Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Race - Yello

Well, we are off today and the 26th Marathon des Sables is finally on us. It doesn't seem very long since we came back from The Sahara and I must say that we are both really looking forward to the race this year.

We know more people taking part than ever this year... and have made loads of new friends.

Please look at and send us a message while we are there... we are runners Rory 705 and Jenny 832. We'd love to hear from you.

The blog will be back on the 11th of April and our best wishes go to Andy Mcmenemy in the meantime... on

More later... much later...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Puddle of Mud - Take it all away

What's the worst thing you can get on 'Holiday'... RAGING TOOTHACHE... that's what. And it's a good job I got it a day early...

As following an interrupted night's sleep it was an early start to the nice Dentists, yes DentistS as it took two of them to yank it out at my local Breaston Dental Surgery.

I didn't really have much of an option but it was pointed out to me later on by my fellow MdeS tentmate, Lou Brockman, that the weight saving alone was worth the pain.

Not too sure if I agree however and it means that it's liquids until tomorrow and my plans of attacking the family bag of peanuts in Jenny's suitcase have been thwarted. Talk about bad planning eh? Let's hope that the rest of the trip goes smoother as I am looking for an easy life out in the desert.

More tomorrow from Gatwick...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Daytripper - The Beatles

There's only one thing worse than ONE person packing for The Marathon des Sables... and that's TWO! Yes we are all hands weighing and packing for 'The World's Toughest Footrace...

Jenny is all spreadsheet of course and weighing anything that moves... you name it, she tell you how many grams. I just tend to know what to take and put it in the case... but then it's all good that we are different eh? I must say there seemed to be more kit this year but it weighs the same as usual in the end.

There are a few more items to get together tomorrow and tonight at a trip to the 'T' Shop and then we are off for a good old rest in the desert. Cos I am knackered!


Monday, 28 March 2011

What A Feeling - Irene Cara

Well I am just about back to reality after a day of feeling a bit tired and disoriented... I went to the gym with Rory (to work not work out!) and promptly fell asleep on the couch for the duration of his training session!

Yesterday was an overwhelming day - I had no idea what to expect and not much of an idea about race tactics - speed, food, water, etc. I spent the first 4-5 hours darting in and out of the toilet (5 times I believe) with bad stomach cramps. In the last quarter of the race though I bizarrely seemed to get a big energy spurt from somewhere and really enjoyed speeding up and running around the last 10 laps or so with relative ease (well that's what it felt like anyway I probably looked somewhat different - particularly looking at the picture on the homepage of !!).

I finished in 8:43 in 5th place - my aim was sub-9 at worst, happy with sub 8:45 and in an ideal world sub 8:30. Given all my stomach cramps though I was really pleased with the end result.

Rory, Arwel, Derek and Rachel were absolutely fantastic helping us out on each of the 42 laps with food, drink, painkillers and most importantly encouragement, so a MASSIVE thanks to you all.

All in all, other than the mobile and other mishaps the day before, it was a surprisingly enjoyable experience, helped along of course by the Celtic Plate win:-) Massive congrats to Emily on a stunning performance - I hope one day I can come close to her amazing time of 8 hours - awesome.

Right, having napped today and been spoilt rotten by Rory I am now going to chill out and watch one of our favourite films - When Harry Met Sally. To say I am a little relieved that I am not writing an excuse for a terrible underperformance would be a mild understatement!

Jump - Van Halen

Well the stolen mobile phone took another twist and turn last night when I was making my 12th call to Orange on a very dodgy line in Perth... Outside the thick walls of the hotel I found the only place to get a reception was half way across Queen's Bridge.

I must have been gazing hard out into the dark night water as the next thing I knew was the local Police were there and asking if I wanted to end it all as they had reports of a 'jumper' looking depressed... I did say that getting thru to Orange was hard work and depressing but that it wasn't really worth committing suicide over.

Oh how we all laughed...

We weren't laughing at 5am this morning when we had to get to the airport but at least we are back home and enjoying a well earned rest... well till Wednesday anyway.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Silver and Gold - U2

It's been a day to remember up in Scotland on the Celtic Plate 100km. Jenny ran a blinder and all of yesterday's air-headness has vanished which can only be good news eh?

Running around the circuit in Perth was I admit, particularly mind numbing for my 18 laps to get my 26.2 mile marathon in 3:44 as preparation for the MdeS later this week.

Watching Britain's premier ULTRA-athletes performing was most inspiring I can tell you and my marathon was a nice easy plod in just under 8:30's all the way, thank God I didn't do 42 of them.

Lapping and being lapped was however a nice way of making things a bit more interesting...

So number 675 in the bag and only 25 to go to the magic 700... makes my knees buckle thinking about it but at least the MdeS will give me another two...

More tomorrow from ENGLAND!!!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Waiting Room - Genesis

We are on a 100km Death Row... well Jenny is and I am on a 50km (although I am only doing a Marathon) at the Celtic Plate tomorrow... I say that Jenny is more on Death Row than I am as if she doesn't stop being a blond air-head, I am going to have to kill her!

We have already lost an iPhone, spoken to the Police and had a 2 hour fruitless search for Electrolytes in Perth that the organisers are supplying!... as well as having repacked, unpacked and faffed to distraction.

Anyway, she is now under sedation watching James Bond as I type so she will hopefully see tomorrow. Hopefully it will all be worth it and she will perform to her potential and get the recognition she so richly deserves.

The other athletes here are very impressive indeed and it's good for me to witness just how good our home grown ULTRA-runners are.

I feel quite out of place...

More tomorrow as Daniel Craig is chasing a villain who is chasing world domination... now there's an unusual plot line... I hope ours is less demanding and that we have a great time running laps of the local park...

Friday, 25 March 2011

Roadwork - Edgar Winter

Why do cycle-lanes have all the drains, sewer covers and pot-holes in them and not the rest of the road?

I think they must have put them there deliberately in the case of downtown Long Eaton. In fact their cycle lanes just END... and I mean END just when you don't need them to.

Very annoying especially when your bum is numb from bouncing over the bumps whilst sitting on a razor blade saddle.

In an age when we are trying to get people mobile and fuel is hitting £1.40 a litre (that's £6.30 a gallon btw) we need our Sustrans friends to come and smooth out local tarmac.

When they have done ours... shall I send 'em your way?

More tomorrow from Perth (Scotland) and preparations for the Celtic Plate... hopefully we are not running round a cycle track at the weekend as I will need my off roaders...

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves - Aretha Franklin

Well that has got my creative writing juices flowing - how disappointing to see, yet again, women got no mention last night on the James Cracknell documentary. Maybe they don't want to belittle James' performance by comparing it to women but really, anyone would be forgiven for deducing the race is male-only the amount of coverage we got.

I really hope that my Guinness World Record attempt in June can somehow help to raise women's profile in the sport. Last month I became the 2011 Welsh Ultra Distance Champion, beating the Welsh male competitors as well as female. I aim to do the same in June this year when I will be running the length of Ireland from Malin Head to Mizen Head with the intention of beating not only the current female record but the male one also.

Sorry to use this as a plug for help, but I am seeking event partners and sponsors that can help me to make this happen. Our budget for the event is in the region of £10,000 so we need both financial support and help from the media and press.

Ideally I would like to partner 'girl-power' brands or brands supporting the notion of female empowerment.

If you think you can help or know of someone that might be interested I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Park Life - Blur

I had a day out yesterday with my great friend Andy McMenemy who is currently running 66 ULTRA-marathons in 66 consequetive days as part of his Challenge 66 Guinness World Record attempt.

And it was interesting to witness his washing machine existance of emotions coping with people, environments and unsuitable running courses!

He is also coping with a badly swollen ankle which at Day 8/66 has to be a real concern to him. It all took me back to when I ran to Lisbon in 2004 running 50kms and how I coped with a huge task and journey where for six weeks my reputation as a runner was on the line. At the end of each day, I was happy just to switch off and not think about the next day's feat...

His interview is here and his task is huge.

Like I said last week, it's easy to say that you are going to do but as C. Scott Ragsdale so aptly put it. 'You can talk ALL day about what you are GOING to do... but YOU have to MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Make it Happen, Andy...  and proud to know you mate and I really enjoyed my day with you and clocked up Marathon 674 in the process :-).

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Beyonce - New Shoes

It's been a very interesting and rewarding day... as Jenny and I went to see the very nice people at UK Gear today. They are currently developing the New PT1000 Desert Shoe and we are now working with them on developing a shoe that is light, sand-tight, durable and perfect for ULTRA-running in warm climates.

We are really pleased as we have been saying for ages now that someone needs to take the lead and listen to ULTRA-runners and their running requiremens. Inventing a shoe that doesn't wear out, make your feet blister and look downright cool is all that's needed really - easy when you say it quickly!

I do know that they are committed to working with us and are keen to listen to any feedback on their products...and that's good to know. We are going to make sure that we can help all we can...let's face it ANY help Jenny can get for her poorly trotters is an improvement.

So watch this space... and more news in the April Newsletter...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Waterfront - Simple Minds

The text books say that we need 2 litres of water a day to keep hydrated and in the case of anyone running in Morocco's Marathon des Sables, there is a monumental 13 litres of water available each day of the race... enough to bathe in, let alone drink.

It's frightening to read about hydration as it says 'De-hydration can make you feel tired and lethargic, and will decrease your capacity for exercise. Extra fluid is needed in hot weather and when you exercise. For each hour of exercise you should drink an extra litre of fluid. If you have an illness that is causing sickness, diarrhoea or sweating, you will need to up your fluid intake to make up for the extra loss'.

I for one am not the best on this and good to have in mind before the race...

So my crusade is on... less coffee and more water... lots more water (and trips to the loo, I'm sure).

To help this along there is the weekend's Celtic Plate 50km following my 50km with Andy McMenemy on Wednesday... it can only mean one thing... more H20... so I am off for another pint!

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Togther Forever - Rick Astley

Is a phrase you could well use about our good friends Bethany and Ernie as they start their married life together. It really has been a great weekend on The Isle of Man and we had wonderful weather as a back drop to this busy wedding weekend.

Funny thing is that I always knew that they were the ideal people for each other when I was previously here last September and so just six months later it's been wonderful to see them tie the knot. We didn't get out to see the Island but we have vowed to return and discover the sights of this amazing island later in the year and run a few of it's hilly miles. No wonder they breed good athletes as none of it's flat!

The only thing left is to hope that our flight makes it back to Birmingham Airport... just 35 minutes and that 'We are Going to Crash Girl' doesn't make and appearance.

More tomorrow from blighty...

Friday, 18 March 2011

Trilogy - The Great and Majestic Emerson, Lake and Palmer

It's time another flight with 'We are going to Crash Girl' (WAGTCG)... and yes the Isle of Man beckons for us as we travel to Bethany and Ernie's wedding on the big rock in the Irish Sea this weekend. WAGTCG is off as I type trying to find comfort in buying a small bottle of Anaesthetic (Wine) just in case it gets rough out there.

Watching her face drop when we saw the prop plane we are going to fly on was just a picture and any mis-givings I have on flying have paled into a bullish front of not being worried in the slightest.

The tis rouble is that we have six separate take-offs and landings in the next three weeks to cope with... hmmm maybe some Diazepam might help... General Anaesthetic might be the optimum solution in coping with our globe trotting.

Anyway, I am sure we'll get there one way or another and no doubt it will be a great weekend... eh up she's back and looking nervous... help, the bar's not open!

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Money Talks - ACDC

As the old adage goes...Anyone can say what they are going to do... others make it happen. So it has for my good friend Andy McMenemy who has set off on his 66 day, 66 city ULTRA-marathon World Record. Dead easy if you say it quickly and also easy when you have done it as the pain becomes a rosy glow in life's rear view mirror.

Only I know how he feels tonight on his second day into the feat... I remember my own 43 day Mega-day ULTRA from London to Lisbon. I felt knackered on the A3 to Portsmouth and wondered why the **** I was doing 43 x 31 milers. The finish in Lisbon reminded why!

It's hard when you are in it to look at the big picture of your mission as have to keep selling the dream to all the people you have convinced to help you achieve your goals, especially when you are down. I was lucky that my crew were great and that we had an easy going lifestyle out on the road.

I'm looking forward to seeing Andy next Wednesday in Derby after his first week on the case... and to see him get all 66 Ultras in the bag as he deserves the glory... as he's the most prolific energy giver that I know. Hopefully his deltoids will last the course and I will encourage him when I see him.

Be good to get the first week's story from him first-hand. Keep going mate... I proud to know you.

His site is here and give all you can for such a worthy guy/cause...

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Way of the World - Wishbone Ash

With Earthquakes, Impending Nuclear Meltdown and unrest in Libya making our headlines we continue our daily lives in our own micro-worlds.

How these world events affect us personally, well only the people who are there will ever know. The last week must have been and must still be a living nightmare for all those concerned.

What are we doing here in the UK, well we are arresting children for picking Daffodils and offering first-aid courses to gang members that have been stabbed by other gang members...

What is going on in this world of ours? It feels very fragile right now...

Monday, 14 March 2011

What a difference a day makes - Dinah Washington

Sometimes there is no accounting for what makes a good or bad day in exercise it seems...

Yesterday - Awful...

Today - Just B R I L L I A N T!

What one does have to do is to try and work out what the difference was between the days and then move on in the right direction. I think the main difference is diet and the lack of bread today... I always feel sluggish after a good old loaf of white sliced and I must admit to a Burgerking with The Puppy on Saturday...

Other than that, I did go back on ARK 1 supplement following yesterdays run and a protein shake to boot.

Perhaps it's because we have been working on The JOGLE Ultra today and maybe I am just inspired... who knows but it felt great...

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

You get what you give - New Radicals

What a hard old run that was today... legs were made of pure Plumbum. Unusual really as I have been running pretty well for me all week and not a good sign for the Celtic Plate 50km in two weeks. However, I did manage to get out in the bright spring sunshine of a March day in Breaston and that's better than nothing.

My philosophy is that you only get back what you put in and that is my thinking about today's run.

Hopefully it will feel easier tomorrow...We'll see eh?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Move any Mountain - The Shamen

I  took my daughter, Pearl (6) to one of my most favourite places in the world... Malvern. There is something just magical about this range of hills on the Worcestershire and Herefordshire border - There always has been for me, well ever since 1969 as I remember.

My family outings went there when I was the same age as Pearl funnily enough. Forty years on and I often go back to the 1395ft (425m) high hills that are 680 million years old! It always makes you feel good when you are there... Maybe it's the igneous rock? or it's all that fresh air.

Anyway, I took Pearl to climb a mountain and she loved it... I hope she loves it as much as I do when she's my age...

It's kind special... What's your special place?

More tomorrow...

Friday, 11 March 2011

Ouch - N-Dubz


After my blog-holiday I'm back! Today has been a pain-filled day - Paul White inflicted SOOOO much pain today I felt it needed to be blogged about, and then I had my hair pulled about by a hairdressers for 2 hours which hurt like hell - OUCH!

On the plus side, thanks to Paul's expertise I now feel like I am floating on air rather than walking (thanks Paul we love you really), and I don't need to wash my hair for a month so it's not all bad.

On a more somber note, my heart goes out to those who have connections with the earthquake/tsunami in Japan - the images are unbelievable.

I can see clearly now - Jimmy Cliff

Funny eh? What I thought was my old back giving me a load of grief last May following the Marathon des Sables was in fact my ITB (the dreaded Iliotibial band syndrome)... and bugger me did it hurt and it had started to again!

But it's gone as my good friend Paul White, aka The Magician of Loughborough' sorted it out earlier today. BIG OUCH!!!

If the Hot Fuzz swearbox had been in the room, I would clocked the £2 fine a hundred times, it's pure torture... and F@CK is just not harsh enough to describe the pain... although the moment the treatment stops...the sensation is mildly orgasmic.

Just pure ecstasy... aren't bodies wierd?

So, to keep me going in the desert there's going to be a quick crash course for Jan Slater and hopefully Morocco won't be an issue... famous last words!

Anyway we'll see what they are like tomorrow...

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Big Country - Big Country

I just started converting our '9bar JOGLE Ultra' maps from Tracklogs to Google Maps to get the full climb and descent for the whole route. After plotting the first two, I am already getting a clear picture of the challenge that the runners are going to be undertaking next month. The first 63.8 miles with 1309 metres up and 1296 metres down will sort the men from the boys, perhaps?

It's a real challenge just plotting the route but as I go down the country, the place names are all familiar and I think back to last year's triumphant trio (Neil Bryant, David Miles and Mark Cockbain) and can't believe that it's nearly twelve months since we were on the road.

The blog is already updated for this year's race to unfold on and we are ready to roll on the UK's Ultimate ULTRA marathon... are you?

More tomorrow... I'm off to Scotland in a moment...literally!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Things can only get better - D:ream

My Marathon des Sables shoes came back from the cobblers today after having the Velcro sewn and glued on to them. It's another reminder that The Sahara Experience is beckoning... there's less than four weeks now till we hit the heat and the sand.

I must say that I wish my training was a bit better as I ran 6.5 miles yesterday and hated every single step... the weekend's event has sapped all my energy I think. I hope it comes back I still have the Celtic Plate 50km to have a trot on and an ULTRA-marathon with 66 Ultra, Andy McMenemy to do before hitting Quarzazate.

Yesterday was just one of those bad Mondays... amongst other things my laptop hard drive broke, my Garmin froze and I got done for doing 35mph in a 30mph zone... Hey ho - things can only get better eh?

More tomorrow...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Champion - Chipmunk Featuring Chris Brown

Well what a champion weekend that was... nothing short of extremely hard work and my legs feel like they also ran a Double ULTRA-marathon too. ULTRArace Grantham is always a great way of getting pre-Marathon des Sables runners together and get them sharing to make new friendships and ask all their last minute questions at our Saturday night gathering.

The only drawback for us at ULTRArace is that we don't get to run! So today will be a bit of a catch-up on that front when we are re-stocked in ULTRAstore later.

With these first five races now complete we can now focus on our own Marathon des Sables preparation and get in some good last minute training for the Celtic Plate in two weeks.

More later... and we hope you had a great weekend with us too...

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Heartsong - Gordon Giltrap

It's been a great old day out on ULTRArace Grantham and yet again we've had a wonderful time seeing people reach and surpass their goals and dreams... we saw a course record of 3hrs 16mins and 13 seconds by Irish International, Dan Doherty and a barefoot ultra by James Blissett.

Our evening talk was full of people lapping up MdeS info and getting their last minute purchases from out ULTRAstore... the room was just buzzing!

And now my feet are! It's time to relax and get ready for tomorrow's return journey...

More tomorrow... today's results are here...

Friday, 4 March 2011


I must admit to standing in the local Co-op (of Suuu Guuud with Fuuud Fame) tonight with a family bag of Salted Peanuts in my hand...

I had the cash, the hunger and the inclination I can tell you! How on earth I got out of the shop I don't know but it was a real, real challenge.

Now I know it's daft to go shopping when you are hungry, especially post run but I had a few items to buy for our weekend away on ULTRArace Grantham but the temptation for the Peanuts seemed worse than any alcohol or crisp fetish that I have had in the past...

I just love 'em even though they make me feel really sluggish the following day.

It's bloody hard living like a monk an following your own dream. But hey, maybe it's worth it on the long run.

I'll have the weekend on the towpath to consider it and maybe you have your demon food and drink too?

Kings and Queens - 30 Seconds to Mars

Now can anyone help me out? If you know me well you know I am rubbish at finding my keys but I have now also lost the first part of 2011. Where the hell has it gone?... I did have the end of 2010 yesterday but January and February have simply disappeared.

And now it's March!

How does that happen? The days just segway together it seems and just speed by in a blur. It's MdeS in 30 days now and it's coming at us like a Juggernaut right now let alone the 1000 other runners lining up for 'The World's Toughest Footrace', I bet.

Most of them are coming to our ULTRArace Grantham race at the weekend and a couple of 29.3 milers will hopefully put them in  a positive place to go and attack the Western Sahara. Reports and photos from our race will be online over the weekend.

More later...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Black and White Town - The Doves

Great running song this one... I used it a lot on the Flora 1000 mile Challenge back in 2003. Music really helps... although getting together a collection of tunes that will drive you on and inspire you when things are tough and tougher by the minute is quite a challenge in itself.

There are songs like 'Scream' by Geri Haliwell and 'Close to Love' by Girls Aloud... which you know you shouldn't like that actually do the trick. And from this blog you will know roughly where my musical taste is coming from (mostly Floyd) but there are so many great songs to chose from outside of my world that it makes you wonder just what I could be missing...

So this is where I am asking you what your favourite track is and why it helps you get thru the dark times of running or life in general... surprise me!

More tomorrow... now where's that Alvin Stardust Album?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Month Song - Susan Salidor

And it is just a month until the 26th Sultan Marathon des Sables... and the race is looming quick and fast not only for me it seems but for all taking part.

We are picking and packing boxes like there's no tomorrow and there are plenty of people out there asking for extra help and extended shopping hours. It's great!

What is slightly worrying is that Jenny and I must plan our own paths to the Sahara and make sure we are in the right place to undertake, 'The World's Toughest Footrace'.

I am hoping to get running again tomorrow as I need to get back in the groove... The Marathon in Barry has taken a swipe out of my legs I can tell you and I have a few kilos to shake in preparation... more tomorrow...

PS Hope you got your ULTRArace Newsletter today!