February – Its going to be an uphill challenge from here

fell race blog
Litton ‘post’ Christmas cracker fell race


Its fair to say that February wasn’t the month I wanted or indeed needed, especially with the London Marathon getting increasing closer. January was a great month for me regarding training, covering over 160 miles for the month of which it was all strong structured training…….I felt invincible! It turns out I’m not!

Two weeks into January I started getting niggles in my left knee, and then another niggle in my right foot and calf. At the time though they weren’t enough to stop me, although in hindsight I should of stopped whilst they were just niggles and then maybe this post would be more about how well the marathon training was going an not about how Iv only ran 26 miles this month. I did keep running though and up until February it seemed to be working for me and I was progressing well with my training. The first Sunday of February saw me achieve my 10k pb at Dewsbury and I was feeling really strong and positive about my marathon training, however, just an hour or so after that race I started feeling pain in my foot and it was swelling…………I think this was a run too far!

Time to get this sorted

After Dewsbury I was really struggling with the foot injury, and the swelling didn’t seem to be going down. I left it a few days but with me constantly beating myself up about not training I had to get back out and run, so on the Wednesday I put the trainers back on and tried a 7 mile threshold run. This was horrendous! I could feel the pain in my foot and also a pain in my calk, both of which were making me limp slightly and throwing my stride off. I only managed 4 miles and it wasn’t at threshold, I just wasn’t able to run properly.

Like a idiot, the following day I tried again, but this time with no intention of running a certain pace or distance, but just to go for a run. Again, in hindsight, this was a stupid thing to do, and after just half a mile of going out I was back home as I couldn’t run at all. At this point I knew something really wasn’t right and I had to seek some advice and stop running until I knew what was wrong.

Turbo trainer

I made an appointment with a physio immediately after the horror run and a couple of days later I was being assessed to see what the damage was. Unfortunately it wasn’t clear cut and we were struggling to find the cause of my discomfort, but the physio did seem to think it was nothing serious and that it was probably due to the tightness of my plantar fascia and gave me some exercises to do to ease them up, and hopefully sort my injury out. They were pretty confident that it would sort it and by the end of that week I should be able to start running steady again.

For the rest of that week to keep myself fit and keep me up to speed, I tried to do plenty on the turbo trainer as well as my stretches and exercises. I quite enjoyed the turbo sessions and it was good to be training again, and do something that wasn’t causing me any pain (apart from a sore ass). Five days on from my physio appointment I felt pretty good and I decided to try another run, again, not focusing on pace or distance and just using it to see where I was. Apart from some very tired legs the run went really well, and I managed 7 miles on trails at 7:30min/miles so I was over the moon with that. I had a fell race planned for the day after this race which Id been looking forward to for months, so to have a pain free was such a relief………I could race again!!

First fell race of the year

fell race blog 2

To be back in the hills was such a buzz for me, fell running is what I love doing and aside from this London Marathon, its why I train like I do. It was a perfect day for it too, clear blue sky but nice and muddy to make it fun, just how we like it. As I started warming up though things weren’t great, and that flipping foot of mine flared up again and was making it very difficult to run. Five minutes before the race I was stood near the star line, constantly debating whether to run or not………I ran. Once again (there’s a theme occurring here) in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have, but id been looking forward to this for so long, and being stood there ready to start, I couldn’t just turn around and go home.

As soon as the race started though I surprisingly felt good, and I didn’t feel any pain in my foot. How weird. Considering the weeks prior to this race too and the lack of running Id done, I actually felt pretty strong and like I could compete. I was running really well, and after 5 miles of the 7 mile race I was sitting in 10th place and feeling like I could push on for the last 2 miles…….but then disaster! As I came down from the trig point then started to run across the hills, my left foot slipped down the hillside on the mud, and as I went down my right ankle cracked a rock, the same foot iv been having the issues with. It went with quite a bang and after getting up it took me a goof few minutes to shake it off and start running something like. The last two miles were tough from there and I ended up losing two places and quite a bit of time. I still beat my previous time on the course by nearly three minuets so I was delighted with that, but as I stood at the finish my ankle swelled up a lot and I was starting to worry at what more damaged Id done.

So what now?

Over a week on from that race and its still slightly swollen and tender to touch, and after trying a 0.3 mile run the other day to pick the car up from the pub it was pretty clear that its no good to run on. I really need to get this sorted now with the weeks to London getting less and less, so Iv got another physio appointment where hopefully I can get this injury sorted.

Iv got a place at Retford half marathon on 11th March and Iv told myself that that is decision day. If I can’t run that due to injury, or I run it but struggle, then I’ll be calling it a day on my London marathon 2018 journey and deferring my entry until next year, as I’ll be nowhere near ready for it. I’m hoping this isn’t the case but iv got to be realistic, and what ever the outcome is I’ll be fine with it and move on from there. So lets see what March has to offer……..the make or break month!



Looking Ahead

Donny 10k
PB at Doncaster 10k, coming in at 36:17

A Quick Look Back

Before I start waffling on about what goals and plans Iv got for 2018, I suppose it would be nice to have a quick reflection on the year just gone, because it was a big year for me and my running. Iv only been running 3 years so 2017 hasn’t got much competition, but out of the three years Iv been doing this sport, 2017 was a different class to the two years previous to it. I considerably upped my mileage last year to the previous years, and I competed in significantly more races two, hitting a total of 49 races/Parkruns.  I managed a good combination of fell races and Parkruns within those 49, and just 1 trail race and 2 road races to make the numbers up. I achieved numerous PBs in the fell running, and even winning my first prize in the sport on the last day of the year at the Oxpsring Amble’s Revenge fell race, coming 4th overall but 3rd in my age group. Iv also managed to get a 5k PB at Parkrun back in July (17:36) and a 10k PB at the Doncaster 10k in November (36:17), both of which were way above my expectations when I set my targets for 2017 last January. This leads me on to this year, as unlike last year I need to believe in myself a little more and set the bar higher, set goals that are hard to reach but will make me push.

The Goals

Up until now Iv just gone through the motions (no pun intended) with the running really, training regularly and putting the time in but nothing really structured or focused, just the same sort of distances at the same sort of pace. This year I’m going for it, I want to hit new heights and achieve things that I didn’t think was possible this time last year.

The main focus Iv got this year is the London Marathon. As a fell runner I never thought Id be doing a Marathon, especially London! I applied through the Ballot just on a spur of the moment thing, and the next thing you know Iv got a place. This means I cant just steadily train through the week and turn up and race like I do with the fell races, this is all a bit strange for me knowing I have to train properly and to a plan for this, and weeks in advance. I am really looking forward to the challenge of the training though and the race itself. My target time is sub 3 hours, which I know is a tall order but Iv got some experienced running friends around me to guide me in the right direction, and I’m determined to put the time and effort in. I’m very lucky to have this opportunity so I taking it by the scruff of the neck and going for it!

Its not all about London for me though, I’m somebody who loves competing and its why I do this sport, so I need to be racing regularly. Iv got a lot on this year away from running, we’re moving house in a few months and are also getting married in August, so a lot of my time will be focused on that. I do however want to try and get to as many fell races as I possibly can, just because its what I love doing more than anything and I want to achieve some good things with it.


Kinder Down Fall
Kinder Down Fall Fell race 2017

Fell running aside I want to try and do a few more road races than I did last year, for the main reason that its where you achieve PBs. Fell running is just about going out for an adventure for me. Yes I want to run it as fast as I can and finish as high up the field as I can, but its not driven on miles per minutes and an that jazz, which is what I like about it. However, it is a buzz to run a fast road race and get a PB, so I want to compete in a few more this year and hopefully get some PBs……..

2018 Targets

1mile - sub 5mins
5k - sub 17mins
10k - sub 36mins
London - sub 3 hour

I will be entering a half marathon prior to London as its part of the plan, but I haven’t set a target time for a half as Iv never done one before or have any indication on what sort of time I’m aiming for. They’re are a few other events I want to take part in too, the South Yorkshire Cross Country being one of them. I managed to get to the last race of the series last year, my first ever cross country run, and I loved it, so Id like to complete in those this year.

I know its all a lot with everything Iv got going off this year, especially with work which takes a lot of my time up, which it does for most us, but I’m sure with some dedication and determination I can achieve it.

I’m really excited for this year, I feel really focused and determined to be my best……this is my year!!!

Curbar Commotion Fell Race – A million miles from London 2018

Two days prior to this race Id received some very exciting news, something I wasn’t expecting at all…….Id won the chance to run in next years London Marathon!!

As someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy road running, doesn’t run much further than 10 miles, and races 2 or 3 times a month, running a marathon isn’t something I’m interested in at all. However, seeing posts on Instagram of people taking part in London earlier this year made me jealous, not for the actual 26 mile run but the atmosphere that surrounds the event and the community…..I wanted to taste that.

I applied for a place through the ballot, knowing the chances we’re slim but just trying my luck anyway. Id resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t get in and forgotten all about it until I started seeing all the disappointed posts on Instagram of the unfortunate people who hadn’t got in this time. It was then when I checked my emails, and was completely shocked when I sore the email saying I had been successful in the ballot! I was speechless and continued to be for days after, I was buzzing with the news and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Curbar fell start

Two days on and I’m back in familiar surroundings, stood on the start line of a 10 mile race around a very wet and muddy Peak District, about to spend over an hour slipping and sliding on very boggy terrain and climbing nearly 1400ft…….this couldn’t be any further away from the London Marathon if you tried, but this is me and what I love doing more than anything.

I didn’t feel particularly up for the race beforehand but there’s not many races I do to be honest, I always feel a little tired and unprepared before most races I do. I positioned myself near the front as usual though and was ready to attack it like I attack all my races, and that’s to run hard and keep up with the top 10 if I can.

For the first 1/4 mile it went to plan and I was running with all the usual faces that I compete with, but then I started flagging slightly and dropping off the pace of the others which was worrying so early on. About 2 miles in and I noticed that the runners that I try and keep with and usual spend all race jostling with were gone, already pretty much out of touching distance.

I was running on my own the for a few miles as we made our way up to the summit, just being able to see the pack I wanted to be but knowing I wasn’t going to get them. Then from nowhere, two other runners came past me, which gave me a kick up the arse to push myself more and try and keep with them. For some reason though I had nothing to give on the climbs, and the two runners slowly left me behind. This started playing on my mind and I was beating myself up and starting to lose confidence. My strength in fell running is the downhills, its here where I make up time and positions, but the course doesn’t really have any long downhills so it didn’t play to strengths and I was struggling.

As we came into the last mile we had left the mud and bogs behind and had hit the tarmac, which was the terrain for the final leg back to the finish. I could hear more footsteps behind me which really pushed me on, as after the race I’d had the last thing I wanted was to lose more places. With about 1/2 mile remaining we came on to the main road where the finish was, so it was a fast flat finish. The footsteps I could hear behind me soon started passing me, I could feel my shoulders slump as he went past as I was gutted Id lost another place. I wasn’t having this again though, I was getting that place back!! seeing the finish line about 200 meters ahead I put the afterburners on, stretching the legs and pushing the shoulders back, a glided past him and raced ahead. I just wish Id of had that strength and determination 6 miles ago.

Curbar fell results

As I came through the finish line I was spent, physically and mentally exhausted. Not for a long time have I had a race like that where I have argued with myself all the way round, putting myself down and getting frustrated. I congratulated all the other runners that had finished in front of me and had our usual analysis of the race for a few minutes whilst we waited for the results to be posted up. To my utter surprise when the results were shown, Id finished 20th and in 1:13:39, which was quite an improvement on last years result at this race. The result made me feel a little better about the race as I was ready to forget about it and wipe it from my memory, although the result was better than last year and what I was expecting, I was still unhappy that I wasn’t further up the field with the runners I’m usually with, and disappointed with how I couldn’t attack the course like I wanted to.

Regardless of this I still enjoyed the race, its a great course and the wet and muddy conditions made it an exciting race, I just need to improve on my hills and get stronger. Its fair to say that I didn’t think about London once on this run, and I haven’t thought about it much since either. I know I’m going to love taking part in the marathon and being involved in it all, but for me its all about fell running and training to get better at this, as this is my domain and what I want to progress at. Time to knuckle down and get stronger for the next one in a couple of weeks.