Hardwick X-Stream (a final hurrah for cross-country season!)...

It's no secret that I have a deep and abiding love for cross country - so I'm a bit sad that the Three Counties Cross Country season is over for another year.

But, just as I thought I'd have to wait until November, the Hardwick X-Stream comes along!!

It's a local non-league cross country race open to anyone, a touch shy of 6 miles, with GUARANTEED water obstacles - "X-STREAM" - cross-stream AND extreme - I see what you did there Bearbrook Running & Triathlon Club - very clever!

Hardwick is a really pretty village near Aylesbury, and it must be a proper cross-country as the village hall stands in as the race HQ (you can keep your fancy-dan "race villages" - I like races that involve folding tables village halls and the smell of deep heat).

The race starts a couple of hundred metres away in a farmers field (where you can park too!) and is all within the same farm. It has my new favourite bag drop - at Royal Parks Half you had to queue for 30 minutes t…

A DIRTY WEEKEND (well a Saturday anyway)

Although I'd been aware of it for years as it's so very local to me (I could have walked to the start - although I didn't OBVIOUSLY!) I'd never done the Dirt Half - but I'd heard really good stuff about it.

It's a trail Half Marathon with a mixture of fields, woods, towpaths and hills - OH THE HILLS - but we'll get to them later!!

It's a proper old-school race with a HQ in a school hall (where you can get a cup of tea) that's bustling and smells of deep heat - and it's a good size too - the field is getting on for about 1000 - just enough to make is feel busy and exciting, but not so big that you spend half an hour shuffling towards the start line (Royal Parks Half I'm talking about YOU!!!).

Before you get to the towpath, you have a lap of the school field to spread out a bit and get into a sensible position as it's not easy to overtake large numbers of people on the canal. Normally, I start a race at slower than race pace, let everyone get…

CROSS IS BOSS! (I know that normally refers to Cyclocross - but yeah... whatever!)...

It's Cross-country season again - hooray!

As a "relatively" new runner I'm still finding my feet - but last year, just after joining "THE MIGHTY" tm Leighton Fun Runners I got swept up in the excitement and ran a couple of cross-country races. I didn't know what to expect, but was frankly astonished at the level of competition - the fastest runners in our club were only just scraping into the top 50, and I was barely scraping into the top 200.

But that was last year - and I've done a fair bit of training since then (and bought some spikes as I am a terrible trainer tart!). 

The first race of this season (we're in the Three Counties League which seems to cover an absolutely huge number of clubs) was Dunstable. I ran this last year and properly enjoyed it - the course was amazing - rolling countryside, a HUUUGE hill (I walked a bit last year - sorry!), breathtaking views over the Dunstable Downs - and loads of burnt out cars for comedy relief!

But we&…


I've been running seriously-ish for a bit over a year, building up to the MK Marathon next May, so I've been running a few races here and there, focusing a little bit on Half Marathons, to get my legs used to longer races, and to get a feel for pacing.

This started with the Buckingham Marathon in May - which was the first really hot day of the early summer, so I suffered in the heat badly from about mile 5, but still got a massive PB * (gong alert) of 1:38:11; and the Burnham Beeches Half in August - three days after my friend Cap'n Dan ruined me with a 100m sprint track session, but still PBed (moar gong!) with 1:37:36. But I definitely felt that there was a bit more in me in the right conditions (plus I'd maybe get a bit faster through training anyway)...

So when the email came round at work, asking if anyone wanted a place in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, I jumped at the chance.

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is run around central London, through all the major parks, o…


The cat is out the bag (not literally, as I quite literally know what literally means!) - I have been chosen to be an Ambassador for the MK Marathon 2019! 

I am childishly excited...

I've come to more serious running in my *cough* mid-to-late-forties, although I've jogged on and off for ever, I've even done a few Mountain Marathons (although mostly as an excuse to buy a titanium teapot and a ridiculous tent, and we did a LOT of walking); but to my surprise I'm much better at it now than when I was 20 - I don't know what's changed (possibly because I'm actually doing some training hmmm...)- but I'm absolutely going to make the most of it whilst it lasts.

So I've been steadily improving at 5k and 10k, I've got a couple of okay-ish half-marathons under my belt and I've done lots of cross-country; but I've never done a marathon, and depending how the first one goes I may only ever do one, so I want it to be a good one, so I'm running MK bec…