What I Eat In A Day - Vegan Runner Video

BREAKFAST
Water
Granola
Mango
Strawberries
Blueberries

LUNCH (makes 4 wraps)
Heinz Creationz Mexican Beanz 390g
Wraps x4
Rocket
1 Green Pepper
Olive Oil
Optional Vegan Cheese

SHAKE
Almond Milk
Chia Seeds
Frozen Blueberries
Banana

SNACKS
Bagel
Peanut Butter
Jam

DINNER (serves 4)
Spaghetti
Courgette x1
Mushrooms (250g)
Cashews (100g)
Almond Milk (500ml)
Vegetable Stock (500ml approx)
Garlic Powder
Lemon
Salt / Pepper / Herbs

Plus lots and lots of water! 

Tips for Running in the Heat!

Everywhere in the UK and Europe seems to be basking in a heatwave, which is brilliant for those beach lovers, but can easily play havoc with everyone who is training for autumn marathons.  

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Without doubt, running in hotter temperatures puts your body at increased stress and without proper preparation could lead to issues but take a few precautionary steps and you'll be just fine. 

Here’s a few tips and tricks I use for when it’s hot. The training must go on!

  1. Stay close to home, the car or the office - Now is not the time to run your big loop, that remote trail run or an out and back along the canal.  Instead do some repetitive loops near where you can store some water and supplies.  It’s far safer to do a few small loops, than one big one.
  2. Run by effort, not pace - Ignore your GPS watch showing your pace and look at your heart rate or if you don't have a HR monitor then run on effort or feel.  
  3. Electrolytes - I take these before and during my runs to help maintain sodium and magnesium levels, which are commonly lost when you sweat.  Some products I like are SiS GO Hydro or Precision Hydration.  Just add them to water. 
  4. Drink to thirst - Don't drink loads just because you're worried.  If you're thirsty then have something to drink, if not then wait.  
  5. Early mornings provide the coolest temperatures of the day in the UK. 
  6. Head for the park - Asphalt reflects the sun a lot more than grass, so run on the grass where you can.  Plus the park will usually have lots of trees, so you can run in the shade they provide.  Check out www.findafountain.org for parks with water fountains too! In London Greenwich, Victoria, Richmond and Regents Park have them. 
  7. Wear technical clothing - it will draw sweat away from the skin to evaporate. Size up as it will allow it to breathe better.  Use body glide to avoid chafing.
  8. Suncream - I only use waterproof factor 50+. If you start to burn your body will over heat rapidly. 
  9. Take a handheld bottle if you’re running for 30-60 minutes.  I’d recommend getting a pack for anything longer while the temperatures are 25+ degrees C so you can carry more water with you.
  10. Slow down or stop - if you're not feeling it, don't worry! There's no shame in slowing right down or even stopping completely and trying again later on when it's a bit cooler.
  11. Always run with your phone, a bank card.  Just in case you need to get in touch with someone, buy a drink or get the bus home. 
  12. Treadmill running - if you're really not great in the heat then head for the treadmill and make the most of the gym's air con!
  13. Hat - Any hat is better than no hat, keep your head protected and out of the sun. 
  14. Post run - I like to refuel with things like bananas, crisps (for the salt), watermelon, milk, melon. Putting ice on the back of your neck and taking a colder shower will help you cool after as well. 
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Finally running in the warm should be fun, enjoy it while it's here.  Before we know it the rain and cold will be back.  If you're on holiday, have a great break! 

Ways we can reduce plastic in our oceans, with Adidas and Parley.

Caring for the environment around us and the world of running are two things that seem to go hand in hand.  I've always been passionate about living a ethical life, leaving no trace and trying to live in harmony with all those we share the planet with.  With that in mind I've put together a list of 5 easy ways we can all make a difference to reduce our plastic consumption.  It's something I'm trying to do everyday, to protect the planet and become a more responsible runner!

1. Get a reusable water bottle - On all my long runs I used to stop and buy a 60p bottle of water from the supermarket, drink it, then just throw it away.  The cost soon mounts up, but more importantly that single use plastic bottle could well end up in the ocean after I've thrown it away.  Now I take my hydration vest on my long runs, which not only uses less plastic, but it's cheaper too!  For day to day away from running I bought a metal flask that now goes in the car, on the tube or wherever I'm travelling.  You can throw it in your bag for after races, so you don't have to take a plastic one that is usually handed out as you cross the line. 

 Running with a pack on longer runs is easy and much cheaper! 

Running with a pack on longer runs is easy and much cheaper! 

2.  Helping out locally -  Have a look at the Marine Conversation website, clicking here.  They list beach cleans going on all over the country, throughout the year.  What better way of getting fit and doing good than heading out to collect plastic from our beautiful beaches!

3. Get a Spork! - Using plastic cutlery is just as bad as plastic bottles, so treat yourself to a metal spork that you can keep in your bag / car / office desk.  Not exactly running related, but plastic cutlery, straws and cups are a big deal when we are trying to reduce plastic consumption, so metal permanent alternatives are great. 

4. Campaign for your local races to use non plastic cups - I get it, drinking from bottles during a race is easy, quick and a time saver.  But it only takes a few seconds extra to drink from a cup and you will be saving lives.  There are plenty of biodegradable cups on the market these days, so make sure you are asking your local RD's if they can make a switch.  

5. Put your muddy shoes in a tote bag, old sheets, a dry bag.. just about any bag other than a plastic bag.  You're going to have to wash your muddy shoes anyway, so why not throw the bag into the machine too! 

 Join the movement to Run for the Oceans!

Join the movement to Run for the Oceans!

So have a think about what you can do, any change big or small will make a difference! 

South Downs Marathon - 2nd Place!

 2015 - 3:59:58

2015 - 3:59:58

As many people know I have two distinct chapters in my running life.  One from about the ages of 18 - 23 where I ran roughly 12 marathons, averaging around 3:45 before then taking 8 years away from running.  In 2015, very unfit, not in great health and in a bit of a mess with life I gave running another go to get my life back on track and naturally turned to running to turn things around.  

The 2015 South Downs marathon was one of my early races back then and my first real attempt at running on trails, so it was a big learning curve.  It was a tough race for sure and I crossed the finishing line in 3:59:58.. that was quite a sprint for the line to break 4 hours! 

It’s always very odd returning to races, with all the knowledge, fitness and experience I have now.  But it really goes to show me how far I’ve managed to come in a relatively short period of time.  

I'd secretly got it in my head that I'd try and beat my 2015 by an hour and come in sub 3.  Judging my previous years results that would give me a good chance of getting on the podium and mentally a big boost with my trail running. 

 It was cold on the start line, so jacket over pack was the only option! 

It was cold on the start line, so jacket over pack was the only option! 

The first 7k is mostly uphill and I set off with the lead pack, that had around 4 of us in it.  Some of the early pace setters dropped off quickly as the vertical kicked in.  I’d chosen to take a Salomon pack so I didn’t have to stop at any of the aid stations, I could carry enough water for the race and take my own nutrition.  When I breezed through the first one without stopping I knew it was a good call, saving valuable time and it’s always best to have your own fuel sources on board that work for you. 

 Head to toe in Salomon!

Head to toe in Salomon!

5k came up in 20:34, the next 5k in 21:52, then 21:23, then 19:54.  Given the big changes in elevation it’s hard to read much into this, but it was consistent and my heart rate was averaging 160 for the first half, so I knew I still had plenty in the tank if I needed it.

 Don't take photos at the top of hills, everyone looks awful!! Haha..

Don't take photos at the top of hills, everyone looks awful!! Haha..

The lead pack had dropped down to two now.  I'd mapped out the big climbs before, so knew exactly when to take my gels so they’d hit my system in time for the hills.  I took 4 in total, the same as a road marathon, but had some Maurten drink in my bottles as well.  I grabbed a couple of waters from the aid stations, that I could run with quickly, so all in all it made for a pretty efficient strategy.   It worked surprisingly well, I never felt tired, no stomach issues, really happy and one I'll be using again.   

 All the data is on Strava!

All the data is on Strava!

The 20-35k splits were 22:06, 22:02, 21:38 again nice and even.  I was beginning to lose sight of the leader now, he was just that little bit stronger on the hills than me and in hindsight I probably had more to give, but didn’t want to throw away what was looking like a strong performance and go for glory, in what was only ever a training race run.  

 Giving it the beans on the final descent..

Giving it the beans on the final descent..

Hitting 40k in 2:51:37 I knew I’d have to give it some to get in under the magic 3, but cracked out a 3:37km on the downhill stretch into the park, which meant I could enjoy the finish.  It was hard to tell exactly where the third place runner was as we were finishing with all the half marathon runners, so there was a sea of people around, but there was certainly no one catching as far as I could see. 

 Coming into the finish!

Coming into the finish!

Crossing the line in 2:58:57, an hour and one minute faster than 2015 was an incredible feeling.  It was the first time I’d really put in a performance on trails I was happy with, I ran strong from the off, hit my A goal and finished fresh with more to give. 

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Next stop Verbier for the St Bernard 73k / 4000m+.  Time to have some fun in the mountains!

A big well done to all the runners out there on the Downs, it was nice to meet some of you afterwards.  If you haven't done this race before then it's a great introduction to trail running for sure, the half is a great route as well, so look out for it in 2019. 

Thank you for all the messages of support and following along, it's very much appreciated.  It all adds up to make a real difference, so can't thank you enough! 

 Get in!

Get in!

May Recap - TP100, New Zealand, Liverpool and YouTube!

As May draws to a close, it’s time to take stock on maybe the craziest month I’ve ever had and see what’s coming up over the next few weeks! Three big races and launching on YouTube!

Races

We started at the Centurion Thames Path 100 mile, from Richmond to Oxford.  Having completed the race in 2017 I was keen to come back and give it my absolute all for a better placed finish.  The baking heat soon put pay to that, with temperatures reaching 25 degrees in the afternoon sun.  It was simply a lesson in keeping moving forward, one foot in front of the other and not letting the conditions get into my head.  After one big sick, damaging my knee, multiple toilet stops in the bushes and lots of soul searching throughout the night, we finally crossed the line in 22:42, for 56th place. A PB, if such a thing exists for 100 mile ultras!  The near 50% drop out race this year showed just how hard those conditions were, so I was very proud of getting my second buckle!

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For the weekend after we jetted off with Air New Zealand to the Hawkes Bay region on the North Island.  Running a marathon the week after a 100 miler will always be tough, but this added an extra dimension being 12,000 miles away! It was one of the most picturesque races I’ve ever done, running through vineyards, apple orchards and along the beautiful coastline.  Crossing the line in 2:58 was actually surprising considering how I was pretty much falling asleep in the latter stages of the race.  For the race video, with lots of on course footage, check out the link  

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Going for three in a row we headed to Liverpool for the Rock n Roll marathon with the goal of trying to keep the sub 3 hour marathon streak going.  It was standing at 18 as I stood on the start line!  The sun shone down on a beautiful Liverpool day and I knew it was going to be another toughie.  After 5k I had two stitches and after 10k I was in a bit of trouble..  but somehow the drop off in speed plateaued and I managed to find some pace in the second half of the race to just dip in under 3 hours, in 2:59.  For the race video, with lots of on course footage, check out the link at

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The following weekend I was meant to be lining up at the Grand Union Canal run, a 145 miler from Birmingham to London.  But sadly I was just too wreaked, too tired, too drained.  The schedule beforehand was overkill.  All my fault and I had to register a DNS, by first for many years.  A sad day, but I'll be back in a few years to tick that box. 

Up coming Events - Hopefully see lots of Strava and Instagram runners here! 

9th June - Endure 24
16th June - South Downs Way Marathon
7th July - Trail Verbier St Bernard 73k
4th August - NDW100
18th August - UltraVasan 90k

In other news!

I launched a YouTube channel with lots of running tips, tricks, advice, race reports.  If you’re looking for some help with your running check it out!  I’ll be uploading twice a week! It's now live! 

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So that’s a wrap May.  You’ve been a blast!  500km run and raced. So many smiles over all of those miles. :-)  Bring on June! 

4 Minute Warm Up Routine to use before every Run!

It's so important to get your warm up right.  Preventing injury is the main benefit, but also it helps ease you into the right mindset for the run, so when you set off you're prepared and ready for action.

I've made a video showing you how I warm up before every run, so check it out here!

The 6 areas I always focus on are

1. Slow jog
2. Open and close the gate
3. Leg swings
4. Walking lunge
5. Butt kicks
6. High knees

Build these into your routine and help yourself to stay injury free for longer! 

Air New Zealand Hawkes Bay Marathon

Running a marathon 6 days after the Thames Path 100 mile, oh and it’s 12,000 miles away in New Zealand, go on then!  It was a pretty crazy notion, but when the opportunity came up to travel to one of my absolute favourite counties on earth, to run a race in such a scenic landscape amongst the vines and orchards of Hawkes Bay, I got my entry in quick start and jumped aboard that Air New Zealand flight in a flash! 

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The race takes place between the two main towns in the Hawkes Bay region of Napier and Hastings.  Starting on the shore, before winding its way down the coastline and heading inland towards the vineyards and orchards that make this region so famous.  

We had to get to the expo pretty quickly, as our travel had been delayed slightly, so after checking into the hotel we headed straight to the Napier Conference Centre.  All extremely efficient, the volunteers were super friendly.  For a marathon only in its third year, this was really impressive.  I was given bib 445.

 Vineyards everywhere, autumn colours looking amazing! 

Vineyards everywhere, autumn colours looking amazing! 

Luckily I only had a short walk from the hotel to the start line, which was enough to get some stretches in and a few K’s of easy running to warm up.  I hadn’t ran a step since crossing the finish line in Oxford 6 days earlier, so the race was going to be a big unknown, plus I had no idea how the jet lag would affect my body.  As the sun rose over the ocean, hundreds of fellow runners gathered on Marine Parade, with a huge 70% travelling in from outside the local area. 

 

Standing on the start line I could tell that something wasn’t quite right, I was so tired, which was a very strange sensation at 9am.  We hadn’t even been in the country 24 hours and the whole of the afternoon before I’d been in bed at the hotel asleep.  But it hadn’t been enough to get any life back in me that the long haul trip had taken away.  Still, we weren’t here to set any records, simply to run a marathon in a beautiful part of the world, meet some new people and explore a fascinating place on planet earth.  

The hooter went off at 9am and I quickly set in with a small group of runners, one of whom was local favourite, Nick Horspool, with a PB of 2:20, so I obviously let him go off into the distance.  We were averaging 3:45/km, which was quite a bit faster than I wanted to be running, but hey.. I was here for some fun and was enjoying running in a group with a bit of banter going!  One of the other runners likened us to The Inbetweeners, in that we weren’t that great, but also not that bad either..  that middle ground! It got a few laughs!  

5k came up in 18:43, nice and steady.  The second 5k was quicker, by a whole second.. 18:42! Haha!  We were running along some raised cycle tracks, so there was gravel underfoot.  It was fine to run on and I think my legs were grateful for running on anything other than tarmac for a bit!

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As we approached 20k my tummy was starting to make a few noises it shouldn’t have been and a few strides later I was searching around for bushes!  There were none, luckily for me I was pretty much alone at this point, so had to drop the shorts at the side of the road. TMI again, but this is the truth! 

I was starting to slow pretty rapidly by now, the relative suicide pace from earlier was taking its toll.  Running all alone, I couldn’t see anyone ahead or behind, there was nothing for it other than to grit my teeth and see what result I could grind out.  

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I was carrying my GoPro to film parts of the race (the video will be up shortly) which surprisingly took my mind off the pain in my legs.  Not pain in the usual sense, just tired, no energy and general lifelessness. Hardly surprising given everything, but it wasn’t a sensation I was used to at this stage of a race. 

The volunteers at the aid stations were super friendly and I’d always look forward to getting to the next one.  As we entered the vineyards around 30k I’d started to overtake the half marathon runners, so the usual ‘keep going’, ‘you’re doing so well’ etc was getting exchanged back and forth every hundred meters or so.  Such a friendly bunch these Kiwi’s are! 

40k was up in 2:45 and barring a complete disaster I knew I’d manage to scrape a sub 3, which, let’s be honest, isn’t so bad.  I’d be pretty miffed if that happened in the UK, but given the circumstances, I’ll take it!

 2:58:11

2:58:11

Crossing the line in 2:58:11 was great, medals waiting from the Air New Zealand staff, smiles everywhere and it wrapped up one of the most beautiful marathons I’ve ever ran.  Air New Zealand and Hawkes Bay tourism, you’ve done yourself proud with this one! 

 Shattered! 

Shattered! 

Going forward I really need to do some research on jet lag and the role it plays in racing, plus anything that can be done to combat the effects.  I’d obviously never run a target race in this way, so it’s not that important, but it’s all good knowledge to add to the bank.  

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Next stop Liverpool for the Rock n Roll marathon on Sunday! 

Thames Path 100 Mile Race Report

I distinctly remember lying in bed one night about 6 years ago reading a copy of a running magazine I’d borrowed from a friend as there was a curious feature tucked away on the front cover.  I wasn’t even particularly into running back then but, on this small part of the front cover  they claimed to have a race report from a 100 mile race that had just happened.  100 miles?  Was this a typo? I completely genuinely 100% thought this was an April fool, a wind up, nobody could run further than a marathon and survive, what was going on?  So late at night I turned to Twitter and typed in Centurion Running and sure enough, there were more photos and names of these seemingly ordinary people achieving something that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend.  Ever since that moment I’ve been fascinated by the notion of how far can we push ourselves and set many challenges to take my own body to the physical and mental limits. 

 Everyone ready to go! (oh and my sister!)

Everyone ready to go! (oh and my sister!)

The past 6 months has been totally focused on marathon specific training, I’d put in some high mileage weeks, but very few back to back long runs or anything over marathon training distances. So standing on the start line I had very little idea as to what was going to pan out ahead.  All I knew was it was going to be absolutely baking hot and while it was a lovely temperature to run in, the fact we’d be out for hours with little in the way of shade was troubling.  The thing with running these ultra long distances is that so much of it is mental and all you need is for one chink in your armour to open up and you’re done. 

 And we're off!

And we're off!

313 from the 375 entrants made it to the start line in Richmond and at 10am James Elson sounded the hooter for the race to get underway.  

Having run parts of the route a few times in training and in the 2017 race I knew there was a gate about 500m in, that only one person can get through at a time.  So made a quick get away.  It is amazing how you get worried about losing 30 seconds at a gate, while knowing you’re going to be out running for at least 20 hours.. I don’t think the enormity ever sets in for me about the what lies ahead!

 Oh the baking sun!

Oh the baking sun!

The first check point was Walton on Thames at mile 12, where I arrived at 1h:35m, a steady pace and felt good and in control.  The volunteers sprung into action, the water bottles were refilled and I ate some very juicy pineapple and watermelon.  Perfect refreshing fuel as the day was warming up!

The runners had spread out by now and with no one really around I stopped and found my iPod, as I’d been saving last weeks Marathon Talk up to listen to on the run.  So as Martin and Tom did their thing, lifting my spirits, the sun beat down, we headed on in to Staines. 

When you get to Staines Bridge (mile 20) you take a sharp right to go up and over it and as I was mid turn, I felt a sharp shooting pain in my right knee.  There were a few swear words shouted and I limped up the stairs and walked it out over the bridge and down to the other side, but with each corner I got to, the pain quickly returned.  

I knew the Wraysbury aid station was just ahead, so wanted to run it in and if it persisted then I’d get help.  Running in a straight line felt totally fine and by the time I’d reached the aid station I’d forgotten about it.  It seemed to be only when turning corners sharp or walking.  So there was only one thing for it, no corners and no stopping! 

 Salty hat!

Salty hat!

 

It was nice to finally meet Cat Simpson on the run and we chatted for a bit up between Dorney and Cookham, then later heard the sad news that she had to drop out with an injury she’d sustained in a cycling accident the week prior.  Such as inspirational runner, she’ll be back soon! 

Dorney (30.5 miles) - I loved the music and Cookham (38 miles), genius with the ice lollies and hosepipe shower! These volunteers sure do know how to put on an aid station. 

The heat had really started to take it’s toll by now and while I was eating and drinking ok, the chairs and shade at Hurley (44 miles) provided some much needed relief from the sun.  A nauseous feeling had started to take over and I couldn’t make myself get up and out of that chair.  I tried a few times as the clock ticked away, 10 minutes I’d been there, then 15, 20, 25 and still no sign of getting away. After a quick pep talk from one amazing lady volunteer there (who was about to do UTMB!  Respect!) I agreed to leave, with a bowl of snacks in hand to revive myself slowly as I walked on.  

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I was being passed by so many runners, but as always happens, everyone would give a quick, ‘you alright?’ as they went past.  As I began to perk up a bit, I simply concentrated on the next 7 miles to Henley because if I made it there, I knew there would be a hot meal, my drop box with fresh clothes and more enthusiastic volunteers that could use their magic powers to get me up and running again.  

I was just focussing on each mile at a time, each tree in the distance, each landmark to aim for.  Breaking it down, giving myself goals to aim for and achieve.  If you ever think of the enormity of what lies ahead it will break you.. it wants you to fail, you need to run smart and out do those demons. 

The stretch up to Henley (51 mile checkpoint) was the hardest of the whole race for me, there was little shade, I felt myself being cooked in the sun as every last ounce of energy was being evaporated from my already drained body.  Hobbling along I had a pain in my stomach and knew I had about 10 seconds to find a hidden bush to go to the toilet.  Apologies to the couple of runners who had to witness my shorts round my ankles, but hey.. we’ve all been there at some point!   I felt a lot better after that, but still wanted to keep well within my comfort zone to ensure I got to Henley. There were boats going up and down the river, people sipping champagne, enjoying their bank holiday weekend in the sun, no doubt looking over and thinking why are that lot running in this heat.. probably completely oblivious we still had 50+ miles to go on this crazy trip.

I walked the last 4ish km into Henley, it’s was as fast as I could go.  All I could think about was some shade, a cold glass of water and some pasta.  As I sat down the volunteers descended like a Formula 1 pit crew.  I had pasta, drinks, drop bag and snacks all within a minute, just amazing.  Looking round there was a real scene of devastation, the heat was ending so many peoples races right before my eyes.  I could hear people being sick every few minutes.. a scene of goals being shattered and dreams being taken away.

There wasn’t time to dwell and as I left I probably felt the best I’d felt all day.  Everything was fine and I picked up the pace with the km splits all appearing in the 5’s.  Next stop was Reading!  

Darkness was setting in as I left Reading, 58 miles done and 42 to go.  I knew my Dad would be at Pangbourne, so the spirits were up and everything was back on track.  Coming into the car park, my Dad was waiting and he’d bought some snacks and drinks.  I downed a bottle of squash and within 2 minutes I knew something was very wrong.  Going from feeling great to nauseous so quickly was terrible.  What had I done?!  It took about 20 minutes sitting in the boot of the car before the orange squash came back up again all over the car park. About 6 big chunders of pure liquid giving the tarmac a good wash!  Thank you so much to the kind lady in the car next door who gave me a bottle of water to rehydrate with.  That sick had cost me about 30 minutes and shattered my self confidence.

 Post sick, wrapped up in a blanket!

Post sick, wrapped up in a blanket!

I only stayed at Whitchurch for a couple of minutes to check in, then it was onto the ‘hilly’ wooded section heading to Goring.  I had to take the steps one at a time with my knee still playing up, luckily there was a rail there to help me get down.  Sick and limping along how was I going to be able to cover off the remaining 30 miles?

Well getting cheesy beans in Streatley (71 miles) certainly helped!  Whoever came up with that idea is a genius!  It was the first time in a very long time that I began to feel human again. It was starting to get pretty chilly by that point so I switched into my long sleeved top and got back on the road. 

I have no recollection of Wallingford, I must have only been there for a few minutes to top up the bottles and keep the momentum going. I do remember coming face to face with a head of about 20 cows that suddenly appeared out of the darkness.  They didn’t seam bothered at all as I crept past, such friendly animals.  Sitting in Clifton Hampden I kept drifting off to sleep, it was 5am, the birds had started their morning song and all I could think about was sleep and just wanting to curl up into a little ball and take myself away from all the pain I was feeling. 

By this stage I’d resigned myself to walking the final 15 miles.  I had nothing left to give.  My knee was hurting at every change of elevation or turn, I could feel myself drifting off to sleep while walking, my feet were soaked from all the morning dew, my appetite was zero and was simply surviving on grapes and water.  

Coming into Abingdon at 91 miles I must have looked a complete mess.  Having dodged about 20 geese with their young just before, I’d just had enough.  I’d have given anything for this to be done.  

However ultra running is a quirky game, as the sun came up, it bought life and energy into a new day plus that energy seemed to filter through to my legs as well, how I have no idea, but I wasn’t going to think about it just then.. I managed to get the legs turning over and Oxford was slowly coming into sight. 

It was so nice to meet a friend I met earlier in the year in Thailand, Sean, waiting to guide me through the last few kms.  He just about kept up! haha. 

When you get to about 500m to go you get a glimpse of the blue centurion inflatable finish line on your left.  It catches you by surprise,  the reality suddenly hits that this crazy race is actually going to be finished.  All the pain and suffering will all be worth it.  You then get about a minute to compose yourself, take some deep breaths, as you run behind the hedge before tuning into the cricket ground.  Running over that manicured outfield felt absolutely amazing.  More tears building up with every step, then silence…  

It was done, I could stop, I could let out every element of doubt that had crept in over the previous 23 hours.  I took on the Thames Path and somehow and I really don’t know how, managed to come out the winner. 

22:42:18 was the time.  56th place and a PB by 16 minutes. 

 22:42:18! 

22:42:18! 

Thanks to Stuart for the sweaty hug and presenting me with my buckle and Stuart March for taking all the finish line photos.  

The toughest Thames Path 100 came to an end.  55% finish rate says just how tough the conditions were out there, but I know ultra runners are tough and those that didn’t make it to Oxford will be back to conquer the distance another day. 

A huge well done to my girlfriend and all round inspirational tough cookie Sarah who came over the line in 26:06, hand in hand with one of the best runners I know, Vickie.  You girls are achieving some ridiculous things right now and I’m so proud to follow along. 

 So proud 

So proud 

The volunteers, the organisers, the whole centurion running community, absolutely faultless as always.  Exceptional and I can’t thank you all enough.  

 Well done Sarah and Vickie!

Well done Sarah and Vickie!

Finally if you’ve made it this far, thank you for all the support on social media, having people around the world routing for you and sending messages of support is surreal, but amazingly awesome.  You lot make me achieve and spur me on and I can’t thank you enough.  

The North Downs Way 100 mile is next, August bank holiday here we come! 

If you want to see all my videos then head over to www.instagram.com/benparkes and check out the saved stories on my profile page. 

Some kit admin with links for those that always want to know!

Shoes - Hoka One One Bondi 5 - Click here
Pack - Salomon Adv 12 Set - Click here
Nutrition - Chia Charge bars and Spring Energy Gels 
Watch - Garmin 935 - Click here