The Fresh air & Fields were calling me !!

After three weeks of a cough/cold I was¬†definitely feeling withdrawal symptoms¬†from not running,¬†so there was only one cure¬†for this restless condition, “go run”.¬†I was in need of some fresh air and¬†a track to follow but as I had no idea how long I’d be out for I didn’t wear my Xmas present new trainers. My favourite saying is “your legs achieve what your mind believes” however, today, I was happy just to run.

I’m lucky to be only a mile and a half away from an old railway line that can then be linked with a numbers of fields, so that was my plan. For this tester run I decided not to¬†take my garmin watch.

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So,¬†15 minutes into¬†my run¬†I arrived at¬†the disused railways line. As you can see from the photo above the conditions were muddy rather than messy and if you can’t have any hill top views a tree lined corridor to run along is probably the next best thing. After my urban mile and a half to get there, within about 5 minutes I’d seen a squirrel darting from branch to branch and I could hear birds chirping in the unusually mild weather.

The going was muddy but fairly good underfoot¬†and¬†it was easy to avoid the tree roots that cross the track¬†as¬†the fallen leaves from Autumn, which had hidden them before, were largely all gone.¬†Before this route gets fully into the countryside¬†there’s a¬†surprise in store with a short¬†dark tunnel that runs below the motorway and then as you emerge into the light the narrow track continues with fields either side.

Leaving the Deviation line is done by following a short muddy incline where the water runs off the fields.¬†In a “very” short space of time¬†the backs of¬†my legs had just changed colour from white to brown. The incline takes you to a bridge over the new railway line and from there¬†I ran through¬†Knowle which is a small out of town development.

Picking up another trail that heads out of Knowle I ran along the outskirts of a large “as far as the eye can see”¬†field and then turned off through a wooded section. With the trees having lost their leaves you feel like you are surrounded by large “stickmen”, this was at about 4 miles. I retraced my path and joined another trail that leads¬†from Knowle heading back towards home.¬†I pondered on the fact that I hadn’t really seen that many people at all on my travels, but then again, that does allow you to soak up your surroundings.

After taking care along a narrow section with barbed wire on the fence I was again running along the edge of a large field which I’m sad to say has been earmarked for development. The track along side the field was¬†quite firm to run on until the last quarter of a mile. On reaching¬†a waterlogged section to run¬†through I decided to embrace the moment and just plough through the middle. You can only laugh as your feet sink below the water and it squelches out through the eyes of your shoe laces.

I reached the main road and bumped into Andy Lee from Stubbington Green Runners who was going in the opposite direction, we exchanged festive greetings and laughed at my trainers/legs as that’s where they were going. All that was left then was a trot home on the boring pavements.

In summary, the 8 miles of therapy were complete¬†and I couldn’t resist a¬†“dirty legs” photo by¬†our Xmas tree after running past so many others. Slow and steady but the comeback has started. Countryside running ……¬† #loveit ūüôā

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50th Blog -“The Runners” are what make running special

What makes running such a great sport, “The Runners” it’s as simple as that. Ultimately your fellow runners¬†give¬†this individual sport of ours, its “Team Spirit”. The last¬†24¬†hours¬†have emphasised this to me¬†through a new pair of shoes and a local¬†event that¬†I’m not¬†running in.

Friday 3pm, I visited “Runners Need”¬†which is part of the Snow & Rock shop in Port Solent¬†as they had a sale on. I’d heard good reports from Paul Coates and was very impressed with the knowledge and service I received from Olly the running specialist who clearly spoke from experience.¬†Out of the various brands we concluded that the Saucony Peregrine was the shoe for me, even with its bright orange laces !! Christmas present sorted ??

On arriving home I posted on twitter for peoples thoughts. Lee Rhodes who I know from our local Bayside Tri club commented that he’d run a 100K Ultra in them with no blisters, Absolute Running’s Nick commented “awesome” and Gosport Road runners Ben Jarvis had found them comfy on his trail marathon. Thank you to our local twitter community.

I posted a “Portsmouth Marathon/Ultra Good Luck” message on facebook in the evening to¬†my Fareham Crusaders club mates with Louise Riches commenting back and a number of likes.¬†I asked two separate club mates¬†if they’d mind writing race reports for the club website. Michelle Edmundson replied, “of course it’d¬†be a pleasure. George Divine’s reply, “would love to”, thanks guys, look forward to reading them.

This then brought us to Saturday morning and a trip to Absolute Running regarding the shoes. On my arrival I was immediately asked if I’d like a cup of tea¬†and the two customers Nick was serving (who also had teas) seemed happy¬†for me to be served while they were drinking. I chatted to Nick and Ros Clarke, who I also know, then tried on two different pairs and we concluded the Peregrine’s were the answer. Again excellent service and the fact that AR’s Nick was keen for me to have the right shoe rather than him make a sale spoke volumes.

I was then introduced to the 2 tea drinkers and as it turned out they were Phil and Sarah Hobby from Stubbington Green runners. After Phil’s first comment being “we read your blog” we chatted for a while and then it was time to go and pick up my bright trail shoes from Port Solent. Bright, yes, but as¬†Olly said, they’ll be brown within a mile¬†of running just like everyone else’s.

So that was¬†“10” runners I’d directly talked to, one way or another, in 24 hours with nothing but positivity on every occasion and no actual running. A real running #community.

Finally, this is my 50th Blog since I started in April and as we are talking about people I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone that voted for me before the December 4th Running Awards Best Blog shortlist was announced. I made it there with your votes … Thank You.

Voting starts a fresh for the shortlist so if you voted before I’d really appreciate you doing so one more time please.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year  from Roger

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AR’s 5.45 Club, a great fun run

Absolute Running (AR), on the face of it, is a running shop based in Gosport, Hampshire. However, saying it‚Äôs just a running shop would only be scratching the surface, the ‚Äútip of the iceberg‚ÄĚ as it were. Their website sums up their approach, ‚ÄúWe believe running should be fun and community focused‚ÄĚ.

Since opening the shop in 2012, the father and son team of Nick and Harry Carter have developed their #community vision by hosting The Golden mile, a Summer 5K series and a weekly open invite to Wednesday‚Äôs 5.45 club that I attended last night. The 5.45 club ‚Äúdoes what it says on the tin‚ÄĚ with runners of all abilities and ages welcome to the midweek get together.

The shop¬†had about 25¬†runners including Simon Hearnden from SGR’s and Sarah Beattie, a fellow Fareham Crusader. I don’t know Gosport that well so I used Portsmouth’s nearby Spinakker Tower (see below) as a visual guide to get my bearings. The tower is¬†the tallest local building and¬†is currently lit¬†up with colourful lights.

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As Nick gave his briefing of where we were running it was easy to see the appeal of the evening, low key, relaxed and with¬†a really wide range of ages, oh and don’t forget the¬†cake !! (see above). Two options were available¬†with 3K, which struck me as a¬†good distance if you were aiming for a 5K Park Run and a brisker 6K.

I chatted to Nick about why he’d started this group and his passion for spreading the “running word” which is clear to see for all. Simon’s group¬†passed us and I decided to try and hold onto his pace what with the¬†Victory 5 on Sunday.¬†I talked briefly to quite a few friendly runners through the 6K, some were first timers like me, some where regular Gosport Road Runners.¬†Our route was all lamp post lit pavements and no one disappeared into the distance.

On finishing, a group of us where¬†outside the shop cooling down and offering words of encouragement¬†to others as they arrived, we then joined the¬†rest of the¬†runners inside. As with the 5K series that I ran in the Summer everyone was asked if they’d like to stay for a while rather than just heading off straight away. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for too long and I certainly missed out on the cake, wow !!

In summary, a refreshing alternative, a ….”one size fits all” fun run that is open to all. I would certainly recommend it to anyone. All credit to AR’s Nick Carter with his #community running.