RED January (Run every day) for MIND : Week 1



I’ve signed up for RED January in aid of MIND. I’m excited to be running each day in January with my minimum target of 100 miles, however, I’m more excited to be raising funds for MIND, the mental health charity. The charity link is HERE many thanks.

I have written more about why I chose to run for MIND below the daily updates.


Day 1 : Fareham parkrun, wind, rain, huge puddles and mud … a great introduction to 2018 !! 3.2 miles Cum 3.2 miles This post from the parkrun facebook page sums the morning up !! Many thanks to them.



After waking up late and then realising my garmin was still going while I was in the scanning queue everything else was straight forward in-between. It’s great to run a local event where you recognise lots of runners and then share the puddles that span the complete width of the track that you’re running on !! “Epic” start to 2018. PS for the record I was 125th /265 in a cautious 27 minutes.

Day 2 : After cycling home from work I went straight out onto my run so as to save time and a second shower in the same evening. Even 3 steady miles around my local streets reminded me why pavements, junctions, cars and street lighting aren’t my preferred running location. However, I survived !!

Thanks very much to the 35 people that kindly have me Kudos on my Strava Day 1 download. I’ll update this Strava training log photo each day.

strava 3

I’ll keep these short run posts fairly brief. The interesting news from the weather forecast is that storm Eleanor is on its way !! Bring it on …. ha ha 🙂

Day 3

After an interesting ride to work with the strongest winds I’ve come across in the 3 years I’ve be riding, as well as rain that seemed to be horizontal !!, this evenings run in comparison was calm and pleasant. 3rd 5K in a row and I threw in a 125 feet hill too. Dry January is also progressing well #nocider.

Thanks again to the Strava community because after Day 1’s 38 Kudos hits Day 2 had 26 as well. I appreciate the support 🙂

day 3

Day 4

Fourth 5K in a row and again thank to the Strava community for their 20 odd kudos clicks. I hope to receive my T Shirt soon but to be honest this will just be a bonus. I know there were 20,000 to be handed out so that’s fantastic if so many people are involved. I don’t expect to raise too much money in these initial days I’m hoping that as the weeks go by interest will pick up.

Saying that I’ve certainly talked about mental health to lots of people so raising awareness is just as important 🙂

Day 4

Day 5

Todays run in the January sunshine made a welcome change !! I’ve held off promoting the fundraising side until there’s a few miles clocked and with 26 days to go I don’t want to peak too early. The Strava Kudos figures are in the 30’s and I’ve followed a number of fellow running club runners who are also logging miles for MIND.

Day 5

The mindfulness benefits of running are well documented and then combining this with a dry January I certainly feel I’ve had a positive start to 2018. It’s great to be involved 🙂

Day 6

Another steady run with some elevation Cum miles 20.5

Day 7

It isn’t easy being sensible but I decided 3/4 of an hour and around 5 miles would be enough today. With there still being 3 1/2 weeks left and not wishing to stretch my family’s goodwill this seemed the right answer. I chose Portchester Lane because it’s steep !! My 4.8 mile run clocked 800 + feet of elevation and 4 hill reps.

DSC00945This photo is about a quarter of the way up. It’s an access only road so there’s little traffic and as you can see in the distance it really ramps up !! Todays run took me past 25 miles and it’s all “logged” on Strava. I couldn’t resist this “logged” photo on my run today 🙂


With the temperature only being 3 degrees care was needed as water runs off the fields and there were a couple of slippy patches. Thankfully I managed to stick to the speed limit too. I’ve never run seven days in a row so today was a PB !!

The legs are surprisingly good, what I aim to do now is promote the fundraising side more now that I’ve got a weeks miles done. Please read more about why I chose to run for MIND below this “speed photo”.


Week 1


Mental health is a topic close to my immediate family so I’d like to both raise awareness generally as well as funds. An advertising campaign once said “its good to talk” and this is so true when it comes to mental health. Part of the money raised will go to the Mind info line which means their information and advice is only a phone call away.

The central theme to all Mind’s work is that anyone experiencing a mental health problem gets the support and respect they deserve.

I have printed off my paper sponsorship sheet and the daily calendar to manually record the miles too. Electronically, here is the Fundraising Link

Donations of any size would be very welcome, thank you. PS I’ve also decided to throw in dry January too i.e. no cider for the month too 🙂 Strava daily updates too.

Many thanks Roger



2017 Running Review : Thanks to all my friends, both old & new, for a great year.


For me running isn’t just about your race time and position, it’s where and who you trained with and the shared experiences of both that training and race day. Running may not be the team sport that say eleven footballers have but as a group of individuals we support each other in so many ways. The running community is effectively one great big team.

2017 has been a memorable year with personally, my first double marathon and blog wise a number of achievements. However, most memorably it has been a year of widening my running circles and talking with people who have a similar outlook on life.

My main focus for 2017 was Race to the King (RTTK) with its 53 miles and 5,000 + feet elevation along the South Downs Way (SDW). Generally speaking I’ve found that if peoples reaction to what you say you have in mind are …. “that’s madness” or “oh my god” then you’ve pitched your challenge at the right level.

I entered Second Wind Running’s (SWR) Spring marathon (3,000 ft) in March and the 3 Forts Challenge in Sussex as April’s yardstick. The Spring marathon was on familiar territory around QECP but conversely the 3 Forts were further along the SDW and would be a pleasant surprise, especially with the 27.2 miles and those three big hills !!

One trick I’d recommend for races you haven’t done before is either recce different sections over the weeks before race day or watch the many videos that are available through bloggers and youtube.

The one common factor my top 5 races all had was that my training buddy Paul Coates entered them all as well.

The Spring marathon was notable for the heat and banter with a number of Pompey Joggers. This banter started with race organiser Phil Hoy who pulled up next to Paul and I before the race started. One of his marshals had commented “look there’s two runners over there” … he repeated this comment to us and then said … “no it’s Roger and Paul”, and then drove off laughing. We have exchanged many such comments with Phil but the timing made all of us laugh. P.S. I’d highly recommend Phil’s SWR events as challenging and very well organised.


My second Joggers interaction was with bothers Simon and Jonny Langley, who I hadn’t met before but as we constantly traded places over four of the five hours, we certainly motivated each other.

In between these two races I attended the Running Awards as my blog had been shortlisted in the final 12 for the second year running. I’m very proud of this and once again this gave me the opportunity to meet people that I had only been able to tweet previously. Mark Gallacher, Liam Martin and Paul Addicott were all great company on the night. I also had a quick hello with 401 marathons Ben who won the category.

DSC00331 3 Forts wise I met Phil Hall at about 3 miles in. We’d only talked to on social media previously so it was great to actually have a chat face to face. Likewise I met Paul Webster from Fareham Crusaders and even though he shot off into the distance we did see him on the out and back section. The views from Devil’s Dyke were amazing, miles of countryside in one direction and the coast in the other. It did rain towards the end but I’ll be back in 2018. My valuable lesson from the day was that walking more hills than usual was definitely the tactic to employ for our RTTK adventure because I finished in good shape due to a measured approach earlier.

DSC00352The elevation had us all walking at points including Dave, Kate and Lucy from the Crusaders who entered a number of the big five I’m reviewing. I also made a point of eating which I wouldn’t usually do on a marathon but with RTTK ahead it was a strategy we needed to get used to following. Cliff bars, jelly beans and nuts were all experimented with.

My RTTK preparation included a 25 mile run to Winchester with Del Roberts from On the Whistle who I hadn’t met before and who is currently training for the MDS. This nicely leads me into a very inspirational evening I shared when a number of us listen to Dr Dan Roiz de Sa at an event organised my Absolute Running. Dr Dan specialises in extreme climate endurance and works closely with disabled athletes, usually ex military. He ran the Marathon Des Sables in 2017 with double amputee Duncan Slater.


This inspiring evening also meant as a consequence of my blogging it, I ran in the following weeks with James Yeardley (Fareham Crusaders & MDS finisher) as well as chatted on social media with Tom Evans (the UK’s endurance rising star, who came 3rd overall !!) Talking with these people who have achieved so much really does fire you up for your challenges.

Consequently I raised over £300 for Walking with the Wounded as part of my RTTK run.


RTTK was 53 miles, twelve hours and six minutes of my life that I will never forget. I measured my efforts early on and when Paul pushed on at about 22 miles that was when the day really started. I would like to thank Cat Underwood for her vocal support along the way and the organisers for the attention to detail that flowed seamlessly between the start and finish.


I will leave the link to my blog from the day here because I simply can’t summarise what went through my mind and how the day panned out in a couple of paragraphs. Suffice to say I think that day was my finest in 30 years of running. I was also very proud that the organisers asked to use my blog in their 2018 race promotions. Read my Blog here

The Purbeck marathon was my 4th big race of 2017. I’d heard lots of great reports from Nikki Yeo and a number of other runners so Paul and I set off for Dorset to see what all the fuss was about. The coastal location and rolling cliffs meant we were in for both a visual and leg straining experience.

coastThis photo from Dave Fuller above and Paul and Ben’s below give you a flavour of the hills 🙂


The coastal section was breath taking and once we came inland the hills just kept on giving. At around two thirds through I joined Essex Julie and Devon Chris. I don’t think Julie will mind me saying but I heard her before I saw her 🙂 #classic Essex. At this stage Nikki also caught us up. The next few miles were very hilly but also very entertaining. Thanks Chris, Julie & Nikki. With a bottle of cider as part of the goody bag it was another great race.

The remaining weeks of 2017 weren’t as full of running as they should have been but this didn’t stop me entering the Portsmouth coastal 50K.

On the run into the coastal ultra I guest blogged with Winchester Bloggers and look forward to attend a get together with both them and Portsmouth Bloggers on different dates early in 2018.

I’m proud that I was shortlisted in Runultras Best Blog during December too.


The coastal ultra started in the cold early hours of the morning and ended in light rain but the 31 miles were made so much more enjoyable with the amount of runners that I saw racing as well as spectating. Fareham Crusaders male and female captains Paul and Mel also deserve mentioning here for their motivation.


Meeting Craig from the clothing line Runr and Spencer from Centurion running also added to the day. The shingle sections were testing but the support was amazing. Special thanks must go to Hayley from Gosport RR and her tambourine !!

It’s difficult just mentioning a certain amount of people when our running community is so wide spread, whether it be the local clubs or the wider twitter runners and bloggers. Thanks to everyone that has helped make this a great running and blogging year.

I run off road because it makes me feel free. It’s a combination of mindfulness and challenging your efforts while pushing your limits. Running through the countryside is so rewarding but running it with friends is even better.

Once again thanks to Paul Coates who I train with the most. Thanks for the lifts and photos but most of all thanks for your company mate.  This is Paul, Nikki and me before the coastal ultra and thanks to Nikki for the early morning photo above.


If you have enjoyed reading my review there’s still time to vote in the 2018 Running Awards Best Blog. This link will take you to the Publications and Online section, then its the Blog section and scroll down to irunoffroad.

So VOTE here

Many thanks for reading in 2017 and see you on the trails in 2018. I’m also excited for RED January (Run every day). Happy New Year !!


B&A 50K Challenge, what a Xmas Cracker


Why would you want to run 31 miles on a morning that started with frost and ice and finished in rain ? The answer is because we love a challenge and we love to run. This photo of my running buddies Paul and Nikki sums up the buzz that trail running can give you. Someone once sung “Money makes the world go round” but they were wrong, it’s people and especially long distance runners 🙂

The Portsmouth based Believe & Achieve running company host a number of events through the year but they are probably best known for their pre Christmas marathon and 50K ultra.

With an 8am start for the ultra and 8.30 for the marathon we were all up “bright and early”. Nikki’s photo below shows the view from behind the Pyramids leisure centre, our race HQ, and out towards the pier, #inspirational !!


Inside the Pyramids main hall we talked with runners from Fareham Crusaders, Gosport Road Runners (GRR) and Pompey Joggers. I also chatted to Spencer from Centurion Running and the Runr chaps who were there manning their running kit stall. As we made our way out for the start it soon became clear that the seafront was quite slippy underfoot and that caution would be needed.

There were lots of familiar faces on the start line by now and we were all marvelling at the blood red sky and the early morning sun. I spotted Dean, Nikki, Paul, James, Simon, Matt, Dave, Thom, Dwayne, Del, Cat and Richard from our local clubs running the ultra as well as Shaun saying goodbye to Susie Chan who was running the marathon half an hour later.



This map from my Strava download shows what lay ahead of us. Two miles along the seafront, a section of harbour mud, compacted trail around the harbour with a small amount of tarmac and then down to the Hayling ferry for the 15 .5 mile half way point. All that remained after that was to retrace our steps !!


The curious thing about ultra’s are that by definition you run slower. As a consequence you rarely see people warming up !! So the hurly burly of a 5K is replaced with lots of chat and banter, both as runners stand on the start line and for a good mile into the run.

Fleet brothers Dave and Matt disappeared into the distance first, they were then followed by most of the other people we knew but Richard Law and Dwayne stayed at mine and Pauls pace. We’d decided to start conservatively. Me, because frankly I hadn’t done enough training and Paul because he’d run Bovington marathon the previous day !! I think he’s up to 61 marathons now.

The harbour mud wasn’t too bad at 2 miles and as we weaved our way along the harbour path the field started to thin out. The temptation to pop into the Harvester pub for breakfast at about 4 miles was avoided and by 5 we were into our rhythm of just under 10 min miles.

The beauty of the course is that it’s fairly easy to spectate at as well as drive ahead and appear again. Gosport Road Runners were very well represented including my friend Hayley with her vocal support and tambourine. The aid stations were well stocked but we ran through the initial ones as we were carrying supplies. Thanks to Mike Harper who also gave us a shout.

The first shingle section passed without any issues but as we made our way around the coastline the wind off the sea had started to slightly pick up as well as the sun disappearing so I decided my egloves were staying on !! Paul dropped behind me slightly but we both know each other well enough that I was confident he’d catch me up later.

Once across Hayling bridge the 10 mile bleeper went on my watch, a third of the way !! By now a number of the marathon whippets had overtaken us and with the nature of the out and back course runners were heading towards us.

The 13 mile half way mark was quite congested with supporters and then, all of a sudden, it because really quiet with only the ultra runners carrying on. Now at this stage I was on my 3rd gel and had drunk well so I felt reasonably in charge. However, I was rudely awakened by the next shingle section !! My god that hurt. It was like running in toffee. Once again, however, seeing friends running in the opposite direction was inspiring.

The half way aid station had the ever lively Kiernan from On the Whistle to encourage us so I set off with renewed vigour. It’s also worth pointing out that at this point we were only a few hundred metres from the 29 mile point, it’s just that it was tantalisingly on the other side of the water. After a couple of motivational hellos with Cat, Ian and Del this then meant I’d left the shingle and was heading back towards the marathon runners. I have to say meeting familiar faces on a long run really does lift your spirits. Some banter with Allie and Crusaders men’s captain Paul Pickord certainly helped as they were taking drinks at their 13 and my 18 mile point.

With 20 miles approaching I’d got to the point were my lack of training miles was starting to show and I had to accept that dropping my pace was needed, however, there were a number of marathon entrants walking now, so this kept me going.

Once over the Hayling bridge I was counting down the single figure miles. With a large group of GRR supporters, including Terry, Nick & Kim from Absolute Running and Hayley with her tambourine cheering us on near Havant this helped over the next couple of miles. Paul caught me up and another host of marathon Crusaders did too. Ladies Crusaders captain Mel, Paula, Trevor and Rachel all appeared along with a gingerbread man 🙂 (Thanks for the photo Mel) This was at around the marathon point for me and it’s always great to know you are moving into ultra territory !!



Mel and Paula (to the right of the GB man) had also run Bovington marathon the previous day. By now steady rain had set in but luckily it wasn’t too heavy and it certainly didn’t dampen my spirits. We exchanged banter and as always Paul was leading the way. The final miles were a bit of a struggle for me but I insisted I was fine, when Mel asked. I ran / walked for a while and crossed the line in 5 & 3/4 hours.

As ever I was greeted by lots of the people mentioned above and if the car park ticket hadn’t for been imminent we’d have stayed later. This is what’s great about our running community, it doesn’t matter what position you have finished in, you are part of the community. I had a fantastic day with so many great running friends. Thanks to all the runners and supporters. Running maybe an individual sport but we are all part of one big happy family.


If you have enjoyed reading my blog maybe you’d consider voting for it please. Just follow the link  VOTE

then within Publications & Online, scroll down the Blog list to irunoffroad.

Many thanks to Rob Piggott and his Believe & Achieve  team for a great race.

P.S. Here’s a facebook message from a potential future winner !!



What goes through your mind on a solo 20 mile run ??


Endurance running is definitely more enjoyable when you have the company of fellow likeminded souls, however saying that, there’s something calming, satisfying and almost an out of body experience when you run for a long time on your own.

Running with a group of friends will give you banter, support and spells when they drag you along and visa versa. A solo run is all down to you, your watch and your thoughts.

I set out with the intention of 20 miles at ten minutes a mile i.e. 3 hours twenty minutes. The 50K I’ve been spasmodically training for is in two weeks time so today was as much a mental test as a physical one.

My usual training involves hills, fields, gates, streams and all the glory of the countryside so what the hell was a doing planning 20 miles of tarmac !! The answer my friends was the lack of available time and testing my legs over flat terrain just to make sure that no weaknesses were lurking. Running up and down hills gives your legs a varied workout, constantly running on the flat works certain muscles and repeats the action again and again.

That’s the physical side, now onto the mental task of three hours + with only yourself for company. I saw John Vose who I ran with when I was at Stubbington Green, he must be 70 now and as he drove past I wondered if he was off to spectate or even run at the Victory 5 today. Mike Dally from Hedge End runners tooted his horn as he passed and again I wondered if he was heading in the same direction.

So, excluding people I know, what else occupied me ??

I keep an eye on the hedgerows for any signs of early morning animal activity, birds, maybe a fox !! Then once I made it to the sea after 4 miles then there’s windsurfers, huge cargo vessels on their way into Southampton docks and even an occasional swimmer.

Your pace strategy is easily managed by your garmin and then there’s your nutrition. I generally take an SIS gel every 50 minutes, drink 500mls an hour, swallow occasional salt tablets to prevent cramp and eat occasional SIS bars just for something more solid. Remembering to do this is easily forgotten once you are in your flat, even paced metronome mind set.

Paying attention to keeping warm is another factor to ponder on too. Start with more than you need is my philosophy. Gloves can be removed, base layers can be untucked but by the time I turned around at 7.5 miles and headed back up Stokes Bay the direction of the cold wind had an immediate effect. Another trick is keeping an eye on the clouds so that you can see is bad weather is approaching and also because they’re just really interesting to watch !!

Saying hello and passing positive comments to fellow runners and cyclists always motivates me and it’s surprising how many of the general public say hello too.

Next, what goes through your mind when your pace starts to drop and you realise the run is starting to take its toll. I consider if I’ve got my nutrition right and most of all have I drunk enough. Never be afraid to stop at a garage or corner shop just to supplement what you started out with !!

Psychologically, have a word with yourself 🙂 I’m on this run for a reason. The challenge, the enjoyment, the preparation for two weeks time, to push past such moments of doubt because they may occur on the day, to draw on all the months of running already done this year and most of all, don’t let yourself down, you are in control so keep at it.

Finishing below target pace was satisfying and hugely motivational. One of my favourite sayings is that your legs achieve what your mind believes. So, believe in yourself.

Finally, I never think about work or any issues I have in my life. Running is my therapy and quite often I don’t think about anything at all, I just observe my surrounding.

If you have enjoyed reading this maybe you’d consider voting for my blog,

just follow this link to VOTE

The category is Publications & Online, then Blog and simply scroll down to irunoffroad. Many thanks for reading.

A motivational 14 miles #coast


Todays run was only my second in two weeks, so, the fact that it lasted for over two hours and I bagged 14 miles meant it’s great to be able to plan the next 3 weeks ahead of the upcoming coastal 50K race.

You can’t beat a good run, on a bright and crisp morning with the added bonus of running by the sea. I’m only four miles from the Solent waters, with views of the Isle of White and a well trodden footpath that’s made up of beach, trail and pavement.

With the temperature down to only a couple of degrees I always look to see if our bird bath has frozen and sure enough, it had. However, with the right kit this isn’t an issue. My trusty long sleeve Helly Hanson and thick egloves take the chill out of the initial miles as your body temperature rises and then they are reassuring when you get those occasional chilly breezes that come in off the sea.


Running into the bright sun along Hill Head I passed the multi-coloured beach huts and the sailing club. With Titchfield Haven’s wildlife marshes to my right there were already a number of enthusiasts with their tripods and cameras looking for their favourite birds. Once past the white sea side bungalows I moved down onto the shingle and by the waters edge.


Having the whole beach largely to yourself gives you a real feeling of “escaping” and its one of the main reasons I enjoy my running. The sound of the sea lapping up and down the shingle, the occasional gulls cry and even the sight of a glider on its flight path back to the local landing strip all contributing to my experience.

Naturally running on the shingle is harder work than on the coastal path but there’s also shingle sections in the race !! Moving up onto the headland the path was surprisingly dry with only the occasional puddles to dodge around. At this point I decided to retrace my steps and head back towards civilisation.


I pondered that I ought to use this stretch of coastline more in my running because even though it doesn’t have the ever changing hills that I enjoy, there’s something special about running by the sea.

Once back onto the tarmac coastline the dog walkers and families were much more in evidence. I made my way back towards Stubbington and around the airfield, then down Newgate Lane and back home. These necessary road miles weren’t my preferred choice but today they made for a decent run.

With 3 weeks to my ultra I’ll aim for a 20 miler this weekend coming and a number of regular runs to catch up the missing ones from recent weeks. There’s no doubt that a flat course means fewer demands on certain muscles but at the same time running for five + hours with specific muscles being worked constantly can wear you down.

I’m really looking forward to meeting up with lots of runners that I know and with the marathon and ultra starts only separated by half an hour then the out and back nature of the course should offer lots of banter 🙂


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 !! 🙂

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 🙂

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

Roger T

Harbour 11 miles to Southsea & back

11 miles blog

My plan for today was to gain some more insight into the Believe and Achieve Harbour 50K route that I’ve entered in December. Running from the maps green starting dot at Farlington Marshes, this also ties in with last weeks blog, where I travelled in the opposite direction. My return leg on this run will be the first 5.5 miles of both the marathon and the ultra as they begin to wind their way around Langstone Harbour.

Please ignore the maps red line heading back to Fareham, this was my error which appeared on my Strava download, ha, ha !!!

The Pyramids entertainment centre is located on Southsea’s seafront with views of the pier that dates back to 1879, the wide open esplanade and on Saturdays, Southsea parkrun.


The irony of the Southsea parkrun was that by the time I was heading down to the front some 300 runners were heading in the opposite direction. I had four “you’re running the wrong way” comments 🙂 I saw a surprised Matt Fleet and Mark Brooks from Fareham Crusaders and David Brawn from Pompey Joggers as they ran their 5K.


Once past the pier the seafront stretches out for some time until you reach Eastney swimming pool. Having mentioned the swimming pool I also saw about 80 wet suited swimmers preparing for an open water swim on my run down towards the seafront, as well as Paul Southon out running too. After crossing a couple of roads you then drop down onto literally the harbour mud, but, as long as you keep close to the tide mark its reasonable underfoot. However, stray too far down and you could loose a trainer !!!


After following the “beach” for another few hundred metres you cross the Milton Lock bridge and then join the compacted harbour trail. It was at this point that you realise just how far around the harbour you’ll be running. There can’t be many races that you can see ten miles ahead of you, from mile 3 to Hayling Island and 13 miles point.

Following the trail you will next pass the Peoples Memorial which has both a flagpole and gardens. The memorial is a tribute to the men and women currently serving in the British Forces on foreign battlefields around the world. I found this a very powerful experience.


A pub, caravan park and a number of water sport facilities then follow each other in rapid succession. The trail does vary between grass, sections of broken concrete and good tarmacked paths. Once passing by an aggregates business there’s then the peculiar experience of running through 200 metres of dense trees with pine needles and tree roots so care is needed here.

Out onto the environmentally reconstructed harbour bank I was within sight of my car park and the end of eleven miles. As my trusty watch says I managed to stay under 9 minute miles and hopefully this blog will give anyone involved a better idea of what to expect.


If you’ve enjoyed reading my blog maybe you’d consider voting for it in the Running Awards. It’s in the Publications and Online section, then Best Blog.

Just click here ……Thanks very much.