2017 Running Awards Evening

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They say a picture paints a 1,000 words and when I look at this photo the two that immediately come to mind are “happy & proud”. As the best blog award was announced  and the big screen display changed, it was very exciting to see all the shortlisted logos and fantastic to see mine right up there. I’d like to thank all the people that voted for my blog both last year and this year. Two years blogging and twice shortlisted #amazing !!

In this post I have tagged as many people as came to mind and if they write a blog I have added a link to it via their name.

The venue for the Running Awards was once again the Indigo Rooms within the O2. I travelled up to London in the afternoon and checked into the Pilot Inn which is literally 0.6 miles away. I’d recommend the pub rooms as a stay over because I had a friendly welcome, free overnight parking, a good sleep and quite a funky room.

DSC00336As I strolled towards the O2 I contemplated the evening ahead. What did I hope it would bring ? Realistically 401 marathons Ben had to be the favourite and second/third spots were up for grabs but my main goal was to meet the bloggers that I read the most and spookily enough that all happened within the first hour or so.

We’d been emailed that the Bloggers Forum would start at 8.30pm and on arrival the Indigo Rooms had the awards lit up in lights. The people from the majority of the other categories were dinning downstairs and we were in the balcony bar above. Once I’d had my official Running Awards photo taken I checked in at registration. If it’s anything like last years then you’ll get the sense of pride and achievement that I felt. Who would have thought that tapping away my thoughts at home would bring me to London !!

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On arrival I was given my yellow wrist band that signified I was a blogging shortlisted candidate, this also meant I received a Bloggers goody bag. The Running Awards red kit bag in itself was quite cool and this photo shows you what was inside. The 500ml soft flask will come in very handy, all the gels and the Hi5 nutrition pack will definitely be used and I hope not to need the rock tape but it will be useful to carry as a precaution. The battery free Million mile lights were a great idea especially for those early/late trail runs where there’s no street lighting. I will definitely try the Totum Sports hydration drinks sachets after listening to Alice their rep and I’ll drink it from my Camelbak soft flask that has a clever open and shut valve, so there are no spillages. Thanks one and all for these gifts.

DSC00340With the advantage of these bright red kit bags and his distinct Scottish ascent the first person I bumped into in the VIP Lounge was shortlisted Mark Gallacher. Mark has a great sense of humour and is a bundle of energy so the conversation flowed easily considering we have never met in person, only through twitter. On sitting down we were then joined by fellow blogger Paul Addicott and his wife, then not long after Liam Martin and his wife Judy. Liam’s Ginger Running man blog along with Mark’s are a couple of my favourites. Liam is fresh from his success in the recent runultra blogging awards.

We chatted about a wide range of blogging topics including Paul and Mark’s London marathons on the Sunday. As more people arrived I was pleased to see Darren (@Runnersknees) and his fellow @ukrunchat group. I borrowed this photo so that I could include Matt , Jen, Pip, Darren, Kaya, Clare & Big Carl in my blog.

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Darren and I met last year when Strava took the bloggers for a run. Darren may not have been shortlisted but his RunnersKnees blog defiantly deserves it both in terms of numbers and content “next year” 🙂

By 9.45pm we made our way down to be escorted into the main arena for the awards themselves were the more corporate guests were finishing their three course meals. Sam and Rachael from the Running Awards have been emailing us in recent weeks so again it was great to meet them in person. We settled at our table, with the free drinks !! ( bottles of cold larger to follow on from my cider in the VIP bar) and Mike Bushell from the BBC set off the presenting proceedings by entering the stage on a space hopper. Guest presenters also included Susie Chan, Martin Yelling, Dame Kelly Holmes and 401 Ben.

My local Gosport running shop Absolute Running had been shortlisted  but unfortunately didn’t figure in the top three of their categories. However, it’s a great achievement for a relatively small shop to have made it that far. A testament to their success is that they have recently opened at second shop in Southsea.

So, the time came for the top three bloggers to be named. Third, Gemma‘s marathongirl, second Mark Gallacher and first 401 Ben. With Mark sitting next to me it was fantastic to see the unparalleled joy in his face. I was both excited and pleased for him. Ben has had an amazing two years and deserves every award that he is nominated for and with a nice touch Gemma came over to congratulate Mark . I popped over to see if they were all posing for photos, Ben and Gemma were there, either side of the PR Breath Unity lady.

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Naturally only three people can figure in the Gold, silver and bronze positions but I think I can speak for our remaining nine bloggers that we all felt privileged to have been voted into the shortlisted top twelve out of more than eighty blogs that put themselves forward. I borrowed the official photo of Mark in his moment of glory 🙂

Once the announcements had all been made I said congratulations and goodnight to Mark and then mingled for a while to see who was around now that we’d stood up from our tables. Bumping into Darren and Jen again I also got to chat with ultra man Shaun Marsden who’d also been on last years pre awards Strava run. When I chatted to him last year he’d just finished his Artic Ultra !! I briefly chatted with Ben and offered my congratulations and then had a quick chat with Big Carl who is an interesting character and I take my hat off to him as his “Big Carl” relates to him once being 30 stone.

So in summary a great evening catching up with old friends and making new ones. Could the Bloggers Forum have been more constructive, probably yes, but then again the informal chatting did work. Could I have taken more photos, definitely, but sometimes it’s good to take in what’s going on rather than keep snapping away 🙂

As I strolled back towards the pub and my accommodation I bumped into Liam and Judy who I’d sadly missed saying goodbye to so this was a perfect end to the evening as I shared a quick lift up the road in their taxi and got to say goodbye too. See you at Race to the King Liam 🙂

I was waiting for the official “photo on arrival” before I posted this blog because if nothing else it proves I was there …. ha ha 🙂

Roll on 2018 ….. maybe 3 shortlistings in a row ???

Cheers ….. Rog

Me

 

 

16 miles : Running with the sun & moon

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My long steady runs aren’t usually in the evening but with the changing of the hour I thought I’d mix things up a bit by running later and taking my head torch too. A 6pm start meant a rethink on what to have for tea. Porridge was the obvious slow burning energy answer. This evening I was also trying a 100g bar of Bakewell flapjack as a complement to my usual gels. This energy boost of carbohydrate is another product on my list of “what to eat on an ultra”. I chose 3 from Holland and Barrett after helpful advice from a member of staff, last week I also picking up cod liver oil tablets for a general “oiling” of my joints, from them too 🙂

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The evening sun was a joy to run in as I left the streets and houses behind and made my way along the deviation line, under the motorway and out towards Knowle woods. The detour to the woods was to see if the bluebells were out yet because once in full bloom they carpet the woods with a beautiful vivid purple blue display. It maybe needs another week or two yet as they are traditionally at there best around London Marathon week. Even three miles into my run the sun was starting to lower in the sky so I was glad I’d brought my head torch as insurance !! Naturally being in amongst the trees it blocked out the sun’s rays.

DSC00289Once out onto Mayes Lane the sun returned and as I ran through Wickham at 5 miles there were more signs of bluebells. I had my first mouthful of flapjack at 45 minutes and even though running and eating isn’t necessarily that easy it wasn’t an effort to swallow. Out onto the Meon Valley trail the tall trees and bushes that line it cast unusual sized shapes and shadows and with nothing better to do I looked for shadows that resembled animals and faces, like you do with clouds 🙂

By the eight mile half way stage the sun definitely was dropping in the sky and with the gradual incline now in my favour on the return leg I attempted to increase my pace. You know the evening is approaching when you get mouthfuls of insects and a small drop in temperature. The sun was now dropping rapidly and I stopped briefly to take the photo at the start of my blog. The golden circle of light was trying in vain to keep my attention as it disappeared. The return to Wickham meant another 1/3 of flapjack, 11 miles and the onset of darkness. As dusk took over I swung my waistband around and finished off the last of my flapjack along with my second gel.

With the two hour mark passing by I now had a decision to make, should I run through the woods or take the road. I’m pleased to say my choice was rewarded with this photo. I love the fact that the moon can been seen just above the trees line.

DSC00303By now the temperature had fallen further and as I joined the deviation line trail I needed my head torch to see the tree roots. Care was needed at this stage because you have to concentrate on branches as well as roots but it only lasted for a mile or so. Finally I came back out onto the streets and enjoyed a mile downhill along Gudge Heath Lane where I was pleased to pick up the pace. So, 16 miles and 27 for the week. As I’m writing this I aim to add 5 miles around the local roads to meet my 32 mile target for the week. Double runs over the weekend will now be a feature of my preparations.

The lighter evenings give us all much more scope to get out on longer training runs so I intend to use them again. The flapjack was defiantly a winner so I will be adding it to my list.  Happy running 🙂

3 weeks until the : 3 Forts Challenge

3fThe 3 Forts marathon is on April 30th and it’s a great addition to my RTTK preparation. The race is 27.2 miles and has 3,450 feet elevation. Starting north of Worthing it has all the classic South Downs Way features ….. hills & views.

My trail running buddy Paul and I will be joined by numerous other runners as this race is one of the classic trail running events of the year.

Really looking forward to a great day out. Taxing, but great training !!

 

Recovery 9 miler including Titchfield Canal

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With my first marathon of the year completed last Sunday I’ve been using my cycle commute to work as “therapy” for my legs. Each day has brought “looser legs” after all the hills and the 26.6 (as it turned out) miles. We were told there’d be on extra charge, so those 0.4 miles were free !!

Today’s plan was quite simply 4.5 miles down to the coast and back. A beautiful sunny morning welcomed me back into the world of running and as the initial couple of miles passed by I felt it had been the right decision to take a week off running.

Once I reached the sleepy village of Titchfield the sun was casting its shadows and even though April has only just arrived I’d used sun block on my forehead. The village was quiet as I ran through and without any car in sight you could almost imagine yourself transported back in time.

DSC00276The canal isn’t very wide but it does make an interesting and scenic route as it winds its way toward the sea. The initial track has been flattened and compressed so as to give an all year round surface, however, mud and tree roots add an element of interest the further you travel away from the village. I was in the company of walkers, cyclists and nature watchers what with Titchfield Haven being a nature reserve. The grasslands, lakes and open spaces mean photographers with huge lenses are also a feature of this area.

DSC00268I’m no expert but the mornings bird song certainly came in a variety of different tunes !! As I approached the coast I could see fellow runners heading towards me and within a brief moment Dave, Ed and Kate from our running club passed by with smiles and a “morning Rog” as they progressed on their 16 miler.

The tide was out as I reached the sea and the Isle of White beckoned in the distance. Quick questions, what’s missing from this photo ? Clouds !! There was hardly one in sight 🙂 April the 2nd and 15 degrees …. the first sight of Summer !!

DSC00273Retracing my steps back along the canal it was also evident that work has be done on fencing off both the water and the fields were sheep and cows occasionally graze. Ultimately fencing has to be practical but it was great to see some more traditional features with the weaved look that had been used to the right hand side. With the bright sun and the dappled effect this was giving through the shade of the trees you did have to be mindful of the tree roots on the sections of the path which weren’t as compressed.

DSC00274 That said, who wants a path with no variation, it’s always good to be thinking and having to choose your line of direction. Running this path does take me back a couple of years when Mark Greenfield and I ran it in February with head torches and ice in the puddles. I thought I could see a wide stretch of ice ahead of us that night but the river had overflown the banks and our reward was to run through freezing cold water 🙂

These kind of quirks are what make running off road unpredictable and enjoyable. All that remained was to join the tarmac pavements for a couple of miles and that was my recovery run done.

The plan now is to ramp up the miles, run both days at the weekend and generally move up a notch for Race to the Kings double marathon in twelve weeks time.