km, but the next 6 were hell. Looking around the marquee it resembled a field tent. Quite a lot of people looked pretty done in, and I’d seen the blue lights of at least 2 ambulances. After eating and then a quick change of socks which turned into a blister patch up too, I set off into the night with 2 friends and it was only a few minutes till we hit yet more mud.

The event organisers later said that this year had seen the toughest conditions ever. Off course due to the mud, which was made worse by a few torrential down pours over the event. The mud was relentless and energy sapping on the leg muscles. The many many stiles, slopes, fallen trees, bridges and more became coated in it and gave no break from is squelchy grasp. Each obstacle caused participants to bunch up causing delays. As we made our way through the night the dawn chorus helped the spirits to rise and we were making good progress

But hitting the 80km checkpoint tiredness finally kicked in, I felt absolutely shattered, could barely think straight and my muscles stiffened leaving me feeling that I wouldn’t be able to carry on. This was a bigger wall than I had ever felt. I had eaten at the halfway point but perhaps not as much as I should as I ended up eating 7 bacon and sausage rolls at this point. I ended up resting for 2 and a half hours and after having many messages and calls of encouragement I had still decided to pull out but heading past the water I thought I had better fill my bladder for the transfer to keep hydrated. But the support must have hit a nerve inside as I headed back out rather than stopping. I had wanted to run more on this 100k but the mud stopped all that. I knew there wouldn’t be any more mud on this section and so ran the next 7km in 55 minutes. A pretty quick run for me!

Another friend who was marshalling at the end stage, an experienced runner who has complete the Marathon des Sables no less, came to meet and help pace me in. I got my trekking poles out again and kept up a power walk overtaking quite a few people. L2B finishes at Brighton race course and as I saw the 99k market it was just by the 4 furlong marker and I ran in the last 800 metres to quick a packed crowd of cheering which was something I had never really felt in quite this way.

It was an amazing challenge made even more challenging by the mud. It was a shame I couldn’t run as much as I wanted but felt good running the bits I did, and feel encourage to train harder to run more in The Isle of Wight 106km in August and am getting tempted by the Gower 50 Ultra in October.

Nothing like a bit of inspiration!

Last weekend I took part in Hope24. A 5 mile trail relay event. Organised by a friend of mine as part of Team Hope. He had organised the event to help raise funds towards the target of £45k the team needed to raise to compete in the Marathon des Sables. As if this wasn’t inspiration enough.

Leading up to the event I had obviously been running a lot more, but had traditionally been a walker, (more of this later). I didn’t really like running that much and had to force myself to get up and do it. But the more I got out there the more I was enjoying it. I was a little nervous before the event as no matter what route I planned it never seemed to work out much more than 5km, around 3.5 miles, so was very much aware I would have to run further than I ever had. Repeatedly. I was very much a fair weather runner too. The forecast was for torrential rain and gale force winds pretty much for the duration of the event, so another bit of uncharted territory for me.

Luckily we finished setting up camp in the dry, and as the camp site grew, the festival atmosphere became apparent as the organisers tested out the sound system that the excellently jovial DJ would be running throughout. The campsite area was organised in such a way that part of the course would go around it which would be great for supporters and runners alike. The rains and wind steadily increased and it turned into a rather crazy night of weather.

The morning brought better weather than expected. My team of 5 was called Scrambled Legs and it was decided that I would go 3rd, and when it came to my first run I waited slightly nervously in the transition area. As my team member came through I grabbed the wrist band we had to wear, said a quick well done and set off. The first part of the course looped around the camping area and I was met with clapping and encouragement as I ran round. I was running and it felt good.

Heading away from the “arena” the course headed over a small bridge, and I was snapped by the amazing Kevin, one of many friends marshalling the event. Now I was out alone seeing the other runners ahead and met the first of 2 big climbs. After a little while I decided to ease back and power walk up. I have completed 3 100km treks so I was used to hill walking which went in my favour. I ran every time it levelled off and made good progress. The course then looped around a field full of horse jumps and confused looking sheep with a plateau with the wind in your face. After an off camber decent and over a second bridge it was back past the camping area 2.5 miles down. The course then headed into some woods, over another bridge where the river was flowing faster, and then started climbing again. Even steeper this time, and became known as the mountain. After zig zagging to the summit the sight of a carpet of blue bells brought another dimension. Then a technically challenging very steep and uneven hill back down into muddy paths and a welcome sight of the 4 mile marker. After a final bridge with a steep bank which somehow seemed like the hardest bit of all it was not long before the final run back round the other side of the camp site to the the finish line. This arena area really spurred me on as there was no way I was walking around that part. I was very pleased to finish my first lap in around 56 minutes and was very happy with that.

It was then about 3 to 4 hours till my next run, which was both easier and harder in some ways as you knew what to expect. I did this in 57 minutes which felt good to be consistent. Next would be my first night run at midnight. Donning my head torch it was very exciting. I ran up most of the first hill as my mind couldn’t see it, it seemed easier. I soon fell into a rhythm and completed this lap in 1 hour 4 minutes. Which was pleasing as I expected it to be longer but it wasn’t as much as I imagined. I was due to run again at 4 but as soon as I was in my tent I seemed to pass out.

Feeling refreshed in the morning, I caught up with team, some of whom had run a lap or 2 in the night. It felt great to be out again and my legs weren’t as stiff as I expected and did another 57 minute lap. The organisers said that teams could do a final lap together, so we decided to walk around and take in the views and take a few photos. We had been lucky with weather and it was an awesome feeling to run over the finish with the team and get our medals.

But the most amazing thing was seeing the more experienced runners. True inspiration as the top runners ran over 100 miles! The top male ran 130 miles! Once I never thought I could run, so this event was a big confidence boost in my own fitness and abilities and I think I may have ambitions of being an ultra runner.

Next weekend I am walking The London to Brighton 100km challenge for the second time. This is also an ultra event that people do run or jog and the temptation is there but I think it would be a jump too soon. I am keen to get a good time and may jog a bit. But in August I have a place in the round the Isle of Wight 106km challenge. With more time to train and invest in a race vest I am looking to train to jog/walk this one. Never would have thought I would say that! It’s great sometimes to throw yourself into the unknown as you just don’t know where it may lead.

For my first real running event it was an amazing experience. Everyone was very open and friendly, and it felt like a festival of running. Well done to Danny and all the team, can’t wait to come back stronger next year! And after all this is for charity so if your feeling kind here’s my page:

Also, here are some great blog posts from some of the more experienced runners:


Footpath by Andrew Kearton (2012)


Footpath by Andrew Kearton (2012)


Source cerceos

So, I’m just about setting off with part of the team of 5 that are all set to take part in Hope 24, a 24 hour, 5 mile relay event in aid of Hope for Children. This will be my first full on running event and am rather nervous, but mega excited too. The weather is set to be pretty rough and wet, but all adds to the adventure. I reckon we will each do around 5-6 laps so approaching 30 miles.

Here’s a link to the event page:

And if any lovely people would like to donate, here’s my sponsor page:

Wish me (and the team) luck!

Britain's Best Walks - Part 1

Done a few of these, might have to tick a few more off…

The Slow Death of "Purposeless Walking"


"Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I’m far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and ‘thinking’."

May is National Walking Month in the UK!

A lot of places, if you walk you feel you are doing something self-consciously. Walking becomes a radical act,” says Merlin Coverley, author of The Art of Wandering: The Writer as Walker.

People should go out and walk free of distractions, says Nicholson. “I do think there is something about walking mindfully. To actually be there and be in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing.”

And this means no music, no podcasts, no audiobooks. It might also mean going out alone.

Boil down the books on walking and you’re left with some key tips:

  • Walk further and with no fixed route
  • Stop texting and mapping
  • Don’t soundtrack your walks
  • Go alone
  • Find walkable places
  • Walk mindfully

Spread the word, and walk!

Source turbochargedhysterics

Perfect day for a #run on the #hills above #eastbourne #training #ebphoto #igerseastbourne

Perfect day for a #run on the #hills above #eastbourne #training #ebphoto #igerseastbourne

Sometimes the hardest thing about training is hearing the rain and motivating yourself to get out there. Luckily for me today the rain stopped and you always feel better once running. There’s no such thing as a bad run. Did around 6km in 47 minutes which over these hills I’m pretty happy with. In 2 weeks I need to up my game when I take part in Hope24. A 5 mile 24 hour relay event in aid of Hope for Children.

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