Recognition for your Blog


This is just a short blog to show that if you believe in what you write then it will be recognised by others. I’m proud to say that Threshold sports, who organise the “Race to … series” asked whether they could use my blog as part of their build up to the 2018 races.

A week ago I received a tweet from the RTTK team …. Wow !! …….. just Wow !! πŸ™‚

I’m pleased and proud to say thank you to the race organisers for choosing it. With a healthy 238 hits in the first 5 days we both would seem to have benefited πŸ™‚

So, keep on blogging and let your words do the talking.

Roger T

Why I chose the Trails

Day to day life has its structure, its demands and its expectations but running sets you free. Even saying “running sets you free” makes me smile, its makes me feel alive and sharing it with other like minded souls, while running through nature, completes the experience.




The reason I started writing a running blog was to try and pass on the enjoyment I feel while I’m running through the great outdoors with friends. I called my blog “irunoffroad” to simply try and capture why running isn’t my hobby, its my passion.

When runr asked for contributions to their website it was an easy decision to offer some words because I’ve always been keen to share my love of running and try to encourage others to leave the pavements, now and then, to try something different.

I spent some 20 years training for and racing largely 10K’s with occasional 10 milers and halves. I dipped my toe with a road marathon in the early nineties and a mixed terrain New Forest marathon in 2007 but it was only when I decided to give myself a bigger challenge in 2013 by entering the North Devon marathon that my perspective on running changed. The area of outstanding natural beauty tag, that is associated with this marathon, equated to 3,000+ feet of elevation (hills) and both amazing coastal and countryside views.

Driving home after completing this marathon I realised that pace, pb’s and speed weren’t the only benchmarks of a good run, rising to the challenge of a tough course was just as rewarding. The countryside has its own natural pace setters, hills (both up and down), tree roots and overhanging branches, mud and puddles. Concentrating on and navigating these natural obstacles might seem daunting but once you have your feet to eye coordination lined up then its quite exhilarating to overcome whatever the trail is throwing at you. Naturally this comes with experience and taking risks certainly isn’t part of the approach. If it’s safer to walk, I walk.


Your will power and mentality change when swopping trails for the road. Keeping to your planned pace on the road requires practice and discipline, off road its all about going with the trail and adapting to your location. Some people ask me do I use music on a 15 or 20 mile run, the answer is I’m too busy tuning into what’s around me, whether its the glorious views or the best line to run on a muddy section. Consequently I now find trail running so much more rewarding due to both the challenges and sights.

At this point I’d say out it’s safer and more enjoyable to run with others in the countryside just in case you get lost or have an “issue”, take your mobile phone too πŸ™‚

I agree its too simplistic to say that the road is the road but out in the country so much changes every 3 or 4 months as the seasons pass. The landscape changes from Summers lush green into the array of Autumnal colours, then Winters barren and cold months are followed by the shoots of recovery that Spring brings. Don’t get me wrong I realise not everyone wants to take a full change of kit and shoes for when their Winter mud run has finished but again its adapting to the conditions that’s really rewarding.

Trail running also gives you infinite variety with the huge number of footpaths and officially recognised paths e.g. The South Downs Way. One minute you could be running next to a river, the next scaling a hill on the way up to the trig point. Armed with your lightweight rucksack you set off on an adventures every time. Are the crops ready for harvesting, will there be ice in the puddles, take in the scent of the flowers and aren’t sheep inquisitive πŸ™‚



All of these factors add up to why I love to trail run and the people I run with. Naturally when you are out on a long steady run you do get to chat, take an occasional photo and discuss strategies for what lies ahead of you. A particular recent run comes to mind here when we I ran 20 miles with Paul that I run with regularly, Rod who I haven’t run with for ages and James who we ran with for the first time and wasn’t as aware of the route as we were. Everyone brought their knowledge and experiences to the morning and after a well earned cuppa we all left agreeing to do it again.


Due to trail marathons being less about the time and more about the challenge I also think the off road community is slightly more inclusive, especially once you go beyond marathons and into the world of ultras where survival becomes another feature.

In many ways my recent Race to the King run sums up why I love to run off road. A distance challenge that was far beyond my previous mileage, great company, my favourite South Downs Way and an almost out of the body feeling to be on the move for 12 hours over a double marathon. Have a read via this link to my blog,

Finally I’d like to say thanks to all the “givers” who I now call friends through running. There are far to many to mention but surfice to say some are running shop owners, some are race directors but most are my running buddies.

Where can you run, this UK listing is in alphabetical county order.

Thanks for reading my rambles and maybe see you on the trails πŸ™‚







Trails & trees, yes please, #motivation


After an unusually long break I’m back running. It’s been five weeks since RTTK and today was just what I needed to get me back “out there”. I decided to returned to my roots !! Some 25 years ago I was running through these woods when I joined Stubbington Green runners and I find myself drawn back here when I need to reconnect with running. This Forestry Commission land is only 15 minutes down the motorway and offers that special feeling that only the woods can give you.

The compacted gravel path on the way to the woods has the added bonus of a short hill before you reach the more natural trails with their mud and puddles from the last couple of days rain. There’s always a stack of logged trees at the top of the hill and it gives you a great focal point to aim for when pushing some hill speed work !!

DSC00496The weather for todays run was changeable but generally sunny and it certainly brought out the dragonflies and butterflies. I noticed a small sign at the top of the hill which took me by surprise but I pressed on regardless πŸ™‚ There weren’t any gun shot noises thankfully, in fact with so little noise all you could hear were the trees swishing in the breeze.

DSC00497Once into Botley Wood you soon become conscious of how the previous wide open spaces are now enclosed by the ferns and undergrowth at grown level and the trees above. The rain from last night was also evident whenever the wind blew because I was experiencing random showers of rain water from the leaves above !! There was a certain amount of mud but the one overriding sensation was just how lush everywhere looked.


I met a mountain biker travelling in the opposite direction but that was it as far as contact with civilisation. Stopping to take these photos really makes you appreciate that there’s a whole world away from the office and home life that just exists day by day without hardly any involvement with the outside world. Nature just carries on as it always has and running through it is such a pleasure.

What also struck me was the contrast between old and new, the fallen tree with its circles to count for the time it had stood and then the newly planted trees that were finding their way in the forest.


Today may have only been 55 minutes worth of running/photos but it has reignited my motivation and I’m looking for my next challenge. Coincidentally I saw on Strava that other Fareham Crusaders (my current club) are putting in long runs ahead of the Purbeck Marathon on September 17th. Photos from this challenging coastal run looked great last year so that will be my new found target.

With seven weeks to play with I’m now fired up with a new challenge. Returning to these woods always reminds me of my first club runs and the people that I ran with but most of all it reminds me that running through nature is both a pleasure and a privilege. There’s plenty of room in the woods for the trees, animals and us too, just give it the respect it deserves.


Even the mud looked good !!

Happy running πŸ™‚

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 β€œall” at the same time and give you more power, as well as β€œhill 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 πŸ™‚

dscf5077  dscf5073

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 πŸ™‚