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Monday, 6 February 2012

The Liberty Loco

The Liberty Loco is a social run in the South West of England
that will take place on Saturday the 16th of June 2012.

The run is open to any runner but YOU MUST register at by Saturday 19th of May 2012 AND be advised that you have a place.  Why these rules? Well, the Liberty Loco is a point to point run of 28 miles.  You don't have to run all of it, transport will be provided at various points on the route so that runners can step out of the run for a while if they wish. There will then be transport back from the finish when we all get there.  So there's no point in just turning up on the day and expecting to have a place in the transport...we have to know you're coming and spaces will be limited.

Other rules...well there won't really be any, there's no official sanction, no insurance, no medical cover...this is just about a group of running friends getting together for a real world run.

The run will be led at an easy pace and there will be a 'Tail End Charlie' to ensure that we all get there.  The route follows a marked footpath but everyone will be responsible for their own navigation. The pace will be such that the event is likely to take the greater part of the day.

You can run the whole 28 miles but, as stated above, you can take a break over any parts of the distance if you wish to.    

Personal kit, drinks and snacks can be carried in the transport.

The intention is to gather the previous evening to meet up with each other.  Set off at about 09:00 on the Saturday morning from Ham Hill and have some fish & chips in Lyme Regis when we finish.  We will retire to a local hostelry (transport provided) for the evening on Saturday.  Sunday will see a leisurely 'recovery run' for those that wish and then we'll disperse through the day.

Local accommodation of various quality and style is readily available...there is a Premier Inn that is about 500m from the event HQ (our house!)

Some details of the route can be found at

The first pick-up point at 3.5 miles

Liberty Trail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Stage 1: Ham Hill ~ The Muddled Man in West Chinnock ~ 3.5 miles

This part begins on paths coming off of Ham Hill. We drop down to Little Norton and then climb back up Pease Hill.  Lovely views abound. A small road takes us off of Pease Hill again and then we follow footpaths across fields to Middle Chinnock and we have a smile at the sign that is marked 'Poop Hill 1/4 mile' before we get to The Muddled Man in West Chinnock.  About 40 mins at easy pace. 

Stage 2: The Muddled Man ~ St Leonard's Church, Misterton ~ 5 miles

More paths and fields as we head to Haselbury Plucknett.  We skirt around North Perrot and get into some cider apple orchards and then head to the village of Misterton, which nestles beside the small Somerset town of Crewkerne.

Stage 3: St Leonard's Church ~ Wayford ~ 4 miles

This a sections sees a bit more road running and some more long hills.  Heading from Misterton it's fields, roads, fields to Clapton and then over another ridge to the very small village of Wayford. 

Stage 4: Wayford ~ Thorncombe ~ 6 miles

Out of Wayford we follow a private farm road that is a permissive path and come to the village of Winsham.  More paths take us to beautiful Forde Abbey which we see from three sides then it's more fields, trails and road and we get to the edge of the village at Thorncombe (at some point we have passed into the county of Dorset) where the support crew will be waiting in a lay-by just after the sports ground.

Stage 5: Thorncombe to Coney Castle ~ 4.5 miles

Another hilly section that will be quite demanding on tired legs.  Road, trail, narrow paths and boggy fields, capped by crossing the ancient Lambert's Castle site and then uphill again to Coney Castle (the site of an Iron Age fortification).  The last climb is less daunting than it looks and the support crew are in the car park at the top of the climb.  

a Google Map of the route I have scouted so far (first 19 miles) is at:

Then 4.4 miles from Thorncombe to Coney Castle is at:

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New Shoes and Old PBs

I've recently bought a new pair of running shoes (New Balance 759s).  Over the years I've run in most makes of running shoes but I've returned to New Balance time and again.  My main reasoning for that decision now is that I usually buy via the web and I know that I can trust New Balance sizing...a UK 10, with 2E width fitting is going to feel just right, every time.  New Balance are not cheap but neither are they over-priced, and they have  reasonable longevity. 
I regret that I can't seem to buy the New Balance shoes in the UK that are designed for fore foot running. I did buy some Newton Gravity shoes earlier this year and I loved the feel and weight of them but they were just too expensive at about twice my normal price point. Had they lasted for longer then I may have been persuaded but they have worn quite rapidly.  I am frustrated by what appears to me to be blatant over-pricing given the base cost of producing running shoes.
My other thoughts on running shoes are concerned with ethical manufacturing practices.  I don't buy Nike because of quality issues I've experienced in the past and I support the thinking of Team Sweat ( we can affect the biggest names then others may follow.  I know of no-one in this field who is truly 'squeaky clean' but I have investigated New Balance and they seem to be moving in the right direction in many areas....I would like to see more companies trying to chase down on the thinking of the wilderness sports equipment company, Patagonia  (and in their case I am willing to pay a premium to support their efforts).
Looking back at my diaries again, 1985 was quite a significant year.  After a very long time studying I finally qualified as an Air Engineering Officer and took up my first post with 819 Naval Air Squadron at HMS Gannet based on the north side of Prestwick airfield, near Ayr in Scotland. The great claim to fame of the locality was that it was the one place in the UK that Elvis Presley visited when he was staging through during his military time.
My running diary featured a few highlights in the year too.  In April I ran the Half Marathon at Culdrose, an air station in Cornwall. The route was hilly and demanding so I was pleased to set a pb of 77 mins 58 secs and come in 6th.  In May I ran the 5000m in the Scottish Command Championships...another pb at 17 mins 19 secs but I didn’t place.
In June I ran the New Cumnock Road Race. This covered the unusual distance of 11 miles  but the key statistic in it was that I went through 10 miles in 59 mins 21 secs.  I was delighted to break the 1 hour, 10 mile mark (this was the first time I recorded a sub - 1 hour 10 miler).
Wednesday the 14th of August was significant as it was the first day that I didn’t run in 163 days...I am staggered that Ron Hill has run every day for so many years.  This may have been part of my taper as I approached the Two Bridges Road Race on Saturday the 24th of August.  The legend is that a runner in the Royal Navy visiting Rosyth in his ship set off for a training run down the north side of The Forth until he came to the first bridge at Kincardine, which he crossed and then he returned on the south side to the Forth Road Bridge where he crossed back again to return to the dockyard...the distance was 36 miles.  And, in the way that such things happen, the annual Two Bridges Race was created.  My diary records that about a hundred of us took part that year and that the atmosphere was good.  I set off too fast, covering the marathon distance in 2:55:17 and paid the price over the next 10 miles to finish in 4:29:09.  

My abiding memory is being handed a can of the sponsors lager as I crossed the finish line.  In desperation I drank the lager in one long gulp and then felt violently ill for the next two hours. As I write this I am struck by another memory of that day.  I was running across the Forth Road Bridge and feeling quite ragged; I looked down on the waters of the Firth of Forth and saw a group of sailors in dinghies and I remember the thought that they probably enjoyed their pastimes...I was way past any level of enjoyment on that day.
My recovery was quite strong though, on Sunday the 22nd of September I ran in the Glasgow Marathon and set another pb of 2:47:43 (my clock time, the recorded time was about 34 secs slower).
1985 was a year of many highs but there was a very sharp low point as well.  On Friday the 21st of June one of the squadron helicopters crashed at Tayport; one of the pilots died and another was very seriously injured.  Two other aircrew survived but also sustained significant injury.  Part of my training had been to manage a crash site and conduct the initial on-site investigation.  I had had no idea that I would be using that part of my training so soon.     

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The Inca Trail - Peru

I am still reflecting on a recent trip to Peru to walk the Inca Trail.  I wondered what the effect of altitude would be and had a sharp introduction when I carried a rucksack up a flight of stairs in Cusco (alt. 3400m).  The shortness of breath was profound.  I had taken a pair of running shoes and shorts because I like to run in each location I visit but, for once, wisdom prevailed and I opted to spend the day there in gentle acclimatization.  Even if the altitude hadn’t affected my breathing the narrow, busy street filled with dust and fumes made the thought of deep breathing unattractive.

Inca stonework ~ extraordinary

The acclimatization continued with a day touring the sites of The Sacred Valley and then we began the trek proper from the checkpoint at Km 82.  We (Gina and myself along with our friend, Sue)  were in a group of 16 with 3 Kiwi lads, an Aussie girl and her teaching friend who came from England, two girls from Sweden, two more girls from Denmark, another girl from the US and yet another from Scotland.  Finally, there were a mother (Angela) and daughter from Canada.
The group were mainly younger people with everyone except Gina, Sue and Angela at about half my age or less.
The altitude (we reached  maximum height of 4219m) had different effects on different people.  I was short of breath if I made an effort but otherwise was unaffected; others had significant and debilitating responses.  We were hugely assisted by our team of extraordinary local porters and our guides had great mountaincraft, they also had oxygen to assist extreme cases combined with the use of local remedies.
Gina, me and Sue with our indefatigable guide,
Roger, giving the llama sign
We all completed the trek...GI problems affected some of the group and Gina had a tough last day but the sight of Machu Picchu, so much more enthralling when it opens out in front of you than in all the photographs, made the trip so worthwhile; let alone the myriad other experiences during our week in Peru.
I was intrigued as to whether the effects of being at altitude would enhance my running on return to the UK but any benefits were lost, I fear, to a 31 hour journey home.  That said, I feel strong at the moment.
The trek is over a distance similar to the marathon and so it was no surprise that a local porter had, reportedly, covered the distance in less than 4 surprise but very considerable admiration.  The elevations and descents are substantial and the footing very uneven at times but it is, of course, the effects of altitude that make this feat seem so improbable to those visiting the Inca Trail. 
Assistant Guide, Roddy, preparing coca leaves
for our ceremony to the mountains
I had one  moment when I had to ask myself a question about my skepticism.  Our main guide, Roger, was very knowledgeable about Inca and pre-Inca history.  He also had a great love and respect for the mountains and nature that were supported by his Inca beliefs.  Early on the first day of the trek he asked us all to take part in a very simple ceremony where we blew over three coca leaves, held in a fan shape to represent the mountain peaks, four times, facing four sets of mountains.  We then had to place the three leaves under a small rock and silently ask the mountains to take care of us.  Although I have no belief that the mountains can have any direct influence over my life I do have a great delight in wild and open spaces.  To argue against Roger’s request would, I felt, have seemed disrespectful and difficult to explain given some language limitations.  I was also entirely happy to take a moment in silence to just remember what a privilege it was for me to be in someone else’s land and under their guidance so I participated in the ceremony willingly.  I guess I’m not a very militant skeptic.   

Thursday, 28 October 2010


A year that will always create a shiver for those who read Orwell’s classic vision of the future...but I guess you had to read it before 1984 for the effect to be truly gripping.  For me, however, it’s a year that marks two pinnacle moments on my life.
The greatest moment, as any loving parent will acknowledge, was the birth of my first child: Bryony Grace.  The labour was a long ordeal for Olwen (which rather puts long distance running into perspective) but at the moment of Bryony’s birth the pain seemed to be forgotten and the sense of euphoria was palpable. We had been in the Maternity Unit for about 23 hours and it was early dawn but I was certainly on an emotional high and my run that day just seemed to flow...indeed the records for the rest of the month show good mileages and comfortable striding.
This was all building up to my second 100 miler...the ‘Dartmoor 100’.  Dartmoor is a bleak place of windswept moor, high tors, treacherous bogs and majestic vistas.  It is often associated with the brooding image of the Victorian prison there but it is also a place of great beauty and one of the few remaining wilderness areas in Southern England.  I had lived close to Dartmoor and run on it many times while living near Plymouth in the previous 3 years. This would prove to be an enormous benefit as one of the great psychological struggles in ultra running is the fear of losing the route...this becomes acute in the dark and, when tiredness threatens to overwhelm you, even a half mile deviation becomes a monstrous fear.

Typical Dartmoor Trail

The event was based at Crelake Barracks in Tavistock.  Being reasonably local I volunteered to assist the kit checking and registration of the first wave of starters (those talking up to 48 hours to walk the route). So I was away from home by 0630. I then registered myself at 1345 and started at 1500.  My diary records: 

“Rain, wind, sun, hail. Went out rather fast, joined Jim Guy and Keith Arnold at about 6 miles. Worked well until Aish Tor (about 45 miles) where I broke away. Alone for remaining 55 miles.  Crelake Barracks 1120, a ripple of applause, a taste of glory. Hard work, I must remember how much this hurt and think hard on the memory before entering a similar event.  Feet blistered, knees stiff, right shin very sore, neck tender, mouth sensitive, otherwise fine.” 
The Small But Significant Aish Tor

This diary entry tells some of the story but let me recall a little more.  The route was often on track with occasional bits of road. There were also expanses of open, energy sapping moor.  There were checkpoints about every 6 miles where tea and food were supplied...often the food was cake and sandwiches.  I carried a plastic 1 pint mug so that I could drink the tea whilst walking out of the checkpoint.
The ‘break away’ from Jim and Keith was hardly a tactical manoeuvre as even I would recognize that ‘kicking’ with 55 miles to go is a little early, it’s simply about what your natural and comfortable pace is and I felt I wanted to go just a little quicker.
The breakfast stop was at about 60 miles...and this was a full on breakfast: cereal, tea, full fry up of egg, bacon, sausage, tomato and beans, tea, and then toast and marmalade...and tea.  The first half mile after breakfast was not a was barely a walk...but my much punished body somehow crept back into its rhythmic motion.
After the breakfast stop, however, my ability to eat almost disappeared. From then on I could only manage cold rice pudding and a couple of apples.
My weariness eased as the sun rose but I was certainly drawing on the bottom of the fuel tank.  I knew that I was the leading entrant from wave two and that, if I maintained my pace I would be the fastest finisher but I began to be obsessed by the fear of strong finishers sweeping past me.
The route demanded an overall ascent of greater than 10,000 feet and I wearily dragged myself on to the moors above Tavistock. With about three miles to go I met one of my college lecturers (himself a very fine cross country runner) taking his Sunday morning run.  I remember my frantic questioning of him, “Bob, is there anyone behind me?”...I was having trouble turning my neck and was oddly fearful of stopping to look behind.  Bob reassured me I was on my own.
And so I dropped into Tavistock and back to Crelake Barracks.  The first, and only, event I’ve been first home in.  I choose my words carefully here, the event didn’t recognize a first place but I had the very great satisfaction of knowing that I was first home.

I spent several weeks recovering my running form after that extraordinary day.
And what was the highlight of 1984?  Without any doubt, seeing my daughter Bryony enter the world.  In December of this year I will walk Bryony down the aisle to her future least I won’t have to ask Bob if there’s anyone behind me.    

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Moving On and Consuming

First thoughts today are around completing the World Wide Festival of Races run yesterday, the 9th of October.  This great event is about participants entering all over the world and running their distances in their local area (or gathering within their running community in their country).  I love this concept because, with social networking, it feels very much like we’re actively developing the Run Net Community.  
I ran the Half Marathon distance on my own around my home in Yeovil.  I felt I wanted to do this run alone (but whilst listening to the Phedippidations podcast dedicated to the event with shout outs from around the world); I haven’t run this far since 2003 and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go but I was pleased to complete the run in 1:48:04.  The conditions were excellent for running and I smiled as I thought of the runners around the world taking part.
Perhaps it is naive to believe, as Steve Runner often hopes, that we can make a difference to our issues of global conflict and hatred simply by running and yet if we don’t all make some small effort then we surely are doomed.  And, in the end, I really do believe that there are many more caring and loving people in this world than those who seek to oppress and damage their fellow beings.  I think of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “If one person breathes more easily because you have lived then you have succeeded”.
Many thanks to all those who helped put the WWFOR together....and to all those who participated, I hope your run was a good one.
Running History
So the late summer of 1982 saw me entering a couple of local hill races at summer shows. The Cornwood Show Race on the 21st of August saw another second place finish for my diary...but there were only 6 entrants.  It was busier a couple of weeks later for the Ivybridge Beacon Race and I didn’t trouble to record my place.  These two runs remain in my mind as early excursions into the unique world of fell racing, not that they were especially tough versions of this particularly gruelling form of competing.  For a full and delightful investigation into this activity I thoroughly recommend a book I have just read, Feet In The Clouds by Richard Askwith...a great book that will inspire, inform and move you.
Other running in the latter part of 1982 saw continued cross country races and completing the 2nd Honiton Marathon on the 17th of October in a  new pb of 2 hrs 49 mins (15th place).
In 1983 I completed the Seven Sisters Marathon for the second time (no easier) and on Sunday 27th February I ran the Mayflower 10 in Plymouth in a time of 60:00:47...oh so close to the sub-1 hour ten miles.
The remainder of 1983 saw sporadic running.  Despite my earlier recollections I now discover that I suffered with bleeding in a tendon sleeve in my right leg, which curtailed some running.  It was the 3rd year of my degree and there were finals to be sat.  Furthermore, I actually did some time at sea.  One highlight was improving my Rock Race time in Gibraltar to 24 mins 33 secs.
All this was, however, part of the build up to 1984 and, perhaps, my finest running moment.
What about minimizing our footprint and reducing our consumption?  Many of us in the developed world have a great deal off stuff in our lives.  We seem to spend most of our working lives trying to accumulate yet more stuff.  Some of this stuff gives us great pleasure (I love using my iPod) but we can, I feel, make the notion of accumulation an end in itself.  
Perhaps it’s a function of my age but I’m increasingly wanting to simplify my life.  I was greatly affected by reading the book by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the company Patagonia.  His book, Let My People Go Surfing, has altered the way that Gina and I view consumption and stuff.  This isn’t about a hairshirt approach for us and we feel that, for good or ill, we live in a country and culture that bases its economic structure on consumption so we have to continue to buy some things.  The change for us, though, is that if we buy something new (standfast consumables like food and wine) that is adding to our stock of stuff then we must either give a similar item away to someone who can make use of it or, at least, recycle it.  For example, I bought a new pair of trekking trousers so I am going to give away an older pair of trousers.
This is a simple step but quite a profound shift in thinking for us and, we believe, it will mean that we give greater consideration to the purchases we make in the future.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Going the Distance

April 1982 saw me in Austria skiing again. Three years ago I returned to this sport and I have enjoyed a week of skiing in the French and Swiss Alps with Gina each year since then.  
Skiing Now

It’s not racing any more but there is great delight in being in the mountains and we love spending the days moving between the very fine restaurants and cafes on the slopes .  Back in 1982 I was not only racing down the slopes but my diary records morning training runs of about 5 miles before skiing as well. 
Skiing Then

Where was all this leading?  I had become intrigued by the limitations of human endurance.  The more I investigated it seemed that no matter how far, how extreme the challenge someone had always done something more extraordinary.  I don’t put myself in any category of ‘extraordinariness’ but I was intrigued by the thought of how much could I do as one of the ‘also rans’?
The world of ultra-running in 1982 was even more of a niche than it is today but for someone based in Southern England I saw an opportunity in participating in the LDWA (Long Distance Walking Association) annual 100-mile event held over 48 hours over the late May Bank Holiday weekend...that year the event was in the South-East.  The basic idea was to cover 100 miles on foot navigating on a route that was mainly footpaths; an ascent of around 10,000 feet was also aimed for.  The bulk of participants were walkers (imagine, if you will, walking for 48 hours...hardy souls) and there were always those who would try to run the route in less than 24 hours.
I realized that this was a major step up from covering a marathon distance so I set myself a training run along the Ridgeway footpath from Ivinghoe Beacon to Avebury...a distance of 85 miles.  I had walked this path with Olwen the previous year so I knew the route reasonably well.  I was joined on the run by my college friend Chris Windley and, over several stretches, by his girlfriend (now wife) Pam.  We aimed to cover the route in two days...and succeeded. 
The Plymouth Marathon 1982 - Chris Windley in number 086
On 23rd May 1982 I did the Plymouth Marathon (noted in my diary as ‘a training run’) in 3 hrs 5 mins 3 secs...coming in 43rd place.  
All was set for the Pilgrims 100 ~ from Guildford to Canterbury on the 29th and 30th of May 1982.  It is all about the mindset.  I ‘jogged‘ the first 25 miles in about 4 hours feeling entirely within myself.  By 75 miles, having gone through the night and drawn deeply on my reserves, I still felt that I could get to the finish line but the challenge had really started to bite.  I got home in a time of 23 hrs 28 mins, at this distance it is largely a blur in my memory.  My diary records ‘One and only (?), oh, so difficult’.  
[Researching the records revealed that I was joint second home in the 100 mile event.  This achievement was a little overshadowed by the fact that some participants had actually done a ‘100 Plus‘ distance of 142 miles and achieved a better time than me at 100 miles but the more pleasing thought was that I was joint second; this made me remember sharing the last 20 miles or so with a fellow runner.  Ultra distance events, perhaps more than most, are often shared experiences where the truly gritty moments are battled against  in company.]    
So what do I gather from this recollection?  My first thought is that the capacity for human endurance is much, much greater than many of us would think at the outset.  Not many years before this run I could only fantasize about the feeling of completing a marathon, believing it to be far beyond my capability.  Training and self-belief proved otherwise.  
I hear many successful people in the running world and in other spheres who state that “If we really believe that we can do something then we can” or similar.  I think that we have to run a caveat over this thought.  There are physical limitations.  I can’t run a 9 second 100m or a sub-2 hour marathon.  I am sure that no matter how certain my thinking was my physical limitations meant that I could never have achieved them...indeed they’re beyond human achievement at the moment.  However, if I make my goals within the realms of my achievement then they are there to pursue.  When I sought to achieve a goal that was, to my mind, extraordinary but achievable then I found the wherewithal to run a distance of 100 travelling to that achievement I ran a hilly marathon one week before my 100 mile run and saw it simply as a training exercise.
We can all do extraordinary things within the bounds of our own lives if we believe and commit to them.  You have to work at your physical training but the make or break point will be in your head.  
Now, within the limits of this short blog and my own capacity of language, I need to be careful not to suggest that you should ignore warnings of injury when trying to achieve endurance events but it is within the mind that the greater component of success or failure will reside. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Off & Running

So why am I writing this blog; there might be 5 people reading it.  I guess that one cannot ignore the simple self-indulgence of writing down ones thoughts and memories; it is a pleasurable way to record part of the biography of a life.  Maybe one or two people will draw some sort inspiration from it.  It enables me to develop my style in writing.  Perhaps the most important aspect for me is that I now feel I am more of a contributor to the Run Net Community.
I don’t know where the ‘new media‘ path will lead in terms of our communication but I sincerely hope that it will contribute to the breaking down of barriers between humans that still seem to be prevalent across our world.
It was exactly four weeks after the Pony Marathon that I toed the best one can at a mass participation marathon...again.  This was the 1981 Interplas Marathon in Birmingham.  I completed the course in 3hrs 15mins, with a diary comment of ‘Much better”.  
After the Interplas
Four weeks later again, and amidst quite a busy cross country season, I took part in the Honiton Marathon in Devon; the time came down again to 3hrs 10mins 30secs.  
My training was still quite un-informed.  I’d read Jim Fixx’s book and The Runner’s Handbook  by  Bob Glover and Jack Shepherd but I was still tending to just run at every opportunity, which mainly consisted of running to and from college (5 miles by the shortest route).  These were halcyon days of fitness.  A diary entry records, for example, “Ran to college, played 5-a-side football, ran home: 10 miles”).  
My training carried on well though the Christmas break and it was in February 1982 that I took part in the Seven Sisters Marathon, a cross country event that starts and ends at Eastborne on the south coast of England. More specifically it started up a very steep, grassy slope and finished over a series of cliff edge hills, the eponymous Seven Sisters, one of which is Beachy Head, sadly well known as a site for suicide jumps (so much so that volunteers are often there to talk with, and hopefully dissuade, potential jumpers). 

The Uphill Start
I remember this being a tough event but with some notable features.  Firstly, the runners set off some time after the walking entrants and I can still picture the rows of boots outside the pub door as the walkers took on their liquids...seems to me that that’s not a bad approach.  Secondly, we were all given a large chunk of fruit cake at the base of one of the later climbs (22.5 miles); the sensation of that chewy lump of cake becoming concrete-like in my dry mouth still remain a startlingly vivid memory.  I recorded a time of 3hrs 31mins and finished 11th out of 150 entrants.         
Closing stages of Wolverhampton
It was on Sunday the 28th of March 1982 that my marathon time fell below 3 hours for the first time. The Wolverhampton Marathon, which I ran with my friend Chris Windley.  I found my flow and my recorded time was 2 hrs 52 mins 25 secs.
My diary recalls a rather more significant event around this time though.  I returned to my family home in Exning, a small village near Newmarket, and there I ran with both my mother and my father.  Dad had been a long time smoker but he was stick-thin and had been a useful 400 yds runner in his school days.  It was a joy to run with him but Mum’s achievement was, perhaps, the greater.  She was hard working and stoic in her character, she would never have thought herself a runner but with gentle encouragement, starting out with very small increments, she was now joining me on a 5 mile run.
The next chronological event was my move into ultra distance running but I’ll leave that for my next posting.  I just want to skip forward here to Sunday the 18th of July 1982.  The Cambridge Half-Marathon.  I was a little disappointed by my time of 84 minutes but I was elated to be able to record that Mum, at 49 years of age and within months of starting to run, finished the same event in a time of 1hr 58 Mins. She grew to love running and was hugely disappointed when unremitting knee pain forced her to stop before she could tackle a full marathon although she went on to play tennis until, sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1997. I still miss her. 
Mum and Me, very happy after the Cambridge Half