Great North Run 2018

We have just about recovered from the mad summer where we completed Endure 24, the 100km Race to the Stones and Dusk till Dawn endurance events; it’s taken a lot of rest and recovery and now the big challenges start again…

In September we will be taking on both The Great North Run and Loch Ness Marathon, on top of this I have a milestone birthday coming up just before Loch Ness and will be officially OLD.

The 2017 summer streak is still continuing for me and Loch Ness will be day 450, assuming I can keep going until then.

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Since starting our challenge back in 2015, we have been amazed at the amount of money  that the Worthington 500k challenge has raised for the MS Trust and are currently just short of £21,000, it’s less than £100 to go! It would be amazing if we could hit this target before the Great North Run and if we manage to achieve this, there has been talk of running with blue hair (really not sure what colour mine would end up — but willing to see for charity).

So please donate if you would like to make us easier to spot on the TV on Sunday morning!

Link for Donations

We have more challenges planned before the end of the year, with more updates coming soon

Again, thank you for reading!

Race to the Stones – Debbie Did Distance

The last time I went to Avebury was about 20 years ago, living down south and studying Geology, then Geo-Archaeology. I’ve always liked rocks and being outdoors, it seems Joe did too, as we met on the same course all those years ago. If you’d told me then that the next time I’d see the stones, it would be as a sweaty, grumpy ultra runner, I’d have thought you’d been affected by the strange atmosphere in this weird place!

It’s been a week since crossing the Race to the Stones finish line. 100k (and a smidge more) after setting off from a farm south of Oxford, we reached another farm near Avebury stone circle. Thinking about it, there were a lot of farms, and farm tracks, and fields and unusually large livestock. I suppose this is the story of our agri-archaeological adventure…

The Ridgeway is Britain’s oldest path; people have been walking it’s length for a very, very long time, although I suspect our ancestors did it at a more leisurely pace and with a bit more purpose than a personal challenge! I accepted the RTTS challenge last autumn, knowing that having my first marathon and the Six Dales in the diary for 2018, my fitness should be good enough to take it on.

That was a mistake. Having had Multiple Sclerosis for the last 13 years, I know not to take my health for granted, but I hadn’t anticipated on picking up an injury on New Years Day, resulting in initially being unable to walk and meaning I couldn’t run for the next 4 months. With hindsight, I think the physio and strength work I did to get back on track probably helped me last weekend, but it would have been nice not to have put it to the test!

Looking back at it, although Joe, Vicky and I signed up to the same race (100km with an overnight stop at the halfway basecamp) the race we did was very different. Joe was going for a time (and a very good time too) and Vicky and I simply wanted to finish. We all achieved our goals, but I think we all underestimated it too – you can read more about Joe’s race here.

When Vicky and I set off in the wave after Joe and our clubmate “One Day” Tammy, we tackled the first 10km according to our plan; running the downhill and flat bits at marathon pace and walking the hills. We were in good spirits at the first Pitstop, where we tried not to be greedy when faced with all those “free” goodies, had a light snack and topped up our water bottles (whilst laughing at our tiny collapsible cups).

After a brief chat with one of the volunteers, a fellow MS-er who’d clocked my MS Trust t-shirt, she wished us luck and we trotted off to take on the next 10k feeling good and nattering to the other competitors we passed or who passed us. It got hilly, and it got woody, and it got narrow, and we got stuck behind “techno beard” who thought we all wanted to listen to his music. We were having a good time, but agreed the terrain was a bit more technical than the “field of dreams” photos had lead us to expect.

At the next Pitstop we really could have done with some shade; the sun had been beating down, but the leafy cover along Grim’s Ditch had protected us a fair bit. Now it was hot, very very hot. We thought we’d pick up some time along the next section as it looked nice and flat, running along the stretch of the river Thames that inspired “The Wind in the Willows”… we were wrong!

The heat was pretty unbearable, we were trotting along initially, but soon realised we were dehydrating faster than our pace warranted, so there was an unconscious decision to walk a bit and look at the amazing properties and families messing about on the river. Could we swim this bit?

By Pitstop 3 I knew I was struggling when the village name of Mongewell barely raised a titter. I think my naivete with regards to fuelling had come home to roost and I needed to eat. A lot! Joe had finished (informed by the obligatory sobbing selfie I expect after every marathon, and now understand firsthand) so I knew I didn’t need to expend any energy worrying about him. After our longest stop so far, I was feeling a bit more human thanks to Vicky’s insistence that I shovel everything freak-friendly into my mouth (I follow the Overcoming MS lifestyle, which is akin to a vegan diet with fish) and we set off again.

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It was a long hard slog to Pitstop 4, but we got there feeling relatively good, and took shade by the side of a car with our Pitstop picnic – this one was all about the nuts! Knowing we only had 6k to go to reach Basecamp, we toddled off expecting the last few kms to fly by. They didn’t. We knew it wasn’t just us struggling when we saw two burly blokes sobbing at the base of the monument about 1km out. Trail Tourettes kicked in with a vengeance when we saw the 1km to base camp sign – we thought we were much closer.

Thankfully we got to basecamp without a full on tantrum and were greeted by a smiling Joe and the lovely lady from Pitstop 1 who’d been keeping an eye out for us. Joe mentions in his blog about being ready to be our personal assistant, after having longer to recover… We’d already decided that he’d be our slave on arrival, and he did us proud, sorting out the tents, bringing water and snacks to the chillout tent and booking us in for a massage.

We all wondered how we were going to take on Day 2, but didn’t dare share our doubts…

The showers and massages revived us, and carbloading commenced in the food marquee. We made very good use of the excellent catering facilities! Anticipating an early start to beat the heat, we had an early night, I retaped my toes, and realised that I probably shouldn’t have taken rehydration quite so seriously after my third trip to the porta-loos… at least I didn’t get chance to seize up overnight!

Sun rise over the camp was really magical, completed by a Red Kite circling, looking for his breakfast. We had no trouble locating breakfast, and after the day before, shoveled in as much as we could. We set off together, but Joe was soon a dot in the distance as Vicky and I had decided that our completion depended upon us walking Day Two. The steadier pace gave us more time to appreciate the scenery and natter about what we’d learned on Day One. The first Pitstop came around surprisingly quickly and we were greeted by my new MS friend and had a bit more of a natter; she’d seen Joe earlier (who’d opted for his MS Trust t-shirt) and said he was looking strong. Git.

The terrain was a lot easier, there was more shade and we seemed to be gobbling up the km markers, possibly lullled into a false sense of security by the closer proximity between the basecamp and the first two pitstops. Pitstop 8 rolled around after what seemed like a never-ending uphill section, with the obligatory photographer at the top. We were feeling good, got the message that Joe had finished and even threw in a few stretches before setting off.

Next came the toughest bit of the challenge for us. Despite the walking and dilligent attention to hydration, the heat had still taken its toll. The lack of shade on the exposed gallops had sent body temperatures rocketing and my attention turned to how we could quickly cool down at the next pitstop; completing the challenge was starting to look in doubt.

Pitstop 9 was a Godsend. We took on water and electrolytes, took advantage of the shade (and barely noticed the midges), drenched t-shirts, buffs and hair and stuffed our faces as we started to come around a bit. This was our longest, but most important pitstop. There was only 12 km to go before we’d see Joe and my parents (who’d been warned what kind of state we’d be in!).

The last section dragged, the rutted paths were hard work and even the sight of a crop circle in the valley below barely roused our interest. We just wanted to get to the end. We tried to trick our tired minds over the last 10k by visualising our favourite parkruns. The switch back to see the stones was a killer, not made any easier by meeting a chirpy Joe. I don’t think the photographer quite knew what to say when we propped ourselves up against the biggest stone and said we weren’t moving until he’s zoomed in (sorry for messing up your settings if you’re reading this!).

Finally, after being given our complimentary stone momento by more smiling marshals (a bit of gravel that’s still in my day sack), we set off for the last km. The change of terrain to a long uphill slope of grass wasn’t welcomed, but turning onto the finishing straight certainly was. Emotions were running high, as Vicky and I turned to each other we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry – so we did both. At once.

Joe finished 17th, an incredible achievement for his first attempt at anything over marathon distance, and Vicky and I were in the top two thirds, finishing without any ill effects. Maybe this is our niche? It’s been an incredible feeling to have the runners I look up to congratulating us on our achievement; as a plodder that’s never really happened before. So week on, after saying never again, we’re thinking about the next challenge.

Race To The Stones is without a doubt the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and I know that I couldn’t have done it without Vicky’s support; we made a great team, and thankfully my fear that we wouldn’t be talking by the finish was unfounded. Not letting down the people who were kind enough to sponsor us played a big part too.

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Since we started fundraising for the MS Trust in 2015, we’ve raised over £20,500 which  goes a long way for a small charity. They do an amazing job supporting families affected by MS in the UK through the provision of information on diagnosis and the training of the MS nurses that give us the care we need, when we need it. If you’d like to donate, you can follow this link.

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!

Debbie Does Distance

Inspired by the London Marathon, Joe’s 300th day of the “Summer Streak” and MS Awareness week, I thought it was high time for a blog! This year’s running challenges are all about tackling greater distances, so how’s it been going so far?….

To be honest, 2018 didn’t get off the best start for me; on the 1st of January I was really looking forward to running the New Year’s Day Double parkrun, starting at Pontefract and followed up by a one-off special course at Nostell. Foolishly this meant I ignored a niggle I’d picked up over Christmas and ended up in Casualty with a nasty case of high hamstring tendinopathy, an injury that occurs in runners when the hamstring becomes damaged where it joins the hip bone.

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Cue a month of enforced rest and hobbling about, followed by intensive physiotherapy, electroaccupuncture and ultrasound treatments, and a strengthening programme in an attempt to get back running as soon as I could. It’s taken 4 months to get back to running (almost) pain free and numerous missed and incomplete races, but it’s also been a great excuse to volunteer and support at parkruns and Ackworth Road Runners events and jaunts.

One experience I refused to miss out on was the Dark Skies Half Marathon at Kielder Water last month; thankfully I was able to run-walk the very undulating course, lit only by our head torches and had some very understanding team mates willing to go at my pace. I was really proud to make it to each checkpoint before the cut-off, but decided to stop at 10 miles for fear of aggravating my injury. This did give me the opportunity to cheer on the gang as they reached the finish, so I got the best of both worlds!

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I finally completed my first race of 2018 a fortnight ago, the Old Colliery Canter 10k in the village where Joe and I bought our first house. It was great to be wearing my MS Trust t-shirt again, I’m sure it kept me going when I was beginning to question how far 10k actually was! Next week I have another 10k race, this time in Rotherham where I grew up. I’m really looking forward to seeing family supporting along the way and running on roads I’ve previously only driven on!

This year was always going to be the one where I planned to rabbit ingstackle the unthinkable… a marathon. Joe and I bought each other places in the Loch Ness Marathon for Christmas and we’d also booked Race to the Stones, a two day ultra trail marathon covering 100km along Britain’s oldest path to Avebury stone circle – perfect for an archaeology graduate.

Fortunately it looks like these plans will still come to fruition – I’m back running at parkrun and have recently returned to Ackworth for the Tuesday night social runs. I’ve also started to increase the frequency and distances I’m running to prepare for the Liverpool Half Marathon next month… My aim is just to make it around in one piece!

So 2018 is still all about the distance; taking on my first ultra marathon, before I’ve even run a marathon, and then following through with the impulsive decision to book the Athens Authentic marathon in November, following the fabled run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides from the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Finishing in the Panathenaic Stadium is going to be one hell of an experience!

Asrothwell hats you’d probably expect, we’ll continue raising awareness and funds for the MS Trust as the year goes on to champion the brilliant work they do to support people in the UK who are diagnosed with MS and their families and friends. We’ll be joining the MS Trust team once again at the Great North Run and bobble hat sales continue to bring in the donations and keep my mums hands busy!

All in all, its not been ideal, but I was pleased to hear that some people hadn’t realised I’d been unable to run for so long because I’d still been an active part of our running community. I hope I’ll be coming back stronger thanks to the hard work in the gym and improved running stance, but I guess only time will tell!

Photo credit: Graham Beardsley Images😀

 

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!

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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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Success for the Summer Streakers!

Back in the Spring I was getting a bit fed up with running. I needed to take the focus off times that didn’t seem to be improving and get back to enjoying running for the sake of it… So I decided to run at least a mile every day through July and August to see what would happen and if I could actually keep it up! Calling it the Summer Streak and adding the fundraising element for the MS trust meant that I had to give it my best shot.

What started out as a solitary quest, turned into a bit of a campaign as I was joined by a handful of brilliant people in July; by August there were 30 of us streaking around Yorkshire, getting our daily run in, sharing our achievements and supporting each other on the tough days.

We saw streaking on holiday in New York, streaking at altitude in the Alps, well hydrated streaking in Lanzarote, determined streaking in Norfolk, midnight streaking in Stockholm and seaside streaking in Skegness. We had streakers who walked, ran, cycled and some streakers who swam, all on the same day!

There were some great events included in the streak too, from parkruns and 5k races, to 10km and half marathon distances and even an ultra marathon! We tackled 24 hour and nighttime endurance races, Hadrian’s Wall and raced a stream train (it won!).

Everyone who took part said that they’d enjoyed the experience and felt stronger for it, and considering the original aim was to take my focus off times, many of us have seen vast improvements, with Personal Bests recorded across most distances. A hardy few have vowed to continue streaking as a part of our training, and I know I’ll keep it up for as long as I can!

Here’s a few words from our streakers…

“It’s definitely made a difference this month in getting me my fastest 5k in 4 years and within 17 seconds of my 5 year old 1 mile pb”.

“I can’t believe streaking is over, it’s been awesome and even though I couldn’t run every day, I have seen improvements in my running/pace”.

“I added up our streaks and there are only 2 days, out of the 2 months, when we failed to run walk or swim”.

“Throughout the last month I have run every single day to raise awareness for the MS Trust, and to personally raise a bit of money for it too by putting a nominal fee aside each time I ran (there would have been a higher forfeit for any day I didn’t manage to run!). I ran a total of 97 miles (if I’d worked it out sooner and realised how close I was to 100 I might have managed an extra 3)”.

It hasn’t just been about the running though, once again raising awareness for the MS Trust and Multiple Sclerosis has been a huge part of the challenge. The Streakers have been using social media channels to share information and I was honoured (and a bit scared!) to be invited onto the radio to talk about the Streak and our fundraising. You can listen to the interview here.5towns

So far the Summer Streak has raised £862 for the MS Trust and the Streakers have declared 1,558.5 miles! That takes our fundraising total to £18,079 since 2015; an incredible sum that makes a huge difference to people living with Multiple Sclerosis in the UK.

If you would like to contribute to the Summer Streak, all donations are welcomed on the VirginGiving site and will support the brilliant work the MS Trust does by training MS Specialist Nurses and providing information to everyone affected by MS when they need it.

As for whether anyone actually took their clothes off… you’ll be relieved to know that this is as close as it got!

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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!

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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…

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Streaking through July

Welcome to the latest update on our MS Trust Challenge; we’ve entered the fourth week of the Summer Streak and seem to be going from strength to strength! Joe and I have managed to run at least a mile every day since the first of July, somehow fitting a trot in around Joe starting a new job, busy diaries and forgoing rest days after more challenging races.

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But we’re not alone, some other crazy folk have decided that it’s a good idea and have joined our Summer Streak Challenge, pledging to run every day throughout July and August too. Fellow Ackworth Road Runner, the ever smiling Lesley, has even devised a fundraising element where she and husband Jim will donate a set amount for every day they run, and will double it on days they don’t!

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Other Summer Streakers going strong include Georgie, Sue, Julie, Gary and Colin; we’re also supporting another runner with their training for the London Marathon – good luck Jem as you #runeveryday for Children with Cancer UK!

July’s highlights include kicking off the challenge in style at Endure 24 by completing a 24 hour relay with our team “the Cat-astrophes”, we even threw in a warm-up at Wetherby parkrun! Races have included the Jane Tomlinson Canal Race, Doncaster 5k, Leeds 10k, Nostell Priory 10k, and Trunce Trail Time Trial.

In between the events, we’ve been out training with Ackworth Road Runners and have devised our preferred mile-long routes around our village for those days when we’re pressed for time or just plain shattered! All the Streakers seem to agree, the early morning runs before work are the hardest and we’re trying to avoid them at all costs!

Joe and I weren’t sure what to expect from this challenge, other than achy legs, but it’s been a real surprise to see how our Streaking has affected our running… in a good way! We’ve both bagged 5k and course personal best times this month, after being nowhere near them for years, and we’re feeling much stronger even though some days are easier (and drier) than others….

On the parkrun front, we did a spot of tourism at Dalby Forest, Joe ran his 100th parkrun and on the same day I celebrated my 25th occasion volunteering. Looking forward to the rest of the challenge, we have another endurance race coming up too, the Dusk Til Dawn event, where we’ll be seeing how many miles we can clock up between 6pm and 6am… if the lure of the bar isn’t too great!

As well as our favourite Run For All 10k event in York, we have some quirky races coming up too, with the Flat Cap 5 miler to celebrate Yorkshire Day and Race the Train in Wales – will Joe manage to tame the choo choo this year?

Special thank you goes out to Mark Leadbeater for securing a donation of wool to make the Ackworth Road Runner bobble hats – there’s so much we’re thinking up other woolly creations!  Thanks also go to Mel at RPM Massage Therapy for your healing hands as the Streakers team masseuse! Thanks to everyone that’s sponsored the Summer Streak so far as well, if you’d like to add a bit to the pot, you can do that here.

As always, thank you for reading about how we’re challenging ourselves to raise awareness and funds for the MS Trust. By supporting us, you’re supporting the MS Trust as they strive to ensure that every person with MS in the UK has access to a specialist nurse and the information they need to live well with MS.

Why not join us for the August leg of the Summer Streak?….

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