The wind and the rain

Chenin 2016One year ago to the day, I did two things, firstly ran the Chevin Chase Boxing Day trail race for the first time and secondly, published the first post of the Marathon Mann blog.   Today I ran the Chevin Chase again and am publishing my 117th post.

When I started the blog I it was just after entering the London Marathon and including that race, it’s been quite a year.  After a smooth start to my Marathon training I got hit with a nasty virus which effectively knocked out my programme for a whole month.  While London was an amazing experience, as far as my running performance was concerned it was a bit of a disaster, a personal worst!  Then, after months of training and not getting anywhere, I went to see my GP and got diagnosed with iron-deficiency.  Now, with my iron levels back to normal, I am running better than I have literally for years.  Back in 2012 I started to have heart rhythm problems which stunted my running ability until an operation in January 2015 and since then there always seems to have been something or other that cropped up.  That is, until now!

So, despite the tale of woe in the previous paragraph things are looking up.  Today at The Chevin, the challenge was 50mph gusts of wind which on one stretch in particular blew me to a standstill on a couple of occasions. Last year, if you recall, it was the floods and caused so much disruption to the region;  I wrote that it was the most extreme running experience I had ever had and I know with road closures it was touch and go if we would make it home.  Who knows which set of conditions are more hampering for running but, last time (in the floods) I was 474th out of 797 but today I was 487 out of 981 which is proportionally quite an improvement as well as knocking nearly 4 minutes off my time for last year.

For 2017, I have already set some goals which include running the Yorkshire Marathon in a personal best time.  However I cannot tell how 2017 will treat me so for the time being I am thankful that I am fit enough to be pleased with my running.


“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 NIVUK

Elfy eating

There was a TV programme featuring Nigella Lawson spooning industrial quantities of butter into some concoction or other.  She admitted that it possibly wasn’t the most healthy of dishes but it was OK because “it’s Christmas!”.

Yes, this is the silly season where anything goes and everyone has the right to do outrageous things – a licence to let it all out and have fun!  Fun for us this morning meant turning out at Wakefield Thornes parkrun with the running club dressed as elves, turkeys and even Christmas trees and then going for breakfast at the Holmfield Arms.

Helen and I ran together which finished off my 100 miles in December before Christmas and for Helen, it was a course PB, so yay us!  And finally, you could have fed a family of 4 with my breakfast but it was delicious!

Tomorrow is Christmas Day and we will be celebrating together with our friends at Church, we won’t be eating and drinking too much excess tomorrow because we are looking forward to the Chevin Chase on Boxing Day.  Last year it was floods, this year it looks like gales!

“Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:11-12 NIV

Maze Runner

I remember moaning about how pedestrian-unfriendly Telford was, but I owe that town an apology because in terms of pedestrian un-navigability, Telford can’t hold a candle to Gatwick Airport.  Before you ask, no, I’m not flying anywhere, simply staying overnight in a convenient location; I’ve already driven for 5 hours today and another 230 some odd miles home today isn’t going to happen.

Anyhow, surely it’s possible to run out of the airport complex into the nearby housing estates I thought.  Well, I thought wrong.  The problem is that the whole place is designed to move large volumes, vehicular traffic in and out of the various  car parks and pick-up/set-down areas.  Next time you drive or are driven into a major airport, look around and you will see what I mean.

Doing it in the dark doesn’t help and I am very glad to have my trusty head torch!  There are footpaths (some even signed as public footpaths), but it seems that the owners of the airport are hell-bent on only doing the minimum possible to keep them passable (or even the minimum passable to keep them possible).  You have to have faith though to believe that if there is a footpath, it must actually lead somewhere!

After you take a tokenly paved path under a flyover and then navigate a tunnel under a motorway, you find yourself in the deep dark wood (this is where the head torch comes in).  In the light it’s probably a rather nice park because it has a river and a lake.  Apart from being dark, it’s quite a good path.  Then you emerge into the much sought after housing estate compete with lovey lit-up Christmas decorations!

Getting back was easier since I did have the forethought to glance behind on the way out to remember the route back.

What’s the lesson for today then?  Firstly, when exploring a new area after dark take a head torch and wherever you are, carry a phone with with a satnav and Google Maps so you know where you are in the Maze and can see where you are going in the dark!

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:1-3‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬