Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The road to Dublin

Having missed out on the Yorkshireman due to Jamie's illness and my own heavy cold, I needed a third challenge to complete my 'Up Hill Task' trio of events that I set out to achieve in April with the aim of raising over £1,000 for the MS Society: http://http//

I was lucky to gain a place in the Dublin marathon through adidas and kindly supported by my company, Savvy Marketing, I fly out on Sunday
to meet up with the guys from adidas with the intention of avoiding the Guiness and getting an early night ahead of Monday's 9am race start!
The aim, as I have been foolishly telling people is to run it in under 3 hours which, although I think is a possibility, I might not quite have the miles under my belt to last the pace. My longest run in the build up was 20 miles (though my broken Garmin thought it was nearer 35!) which I managed in 2hrs 45 mins but the extra 6 miles might take their toll. I suppose we will find out on Monday...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Pedal Power

It's been a while since my last post for a couple of reasons. Following the Leeds Half Marathon I started a new job at the Savvy Sport marketing agency in Leeds and one of my first assignments was to help support ASDA's Pedal Power Team with their Land's End to John O'Groats charity cycling event to raise money for the breast cancer charity 'Tickled Pink'.

After driving our support vehicles down on the Sunday, we arrived at Land's End and awaited the arrival of the main group of riders including the ASDA Chairman Andy Bond.

My role within the support team was to provide support to Jim and Elwyn who were attempting the 1,000 mile journey on a tandem and after the first day it became clear that they would struggle to keep up with the main group so Jim decided we would need to set off earlier in the day to cover the required distance.

So from day 2 onwards we were on the road for half 5 and after surving the hills of Cornwall, and settling on a routine of beans and toast with two eggs and coffee at a local caf for breakfast followed by soup and a roll for lunch, Jim and Elwyn began to find their rythmn.

After surviving the traffic of Bristol city centre and geed on by the changing cast of daily supplier riders, everything was going well - until we arrived at Jim's House in Rotherham for breakfast on the Saturday morning and noticed a crack in the tandem's rear seatpost.

After some frantic phone calls and internet searches, we found out the bike they had been riding for 6 days solid was actually a 'lady-back' tandem and therefore not suited to the weight of two male riders. A few more calls later and one of Jim's suppliers had managed to locate a new and improved tandem from a shop in Ilkley so the plan was to carry on steadily from Rotherham until the new tandem could be picked up and delivered en route.

The 'lady back' finally gave way on the ride into Wakefield, so she was given her last rights and thrown in the back of the van as we made our way for a pit stop at my mum and dad's house for Wilson's famous pork pies before picking up Daisy Mark 2 in Knaresbrough and heading up the old A1 to Darlington.

Despite gear problems in Rothbury the next day, Jim and Elwyn completed a 120 mile ride to Kelso on their new improved machine before taking a detour via the coastal route to St. Andrews for fish & chips, arriving in Dundee in time for big weights session in the hotel gym.

Despite the gear problems persisting on the ride to Huntly, with only two days to go and the finish line in site, Jim and the team decided that not only would they ride the 132 miles to the final hotel in Helmsdale, but they would also attempt the huge double climb that was scheduled in for the final day.

Having set off at half 5 on the dot and acommpanied by Dan and Darren from Anglo-beef suppliers, Jim and Elwyn rode the 60 miles to Inverness before breakfast and then had one more stop before completing the mammoth 132 miles to the Bridge Hotel in Helmsdale. And despite Jim suffering a re-occurance of an old knee injury and both riders exhausted from fatigue, they ploughed on and up the first climb then down below sea level before climbing again to the final summit, clocking in a whopping 145 mile day in the process.
That left a 40 mile cruise with the rest of the riders into John O'Groats on the final day to complete their amazing 1,000 mile trip, helping to raise more than £2.2 million for Tickled Pink on the way.
It was a great experience to be a part of and has persuaded me to order my own road bike through the cycle to work scheme. The only downside of being on the road for the best part of two weeks was that the marathon training suffered and the weight went up considerably.
After two weeks of hard training though, I am back in reasonable shape but will have to try and maintain it during a week's holiday in Kalkan, Turkey, as the Yorkshireman is now only 3 weeks away! I have also signed up for the Dublin Marathon in October with the help of adidas so have extended my fundraising page to include a fourth event:

Friday, 14 May 2010

A quick half to celebrate

The timing of last Sunday's Leeds Half Marathon was far from perfect. Just two weeks after the 3 Peaks, the day after what would turn out to be Leeds United's promotion party and with the remnants of a stinking cold still in the system, the early omens weren't good.

Thankfully, it was a bright sunny day and when I met up with Jamie and Evo at the start line, the hangover had just about gone and I felt in reasonably good shape. We managed to work our way forward, starting about 30 seconds behind the top runners, setting off at a pretty decent pace.

Me and Jamie ran together for the first 5km before I pulled away slightly on the first big hill up Stonegate Road. My tactic was to up the pace on the hills and I overtook quite a few runners before reaching the 7km mark in 29 minutes. After a quick bit of mental arithmetic I worked out that if I could maintain the same pace, I was on for a time of 1 hr 27 mins - 3 minutes under my initial target.

I was feeling quite good at this point but the plan was to try and maintain the same pace for the next 7km before increasing the pace for the final third of the race. I accelerated again on the hill up to the Lawnswood roundabout, gaining a few places before going down the other side and through on to Kirkstall Road.

Having ran the course before, I knew it was all downhill to the finish and felt like I had plenty in reserve so I upped the pace and focused on getting a quick a time as possible. Kirkstall Road soon disappeared and when I heard the crowds on the Headrow, I kicked again and went for the line. The last 100 metres were horrible but as I crossed the line in 1 hour 22 minutes and 58 seconds, I was overjoyed.

I later got an automated text from the organisers saying my official time was 1 hour 22 minutes and 30 seconds and I finished 43rd overall - far better than I had anticipated. Jamie also ran a great time of 1 hour 29 minutes and with Evo's 1 hour 32 minutes, it was a successful day for the boys from Cross Gates!

Having surprised myself with such a good time without the best of preparations, I have started thinking about taking things more seriously and maybe joining a running club with the aim of a top 10 finish next year (around the 1:15 mark) but there's the Yorkshireman pairs to win before then...

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The 3 Peaks

A glorious sunny day in the Yorkshire Dales was the setting for the first stage of my 'Up hill task' as me, Gav and 1,000 fell runners gathered to take on Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough - the 3 Peaks of Yorkshire.

Having been unable to recce the course due to bad weather and a dodgy knee, I didn't fully appreciate what I would be attempting but the long, rocky climb up to Pen-y-ghent made me realise that a few laps of Temple Newsam and Otley Chevin would in no way prepare me for what was to come.

After scrambling to the summit, it was straight back down again at break-neck pace until the path leveled out on to a fairly flat stage along to the next peak at Whernside. The first descent had taken it's toll on my knee and I had to apply the first blob of ibuprofen gel to numb the pain but at least I could now find some rhythm.

I made up some time and was happy to see my support team with refreshments at the spectacular Ribblehead viaduct and was feeling good until I saw what was next - the long, steep climb up the side of Whernside.

Walking gave way to climbing and by the time I scrambled to the top, I felt emotional and exhausted. The view though was absolutely stunning and almost worth the pain as I set off down the rocky path and along to Ingleborough.

Again I made up time on the flatter section between the peaks and was determined to get a decent time but on the final climb up I became really dehydrated and then started getting stomach cramps and feeling disorientated as I started the descent.

The last couple of miles felt longer than the whole of the race as I struggled to get to the finish. However, once the line was in sight and I heard the crowd cheer I mustered a sprint finish and was really pleased with my time of just under 4 hours and ten minutes.

The pleasure was soon replaced with pain as my stomach cramped up and I was sick from trying to drink too much water too quickly. After a brief sit down in the medical tent, I decided it was time to go home and was soon fast asleep in the back of the car as my Dad drove us home. It wasn't until I had a sandwich and some salty crisps at Booth's on the way back that I finally came round and started to feel human again.

I was then disappointed at feeling so ill at the finish as I didn't really get to enjoy it and missed sharing it with Gav and his family who had also come to watch. I also realised that I had taken it lightly and assumed my high fitness level would get me through which I suppose it did but at a greater cost than I anticipated.

Now a couple of days have passed and my stomach and legs have recovered, I am pleased overall and would consider giving it another go with a more focused training plan and better refueling plan.

I am also looking forward to the Leeds Half Marathon and the Yorkshireman which I know will be a lot less painful!

I must say another big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far at - I really appreciate it!

Checkpoint Time of Day Elapsed
Registration 09:16:59 -----
Pen-y-ghent 10:40:16 00:40:16
Ribblehead 11:44:12 01:44:12
Whernside 12:21:20 02:21:20
Hill Inn 12:46:43 02:46:43
Ingleborough 13:23:17 03:23:17
Finish 14:09:58 04:09:58

Sunday, 18 April 2010

1 week to go

With one week to go until the 3 Peaks and still no recce of the course, me and Gav decided we'd better go and have a look this weekend. That was until my knee went running down a hill at Temple Newsam on Wednesday night, throwing a spanner in the works.

I feared for the worst on Thursday as it was painful and swollen and definitely not fit to run on. With some dodgy dance moves at the Drum awards on Thursday night, and a day of rest on Friday, I decided it wasn't a good idea to take on the 3 Peaks and risk making it worse so me and Jamie did a steady half-marathon on the road instead.

It was a glorious day (tops off!) and although I could feel the knee, I got through it and it feels fine today so I am much more confident it will be ready for Saturday's race.

The plan is to take it steady this week and taper down the training, just doing the odd short run before the big day. I also need to source a whistle and compass as apparently these are pre-rquisites for entry so I don't want to get disqualified before I even set off.

I also had a madcap idea of running the London marathon the next day but have found it is impossible to secure a place at such short notice, unless you run as someone else or sneak on the course with a dodgy number (so if anyone knows anyone who is looking to give up their place - let me know!)
Please check back next week for lots of 3 Peaks pictures and don't forget to sponsor me at and help raise money for MS research.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Chevin chase

With less than three weeks to go until the first stage of 'The Up Hill Task', the plan was to go up and recce the 3 Peaks over Easter to give myself an idea of what I'd gotten myself into.

Unfortunatley, with the early morning weather on Bank Holiday Monday being attrocious, I decided that three laps of Otley Chevin would be a safer option so went and clocked 20 miles in a respectable 2 hours 45 minutes, including time to take a few snaps (see right).

It does leave the question of when to get the recce in as, with Ben visiting at the weekend and a wedding on Saturday, there isn't much space or time in the calendar. It looks like I might just have to turn up on the day and give it a go!

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored me this week, the total is now nearly £300 which is fantastic.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Tempsey toil

With less than four weeks to go until the Three Peaks, me and Gav thought it was about time to put some serious training in.

Following a couple of laps of Otley Chevin last Sunday and a wet 10 miler to Garforth on Wednesday (see after picture - right), we planned a new circuit around Temple Newsam with plenty of hills to test the legs and stamina. 16 miles later, we were both pretty knackered (I needed an hour's kip in the afternoon to recover) but by the end of it we felt like we were on the right track (and only 7 miles short of 3 Peaks distance).

We also clocked the first half-marathon in 1 hour 45 minutes which, if we could keep the same pace in the Yorkshireman, would see us in the top 2 going on last year's results.

A big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, we are already on over £120 plus gift aid in the first week!

Monday, 22 March 2010

Up Hill Task

It's been a while since my last post (nearly a year in fact!), so I thought it was about time I updated everyone on my next challenge.

On the 24th April, I will be running The Three Peaks Race, which traverses the famous Yorkshire Dales Mountains of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside covering 24 miles including heights of 2,500 feet above sea level.

Then, on 9th May I will attempt to run the Leeds Half marathon in under 90 minutes before taking on the Full Yorkshireman fell marathon on 12th September with the aim of breaking into the top 5 pairs.

The reason I’m doing all this is to raise money for research into the causes and potential treatments for MS my sufferers. My brother Ben was diagnosed with MS nearly seven years ago now and has shown great strength and courage in dealing with the variety of unpredictable and debilitating symptoms that affect MS sufferers on a daily basis.

If you would like to make a donation, please visit: or see me for a sponsrship form.

I will be updating my blog regularly with training info pictures and the results of the races, so please pop back from time-to-time.