Grizedale Half Marathon

Me and my beautiful wife, Helen, had entered this off road trail race some months ago, along with almost everyone that we knew. Just look at all the COLTs, and this doesn’t include some random Cycle Bunnies or the crazies doing the full marathon, who had set off 15 minutes earlier.

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I had picked up a couple of niggling little injuries in the last couple of months and hadn’t run at all in the last two weeks, so I was determined to take it easy. It was cold on the start line, and as requested by the organisers I had my space blanket, whistle, thermal top and waterproof to take round with me. I didn’t need any of it, but I suppose it covers the organisers in case something bad happens. What I didn’t take was enough water as it was cold, really cold. I had laughed at a couple of people for wearing shorts and vests, but I was far too hot, especially as the first three miles were almost constantly uphill.

At the top though, the views across Coniston Water made the up hill all worthwhile.

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As I mentioned, I’ve not ran enough, so by the feed station at 8 miles I was starting to feel tired, and by the end my legs and feet were very sore. I just managed to sneak in under two hours, which considering how much climbing there was, I wasn’t too disappointed in.

My wife, on the other hand loved it, and managed her fastest ever Strava Half Marathon, finishing with a huge smile on her face.

The race was well organised by Epic Events, and as with all of their races they allow you to download photos for free, which is a very nice touch. It was also one of the few races that I have done where I’ve had my name on my number. Matthew 216 sounded very biblical. I looked up the bible verse, and all I can say is that there are some not very nice things in that book.

Enough rambling. It was a great day. Big thank you to Jim for giving us a lift there and back, and to everyone who I said hello to, far too many to mention. I feel that me and my lovely wife might well be doing a few more trail races in the future.

 

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25th Parkrun

This Christmas Day I ran my 25th parkrun. I was a bit late to the parkrun party, so while many other runners are logging their 250th, I’m way down the list. In my defense, my local parkrun in Lancaster has only been running less than two years. The first parkrun I did was in Skipton only a couple of weeks after finishing a triple ironman (read about it here), so I was surprised how good I felt managing 30th overall.

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After that first parkrun I was hooked, although I’ve not been back to Skipton as it was four laps on some narrow paths. Not great for Nelly, our unruly pointer.

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She prefers to run off the lead, but them is the rules at parkrun. Starting from the back also presents a challenge. I’m often seen overtaking people with Nelly pulling me along, while other runners rib me that it’s cheating, or can they borrow her on the uphill stretches. I love running with her, but I’m definitely quicker without her. Me and my beautiful wife did parkrun at Fountains Abbey, where one week I ran with Nelly and finished 40th, and then ran without her and managed 12th, over two minutes quicker. Fountains Abbey was also the most picturesque parkrun that we’ve ever done, which is one reason why we went back.

Dalby Forest also has fond memories, as it was the last day of our honeymoon. It was also my quickest parkrun and I got pipped in a sprint finish as I didn’t realise where the finish line was. Typical parkrun tourist!

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Cheltenham parkrun was the busiest with over 600 runners, but with a nice wide start. There was also a bell that you could ring if you got a pb.

Parkrun is an amazing success, going from nothing to over 100,000 runners each week, all over the world. The stats from this year’s Christmas Day were amazing on their own, with 62,000 runners. Parkrun is the sort of thing that should be encouraged everywhere, promoting a healthy lifestyle and friends to be made. I don’t want to hear any excuses, it’s too short, or I’m too slow. Everyone is welcome.

If you turn up at Lancaster say ‘hi’. I’ll be near the back if I’m with Nelly, or near the front if she’s with my wife.

Hopefully, this time next year I’ll have my 50 parkrun T-shirt, and I’ll probably blog about that as well.