That’s another week with only 5km run.

Aghhh, I really need to sort this! I had planned to join my group (the Walney WInd Cheetahs) today for the longer Sunday run but lying in bed until 9:30 when the run starts at 10 was not a good idea!

I then told myself I’d go out later on my owm, but having taken the dog out for a walk and realised it was only one degree above zero, I binned that idea too.

The last two years and I would have been prepping for the annual Keswick to Barrow walk, a 40 mile challenge through the Lake District and this would have been my motivation to get out. Taking a year out has left me with no real reason to force me out!

I need to sign up for a half I think!

How do you get motivated in this rubbish weather?  Let me know your tips and tricks!

File 19-03-2018, 21 14 59

I was actually pulling a funny face, that’s not my normal look!


What do you think about when running?

I don’t tend to run with earphones and music, which leaves my mind totally free to wander when running. My regular distance is 5km and my most regular activity is the weekly parkrun at Barrow. The course at Barrow is 2 and a half laps of what is described as an “undulating” course – bloody hilly in layman’s terms.

This course means you climb to the summit of the park, the cenotaph memorial, three times. Lap one and you’ve only just started, but even that early in the run my mind is saying “only two more of this climb before the finish”. Is this normal? Do other people count down markers towards the finish? Is the finish the only goal? What about actually enjoying the run? I find that if I’m in a pack then these thoughts don’t happen, but invariably I find myself running alone and then it’s measuring to the person in front, “is that person pulling away from me?” – “if I let them get further ahead at this point, can I claw it back?” – I know parkun is a run and not a race, but I can’t help judging my efforts against others – I’m not a competitive person in sport, I’m happy to just challenge myself, but my mind seems to think otherwise when I’m actually in the run!

Lap two and it’s “only one more climb up here” – no matter how much I try not to think about it, these mental markers always appear. Lap three and 4km is under your belt, there is a feeling of relief that the climbing is done, there is one short sharp hill left and thoughts turn to that.

There is one more long steady climb on the course, but you only do this bit twice, I’ve trained my mind to not see this as a hill anymore – I used to count down on this one too, but I don’t anymore – I wonder if I could do that with the other bits and just enjoy the whole run?

My longest run, the annual 40 mile Keswick to Barrow – I have similar issues – I switch my Garmin to miles (I always measure km) as 40 seems less of a mental challenge than glancing at your watch and seeing 70 km ticking down! My mental count on this one is different –  the two times that I have done it I aimed for a Top 100 finish – the first year I came in just over – 110th. The next year I started at the front with the elite guys and counted how many people passed me, when it got to the 80s and 90s I upped my pace! It kept my mind busy for a good few hours.

What do you think about when running? I’d love to just go out and run and not focus on numbers, markers and times, maybe my mind is competitive and I just don’t know it or want to admit it?

3 years and 3 months…..

….since my last post on my running blog! That’s gotta be some kind of record surely?

This changes right now. I need to write more about my running journey and with a nod to friends from #RedJanuary who also blog, I’m back!

So the blog headline is “45 is a great age to start running”, my last post was when I’d already turned 46 and that was three years ago…. you do the maths! It does mean I have another milestone as well as my running milestones to reach this year!

I’ve rediscovered my mojo since taking part in Red January 2018, I did take part in 2017 but it didn’t go to plan, some of you will know the story. For those that don’t I dare say it will pop up in these blogs as the bombshell that derailed Red 2017 is still very much a part of our daily lives as a family.

So where am I currently on my running journey?

5km PB 19:38, current average – just under 23 minutes

10km PB 42:35, current average – not even thinking about >5km at the moment

Longest run – 69km! I know, crazy, it’s a local annual “walk” through the Lake District, 40-ish Miles, but some of us run it. 8 and a half hours. About 2 weeks recovery! Not doing it this year!

So it’s currently parkrun on a Saturday and whatever else I can squeeze in! Red did wonders in getting me out, but then on day 31 that lurgy hit (the one everyone seems to have had), followed by sciatica, so it’s been crap! But I’m feeling like I’m back, so relaunching the blog made sense!

Hoping to keep it up and share more on here than I can fit in my Instagram posts.

keep smiling, keep running!






Happy Christmas

It’s been a while since I posted on here – full of good intentions when I started this blog, but running the blog for the Love Barrow Awards on top of social media management for Kidfest has taken up all of my time – on top of searching for a new job!

Happily I can report I have managed to find a job, finishing after 16 years at McBride on 23rd December and staring in BAE on the 5th Jan, perfect timing!

So what have I been up to running wise? I joined the Walney Wind Cheetahs rather than running on my own mid-week – it was fine in the summer but once the nights started to draw in it was bit lonely and miserable – so a couple of runs a week with the Cheetahs nicely fills the mid-week diary.

My parkrunning has been steady – my PB is down to 21:42, this was achieved in September and although I can’t seem to reach it now, sub 23 is normal territory and I’m really happy with that.

I couldn’t have dreamt in April when I started that come Xmas I’d be sat in third place in the male points table for Barrow parkrun, albeit assisted by two outings as a volunteer (one when injured, one when hungover).

I won’t be managing the Xmas day run, but will be there on the Saturday to run off some of the Xmas excesses, good luck to everyone who does make it to the park on Xmas day!

In all, a fab year – I’m still loving the running and can only look forward to a great year ahead – best wishes to everyone for Christmas and hope we all have a great running New Year.


Couch to 5k to 5k race in 5 months

5 months ago in April when I first had this mad idea about running 5k around my local park, I was determined to succeed and keep going. As a hobby. A parkrun now and then, maybe even building up to going every week?

But that isn’t how the running bug works is it?

5 months on and I’m running in a 5k race in another town. 18 parkruns, 11 PB’s, two pairs of running shoes, running clothes for birthday presents, a Garmin on my wrist with a HRM strapped across my chest and there’s no denying the bug has bitten! I’ve even bought a bloody bike!

But what keeps you going – what is it about that bug that bites and won’t let go?

The personal challenge? The strive for another PB? Increasing fitness? Maybe all of those, but there’s another element that outsiders and people new to running maybe don’t see at first – THE CRAIC – or “the camaraderie” as those well spoken types like John Greenwood of the Walney Wind Cheetahs would probably refer to it.

The local running groups, Panthers, Cheetahs, Wolves, Dragons… what a fantastic, supportive, inclusive bunch of people – the local running community is one big family and it’s great to be a part of it!


The first 14 weeks, bringing you up to pace…

Just a parkrunner. That’s me. Welcome to my running blog – hopefully something a bit different to the many other running blogs out there, I hope to grab your interest and provoke discussion, exchange ideas and help each other through these posts.

So we’ll start with me – I’m a 45 year old happily married father of two boys living in Barrow-in-Furness, at the southern tip of the Lake District and Cumbria. That geography doesn’t instantly make me some kind of fell runner, despite my home run being the “undulating” Barrow parkrun, I prefer a flat course to any kind of incline.

I’m also new to running. My first 5k parkrun was on 26th April this year and was the climax of all of two weeks of training. “Couch to 5k” in 14 days not being a recognised training program you’ll find anywhere, it was a self designed fast-track program that had many pitfalls and I’d recommend any beginner to take more time (and advice) than I did.

So what makes a 45 year old suddenly take up running? I work in engineering in a manufacturing plant that has a lot of stairs and one day was unleashed from my desk bound role to help my factory based colleagues on a major repair task. This involved climbing those staircases to a 10 metre floor level quite a number of times and by the end of the day my legs were shot. Having worked “on the tools” years ago, I recalled how I would have once sprinted up these stairs all day without a complaint. Something needed to be done, I’d become a 45 year old couch potato and despite being just over six feet tall and of slim build, the reflection from the mirror had a scary look of the Ian Beale belly facing me.


I’d read about the parkrun and as a weekly newspaper columnist I had written about the local runners taking on the run on Christmas Day when it fell on a Saturday, although I don’t recall if I wrote praising them for their dedication or mocking them for their crazyness.

I had run before – at school, not fast, but preferred the longer distances. My final cross-country event could have been a creditable time but the 16 year old Mark Atkinson told me that if I passed him I’d be a dead man so I settled for finishing on his heels.

I set out on that first parkrun in April full of determination to post a decent time despite my really poor training regime and somehow finished in a time of 28:52. I’d amazed myself and it was probably this got me hooked. Had I stumbled over the line in 45 minutes I’d probably have ticked the parkrun off as task completed, hit the couch again and thought no more of it. But under 30 minutes got me thinking, how fast could I go if I trained properly?

The week after that first run saw me at the physio with a dodgy back and I was hobbling everywhere, this convinced me that I needed to do a bit more training if I was to continue. A week of nursing the back and properly stretching, warming up and testing myself at shorter distances saw me back at Barrow park a week later and posting a PB of 27:56.

Weeks 3 and 4 also had “PB” stamped next to them and I was now down to 26:10 and the runners I was unofficially pacing off were now behind me (thanks Jacqui)!

The social side of Barrow parkrun was another bonus, meeting at the cafe post-run and swapping stories, eating cakes and enjoying the banter yet still being home in time to have not missed any of my normal weekend routine was a huge plus. I’d hooked up with the friendliest bunch I’d ever met.

By week 6 the time was down to 25:13 with my 4th PB and I wondered if sub-25 was possible for me? I was sure going to try for it and week 7 saw me agonisingly close at 25:01 and I well and truly had the bug. Another fortnight of PB’s and I was at 23:51 before taking a week out to do the “color run” in Manchester.

The Color run was mad, lots of fun, but absolutely no pace whatsoever, although it was a great day out with plenty of other Barrow runners there too. News came by text as I was in the starting funnel that I’d been awarded parkrunner of the month back home in Barrow and that just made the day even better.

A new £100 pair of Asics runners on my feet for my runner of the month prize (thanks Barrow parkrun and Sweatshop) and I was back to posting a PB of 23:19 at my thirteenth parkrun on the thirteenth anniversary of my Dad passing away – I’m not saying there was help from another place, but I was determined to give it my best shot for my Dad’s memory, although I’m sure I heard his wicked laugh when I fumbled my water botle pick-up on lap two in the style of a slapstick circus clown.

So that brings us up to date, 14 weeks into my running career – I’ll posting here at least weekly and hope to feature some of the other parkrunners – if you have a Barrow parkrun story you want to share, drop me a line and we’ll get your story on here.

My parkrun stats are here

Happy running!