Tag Archives: challenge

Saxons, Vikings and Normans Cookiethon

Look at those two, if you had told them that a few years after this was taken they would have a joint hobby of running, that they would spend a lot of their spare time doing it and that they were both capable of running marathons they would have laughed at you!

I always write about the races from my perspective, as that’a all I can really do, give my own opinion on the races I run, how I felt doing so and my own performance, and I don’t think I spend enough time saying quite how proud of this boy I am. He has basically lost a whole other adult in weight, he works so hard to improve his running and has far surpassed me. This year, having never done the distance before, he has run a marathon a month. In this one he was even the third fastest to run the marathon distance. He is simply amazing and my daily inspiration to keep pushing myself, even if it is a little irritating that I’m currently injured and resting and he’s still out smashing 10k in his lunch breaks not to mention how much faster than me he is now!

Me finished, Phil off for lap 6!

So now to business. This race is currently up there as one of my favourite runs! It was on a Monday, which is a little random, but I have Mondays off and Phil had some holiday to use up, and it was only an hour away so we signed up, and it was well attended for a random work day.

This race was a 4.4 mile loop, which was nice in itself as the past few lapped races we have run have been out and backs which can get a bit dull. It was on trail in Kings Wood in Ashford where we have done a run before, but this one was less off trail than the one we did here before, sticking to the woodland paths. I chose my new Inov-8 Terraclaws and they were just perfect for the job, not too aggressive on the grip for the hard packed trails and grippy enough for the short muddy section to keep me on my feet so I wasn’t losing time in road trainers slipping about.

I started off feeling really strong, my knee pain was very low, and the trails were lovely. Several up and downhill sections, and plenty of flat running in between through woodland trails. The sun was out, it was warm and just a lovely way to spend the day. I started out near the front of the pack, and was “playing tag” with another lady who I think was a bit injured so she would have taken me easily on a good day (then again i’m injured too, so maybe not), she came in seconds before me on the first lap, but to my surprise rang the bell to bow out, and easily taking fastest lady to do 1 lap. I continued onto my second lap still feeling really good and fresh, I felt like I was running at a pace I could maintain for ages, and I was now 1st lady with no competition, there was no one else near me!

Mid way through lap 2

I actually started to worry that I had missed a turning at one point, the faster guys were well ahead (including Phil) and I couldn’t see anyone behind me. I even slowed down to grab a quick pic! Thankfully I saw some guys coming up in the distance so knew I’d not gone wrong and soon saw the next marker. I came in after my second lap and helped myself to some jelly babies from the aid station before setting off for lap 3. This would get me a half marathon and was my aim for the day, pain allowing, but I was still feeling strong and considering a 4th lap as I was really enjoying the running, but at 11.5miles, part way through lap 3 the pain caught up with me, I had to slow down and started to struggle. I knew it would be stupid to continue. I finished my lap, and took 1st lady for the half marathon. I was sad that I couldn’t continue, just because I had enjoyed the course so much.

Finishing lap 3

Phil was already out on lap 4 when I finished, so I got changed and started eating my body weight in cookies at the aid station while waiting for him to come back in. He continued to run getting his lap count up to 6 to get a full marathon, and the race director allowed me the honer of giving him his medal when he was finished.

Phil smashing his race in unicorn leggings

Once Phil was done, changed and able to drive again we headed for a cheeky Nandos before returning home and getting started on our, yet again phenomenal, goodie bags from the race. We will certainly be back to do more events put on by these guys, we had a wonderful day. Check out their events here.

Goodie Bag


Saxons, Vikings and Normans Valentines Day Challenge

For most couples valentines day probably means a day spent spooning with your significant other, a nice dinner, being spoiled with gifts, chocolate, champagne, or this year, since it was a Tuesday a quick exchange of cards before heading off to work, but for my husband and I, this year,  we were doing it a little differently.

There was indeed the early exchange of sentimental cards (mine to him a picture of a plug with the imaginative caption “you turn me on” and his a joke about nothing coming between us, except an i-pad, yeah we’re romantic!), an exchange of thoughtful gifts (from him, I’m rubbish at gifts) followed by an early exit from the flat, but it wasn’t to work we were travelling, but to a race.

6.30am Pre-race selfie
6.30am Pre-race selfie

We were travelling to Gravesend in Kent to take part in a 6 hour running event, which consisted of a 5.25 mile lap along a cycle route based at a Cyclopark. One complete lap means you have completed the race, and you can do as many laps as you want to within the 6 hour time frame, 5 being a full marathon.

When you arrive you are given your number and a laminated card that is punched every time you complete a lap, and there is a bell to ring once you have had enough. After a short race briefing explaining the route we were off. Considering it was a Tuesday it was a well attended event, with a fair number of people streaming out of the car park start/finish point and down the short hill onto the cycle path we would be running along.

The route took us up a shallow hill to start with, along a fairly straight path until you reached a gate, where you turned around and went back the way you came, you then carried on past the turn off to the start point, along past the cyclopark building and down another path that finished with a small section of woodland trail, ending at another gate, where again you turned around and went back on yourself, this time turning up the hill back into the car park to complete the lap. Once your card was punched you could visit the aid station which was well stocked with cake and jelly babies before heading out on another loop.

Phil was aiming to run a full marathon, but I was taking it a lap at a time, as I have been suffering with a very painful knee injury, although I did quietly hope I could complete 3 laps, which would be a little over a half-marathon. It became quickly clear on lap one however that I wouldn’t be doing many laps this race, my knee was hurting from the get go, despite having felt a bit better in the week leading up to the race. I couldn’t bring myself to stop at one lap though, having come all that way, and knowing that Phil would still be running for a few hours, so I headed out for a second lap.

The course wasn’t the most interesting that I have run, I tried to tune into the music I had pumping from my i-pod rather than focusing on the pain in my knee, which was quickly spreading up to my hip, and as I turned around at the second gate I knew it would be stupid to go out for a third lap. I was relieved to come up to the finish point and ring the bell, where I was handed my huge medal and amazing goody bag! Saxons, Normans and Vikings claim when you sign up that they give you “a proper goody bag” at the end of your race, and they weren’t kidding. A bottle of beer, crisps and lots of chocolate!


I went down to the car, put on some warmer clothes then went to watch Phil complete his race. By the time I got back to the start he was about to set off on lap 4. He had been flying around the course while I was still running, around the 4th fastest person out there at that point. I settled down on a barrier and watched everyone carry on, waiting for Phil to come back past me, he was starting to struggle now, fighting through cramp in his legs. I gave him a bit of a calf rub as he prepared to go out for his fifth and final lap, adopting a run, walk, run approach to get round.

Phil, rocking a strong unicorn look
Phil, rocking a strong unicorn look

Despite finding his final lap a struggle, he still managed to knock 10 mins off his Marathon PB, set in January at a similar type race, and keeping it well under the 4 hour mark. I’m very proud of him!

Both feeling a little worse for wear, we eventually headed home, for our romantic valentines evening of a take away pizza, our goody bag beers and chocolate, and a few glasses of champagne (well it WAS valentines day after all!)

Goody Bag!
Goody Bag!

Judgement Day Team Challenge – Bagshot

I have gotten a little behind on my blog writing in December – something about Christmas and New Year getting in the way, but either side of Christmas I also had my final two races of my year of challenges.

The penultimate race was the Judgement Day Team Challenge, where I had managed to convince some crazy people to join me in a team, to run a race accompanied by two tyres and two sandbags. A bit of an early start but we took the road trip to Bagshot to take on this challenge.

Travelling to JD Team Challenge with some of our team - Chris Williams,  Lauren Edwards-Fowle, Vince James and Myself
Travelling to JD Team Challenge with some of our team – Chris Williams, Lauren Edwards-Fowle, Vince James and Myself

Race Description

This race required a team of between 6 and 8 people, with a minimum of 3 of each gender for a mixed team. We originally had a team of 8 however illness caused one of our girls to drop out at the very last minuet leaving us in a team of 7 on the day. The race was going to be between 5 and 6 miles and as I have already mentioned each team was required to carry with them 2 tyres and 2 sandbags for the entire race, including over any obstacles. This would require team work as dropping any of these would cause the entire team to have to do burpees as a penalty.

Team before selfie
Team before selfie. The Not So Extreme OCR Team: David Beatty, Dom Wright, Chris Williams, Lauren Edwards-Fowle, Bob Cornford, Vince James and Myself


The Race

We set off in the first wave, with our sandbags and tyres in tow, off onto what would be a rather hilly trail run. Lauren, Vince (who was carrying an injury) and I taking on most of the tyre carrying leaving the others to deal with the sandbags. We trotted along up some pretty evil hills, until we eventually hit the first wall.

With some teamwork I was the first up and over the wall, with Chris following me up and sitting on top, we then started passing tyres over, a couple more team members over the wall and we had the lighter of the two sandbags over, and with heave we also got the larger red bag up and over without dropping anything, and we were good to go again.

As we moved round the course we found ourselves splitting up a bit, as the heavy sandbag started to take it’s toll.

We came to a barbedwire crawl through the mud, where thankfully the rules about letting the sandbags touch the ground were suspended, we dragged our equipment through and carried on along the hilly trail.

Me looking excited at the crawl
Me looking excited at the crawl

As we continued the race we found ourselves navigating other walls, under and over, more crawls, splashing through water, and hills, hills, hills.

There is always time for a Gunshow (With Lauren and Chris)
There is always time for a Gunshow (With Lauren and Chris)

We gathered the team back together at the water stop, and continued on our run. Chris and Dom requiring special mention for taking on more of their fair share of the sandbag carrying.

Dom and Bob
Dom and Bob
Chris and I with the sandbag, followed by Vince with one of the tyres


We eventually came round to the final obstacle, an inverted wall just before the finish line. We rallied round, using the same tactics we had at the first wall, allowing the whole team to get across the wall without dropping any of the equipment and we were done – with no penalties!

Teamwork on the final wall
Teamwork on the final wall

Once finished we had some photos, and a chat before heading back home (with the traditional and super healthy stop of at McDonald’s on the way!)

The Not So Extreme OCR Team - Finished
The Not So Extreme OCR Team – Finished