Race to the Stones – Joe’s view

Well… what a weekend! That was a bit different; I knew it would be a tough challenge, but I can safely say I completely underestimated Race to the Stones. Completing 100km over 2 days… 50km per day of trail running… a marathon plus 8k… How hard can it be?

Why challenge yourself to your first Ultra Marathon, when you can tick off 2 in a weekend?

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When Saturday morning came with temperatures in the early 20’s at 7.30am, rising to (unconfirmed) early 30’s on the hot roads and chalk trails, I suddenly realised how big a challenge it was. Setting off in the wave before Debbie and Vicky, I trotted off nice and steadily chatting to Tammy, who was taking on the full 100k in one day (madness). At about 5km I started to feel just how hot it was and that was after doing marathons in Paris and Lisbon last year with even sillier temperatures.

The trail aspect of the course made life more challenging which I expected, but due to a lack of preparation, I didn’t expect the brutal hills that started early in the day and I was surprised to find myself walking 3 times before getting to the first Pit Stop at 11km.

As with all the Pit Stops, they were full of food and drinks to replace the energy that was being left on the course, with friendly and encouraging people manning the stops with water sprays to try and cool people down. Without these and the supportive nature of all the other competitors out on the course, there was no way I would get round the course.

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From 30km to 40km it felt like every step was up hill and I found myself limping along with cramp in both calves, I actually found it easier to walk sideways for a period as it was the only way to make the cramp stop, but after eating a few bags of Jelly Tots and drinking lots of water, it seemed to disappear so I could at least start moving properly again.

As I said earlier, it was only an extra 8km on top of a marathon, but it still took me almost double the time of my last marathon to get round the course, at just under 6 hours. After crossing the line for Day 1, I wandered straight into the sport massage tent where I needed 30 minutes to get me moving again (thankfully there wasn’t a queue as I should’ve only had 10). After this I retreated to the chill-out tent in the shade, with lots of water and a cold beer; this is when I started to think about how I could back out and avoid repeating the torture the next day.

Later in the afternoon Debbie and Vicky came in, and I distracted myself by taking on the role of personal assistant for them both; sorting out the tents for the night, booking them sport massages, fetching lots of water and sugar while they recovered. By the evening we sat down for some food and tried to work out how to do it again tomorrow.

After as much as I could eat and drink, it was off to bed at 9.30, as we had planned an early start to beat the heat on Sunday. So at 5am and we’re all up and about, I was enjoying a lovely cup of tea (or three),a Bacon Sarnie and Croissants, before getting ready to get out. I was feeling much better than the previous evening, but planned and expected to be walking most of the second day.

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The start of the Day 2 route had about 500 meters down hill, so I thought I would jog that and see how the legs were feeling; it wasn’t quick, but I found myself still trundling along at the first pit stop (10km), so after more sugar, flat coke, fruit and anything else I could find, I set off and managed to run again, getting myself to pit stop 2 (20km), where I had to stop and tape my toes up (I didn’t do a good job) and had to get one of the medics at the next Pit Stop to redo my handy work; not surprisingly it worked this time.

The early start definitely helped, but my body had recovered a lot better than I expected from Day 1 and although running slower, I think I ran more than on Day 1. I got to the 90km mark and started to feel confident I had this sorted and there was even a nice downhill…. Saying that, Race to the Stones wouldn’t let me win and around 95k the track was so uneven I had to walk, as on tired legs, I didn’t feel safe continuing to run on the rutted uneven path.

Finally, I could hear the finish commentary and hadn’t been paying attention to the km signs. I hit the road and thought I was nearly done… wrong, they had added in an evil 1km out and back to see the stone circle. The marshal said ‘carry up the hill to the stones and then come back and see me’ and I thought she was joking … I was wrong. I got up to the Stones did a little lap and of course there was a photographer who, as with all the others, was happy to offer encouragment and have a chat as I went past.

I got back to the marshal and this time she pointed me to the finish; I was determined to keep running all the way in despite having to run up another grassy hill. Then with a left turn onto a solid road, I could see the finish and it was downhill!

It seemed to go on for about an hour, and I passed the 100km sign, but there was still more and  the last bit was up hill. This seemed very unnecessary but I kept running and got across the line. Don’t know why, but I got emotional going past the 100km sign, but once I crossed the line all I wanted was to sit in a dark room.

Luckily a shaded room was on hand, so found myself with a medal round my neck, dozing off in a farm shed with lots of other broken people. Again it took me just under 6 hours to get round, but I felt a lot more controlled on the Sunday, and from the photos below, much happier after getting my medal than after Day 1 when there was no medal and I felt broken. The former was more the norm after a marathon and Debbie had requested a photo if there were tears after Day 1.

I can safely say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I have said never again (although I said that with marathons). It was brutal and painful, there were many tears and lots of swearing. However somehow I came in 17th out of 650 people doing it over 2 days, so however hard I found it, I must have done something right. I have no idea how anyone could get round in one go, I wouldn’t have been able to leave basecamp, but at the end I was speaking to a group who had got round in just over 28 hours and they seemed to have enjoyed it as well!!!

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Now for the Nostell 10km tonight; I’ve been getting quicker each year for the last three years.. I think that will end this today.

As always, any donations for the MS Trust more than welcome here.

Thank you for reading, until the next time….

Summer Streak for the MS Trust — One year completed

I said it when it was first suggested and I stand by it. A running streak is a daft idea and two months is too long to try and run everyday, especially when starting a new job on day three…. How could I fit a run in everyday? What about the day after races and events? I’m too old I need a few days to recover! What if it rains or is a bit cold?

 

That was over a year ago, starting at Endure24 with us running 8km loops as a relay team over a 24 hour period. I’ve just celebrated the streak anniversary in the same fields at Bramham Park, running the same 8km loops, although it was a lot hotter this year and being part of a smaller team meant that I ran an extra 15 miles taking the total to 35 miles in 24 hours.

 

I still don’t know if it was a result of the running streak, but since starting I have quit my job and set up my own business, which is now 6 months down the line and I am really enjoying it. I’m not saying it has been easy, and I have had a learn a lot, but I think the quiet time to think whilst out running has given me the opportunity to look at what I enjoy and what I want to spend my time doing.

As of today (3rd of July), I have run 3,017km since starting the streak, which is just over the distance from Loch Ness to Athens – the two marathons I will be running later this year, both of which Debbie has signed up to as well!

Over the last year I have run three more marathons, each one faster than the last, and have knocked off over 20 minutes since Paris last Spring.I’ve also gained PBs in every other distance category too – clearly it can’t be too bad for me!

 

Although injury halted Debbie’s streak in November (I still say it was just a splinter!) she will be putting her streak strength to the test running her first ever marathon, so why not tag another one on 6 weeks after the first? Later this month we both take on Race to the Stones, covering 100km in two days; what could be a better preparation for a marathon than 2 ultra marathons on two successive days! We’ll let you know about that one…

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As well as the surprise of me keeping the streak going, we have been amazed by the willingness of others to join in and take on the streak challenge, with several people going beyond the original planned 60 days, some surpassing 100 days, and at least a couple still going strong over 9 months on. Whatever the weather the streak has continued and I’ve enjoyed getting  out everyday

Throughout the streak we’ve been lucky to run in some great locations including, Malta, Lisbon, Poznan, Gdansk, Wales, the Lake District among many other places close to home and it’s been a great way of exploring and I’m still finding new routes within a few miles of home

 

There is no plan to stop the streak (sorry Nic) or how long it will carry on for, but I hope it will continue as long as I am enjoying it and my body keeps allowing me to get out everyday. Thanks to everyone for your support and interest over the last year since starting this daft challenge. I just wish I had a pound for every time someone told me I’m mad and need rest days!

Summer Streak -Day 200 and still going

To start with, I was reluctant to sign up to Debbie’s daft idea of a two month running streak through the summer; I was starting a new job and wasn’t sure how I would be able to get out every day. The first two days were easy enough – 24 hours of running at Endure 24, so I just took it a day at a time…

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Fast forward to a cold, wet January morning and I was out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a 10km loop in the rain, wind, sleet and snow, with more than a bit of mud completing 200 days of running every day.

With regards to the new job, I left after 6 months and decided to start up on my own; I’m still not sure if it was the free thinking time whilst running, but something gave the confidence to make the jump.

Over the 200 days there have only been a handful of days when it’s been difficult to get out of the door, but I’ve enjoyed every run. I mixed up everything from slow 2km recovery runs, through to a Marathon and most distances in between. We’ve certainly travelled during the streak too,  with runs completed in Poland, Portugal, the Lake District, Wales, Cleethorpes and Nottingham.

I expected to feel tired and drained but I’ve got stronger, with only the usual few aches and pains, but nothing too serious. Throughout the streak my running has improved no end, with big PB’s at 5k (not sure I’ll ever get near that time again), managing to finally get a sub 40 minute 10k (38.39) and finishing under 1.30 for a half marathon twice. I also managed to shave over 7 minutes off my marathon time and get down to 3.23 despite the 27 degree heat in Lisbon.

What started as a summer challenge wearing t-shirts, now sees me more likely to be wearing an Ackworth Road Runners Bobble Hat. Debbie and her Mum have been busy making the hats all year to meet demand and there are now over 80 hats out there, raising an amazing £1000 for the MS Trust. There are still orders coming in and another running club have got in on the action, providing a welcome change from blue and white!

bobble hats

I’ve no idea how long the streak will carry on, or if I am helping myself in terms of marathon training and improving, but it’s been great fun and I’ll carry on as long as it stays like that.

Streaking in to Winter

Over the last couple of months, the summer streak has continued into Autumn, getting people out running every day and raising awareness and money for the MS Trust; totaling just short of £1000 (£982.75 at last count). What started out with Debbie trying to find some motivation to keep running through the summer, has led to over 20 people running with us through the warmer months and beyond.

The streak has proved massively successful , in terms of fundraising and peoples running goals, with Personal Best’s happening at several events. Over the last couple of months, I have managed to achieve 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon PB’s (with the 5k being in month 1 of the streak) Whilst Debbie has achieved 5k, 10k and Half Marathon PB’s.

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Since our last blog we have been keeping busy with events; September saw the snap decision by me to run the Vale of York Half Marathon, at 2 days notice as part of my marathon training, and I knocked almost 3 minutes off my PB, finishing in 1.27.34. Then we were off to visit Rother Valley parkrun with Ackworth Road runners and Debbie smashed her PB to earn an unwanted promotion to division 3 for next year.

Over the last couple of months we’ve been training for our challenges in Lisbon; a Marathon for me and the Half for Debbie. Why we thought it was a good idea to book a Half Marathon at Tissington the week before, we still don’t know. Debbie managed to knock 20 minutes off last year’s time for the same event and about 17 minutes of her PB. Although I was supposed to be taking it easy, I ran my second ever sub 1.30 Half Marathon.

 

Our plan was for a nice cool autumn run in Lisbon, how wrong we were… We had a couple of days exploring the city to acclimatise, it’s hillier than we expected! I was lucky getting to start at 8am with a relatively cool temperature of 22C, whereas Debbie had a 10.30am start, as the heat was building up nicely and they were stood in the middle of the bridge with no shelter; good for the tan but not running. The temperature was 32C when Debbie finished!

 

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As there was a nice head wind for about 30km to keep me cool I managed to knock 7 minutes of my PB and both of us enjoyed finishing in the main square of Lisbon, but nothing compared to the free Calypo or heading straight into the river to cool off and sooth the aching legs.

 

Back home again with plans for more relaxed running, we headed for some off road fun at Langsett, which ended Debbie’s streak of four months, after part of a tree decided to embed itself in her leg. Debbie tried to carry on running for a few days, but could no longer get a running shoe on and was having to run in sneakers – not the best idea!

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After a short break, antibiotics and minor surgery, the tree fragment came out and we got back out at the Dalby Dash 10k and even with a 2 mile hill to start, I think we will be back again next year. A great run  and event and another sneaky PB for me (somehow) before heading off to Whitby for the afternoon for some bracing winds.

After missing out on a few Ackworth Club headtorch runs, Debbie decided she wanted us to head out to Howell Woods and Wintersett after work last Friday and have an explore; which was great fun and we both survived the witches and monsters on the way round.

As the Summer Streak has merged into winter, the orders for the Ackworth Road Runners bobble hats have been picking up again, with another £155 raised since the temperature has dropped. Even though I wasn’t going to join in with the Streak to begin with, I am still going and Debbie is going to resume in December, now she can get her shoes back on again.

 

In total, with the Summer streak (£982.75) and Hats (£566), we have managed to raise £1,548.75 for the MS Trust this year and almost £18,500 since the Worthington 500k Challenge in 2015. Once again, a massive thank you for your support and help throughout the challenges we continue to set ourselves… There’s more to come next year when we’ll be running the Great North Run again in our blue vests!

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Joe Blogs: Summer Streak still growing and going strong

 

Since the last update the Summer Streak has continued apace and gained more willing volunteers to the team. We’re all streaking through the summer to help raise awareness and funds for the MS Trust.

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What started out as Debbie wanting a new challenge to keep the great work the MS Trust does in peoples mind and to push on with the running over the summer months, has grown into a team of over 30 of us streaking through the summer. A the challenge gained momentum, Debbie was interviewed by 5 towns radio and allowed to choose some songs – she wouldn’t use any of my suggestions… Debbie’s interview starts around 26 minutes, but the whole programme is worth a listen, just click the image below!

5towns

July finished with an echo of how it started at Endure, with another endurance race; the Dusk till Dawn event arranged by Team Manvers. The fact I’d completed my 100th Parkrun that morning in my quickest time at Nostell may not have been the best preparation for what I planned to use as marathon training through the night …

The plan was to run 8 laps and get up to 40km, just short of the marathon distance, only problem being that after 15km I realised it was 7.30pm and I’d not eaten since lunchtime so was running on empty. After stopping to get some fuel on board between laps, I called it a day at 7 laps (and 7 wristbands) so we could get to the Wath Tap for last orders. I returned to complete my last lap at 5am the next morning… Need to maintain priorities afterall.

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Throughout the streak I have been expecting to fall  to pieces or seize up, but despite a few aches and pains, we have both been getting quicker and stronger. I have managed PB times at 5km, 10km and 5 miles, as well consistently getting round parkruns quicker than I ever have before. I’ve also knocked a few minutes off my time at the Flat cap 5 mile race from last year and also at the Trunce club from mid July to Mid August this year. Debbie has also got 2 5km PB’s since the start of the streak after being nowhere near since early 2016.

With the new volunteers joining the challenge, after a few struggles adapting to fitting a run in, many people are seeing an improvement in both motivation and performance. I can’t say this is an advised training plan to improve performance, as I’m sure there should be more rest, but the results as speaking for themselves so far.

Next up for Debbie and I is the Race the Train event next weekend and then we are building up to our big challenges later in the year. Debbie will be running two half marathons in consecutive weeks and I will be running a Marathon in October. We’re both hoping the improvements from the streak will carry into the longer distances.

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We’re both talking about continuing the streak as we are enjoying it, but we never thought it would bring the response it has when Debbie decided on the challenge, both with raising awareness of the MS Trust, and also with everyone enjoying the challenge of running every day and the tests this brings.

Again thank you for reading and your support through the challenge. Hopefully I can report back next time having beaten that train this time. Hopefully I’ll be looking happier than I did at Trunce this week…

trunce

 

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London Marathon 2016

In 2015 we set out to run 500k in timed events and to raise £10,000 for the MS Trust. It was a long way and a lot of money, but after 10 years living well with Multiple Sclerosis, we wanted to say thank you to the charity that trains MS nurses in England.

By the time we ran our last race in Barcelona on New Years Eve, we had run over 720km, raised awareness of the MS Trust and staying healthy with MS and, with our friends, raised over £14,500. Our challenge had seen us running all around the UK including Loch Ness, Edinburgh, around the Yorkshire Region and chasing a train through West Wales, before ending the year with a 10k run in Barcelona on New Years Eve

IMG_1619 After completing the New Year’s Eve run in Barcelona and completing the Worthington500k challenge, you would think it was time to put my feet up… However after I had been unsuccessful in the ballot again, I was able to secure a place on the MS Trust London Marathon team. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to run this iconic event, so the challenge continues.

With 6 weeks to go before the London Marathon training is starting to pick up again as I up the miles and to complete the course in under 3 hours 30 minutes. On the day while I am running Debbie will be joining the MS Trust team along with the route at the support station on the Embankment around the 40km mark. I’m sure this will give me a boost with only a couple more kilometres to go

Friends and family will be playing “Where’s Wally” with the TV footage on the day to see if they can spot the ginger hair and blue vest throughout the run – I managed 2 seconds on the tele a few years ago at the Great North Run, so let’s see if I can do any better this time!

Following our efforts last year we raised over £14,500 and it would be great if we can reach the next milestone before the London marathon. The handmade Easter Bunnies are on sale again and we’ll also be holding an Easter egg raffle.

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Last year we were overwhelmed by the support we received and although our fundraising efforts will be more modest in 2016, we both want to keep supporting the MS Trust.  This year, in addition to the London marathon, we will also be running the Great North Run in September for this great charity.

MS Trust website     https://www.mstrust.org.uk

2015 Challenge Overview

 

It’s hard to know where to start in summing up the Worthington 500k Challenge throughout 2015, so I thought I’d start in Malta, where it all began. We’re back out here for the Malta Half Marathon and this morning Joe and I we’re joined by friends on a 5k DIY Parkrun along the coast.

Rewind by two years and things weren’t much different; Joe was running the Malta Half Marathon and we were going out for a little run the day before… The difference was it was the first time I’d run for any reason other than to catch a train since I’d been at school!

The following day I was cursing our choice of B&B; our lovely room was on the second floor and my legs hurt so much I couldn’t even get up the stairs! I’d only managed to run 1km, but Joe had managed 21km and was absolutely fine… My 10k training had begun though and I had until July to reach the distance.

My first milestone was the Rother Valley Parkrun in May; a lovely flat course and my first experience of a community that’s become a massive part of my life. With that conquered it was time to build up to the slightly trickier Pontefract and Nostell courses.

I ran the Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10k with 100s of my Asda Colleagues after 5 months training and made it around in 1:15:37 – only 15 minutes quicker than Joe’s Malta half marathon time! I’d enjoyed it though and kept up the training and Saturday morning Parkrun addiction.

Being able to run 10k was never one of my goals. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 25 and wasn’t that sporty before, so it just didn’t feature on the to-do list! Two years ago I started to follow a lifestyle designed to help people manage the symptoms of MS; I felt the benefits of the low saturated fat diet almost instantly and within months I had regained lost sensation in my feet, had more energy and had lost weight.

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Waiting for Joe to complete the Great North Run later that year, I decided to kill some time looking around the charity village and stumbled across the MS Trust tent. Speaking with the team there, I discovered that this charity trains all the MS specialist nurses in England and provides all the info for people with MS and their families receive. I had a lot to thank them for, without even realising they existed!

I signed up for the Great North Run there and then and began to think about how I could prepare myself for a Half Marathon and raise the £300 requested too. In the next few months the Worthington 500k was born, with Joe and I aiming to run 500k in races between us in 2015 and attempting to raise £10,000 to mark my 10 years living with the illness.

We knew we had a shot at managing the distance, but we thought that our fundraising target was more than a little ambitious! That was until our friends pledged their support and suddenly we were part of a team of people who believed in us, and more importantly, themselves.

We held bake sales at work, hosted quizzes and race nights, gave up sweets and treats and got fitter together. I ran the Leeds 10k for the second time on my birthday, this time with 15 friends and a team of supporters. For some it was their first (and last!) 10k, for others it was the inspiration to run the distance themselves in the future; but we all agreed the pint at the end tasted amazing!

Leeds Group Finish

Joe and I completed the Worthington 500k Challenge in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve after running 721km in races and raising £14,500 for the MS Trust. We raced trains in Wales and Nessie in Scotland; Joe ran two marathons in two weeks and I completed the Great North Run. It’s hard to pick out one highlight, so I won’t even try.

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What I can say is we raised enough money for the MS Trust to train 7 new MS nurses or provide the MS Trust newsletter to all 9000 people with MS in the Yorkshire and Humber region for the next 18 months. We also received the JCI Barnsley Community award and have been nominated as Charity Fundraiser of the Year and Inspirational Person at the Yorkshire Choice Awards.

Ultimately, we got people talking about MS and learned a lot more about the illness ourselves, making further tweaks for a healthier future. It’s been a privilege to have so many unexpected conversations about MS, share our experiences and hopefully give other people like me a bit of hope that their diagnosis shouldn’t stand in the way of achieving their goals.

All that is priceless, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

The Final Furlong

Throughout the challenge, we’ve both looked forward to the final run of the year in Barcelona. We didn’t know what to expect from running in the evening, on New Year’s Eve, but it felt like a fitting end to the challenge and a nice reward for us after all the miles we’ve covered in training and in events (especially the soggy Abbey Dash in November!).

Joined by friends for the trip, we set off after a busy Christmas to what proved to be a very sunny and warm Barcelona; after a couple of days seeing the sights and enjoying the warm weather, it was time to get ready for a run, so we relaxed with a beer on the sea front before heading off for a pre-race Italian meal!

 

We were really touched to see a flurry of last minute donations coming in and still can’t quite believe the support we have received in terms of the sponsorship, needing to increase our target not once, but twice through the year. The support from our friends has been incredible all the way, so it was extra special to have our cheerleaders at the finish line on foreign soil!

The race itself was a real surprise, with the serious runners flying round the course (the winner completing the race in 28.30) and us setting off with the majority of the 10,000 plus runners surrounded by a real party atmosphere. As most of the runners were locals, they were dressed for winter whereas we both struggled with the heat after months of chilly weather in the UK!

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It was different going past, and being passed by, fellow runners with dogs and pushchairs, along with children running the event too (including a whole martial arts school) but it all added to the more laid back and inclusive experience.  It was the only race we ran together throughout the challenge and it seemed to fly by (despite it being the slowest race of the challenge for me). It didn’t feel like it took us long before we were in the last km and were looking out for Rich, Tracy, Ben and Alli, who had broken away from their beers to cheer us down the final straight.

 

After a refreshing drink , it was back across Barcelona (after a shower so we weren’t too smelly) to the Palace and Magic Fountains to welcome in the New Year with tens of thousands of others at an open air party!

After finishing the race it was a strange feeling to know we’d completed the challenge, and rather than the original 500km target, we had completed over 700km in races and over 1000km more in training. Our ambitious fundraising target of £10,000 had also been broken back in September (and we’d never thought we’d get close!) and overall we’ve raised over £14,000 throughout the year.

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The challenge has come to an end, but our running will continue with both of us aiming to improve in 2016 and carry on enjoying the advice and encouragement from Ackworth Road Runners. We have quite a few runs booked already, including a couple of headline events that we’ll be running for the MS Trust –the Great North Run and I will be taking on the London Marathon in April.

Once, again thank you for your ongoing support and helping us achieve our ambitious targets over the course of an incredible year.

 

The last challenge

Throughout the challenge, we’ve both looked forward to the final run of the year in Barcelona on New Years Eve. We didn’t know what to expect and thought it could be a bit odd running in the evening on New Year’s Eve, but it felt like a fitting end to the challenge and a nice reward for us after all the miles we’ve covered in training and in events (especially the soggy Abbey Dash in November!).

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Joined by friends for the trip, we set off after a busy Christmas to what proved to be a very sunny and warm Barcelona; after a couple of days seeing the sights and enjoying the warm weather, it was time to get ready for a run, so we relaxed with a beer on the sea front before heading off for a pre race Italian meal!

We were really touched to see a flurry of last minute donations coming in and still can’t quite believe the support we have received in terms of the sponsorship, needing to increase our target not once, but twice. The support from our friends has been incredible all the way, so it was extra special to have cheerleaders at the finish line on foreign soil.

Start line

The race itself was a real surprise, with the serious runners flying round the course (the winner completing the race in 28.30) and us setting off with the majority of the 10,000 plus runners surrounded by a real party atmosphere. As most of the runners were locals, they were dressed for winter whereas we both struggled with the heat after months of chilly weather in the UK!

It was different going past, and being passed by, fellow runners with dogs and pushchairs, along with children running the event too (including a whole martial arts school) but it all added to the more laid back and inclusive experience.  It was the only race we ran together throughout the challenge and it seemed to fly by (despite it being the slowest race of the challenge for me). It didn’t feel like it took us long before we were in the last km and were looking out for Rich, Tracy, Ben and Alli, who had broken away from their beers to cheer us down the final straight.

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After finishing the race it was a strange feeling to know we’d completed the challenge, and rather than the original 500km target, we had completed over 700km in races (and over 1000km more in training) and our ambitious fundraising target of £10,000 had been  broken and we have raised over £14,000 throughout the year.

After a refreshing drink , it was back across Barcelona (after a shower so we weren’t too smelly) to the Palace and Magic Fountains to welcome in the New Year with tens of thousands of others at an open air party!

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The challenge has come to an end, but our running will continue with both of us aiming to improve in 2016 and carry on enjoying the advice and encouragement from Ackworth Road Runners. We have quite a few runs booked already, including a couple of headline events that we’ll be running for the MS Trust –the Great North Run and I will be taking on the London Marathon in April.

Once, again thank you for your ongoing support and helping us achieve our ambitious targets over the course of an incredible year.

The Final Countdown

It’s hard to believe that the Worthington 500k Challenge is coming to a close! 2015 has been a very busy year and December has been no different; in fact we seem to have been in Lycra a fair bit this month, despite the falling temperatures (and rain!).

The month kicked off with the Edwinstowe 10k, our second trail race of the Challenge and first big event as new members of Ackworth Road Runners. It was great to be part of the annual Christmas pilgrimage for the club and run past the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest with so many now familiar faces.

 

There was an uncanny likeness between all the marshalls around the course, which made it great fun trying to spot Fi and JJ! As always, Joe was off in front and was part of the winning Ackworth combined team for the race, something he’s really proud of! It was a bit slower going for me, but thanks to Nicky’s encouragement, I made it around and got some useful tips on fuelling, training and injury prevention en route.

Nicky’s advice encouraged us to get booked in for a session with Todd Martin Sports Therapy the following week, which lead to the surprising discovery that I’ve probably been running with a torn hip flexor muscle since the Great North Run! We thought we’d done quite well to get through the year without injury, but I’m glad to say he did a great job and it’s not bothered me since and I’ve been able to increase my training again.

Parkruns have played a big part of December too, with the opportunity to run on Christmas Day and Boxing Day too random to resist! Fi and JJ featured again on our pre-turkey trot at Concord Parkrun, along with Lola and Charlie. We were back on familiar ground at Nostell for Boxing Day; unsurprisingly there were no PBs for us, but we made it around in respectable times considering the excesses of the day before!

A final mention has to go to our Christmas Elves and everyone who bought our Christmas decorations! Fi, Carolyn and my Mum have been busy all year making crafts to sell to raise funds for the MS Trust and the Christmas Collection proved to be really popular. Their Christmas stockings, puddings, baubles and gifts raised an incredible £478 – enough to provide all the publications and fact sheets an MS nurse will need for their patients and families in the coming year.

So, with only 4 days to go before our final race of the challenge, we begin the final countdown…