10 miles, a Post Office & Sir Winston Churchill


I was considering running both a 5K parkrun & a 10.30am 10K down in Southsea today but instead I chose to answer a couple of running related questions that have been on my mind over the last few weeks.

No. 1 … would soft flasks suit me better than my usual 500ml bottles i.e. drinking wise, space wise and ease of use wise. Secondly, there’s a limit to how much liquid you can take on a run so I was keen to find a Post Office hidden somewhere in Meonstock. The significance of a post office in the middle of the countryside is that I’m starting to plan my Race to the King training as this double marathon is June 24th 2017 so re hydrating on long runs means finding practical water sources.

I had time for about 10 miles today so I chose to park in the Forestry Commission (FC) car park at West Walk about a mile and a half outside of Wickham, just past the Roebuck Inn. Considering all the good work the FC do I was happy to pay £1.80 for 2 hours. The fog was quite dense when I set off and what with there being no one else around the setting was like something from a Dracula movie, I almost expected a black coach to come thundering along out of the woods !!


Once into my rhythm I pondered on my tasks for the day, drinking from the squidgy soft flasks and finding the right railway bridge /embankment to climb up to Meonstock. With each drink I tried a different approach, squeezing it like a toothpaste tube, biting the tube with different amounts of pressure etc. I soon realised I was over thinking this when I tripped on a tree root !! I find concentration is one of your key requirements when you run in the country and avoiding falling over is high on my list 🙂

After 2 false alarms bridge wise I realised I’d cracked it on the 3rd when I recognised the road that leads into Meonstoke village. I asked a chap who was cleaning his car where the Post Office was and in no time I was standing outside. It’s nearly a half mile diversion from the Meon valley trail but it will definitely feature in my longer runs.


The sign mentioned locally sourced produce which sounded inviting but I had a time slot to be back home so that treat will have to wait. On my return I passed through Droxford which has the original railway station still in tact as it is a private residence now. The station was a focal point for troops in World War 2 and had none other than Sir Winston Churchill and other leaders pass through it ahead of the D Day landings. This video is a favourite of mine as you get a real sense of history when running past.

The sun had burned off the fog by now and I took the photo at the beginning of this blog with the old railway line stretching out ahead of me. These solo runs are great for mental fortitude and the much longer distances that lie ahead in 2017. The soft flasks were definitely a winner too.


As I reached the Forestry Commission car park my garmin said just over 10 3/4 miles, this extra mileage was a combination of the post office hunt and bridge climbing !! I was in no rush today for my last run of 2016, I’d call it “photos” pace 🙂


If you’ve enjoyed reading where I’ve been and why I went there, as well as some local history, this is the link to the Running Awards Best Blog which is still taking votes. You do have to register but it doesn’t take long. Just scroll down to irunoffroad. Many Thanks. Roger …… Happy New Year


The Best of 2016


Runner of the year

If you talk about the impact one runner made in 2016 there’s only one man, 401 Ben. On day 391 I was proud and privileged to run along with many others around our local countryside. A brief chat along the Staunton Way brought home to me how one special person can make such a difference. Inspiration of the year, Mr Ben Smith.

Quote of the year

Your long steady run only really starts when you forget that you are actually running.

My Longest Race & Best catering of the year

White Star Running’s Ox Ultra was 36 miles of well organised and well sign posted (we where in the middle of know where) trail running. So many different trails, fields, hills and always supportive marshals, not forgetting the Love Station. Catering wise there was a fish & chip van, an ice cream van and a cider wagon #perfect.


Friendliest race of the year 

On The Whistle’s Winter Frolic was based around laps which meant we passed each other quite often and the supportive friendly banter was great to be a part of.


My favourite home video of 2016 !!

Not the best quality but the fun we had shines through. Thanks Paul, Howard, Rob & Simon.

Proudest Blog moment


Attending the 02 in my first year of blogging at the Running Awards. Best blog category shortlist. PS the voting is still open for the current awards if you would like to vote, thanks.

2016 Scariest Hour

Signing up to co-host UKRunChat, wow that was the fastest hour of the year too, crazy and exciting in equal measures.


Best Mug of the year

A few people could have won this !! but it was the Imber Ultra that did win.


Favourite photo of the year

Me, the Trig point and a curious sheep. Taken by my best trail running mate Paul Coates.


Best Twitter support in 2016

Running Blogs Simon, thanks for the “retweets”. If you don’t already follow @runningblogs, do it now !!

Best Race Director

Second Wind Running’s Phil Hoy, a “runners runner”. Their Meon Valley marathon / half is my favourite race.


Best videos of 2016

Film My Run’s Steve Cousins and his team produce inspiring and amusing videos on a regular basis. On The Whistle’s Wickham Whistler was a classic example and it was great to meet Steve in person too. Their videos are also great to get an idea of what to expect in races.

Best Running Shop

Absolute Running in Gosport, are a father & son team who serve our local community with a passion for running. Go chat with Nick and Harry, Follow the Shoe !! I love my Mizuno Wave Inspire trainers.

In Summary, a great year with great running friends

You have already read the blogs so there’s no need for me to recap on those, if you haven’t, there are 56 to choose from in 2016. And finally to all the people I have run with over the year as well as chatted to on twitter & facebook ……..

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

5.45 Run, The Endurance Hub & 3rd place for Harry


On a surprisingly mild Wednesday this week I popped down to Gosport for Absolute Running’s mid week, all inclusive, 5K training run. This open invite to the running community sums up the philosophy of shop owners father & son, Nick and Harry (H). My second reason for visiting was to have a chat with Shane from the newly created Endurance Hub about the combined service he and his fellow triathlete Roman are offering in the fields of Training, Nutrition and Performance.

A group of about 20 of us chatted away in the shop with the upcoming Portsmouth Coastal marathon being the main topic, what with it only being 4 days away. I asked Nick how Harry would get on, Nick’s response was “ask H and he will tell you he just wants to finish his first marathon but what that really means is he wants to come top ten” 🙂

After posing for a quick “florescent” photo we ventured out into the night. I introduced myself to Johnny and Kieran who were running next to me and a brisk pace was set. The pace was quicker than I’ve been used to recently and considering I wasn’t 100% sure where I was going, I appreciated Johnny’s comment that the group approach is no one was left on their own, so we eased back on the pace a bit.

The 5K wizzed past with me exploring parts of my lungs that I haven’t used for some time. Back at the AR shop Harry gave us the choice of water, hot chocolate or a tot of rum as the theme for tonight was “rum runners” 🙂


After catching my breath Shane started to explain the background behind how he and Roman were combining their knowledge and strengths to offer a bespoke service rather than a general, “one size fits all” approach. Roman is a qualified Ironman coach and Shane is a personal trainer / nutritionist.

Shane was keen to stress that the service they offer extends right across the sporting spectrum whether that’s competing in an Ironman triathlon or simply conditioning. His enthusiasm for the topic shone through !!

Their measuring device pictured above covers so many body indicators it’s safe to say the word comprehensive is the right way of describing it and not only does it give overall readings it breaks it down into 5 separate body areas on some too. If you’d like to learn more then visit either their website, facebook or twitter pages.

I have waited until Sunday, “race day” to see how the partnership between Harry and the Endurance Hub had faired and to say that H had a great race was probably the understatement of the year. I have run this marathon myself and considering it has off road sections it wouldn’t be everyone’s first choice as a fast course even though it’s flat. The Hub’s expertise and support combined with Harry’s talent and hard work paid off.

Harry’s result : Portsmouth Coastal marathon : 3rd place in a time of 2.43 for his first marathon. I only have one word ….. Amazing. Congratulations to Harry, AR and the Hub.


Run Ultra Blogger Awards : irunoffroad Shortlisted


Thanks very much to Runultra who have selected my blog to be in the shortlist from the original 108 blogs that entered. I am proud to say I’m in the last 62 Blogs.

The public vote is now open, just page down to Roger Thomason, click on the vote button, then scroll down to the bottom of the page, enter your Name and email, click enter and, this is the exciting bit …….. you get so see what position my Blog is in !!

Click here http://woobox.com/bcwjz6

Many thanks


Hill reps give you “Hill confidence”



Portchester Lane is a narrow road that runs down the north side of Portsdown Hill and it has a hidden secret, it’s steep …. damn steep, maybe not in a Lake District context but the half mile I like to use climbs 220 feet and is perfect for when I don’t have too much time to train and want a quality run instead of quantity. Granted you have to keep an eye out for traffic but it’s fairly quiet on a Sunday morning.


The lingering fog meant I couldn’t enjoy the usual panoramic views but with the imminent festive season ahead and the demands on your time this makes, I simply wanted 3/4 of an hour of hills.

The experts will tell you that running hills will improve your leg muscle strength and endurance. Many runners use the gym to strengthen their legs and I guess that works for them but given the opportunity to be out in the fresh air I know where I’d rather be. Running a hill will work your hips, legs, ankles and feet “all” at the same time and give you more power, as well as “hill confidence”, which is priceless.


Shortening your stride can be compared to changing down gear in your car and once you’ve settled into a steady rhythmic stride this ought to mean even breathing and a steady ascent with some energy left at the top. The second point I try and concentrate on is keeping up a reasonable pace when running back downhill because on race day that’s what you’ll be doing so it’s worth practising.

I realise the last two paragraphs will be no surprise to the majority of runners but I often hear people talking negatively about hills and yet with only a small amount of practise you can gain “hill confidence” and once you have it, you have it for ever 🙂

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A cyclist and myself swopped mutual encouragement a couple of times as he was riding laps or the area and I was running my 5 reps, so inclines work for cyclists too !!

Hills are in many ways a metaphor of life, they can be seen as challenging and literally “an uphill struggle” but when approached with effort and determination in equal measures it’s surprising what you can achieve. Today it was 5 miles and 1,100 feet elevation for me.

Don’t let hills get the better of you, get hill confidence …. available in most parts of the country and totally free 🙂


The Run Company, Tomtom gps watch & Xmas lights


This Wednesday evening I took a drive over to neighbouring Sussex for a visit to The Run Company in Chichester. James the owner and Tony the manager host regular mid week runs and quite frequently invite along a running related sports rep, tonight it was Tomtom sports gps watches.

With the temperature at a balmy 1.5 degrees the Chichester Christmas lights gave a warming welcome as I parked up (free after 6pm, please note other towns). A good 20 or so runners were chatting away when I arrived all set for a brisk 5K and the chance to talk about and try out the gps watches. I was greeted by Tony, the enthusiastic manager, who I’d tweeted earlier to say I’d be there and I also saw my running friend Ros too.

dscf5047There were a selection of watches to try with the Tomtom runner 3 being my choice. Features wise I could write a whole new blog about but gps, route exploration, 24/7 activity tracking, goal setting and interval training modes were just some of the options we talked about. The built in heart rate monitor made the cardio model my choice for the nights run. I’d just stepped outside and picked up the gps signal and we were off !!

I don’t know Chichester that well but we were guided around the busier town centre with its inviting pubs and restaurants as well as out towards the university. The centre piece of the Christmas lights was a large tree I managed to get a quick photo of before we ran past.


I chatted to Ros about her first marathon, the Portsmouth Coastal, that’s coming up on the 18th and before we knew it we were heading back to the shop. On our return to the warm Run Company I chatted to the rep about all the Tomrom runner 3 cardio data that could be downloaded, wow !! , lots !! Time was against me to stay for too long but I had a quick chat and picked up a leaflet from John who develops training plans with his Pure Sports Performance company and to round the evening off a quick chat with Tony and James to thanks them. It’s a bit of a drive from home to Chichester but it’s always good to run somewhere different, talk to different people and actually get to try out kit rather than just read about it. If you’re in Sussex or just over the border like me, pop in and have a look around at The Run Company.

If you’ve enjoyed reading my blog then please vote for it in the Running Awards. There’s one week left !! Just scroll down to irunoffroad once you’ve click https://therunningawards.com/vote/109/110#vote  Many thanks .