Monday, 4 January 2016

So 2015....

I got asked the other day if I'm still blogging. Yes I replied, when I have a race to blog about!

Truth is , running wise its not been a great year. So bad in fact that I can't even remember the last race I ran fit and in anger so to speak. The year started with me falling ill a few days before the spine race and having to pull out at the first cp only 42 miles in (blogged about below ) . I really shouldn't have started but you know , we all do daft things. It took me well into February to get better still wasn't great when I ran  High Cup Nick fell race at the end of Feb. That may have been my last race in anger although I had no idea it would be at the time. I was in good fettle for the D33 but had a foot problem (which I've blogged about below but which still has no answers). Some time after that , I took a knock playing football and compounded the knock at work and did some damage to my knee. I went up to the Cateran Ultra 55 to help out the double race (110) again in May but remember I couldn't run then at all.. In June I managed 9 mile running with Karen Doughnut in the West Highland Way race and this was the highlight of the year for me. I marshalled the Lakeland 100 and all the hardmoors races after that (and all the others before and since ). I did manage to hobble round the new and very lovely Red Kite Trail organised by the new club, Derwent Valley Trail Runners on July 4th thinking my knee would get better, but come September it was plain to see it was getting worse, not better. In fact at one stage I needed a walking stick!. MRI scan revealed a knee of a fifty year old man who has done constant sport all his life. Well it would !
Come December and I had a opp on the knee and now I'm just hoping it  fixes it. 

Clamber Race Runners 
Life things have been generally good and I've lots to be thankful for. The club race , the clamber I've organised  for two years very went well again with it being described by the then Chair of Sunderland Harriers as the toughest 5 miles he's ever done with the  best after race food of any race. I'll take that along with all the other praise for the club and race. Unfortunately, not all club stuff has been so good and some people have let themselves , their club mates and everyone involved in grass roots running clubs of the uk & running in general down very badly. I believe its is still under investigation so I'll not say much (although I may well go into detail in the future) but much like the guy who jumped on the bus at Kielder Marathon , possibly worse, it will follow them for life. It's truly a real pity but people have to take responsibility for their own actions.

They will forever be known as cheats. Very sad.

Other club stuff was brilliant though, they are mostly a wonderful club & I will miss them & club race very much. Things change and it's time to move on. 

So what's in store for 2016. Well I'll take just running 5 miles around the woods and rivers again at the moment to be honest but as I've marshalled just about every race I could in 2015 I have lots of free entries to some great races. I really do hope to support David I the WHW race again as well.  In fact that the main aim !
Whether I do any races or not is in the hands of the knee gods though. I hope I can run Hardmoors Saltburn 10K or Half on valentines day in 6 weeks or failing that a MTB duathlon event in Scotland a couple weeks later but again we'll see. I'm not rushing anything and will just swim everyday and bike a bit to try and keep some fitness up. Oh and marshalling or helping out at lots of events to keep me busy and stay in touch.  

I'll leave you with a pic of me marshalling the Lakeland 100 back in July just to frighten the kids.

Edit* The princess Challenge organised by Kelly Jackson that I Race direct on the day plus an new one from Kelly , the Nemesis raised over £3000-00 for Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team. The team have spent a lot of time coordinating the flood response in York and other places lately and the races have raised more than £8000-00 altogether since it was started . Very proud of Kelly and the hardmoors team. Hoping I can run it next year ...

Friday, 20 March 2015

My Mad Feet


You’d think after breaking my foot four times in two and a half years I would have had my fair share of foot problems and by and large I have. The last break was now three years ago now at the Hardmoors 30. Yes New Year’s Day- Now that was a real rubbish way to see the new year in.  

So what’s happening now to warrant the mad feet title? Well I have to go back two year and March 2013. I had a lovely month of races planned all progressively longer than the other. Along with my cycling and swimming, an ideal training for the lazy runner like myself I thought. The races were :

High Cup Nick Fell Race : 10M Fell
Loch Katrine Marathon: 26.2 miles (hilly tarmac)
D33:  33miles (flat mostly hard packed)
Hardmoors 55: 55 miles (Hilly trail)  

High cup nick went ok so my story starts on the next race, Loch Katrine Marathon 2013. I wrote a blog about it here but to recap briefly:  
Just after the turn around at about 16 miles my feet became sore. Or I should say the soles of my feet became sore. The strangest thing happened. I suddenly had to stop because my feet were in excruciating pain. So much so, not only could I not run but I couldn’t even stand up!. Bob Steel came along and tried to help me to the marshal point a few hundred yards away but it was no good. I could not walk or even stand up. I had to sit there like a lemon and get picked up.

If you’ve read the blog link, basically after asking everyone I know and having lots of comment on Fetch and FB I was none the wiser to what had caused it. I was wearing a newish pair of shoes and with more cushioning than I would normally (I now constantly worry about breaking my foot again on hard surfaces) but I doubted they could have caused this.

There was no lasting damage. Back at David & Carolyn's house a few hours later they were tender but not too bad. I could stand and thankfully drive home. I even ran 6 miles with club the next day. Tender feet but OK. The following week and with a little trepidation I ran the D33 in 5:35 wearing worn down x talons. The week after I ran the Hardmoors 55 with no ill effect.

Never had any answer to what happened really and I more of less forgot about it.

So 2015 &; two years later, this year  I did High Cup Nick again and the week after i went to  the D33. The race is by coincidence (maybe that's he answer! ) another out and back. Just after the turnaround my feet became sore. A few yards later and my feet or I should say the soles of my feet were in excruciating pain again. I manage to hobble back to the turnaround point, sat and removed my shoes but couldn’t stand up again. Jonny fling had to drive the van 15 yard to me and help me in. Again, few hours later they were OK.

From last time and talking to some very knowledgeable folk this time round no concrete reason emerged. Some form of massive cramp maybe. Some form of nerve damage, shoes causing the problem as both were cushioned ones I don’t wear that often but still I doubt this.

So if you have any idea what may have caused this or wish to speculate, I’m all ears. Please do comment or if you wish message me or email me at
 As Helen Johnson said to me after, what if it happened in a hill ultra?  Doesn’t bear thinking about!  



Thursday, 22 January 2015

Spine Race 2015

Prerace/2014 race.
Allan at Middleton in the 2014 race.

The spine race is the whole of the Pennine Way in January. 270 miles of hills, bogs and everything the winter weather can throw at you high up on the backbone of England. It's a continuous race as in the clock is always ticking. It's billed as the UK's most brutal race and although conditions differ from year to year it's fair to say it's always brutal. It just has several different kinds of brutal.
My spine journey started a couple of years ago when I entered the race. However when it came to the second payment in November my knee was playing up and a few other niggles weren’t great so I decided not to do it. I sent of an email saying as much but offered my time helping out if needed. Scot the RD said, he certainly will be in touch and I never heard anything more. As the race stated in January I watched my friend’s progress and as Alan Rumbles approached Middleton-in-Teesdale. I went off with Anna to see if I could help him in any way. Alan was his usual smiling self as we got him some food but his feet were even at that stage a real mess. (Sadly Alan had cellulitis in his feet and after another  100 miles, within reaching distance of the finish had to make the call to call it a day.)

However as I write this , he has finished the 2015 race-Brilliant.
The place was a bit chaotic so I helped where I could, served tea and coffee, washed up for them and causally remarked to Amanda Crozier (I think) that I’d offered to help but heard nothing. At that I was leapt upon and asked if I could relive the marshals at Tan hill ASAP ! (Scott had forgotten about my email which isn’t surprising as I guess he gets snowed under as the race approaches)

So off we went. We saw Sunderland stroller Neil Bennett through (who finished) and met Martin May Ottersbach who was in excellent condition but sadly had over slept and was taken out of the race. Lovely bloke though and I look forward to more journeys with him.
PW sign at Tan Hill

I worked the next day they I was summed to Bellingham CP on the evening. As I pulled up and went through the doors a lad was standing in bare feet holding onto the door frame and asked if I might just help him for a minute. His feet were buggered as well. This was Charlie Sharpe, a well know and very fast runner.  He was trying to get to the sleeping area which was across a court yard. I told him to wait there and backed my car to the doors, helped him in, drove the 10 yards to the sleeping area and helped him to his sleeping bag. From there I relieved the marshals at Byrness. It was some 6-7 hours later in the early hours of the morning the spinners started to come through. I had a stove in my car so I made hot drinks and fed them with goodies I’d picked up along the way. Charlie came in (he couldn't remember me at Bellingham several hours earlier!) and slept for a while in my car before struggling to his feet, barely able to stand and they blasted the Cheviots in 6.5 hours. That’s always amazed me as the lad could barely walk. Chapeau Charlie!

So, to cut this short and to put it mildly, this race cried out to me to run it.  

2015 Race.
Well I guess like others the lead up to the race fairly did my head in. The gear was a compromise between ultra-light, meaning ultra-expensive and I couldn’t afford or what I could afford but was going to make my back pay (and slow me down) due to increased weight. I begged and borrowed and bought as wisely as I could. (More on gear later). Then there is the route. Unlike a lot of ways in the UK the Pennine way isn’t that well signposted. Yes there are plenty of signs but it’s a long way and I’d say as many junctions of crossing paths without any indication of the way as there is. That is of course if there is a path. Sometimes it’s a faint line or almost nothing. Add in some snow and you’ve got nowt !
I addressed some of this with a few days on the way in late September. Starting in Edale, where I’d never been before and heading north. I checked out the route, pubs, and places to fill bottles, possible bivvy places and found the CP North of Hebdon Bridge. I made a few mistakes, which was good as I wasn’t going to make them twice and I spent as day in Haworth and another in Marsden refreshing (well it was my holiday as well!) Surprisingly a very enjoyable & interesting few days. I should do more hill walking. I just too busy running!

So come December and I’m starting to ease off. Looking after myself a bit and constantly reading Damien Halls excellent guide book that I used on my week recce.I also decided to take this with me. If you’re lost I figured a detailed explanation would be like gold dust and worth its weight.  

New Year’s Day and I very gently ran around the Captain Cooks fell race being very careful and enjoyed the social after. It was here I tempted fate. Talking to Jason & Lisa Taylor I remarked I was in very good form with no injuries and my only worry was all the people dying of cold-and pretty rotten colds at that. I said if it gets me, I'd be out of the race. In fact a few had come on the FB spine page and said as much. I guess everyone was gutted for those people and also like me thinking please god, spare me till after the race please.
On the 4th January, our club Christmas handicap it hit me. I was meant to be marking the course but was swooning and coughing and couldn’t do it. I went along and took some pics and to the social as I like to support our club traditions. However on the evening I was ill as a dog. That was a Sunday, 6 days till race day. Monday was the same and Tuesday not much better four days till race day and i'm in bed ill! . By Wednesday I thought it easing a tiny bit. Thursday I had to make a decision and hoping I hadn’t been hit by what everyone else seemed to have I decided to run. I booked a hotel in Sheffield, figuring I wouldn’t be that popular coughing all night in the Youth Hostel and got a lift to the start. Did the kit check and briefing and heading to Sheffield. And I did cough all night. Train to the start with John Vernon and a good natter about the race and Hardmoors stuff.

Well it was delayed 3 hours so a lot of hanging about but at last we were let go. My Aarn backpack was playing up and I was very grateful for Neil Rutherford, another Aarn user working out what was wrong. The Aarn is a wonderful bit of kit but it is complex especially if you get all the straps twisted.

(Writing this Neil finished. I watched you all the way mate-well done.)  

Kinder downfall. Just before the snow & hail hit
The weather just then wasn’t crazy bad, although the wind was mad. Kinder downfall was our first soaking as it was blown back onto us but to a person we all had our water proofs on. This was something I’d notice the previous year. Not one person didn’t have their entire water proof kit on. This brief spell of good weather, was all to brief. The gale force winds hit us and the horizontal, hail and snow battered us. It has been described as biblical. I’ll go with that.  And I was pleased. Pleased because after all that worry I think I got the gear right. I was pretty snug and although it was hard going, especially vision wise I was happy enough.Except that was for the coughing.It took its time to start but heck coughing is exhausting at any time never mind I in the UK’s most brutal race.
I must say i found the weather exhilarating. I always do. I'm sure i wouldn't have said that at the end but weather like that make you feel alive.

Still I was optimistic that it would sort itself out. I came across John Vernon approaching Black hill. John’s an expert navigator but my recce was invaluable (and John said as much later). Every turn or junction came back to me as we came to it and I was particularly pleased just after the A62. The good path here becomes a peat bog track, cut up by mountain bikes and in parts 20ft wide. On my recce I went straight past a tiny white post on the right hand of this track that takes you almost ninety degrees right along a faint track. I purposely stayed right knowing that the post would be easy to miss. Just as I was telling John to stay right we came across in covered in snow. Unfortunately just as we did I saw another group heading over the hill making my recce mistake. I shouted and shouted but the wind took it away and they were out of sight.

At the A672 a van waited and we topped up with water. Not much mind as they were running low. I filled up at the next stream having already used my 2 litres. (I carried a small collapsible plastic bottle for this purpose). The goal was to make the white horse pub and refuel but with the start delay we missed it. With hindsight we were never going make it and we should have detoured on the Marsden road crossing to the great western pub. At the closed white horse pub John said he needed to eat so quickly cooked something up. I brewed a coffee and which went cold instantly. It was snowing, the wind was hellish and then realised it was bitterly cold. Some guy pulled out here, bivved down and went to sleep. I was a tad worried about him in the conditions.
Paving stones. Your best friend /worst enemy.
I whipped off my water proof and put on my Hanger 18 down jacket. Put the waterproof back on and was Ok again. That down jacket was a late acquisition for me but heck it was brilliant. From here it was straight forward.

My recce meant we weren’t glued to maps (which was tough to read in the wind and snow). John knew the way down form Stoodley Pike (which I missed on the recce as I dropped down to mankinholes YH (which was group booked). Just as well as that can be tricky.

We crossed the canal and used the light for the road lights to changes our head torch batteries and slowly made our way to the cp. All the time I was coughing more and more. I put a balaclava on and was trying to breathe through it as that seemed to help with the coughing (possibly by warming the air).
Into the cp and had a some food. This had taken us 16 hours for the 42 miles. I know its completely different but to put it into perspective this is the distance of the Devil of the Highlands race. I’ve done that in 8:45 before. We agree to rest up 3 hours.

No rest for me though as I started is hacking up continually. I left the dorm as I was keeping others awake.  I knew it was useless and I just wasn’t well but it’s a very tough decision to make.  I pulled out after speaking to John. Gutted.
(John also finished something that pleased me immensely)
Hardmoors family John & Ernie at the finish

The rest of the time I got cleaned up and helped out a bit. Lass (i now know as Alzbeta Benn) had lost her water proof gloves and was heading out without them so I found mine for her and then as everyone left and the cleaning started I found myself cleaning the men’s bogs while coughing my guts up. Now, really lads, what was going on here? Mud up the walls and everywhere. As the boots come off at the door I don’t understand just how the mud was splatted in and around the sinks and also up the wall. Cleaning boots? The floors took 6 buckets to mop out. Not sure how this was possible.

A hard working spine worker lass gave me a lift to Hawes then to Middleton . After helping get all the food in I was picked up for home.

By the time I got there I was pretty ill and spent the next few days  in bed hacking up. I watched the tracker on my phone cursing my luck but willing my friends on. 10 days later I’m still coughing but just been for my first short run.

So, will I be there again?. If money was not an issue then there would be no question at all. It's a must do race for me.  The spine IS good value for money as the setup is immense with crazy logistics. However it still costs 5 times the cost of say a West Highland Way Race, Hardmoors110/160 or Lakeland 100 (The Three classic northern 100 mile hill races )  and for me that’s a lot of money. The race coming so soon after Christmas doesn’t help as being self-employed no one pays me when I’m on holiday (yes this was my holiday).
It’s also a lot of money to risk that can be lost to a cold or an injury. However it won’t be left at that. I will take the risk of colds or injury & be on the start line again, I just don’t know if it will be next year.

Positives.(lots of them)

I reckon I got it right. My kamleika waterproofs  form Ultra runner store were excellent. Particularly the trousers.
The hanger 18 down jacket stood up to the coldest weather. I never got to use the sleeping bag but im  confident it will be more than up to the job as well. Hanger 18 is a very small company but the gear is excellent.
The rocklite GTX boots were very good (as they were on my recce)
The Arrn back pack is a decent if sometime complicated bit of kit. It really does feel comfortable.
I didn’t use poles but I would in future.
A few things I would have changed but not much.

My recce was invaluable and fun ! After that I did a couple of bit of the northern sections but I’ll enjoy more recce’s. I’d like to know the whole route. What confidence that would give.

Seeing how a race is set up is very helpful. Even how the briefing and kit check go is beneficial. Sleeping in Sheffield and getting the train in, although risky in poor weather is worthwhile in my book. (Although I didn’t sleep much anyway due to the coughing)  

So an experience and all experiences have positives no matter how frustrating or hard to bear. The trick is to take the positives and put them to good use. Once my pet lip is put away I’ll do that.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

2014 , Briefly

I’ve been vary lax with my blog over the last year so I’m just going to highlight some of my year then pick it up in 2015.

Hardmoors 30. (30 Miles )
Loaded with cold so I swept the race. Gale force winds, driving rain and the usual mud. A great event to start anyone’s year. I marshalled the next two Hardmoors Marathons , Osmotherly & Wainstones in exactly the same place, Kirkby bank saddle. I’ll be there marshalling again in 2015.

Spine Race
Shortly after I ended up marshalling at the Spine race. An amazing race of 270 miles in freezing winter weather. This is now my goal.

High Cup Nick Fell race.(10 mile ish)
I'll try and keep account of the fell races next year but this one sticks in the memory just for the sheer fantastic view you get once at the top of the nick.

going up the nick (yes you climb that wall at the end)

Hardmoors 55. (55 miles)
Still a fair bit of cold in me but a reasonable run.  Not as cold and windy as the previous year (well i doubt we'll see the like of that severe weather again) but cold enough. I’ve done this race a few times now but not next year. I’ll wait until the race reverts back to Helmsley to Guisborough before doing it again. I much prefer it that way round. I’ll marshal in 2015.

 Cateran/ Double. I spent the weekend marshalling the Cateran double and boy was it hard tiring work!. Still this weekend is now part of me and i rarely miss it. Very please for Karen and Loon that it all went so well.

Hardmoors 110.

Best forgotten. Simply put I have some verrucas on my foot. They got very wet and formed a crease in my skin which opened up into an open cut. I could have finished and probably in about 32 hours (I was working on a 16/16 split and was bang on time and going easy.) But , another 55 miles on an open cut and it woudl have been stitches and out for a canny while . It wasn't important enough to risk it. I'll be giving in a good shot next year. Be happy with 32. 30 hours a dream.

Elvet striders Clamber race.

Very proud to design a new course and put our Clamber race on for the other clubs in the area. It wasn't easy and a few (very few ) souls would rather it wasn't on but the vast majority loved it. The route covers 5.2 miles of woodland and meadow around Durham with only about 100 meters of  tarmac farm road. To say the invited clubs loved it was the understatement of the year and we were inundated with praise for the course set-up and buffet after. As i said, I was very proud to put this one together with the help of Paul Evans and Pam Kirkup ( and a huge array of Strider marshals ). It was a grand evening.
Clubs taking apart in the new clamber

Strider Jess in the new clamber race.
Did i say they liked it . A few quotes:

Well call me foolish, call me irresponsible, call me what you like but there is no better feeling than running as fast as you are capable of round the best trails in Co. Durham and then drinking beer! Happy days hic Malcolm cox ,Sunderland strollers

Thank you
Flip Owen for such a wonderful Clamber yesterday night. A fantastic course as well as excellent organisation. A true credit to your club. I think I speak for the other Bounders when I say we'll be back for some more of the same next year. Nicola Cloyne, Blackhill Bounders

Awesome trail race tonight, big thank you to
Flip Owen and Elvet Striders and all who helped make it the awesomest trail race in history. Possibly. Seriously folks that was just a cracking route, well marshalled and taped (good luck getting all that tape in!) I think it's a keeper! Well, that's my opinion anyway.

Excellent night at the Elvet Striders Clamber race. Well done to
Flip Owen and his team. Great undulating trail course, well marked, brilliant marshals and superb buffet at the pub afterwards. And spot prizes of wine for April & Wendy too. Anthony Corbet, Quakers Running club

Who on earth wants to sit and watch live coverage of The Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony when you can enjoy stunning panoramic County Durham views on the run followed by top notch hospitality at the pub all courtesy of Elvet Striders? Well done to all concerned with special mention to Flip Owen Also congratulations to all competitors on tackling such a challenging Clamber! Lord Paul Smythe , Crook AC

Thanks to Phil and everyone that helped with the clamber, great race and well organised.
ps darn you for putting in what seemed like every possible climb within a 2.5 mile radius. David Sawyer , Sedgefield Harriers

(Race winner )
Thank you so much for an honest race on a hard course , it was one of the best organized races i have been to and it was a hard course Which made it even better, Jonnny evans , Jarrow & Hebburn

Legs still burning from the Durham Clamber last night. The hardest race I have done so far. 5.2 miles of hills, short sharp drops and surprises,with stunning views of County Durham. A great night, well done Flip Owen and all the helpers and marshalls. Lindsay Rogers , Striders.

Not sent but my favourite quote form Ken Maynard of Sunderland strollers was ' I've done easier fell races'  That made my day.

As I said , I'm privileged and proud to put this one on for the clubs.

West Highland Way race.  (95 Miles )
Well what can I say; I didn’t have a great start as I unexpectedly had to go to work on the Friday morning. Up at 6am and worked till about 2pm. I tried to sleep for a few hours but my neighbour got a delivery of flagstones so it didn’t happen. My drive up to Scotland and Dave and Carolyn’s house was a bit slow so I ended up on the start line at 1am without any sleep at all.

I enjoyed the first 50 miles if a little over heated as usual, met Ash for the first time and tried to describe the wonderful finish ceremony hoping that if there was any point in the race he felt like not continuing (and let’s face it most of us have that point at some time) it might help him.
My emergency micro head torch. 25grams. 
My support team had to leave after David’s father took very seriously ill. Amazingly Lindley Chambers & Maxine Lock were on hand with another runner to help out. I was quite lucky really as technically you cannot run this race without dedicated support. The RD & team took the view, I was in good fettle, had some support and of course I have history in finishing he race I guess. (Note: this was very unusual circumstances,  pleases don't try and turn up at the race without support-you won't be allowed to take part)  

I misplaced my head torch in the move of my gear to Lindley’s car and had to use a tiny emergency one over the devil and that was slow going. Lindley found my headtorch though and i had the decent one for the last 15 miles.. Lindley also fed me and watered me all while looking after his own fellow. I owe a huge thanks to both Lindley and Maxine.

The tiredness caught up with me after Kinlochleven and I ended up kicking a lot of stones. By the end I thought I had a broken my big toe and had to walk down the fire round at the finish backwards for most of the way.
My third finish goblet  but not my finest hour and my thoughts were with David and Carolyn.

As hill 100's go , whw is a fast course suited i think to fast marathon runners , which of course I'm not. I don't really think I've done it justice and I still think I can do this faster than my first time of 26:47 and hopefully a 24 hour run so I’ll be back to give that a go. 

Very proud of my 3 goblets

Jon & Shirls wedding and wedding race.
My running life seems to have been tied up with these two people and nothing could be better than being at their wedding  on the Cleveland way. That’s where they met and where I met them. In shirls case in the middle of the night on the  first ever 110 Mile race. I wasn’t racing , just running support (my first ever 28 miles if i remember rightly.) but shirl joined my runner Mandy and I on the first night section and ran with us till dawn at Saltburn. The following year I ran it myself and all this craziness started. Since then Hardmoors has grown and grown. I set up the Hardmoors FB group, watch over it, do the twitter and generally promote the Hardmoors races & the sponsors where I can. I marshal quite a lot, especially to help the marathons get off the ground but still like to run when I can. I’ll be doing the 110 again next year and I want 32 or under. 30hours is my dream time.

Jon & Shirl. One of the few times I've seen them not in Lycra!

Anyway, the wedding was from the country park at the Lord stones café, right bang on the Cleveland way and held in a Yurt. John Kynaston took the service and did a really wonderful job.Funny enough when I had a brief flirtation with the idea of getting married (I said I'd be married by 50 so anyone desperate to marry me best speak up now as i only have 8 months left lol ), I thought I'd like John to do the service up on some hill somewhere.After the service we all watched an Ariel display by a stunt pilot and then headed for drinks and the evening do , again in the Yurt.
The next day friends gathered to do the three sister race dressed in various gowns , shirts and 
the easy start before the 3 hills. Even the wedding race was tough !
bow-ties.Even better , Mandy who i supported all those years ago (with Dave Robson) came along and we ran the race together.  As weddings go it was brilliant.

Hardmoors Princess Challenge. (30 Miles and 8.5 miles)
This is our fund-raiser race put together by Kelly Jackson. Again its something I'm extremely proud to be part off. I usually mark the course and race direct it and liaise with Kelly throughout the year. Make no mistake though, vast majority of the work is done by Kelly alone.And what a wonderful job she did again! We raised £3015-00 for Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team! Of course it can't be done without all the help from the Hardmoors family who take part of marshal.Nikki's mum is always a godsend and her kid , now part of the race set up and adorable. I was also very happy a lot of my club came out to support it, a lot of them running their first ultra.

Late September was to be about Loch Ness marathon but I pulled my hamstring doing 100m sprints in a training session. Instead I spent a week on the Pennine way recceing the spine race. A lovely week, I should do more walking. I took it fairly easy letting the hamstring heal up over the next couple of months doing some fells and XC as usual. 

I’ll try and keep in the swing of things next year record more in 2015.