Trail Race Reviews

Bath Skyline 5k Race Review (2018)

Hilly, narrow and technical under foot this is one of those races you should be taking in the splendid scenery but will probably be too busy trying not to take a tumble. You join a footpath which skirts around the edge of the golf course and descend into Bathampton Woods into technical terrain. There are great views over the valley below to Solsbury Hill and brings you out at Sham Castle, a prominent feature of Bath Skyline.

Sham Castle is a Grade II listed building built in 1762 located on the golf course and was built to improve the view from a wealthy nearby estate. The facade is a single wall with medieval towers and windows on the front and side. The back of the wall is blank as the sham was built to be seen from one side only.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday 11 February 2018

Where: – Bath University, Bath, BA2 7JY

Cost: – £20.00 (for the 10k)

Organisers website: – www.relishrunningraces.com

Race Aces
There’s free parking just around the corner from race HQ.

The medal is part of the Relish Running series of a triangle shape and is good quality.

The views are spectacular and I’m that person that will stop and take photos (I’m there mostly for the experience of it not necessary to get a PB, especially on a cross country race) but I just didn’t have it in me to get my phone out – having fallen over multiple times.

Everything around the course is well organised and signed so even if you find yourself on your own and no one in front, you can still easily know the course that you’re supposed to take.

Race Unlaces
Headphones are not permitted for the race.

I fell over twice on this course, it probably doesn’t help that I’d kind of convinced myself before I was even at race HQ on the way to the race that I would! But there were very kind people in front and behind me who checked if I was ok.

It’s a two lap course for the 10k race and I’m not of a fan of these particularly, however, I did enjoy the fact that when I turned up for the race and really wasn’t feeling falling over THAT many times, I swapped to the 5k race which was only one lap.

The Relish Running races aren’t chip timed and I never ended up with a time which was recorded on the website.

There’s really not much to do at race HQ as it’s in the car park of the University.

My Race Stats:
Time: 42mins (estimate) Pace: 13:33 | Mile splits: 11:52 19:06, 11:35
Position: 19/28 | Gender position: 10/18

Total runners: 28 | Fastest Male: 22:38 | Fastest Female: 29:00 | Slowest: 58:02

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @RelishRunning| Twitter: @RelishRunning
Official hashtags: #RelishRunning

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 30min ~ 115 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 03min ~ 110 miles | Bristol: 48min ~ 16 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 20min ~ 57 miles | Exeter: 1hr 57min ~ 103 miles

Other Events at Bath Skyline: Night run (slightly modified route), Santa Run, Canicross, 5k and 10k distances

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
At race HQ you pick up your race bib number which is just down from the car park area. While I did really love this route, I’m definitely no cross country runner and I can’t believe it took me quite as long as this to get around. The route is mostly through woodland areas and that was the part that I really struggled with (and where I fell over twice in the space of around 3 minutes) as there’s tree branches, it’s super muddy and some parts are downhill and really slippery. I never know quite how people manage to get such fast times on routes like this but clearly they’re more advanced runners than I am.

Would I run it again? No most likely not, the only reason I would is for the views around the course.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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5k Race Reviews

Two Tunnels 5k Race Review (2017)

The whole route is on a fast tarmacked surface with gentle gradients and heads uphill towards 408m long Devonshire Tunnel and emerges into the wooded Lyncombe Vale.

The Two Tunnels races go through this disused railway line which The Somerset and Dorset Railway closed in 1966 and until 2013 the tunnels have been sealed and inaccessible. The Two Tunnels project was part of the Sustrans Connect 2 National Lottery funded project.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday 14 May 2017

Where: – Brickfields Open Space (BA2 1LX) in the City of Bath. Parking at the Odd Down Park and Ride (BA2 8PA) and catch the Two Tunnels bus to the race site (£2.50 return).

Cost: – £15.50

Organisers website: – www.relishrunningraces.com

Race Aces
The bus shuttle service that is provided is brilliant and takes you to just around the corner from the race HQ. This means there aren’t tons of cars driving around this residential area.

The route was enjoyable and unique thanks to the opening of the tunnels.

A lovely flat course route which is great for beginners and yet it offers more than just a ‘road’ race as it’s mostly through woodland areas.

The medal is pretty cool and it’s part of a set from the relish races which fit together to make a triangle.

Even though this is a 5k race review, there are also 10k and half marathons running on the same day so you can choose the race length that you prefer and, if you’re in a group of people, you can all go together but run different races.

Race Unlaces
Because you are running through woodland area, my GPS was going nuts and it couldn’t give me an accurate pace time which was a bit frustrating when it says one moment you’re doing an 11:00 minute mile and the next second an 8:00 minute mile!

The race start wasn’t that clear. When we got there they were announcing the next waves by megaphone, however, they didn’t continue so I made my way down to the race around my wave start time and didn’t realise that they had started the warm up. While you may imagine that this was just my own fault, there were several people in my 5k wave who were standing around asking each other whether this was our race or not.

At the very beginning of the race there is a terrible bottleneck which means it’s single file until you come out into the clearing a little bit. So you start off running and then you have a nice little break, which isn’t ideal on a 5k race when you’re most likely running at a fast pace.

There’s not a whole lot to do at race HQ as it’s just a giant field. They did have some stalls and food vans but other than that there’s not much else. It was also pretty chilly on the day that I ran and standing around a field with no shelter isn’t ideal.

None of the races are chip timed.

My Race Stats:
Time: 29:02 | Pace: 9:21 | Mile splits: 9:37, 9:28, 8:56, 0:10
Position: 57/130 | Gender and age position: 11/37

Total runners: 130 | Fastest Male: 19:35 | Fastest Female: 24:32 | Slowest: 1:03:44

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @relishrunning | Twitter: @RelishRunning @TwoTunnelsBath
Official hashtags: #RelishRunning #TwoTunnels

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 36min ~ 117 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 07min ~ 109 miles | Bristol: 35min ~ 12 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 24min ~ 56 miles | Exeter: 1hr 57min ~ 76 miles

Next event: 18 February, 6 May, 8 July, 19 August 2018

Other Events by Relish Running: Bath Skyline, Mud Bath Pipley Woods, Cheddar Gorge, Killerton, Lacock

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a cute little race which was, unfortunately, still open to the public. It wasn’t too crowded when I raced, however, there were lots of people walking around the route and cyclists which can be intimidating to navigate especially in the tunnels as they’re very dark once you’re running inside.

The medal is good quality and you can collect the set if you do all 4 of the races during the year here. There are different coloured ribbons depending upon the distance of race.

There wasn’t much of an atmosphere here as the race start line is away from where most people were congregating and as you are running along open pathways there’s nowhere for any spectators to stand.

I think the race was not bad for the price, the medal is good, you’re running in a unique area (which you can visit without racing obviously) and it was pretty well organised.

Would I run it again? I’d be more likely to run more of the races that Relish Running have to offer but I wouldn’t be opposed to running it again

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

Half Marathon Race Reviews

Bristol Half Marathon Race Review (2017)

The course will take runners under the iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge with spectacular views along the Avon Gorge and Bristol Harbourside before entering the city centre.

About the race
When: –
Sunday 17 September

Where: – Millennium Square, Bristol

Cost: – £37.00

Organisers website: – www.greatrun.org

The Simply Health Great Bristol Half returns for the 2nd year as part of the Great Run series. The race was first staged in 1989 and over 10,000 runners take part every year.

Race Aces
You receive a medal and t shirt for your efforts.

There’s a really great atmosphere around the course. You really can’t beat running a race in a major city as there’s support the entire way around, even if you’re running a half marathon.

Race is (obviously) chip timed and your bib number is sent to your home address.

Amazing tour around Bristol City centre and some really great landmarks.

A personal favourite of mine, while people were running through the tunnel leading up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, there was a chant going on and it continued all the way until we went back through the tunnel again on the way back down the Portway.

Headphones are permitted as the race is entirely on closed roads.

Race Unlaces
There were A LOT of people, as you can imagine at a city race like this one. If you’re not a massive fan of crowds and sometimes crowded sections then this probably isn’t for you, although the waves are staggered so it’s not terribly crowded around the route.

The T Shirt this year was a vile shade of green with what looked like a giant gerbil on the front (it is in fact a Bear from the Bear Pit) so I wasn’t much of a fan of that.

Not only was the race pretty crowded, so was every shop and everything around Millennium Square so spectators may find they too are caught up in the crowds.

Be careful on the first mile of this race as it starts downhill and you may find you go off way faster than you would usually and find it more difficult to find your pace.

There’s no parking near race HQ and because all of the roads into town are closed you can’t get close to it.

My Race Stats:
Time: 2:18:11 | Pace: 10:33 | Mile splits: 9:05, 9:28, 9:44, 9:52, 10:07, 10:16, 9:48, 10:34, 10:41, 10:47, 11:20, 11:03, 11:34, 3:47

Mile splits from Strava (above splits from Garmin)

Position: 5909th | Gender position: 1990th

Total runners: 10k+ | Fastest Male: 1:08:37 | Fastest Female: 1:17:42
Course Records: – Men’s: 1:00:03 (Haile Gebrselassie, 2001) | Women’s: 1:06:47 (Paula Radcliffe, 2001)

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @great_run | Twitter: @great_run @SimplyHealthUK
Official hashtags: #GreatBristolHalf

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 27min ~ 118 miles | Birmingham:  1hr 47min ~ 97 miles | Bristol: zero, you’re already here | Cardiff: 1hr 4min ~ 45 miles | Exeter: 1hr 32min ~ 79 miles

Next event: 23 September 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This is a personal favourite race for me as it’s in my hometown and I have enjoyed every route I’ve ever run here. I don’t take part in many ‘major’ races as I prefer the smaller ones with less runners but I’ll make an exception for this one. While there are a lot of people around race HQ either spectating or running it’s not too uncomfortable and it’s so well organised that it’s not too troublesome.

The race photos are very very expensive for this race. I understand that road closures and everything else that goes along with races are time consuming and expensive and I do appreciate that, however, it would have been great if they’d also included one race photo in with the price. I’ve just checked 2018’s fee and it’s £40 which I think is really expensive and I’m sure would put off a lot of people and they’ll opt for the smaller/ cheaper races.

You can’t beat the atmosphere of a major race and I’ve got no complaints there and there are so many things for your spectators to do that they could even get distracted and forget that they’re there to cheer you on!

As I mentioned previously, I wasn’t a fan of the race t-shirt and to be honest, I think that a revamp of the medal would be awesome! Compared to the Rock and Roll races (which are equally as expensive), I think they do amazing t shirts and the medals are just out of this world.

Would I run it again? Yes, every year until I can’t run or I move away!

Me looking ecstatic!

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

5k Race Reviews

Mo Run 5k Bristol (2017)

The Mo Run supports Men’s Health, Movember and related charities. I never thought I’d say this, I had a job to keep my moustache on!

About the race
When: –
11 November 2017

Where: – Ashton Court, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS41 9JN ~ Parking £2

Cost: – £16.50

Organisers website: – www.mo-running.com

Race Aces
Great atmosphere with a fancy dress competition and warm up.

The Bristol Mo Run is at the Ashton Court Estate which goes through pretty woodland areas.

Raising money for Men’s Health and Movember charities.

There’s also a 10k race held on the same day as well as Mini Ro runs for Mini runners.

Cute moustache medal and the race is chip timed.

Race Unlaces
The course begins very steep and it’s not until the halfway point that you end up on the decline.

There’s not a huge amount to do at race HQ.

My Race Stats:
Time: 38:48 | Position: 87/122 | Gender position: 44/72

Fastest Male: 21:15 | Fastest Female: 24:31 | Slowest Runner: 1:00:08

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @Mo_Running | Twitter: @Mo_Running
Official hashtags: #MoRunning #MoMates

Mo Runs in Other Cities
Leeds 
3 November | Dublin 3 November | Newcastle 4 November | Edinburgh 10 November | Cardiff 10 November | Glasgow 11 November | London 11 November | Bristol 11 November | Birmingham 17 November | Liverpool 17 November | Manchester 18 November | MiltonKeynes 18 November | Southampton 18 November | Nottingham 18 November | Brighton 24 November

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a great charity race and I did enjoy playing dress up as the 118 guys! The route is really tough as it starts uphill pretty much and you’ve got a long climb until you have the relief of a hill. The medal is great though in the shape of a moustache.

Would I run it again? Yes, I’d definitely sign up for 2018’s race as the medal is too cute not to!

 

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

Blog

Half Marathon Training | Week 6 | Diary of an Injured Runner

We welcomed the ‘Beast of the East’ this week and I’ve gotta say, I’m pretty relieved I didn’t manage to get into the Bath Half Marathon this weekend as it didn’t go ahead which is a shame! England was pretty much at a standstill on Friday and Saturday due to the high volumes of snow and I ended up having two days in the house because it was just too dangerous to drive anywhere.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

Monday| Week 6 | Rest Day
I was working away from the office today and after a good few hours in the car I was knackered. That and having a poorly pup, I’ve been missing out on some sleep these past few days. I welcomed a lovely early night with the heating up watching some Friends on Netflix.

Some photos went up on Facebook of the Slay the Dragon 10k race yesterday and I have to give massive credit to the photographers because they were so encouraging! Usually at a race I don’t even see a photographer but on Sunday they were shouting out things like ‘come on ladies, let’s have a massive smile, you’re doing great’! It was much appreciated and I actually ended up with a photo of me running and smiling (alert the elders this has to go down in history).

Tuesday | Week 6 | 30 Miles Spin Bike
It’s beginning to look a lot like…. spring will never get here! What’s with all this snow??

I’m not one who shirks away from running in the cold weather but I just didn’t have it in me today so I went on the spin bike while I watched Derren Brown’s The Push (he’s my not so secret crush, I just adore him).

I perhaps didn’t push myself as hard as I should/ could have but my legs were still a little weary from Sunday’s race and I’m still tired from getting up with the dog in the night. So. Many. Excuses.

Let’s have some real talk here, I was this close to sitting on the sofa and eating snacks…. but I’d weighed myself this morning and did NOT like what I saw staring back at me and that was a massive incentive (let’s ignore the fact that for dinner I had some party snacks and a cider)!

Wednesday | Week 6 | Reflection Day
I always enjoy analysing weeks and months gone past and try and work out how I can make the following months better. I’m a stat nerd and I write everything down and pour over where I went wrong and what I did well. You’d think that I’d be some kind of planning genius and have my life together right…. well not exactly.

This month I feel like I did pretty decent mileage considering how my legs have been. The change up in running shoes I think had helped massively and I did many more miles than I had planned.

I’ve also not been neglecting my stretching routine after running and it’s made a huge difference in my opinion as my foot pain is zero while running and nearly zero the rest of the time. Fingers crossed it stays that way!

My problem is (and always has been) my diet. I know exactly what to eat as I’ve eaten healthily pretty much my whole life and have managed to maintain my weight easily. However, lately I’ve had an appalling diet and this habit has been hard to kick and the scales are showing that. It doesn’t help that I HATE cooking… with a passion. It brings me zero joy except for the fact I am doing one of my favourite things at the end which is eat… and that lasts all of 5 minutes and then it’s gone. Maximum effort with minimum reward is not my style (don’t come at me with all the health benefits etc I know it’s not logic but it’s my logic). So that’s a goal for March for me to do better at.

Thursday | Week 6 | Snow Day!
In all of my years on planet earth, I don’t ever remember a time it was this cold and don’t even get me started on the snow (thanks Storm Emma + Beast of the East)! I had to take the Labrador to the vet in the evening and I was the only one there, with the exception of a spaniel and a little boy rolling around the vet car park (we don’t see snow often, it’s a novelty here). The Labrador also loves snow as much as that little boy…

While today was never a planned workout day anyway, it was so cold, we got in bed with the electric blanket on and watched Netflix which was perfect. Oh and I also had to fix the loft hatch that flew down last night and scared the living days out of me and subsequently had cold air blasting down into the house all night!

Friday | Week 6 | Snow Day #2
Snow is such a novelty that I couldn’t resist trying to take some photos of my lovely new running shoes in it (I might not see any for some years!). Friday is usually a run day for me but there was no way that I was going out running in this…. although could have tried out the trail shoes that are too small for me, my toes may shrink in the cold and they may fit perfectly… or….?

I didn’t leave the house all day which meant I also didn’t eat properly as I didn’t have enough food in the house which meant I couldn’t workout in the evening which means I suck! Apparently milk and bread and other essentials were out of stock in a lot of the shops (not that I eat either of those things) because everyone was panic buying.

Saturday | Week 6 | Snow Day #3
Snow. Is. Annoying. I went for a walk this morning to the shop to try and pick up some supplies but when I got there, it was closed! So I went home empty handed and only ate some chicken dippers and supernoodles all day #facepalm. Unfortunately I’m not the most forward planning kind of person which meant I’ve been super hungry all day and I’m THAT person that cannot workout unless I’ve eaten plenty. So I had yet another rest day today which isn’t ideal as I’ve only managed to get one cardio session under my belt so far this week.

Sunday | Week 6 | Oh Gosh, it’s ANOTHER Rest Day
Although, to give myself some credit, I wasn’t ‘resting’ all day! I got up early and walked the Labrador in what is now just horrible slush after all of the snow and I’ve been working hard on Belle’s Running Blog things. I actually think I’ve been staring at the screen for far too long because a line, which I know is straight, is looking suspiciously curvy! This does mean that I’ve missed out on another workout day today though so I’m pretty disappointed in that. I still have the ‘food issue’ where I’m working my way through the cupboards of anything I have left which isn’t particularly nutritious.

Weekly Summary
So I didn’t do too well on the running / exercising front this week but that wasn’t intentional I think it just required a bit more forward planning on my part and the snow didn’t help either as there was no way I was risking twisting my ankle! My next race is on the 11th March and it’s a nice close one. I’m actually really looking forward to this race, I feel like I might be able to pull a decent time out of the bag (I’ve gone and jinxed it now haven’t I!).

How was your training week this week? Did the Beast of the East stop you from getting out and running?

10k Race Reviews

Chew Valley 10k (2017)

The race heads out on the rural roads towards East Harptree in the shadow of the Mendip Hills. The challenge comes in the climb up to Hinton Blewitt up the infamous hill where your energies will be rewarded with wide views over the Chew Valley. The final stretch drops you back into Bishop Sutton.

When: – Sunday 11 June 2017

Where: – Race HQ, Bishop Sutton Village Hall, Wick Road, Bishop Sutton, BS39 5XD

Cost: – £18.50

Organisers website: – www.chewvalley10k.co.uk

Chew Valley is the 5th largest artificial lake in the UK with 1,200 acres. It was created in the 1950s and opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1956. Before the lake was created, investigaions showed evidence of occupation since Neolithic times.

Chew Valley is a world renowned fly fishing venue and one of the most heavily stocked Trout fisheries in Europe.

During the storm of 1968, the lake gained an extra 471 million gallons and rose 19 inches in under 12 hours. The lake provides drinking water for the city of Bristol and surrounding area. The total capacity is 4,500 million gallons!

The name ‘Chew’ is believed to originate from the French word ‘eau’ meaning water. Or the Welsh ‘cyw’ which translates as young of an animal or chicken (the full Welsh title ‘Afon Cyw’ loosely translates as ‘river of the chickens’).

Race Aces
The last section of this race is entirely downhill and you feel like a rocket man coming down from the last hill, Heartbreak Hill, which is how I ended up with my fastest mile on my last split.

There was chip timing at this event, with a tag which attaches to your running shoes along with free parking which was fairly close to the race HQ.

This was a very friendly race, because there were no headphones allowed, people were more inclined to talk along the route (especially when we approached the giant hill in the middle).

Free race photos! Hooray… or nayyyyyy… depending on how you feel about them!

Race Unlaces
Because this was a race on open roads, headphones were not permitted.

Oh, have I mentioned, there’s a GIANT hill in the middle of this race. I didn’t see one single person attempting to even run up this hill as it was most likely more efficient to walk it.

Race HQ was nothing spectacular. My spectator found that there wasn’t much to do here as you’re kind of in the middle of a housing area.

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:02:53 | Pace: 10:08 | Mile splits: 8:48, 9:31, 10:18, 13:07, 10:21, 8:45, 2:17
Position: 498/721 | Gender position: 206/372

Total runners: 721 | Fastest Male: 37:24 | Fastest Female: 41:49 | Slowest Runner: 1:30:05

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @ChewValley10k | Twitter: @ChewValley10k
Official hashtags: #CV10k

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 45min ~ 124 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 08min ~ 107 miles | Bristol: 30min ~ 11 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 20min ~ 53 miles | Exeter: 1hr 34min ~ 72 miles

Next event: 10 June 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
I liked that this was a really friendly race, and even though the hill was awful, you know that old saying ‘misery loves company’ and it was a nice change to have conversations with other runners. This was quite a lonely race though, as I find with country runs generally as there’s not much support in terms of spectators around the course. At times it can feel a bit like you’re running on your own.

There was a bit of entertainment at race HQ but I don’t think there was enough to keep my spectator amused (although it didn’t help that we didn’t realise there were things going on behind the Village Hall doh).

The race medal wasn’t much to brag about but I did really like the race t-shirt which had a picture of the lake and some ducks on the front. Very often race t-shirts aren’t that stylish in my opinion but this one was nice and I’d actually wear it out.

Once the race was over and we headed back home, we stopped off at the Chew Valley Lake and we spent ages there watching the birds which was just a perfect end to a race. It was so quiet there, if it wasn’t quite so cold we would have hung around a while longer as the views are just spectacular.

Would I run it again? Sure would and actually am. I’m not 100% sure why as I only gave this race 3 stars… I think it’s because I want to come back again this year and ‘conquer’ that hill!

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

10k Race Reviews

Glastonbury Round the Tor 10k (2017)

The race starts on Street Road and heads towards the Town Centre. At the top of the High Street, the route turns left and proceeds along Wells Road, sweeping past the cemetery. At the 3k point, the course turns right passing the hospital and left onto the lane that loops the back of the Tor. At the far end, the course turns right up the Old Butleigh Road (aka Heartbreak Hill) onto the deceptively long finish line.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday 30 April 2017

Where: – Magdalene Street, Glastonbury 

Cost: – £20.50 (unaffiliated)

Organisers website: – www.glastonburyroadrun.info

This is the 36th road run, originally held around the Tor in 1981 over a 5.69 mile course. Since it began, the only year it has not been held was 2004 due to the foot and mouth outbreak. The race starts and finishes within a stones throw of the alleged burial place of King Arthur in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, a ruined monastery dating to the 7th century.

Evidence shows that the town has been inhabited since Neolithic times when flint tools were recovered at the top of the Tor.

Glastonbury originally went by the name of Glestingaburg and the Tor is topped by St. Michael’s Tower.

Race Aces
Great atmosphere. I think this is what keeps people coming back time and time again to this quaint race around the countrylands of Glastonbury.

The race medal and t-shirt are good quality and you can’t complain they aren’t bright, when the t shirt is neon orange!

The Round the Tor route takes you mostly around scenic country roads and there’s plenty of wildlife to spot as you’re going around and the race is chip timed.

Free race photos! Yay, who doesn’t love free race photos. But also, who ever looks good in their race photos? If you’re one of those people message me immediately and let me know how you do it!

Race Unlaces
There’s no parking directly at race HQ and there’s about a 15 minute walk to the start line which you should probably consider your warm up.

This is not a flat course and they’ve thrown in some nice hilly hills for you to enjoy.

Headphones are discouraged, the course is on traffic free roads, but you must be able to hear marshals and your surroundings.

If you love regimented, start-on-time races then this probably isn’t for you. We arrived in plenty of time at the Town Hall to collect the race bibs and t-shirts, however, there were a lot of people who hadn’t collected theirs yet and they delayed the start of the race by around 10-15 minutes to give everyone a chance to congregate at the start line. This is a much more chilled out race than, say, Bristol.

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:03:41 | Pace: 10:15 | Mile splits: 9:33, 9:24, 10:27, 10:20, 10:29, 11:03, 2:06
Position: 542/614

Total runners: 614 | Fastest Course Time: 30:43

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 50min ~ 136 miles | Birmingham:  2hr 25min ~ 124 miles | Bristol: 1hr 04min ~ 27 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 36min ~ 75 miles | Exeter: 1hr 20min ~ 60 miles

Next event: 6 May 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was my first ever ‘proper race’. I was already training for the Bristol Half Marathon in the September and thought that this would be a good gauge of where I was in my training. I was aiming for under the hour but considering it was a fairly hilly course and a bit of headwind, I’m pretty pleased with this result.

Even though the race was mostly on closed country roads and a little lonely at times there was great support all the way around. Lots of residents had come out from their houses and were cheering on runners as they went around.

There’s also quite a lot for spectators to do and runners once they’ve completed the race. There were lots of activities and entertainment going on around race HQ (and obviously I saw a lady in a dinosaur onesie).

Would I run it again? For sure, I’m already signed up again for 2018’s race and I think it will be bigger and better than 2017 I can’t wait!

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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Half Marathon Training | Week 5 | Diary of an injured runner

I’m up to week 5 already! This time last year I’d done my longest ever training run of 10 miles and I felt great! Fast forward a year and I’m nowhere near running 10 miles and my half marathon is just over 6 weeks away (insert tears to blog post). But I have had a great week in running this week and I’m feeling much more optimistic for my half marathon! Hooray!!

Monday | Week 5 | New Trail Shoe Run 5k

I was super excited to come home to my new trail shoes! I opened the box, took a ton of photos of them and then literally shoved my feet into them. They didn’t feel comfortable like previous running shoes have but they were just a little tight across the laces. I loosened them up and they felt much better.

I did a little bit of running on the spot and lunges and they felt ok so I took them out for a short 5k run. To start with, they felt absolutely fine and I thought ‘hooray I’ve found my best running shoes’ but after about 2 miles I was suffering. Badly. My toes went completely numb and I mean can’t-feel-a-thing kind of numb. Now, I know that I’m supposed to wear running shoes a size bigger than my normal shoe size… but my last Brooks pair are 5s and I’ve suffered terribly with blisters on my heels and pain down my legs. So sensible me (!!?) decided I’d order these new trail shoes at my actual size 4 as clearly 5s are just too big for me… logic right…. WRONG!

I have never been in this much pain from trainers before and somehow I managed to smash my fastest 5k of 2018, most likely because I couldn’t wait to tear them off of my feet and put my toes on the cold grass!!

So now, I’m stuck with 3 pairs of running shoes (one of which I was professionally fitted for) that are agony to run in…. which leaves me with NO running shoes to wear! Excuse me while I go an sulk in the corner.

Please can someone tell me that I can stretch these out and that I’ll actually be able to run in them??

Tuesday | Week 5 | Rest Day
My poor toes… they’re still really sore from my run yesterday and I’m starting to think that perhaps I’ll never be able to wear them and I most likely will have to sell them, which is devastating because I love them! I’m not sure whether I’ve done the sensible thing here but I went online and found some really cheap Asics… I mean half price kinda deal. I ordered the Asics Endurant Grey/Coral (in a 4.5) and the Asics Patriot 8 Black/Pink (size 5) because I just can’t afford to waste any more money on a pair of running shoes that don’t fit me or are too uncomfortable to wear. Let’s see how we go with these

Wednesday | Week 5 | 2 Mile Hard Run
After Monday’s terrible run I felt like I needed to redeem myself and get out there again. I put on my really old trusty orange Nikes and pushed myself like I haven’t for months. I originally set my paces for around 9:15 – 9:30 but I felt so good I pushed myself to go faster and did an average of 8:56. I felt like I was finally getting back on track! Although I’m nowhere near as far in my training as I’d like to be, I’m running (fairly) injury free and am liking that I can get out and do even shorter runs, even if I’m a little disappointed that I’ve lost so much fitness from last year.

Thursday | Week 5 | Rest Day
Another rest day for me today and I had to take Pupper to the vet again for a check up. Unfortunately she hasn’t improved since going onto her antibiotics so she’s having to have steroids to try and get rid of her skin infection. This also means that she’s going to be going to the loo a lot more frequently so I’ll have to try and manage that.

I got my new running shoe delivery today and I love both of them! I can’t wait to try them out.

Friday | Week 5 | 7 Mile Long Run
I was not in a good mood today, I was angry, sad and anxious for no real reason and I procrastinated this run for over an hour. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of trying on my new shoes!!! I picked my Asics Endurants and set out of the door, my only plan being to do a reallllllyyyyy slooowwwwwww long-ish run.

I felt absolutely great and like I could take on the whole world, which is probably why even though I was trying to run slow, I managed a 1:03 10k time! I was a little annoyed that today was my slow run and I had to try really hard to keep my pace low. I tried not to look at my mileage on my Garmin and was only interested in my heart race zone and kept it around the aerobic area as much as possible so imagine my surprise when I’d got up to nearly 7 miles. I did a really long cool down and tried to stretch out my foot as much as possible as it’s been feeling really good and I didn’t want to ruin it. I will say though, I was wearing a t-shit and it was FREEZING! I felt pretty warm while running but my arms were like ice blocks and I had real trouble warming up when I got home.

I’m feeling a lot more confident about my half marathon which is in around 6 weeks and I’m not far off of my 10 mile goal for training.

Saturday | Week 5 | Rest Day
Another rest day for me in preparation for my race tomorrow. I’m a little apprehensive about the race as it’s cross country and I’m really not good at cross country, I don’t really know why I sign up for these kinds of races! I’ll never learn my lesson!

I finally took my running shoes out of the back of the car that have been in a plastic bag since the Bath Skyline 2 weeks ago (why am I like this….??). They were still muddy and a little wet so I had to try and dry them out.

Sunday | Week 5 | Race Day 10k Slay The Dragon
It’s race day again, hooray! I’m driving to this race, with my muddy running shoes in tow, wondering how on earth I’m going to run this course. Although I am telling myself I’m not going to fall over, I’m not convinced!

We got there super early and managed to park on the field where the race started which was nice as we got to stay in the car for as long as possible (-2 degrees thanks to the cold snap from Russia they’re calling the ‘beast from the East’). It was a lovely sunny day though which made it not quite as bad, although I did wear a long sleeved top and ear warmers for the first time ever because y’know, sinuses.

The race started around the Village Hall field (by a town crier’s bell) and the second I started to run, I felt like my whole body was lead, which is never a good start. I turned my watch off of mileage and onto ‘effort’ so I didn’t have to look at the miles so by when I was clearly going to struggle. The ground was absolutely frozen which made running across the churned up mud very difficult to run across and my ankle went over so many times I was really worried about giving myself an injury and putting myself out of action! I honestly don’t know how people were managing to sprint across it, I really struggled and it’s not my first cross country race (any tips greatly appreciated here).

The race was across beautiful countryside and there’s lots of lovely little styles to climb over and there were cows, sheep, farms, farm smells and all of the marshals were really friendly and encouraging. There was one section in particular which was a real bottle neck going over a style and it took around 3 minutes of hanging around before it was finally my turn so definitely no PBs for moi.

The course was also fairly hilly but it was mostly quiet roads and I never really mind hills much. There were a couple of photographers for the race and usually I find I either don’t see them at all or they’re hiding out of sight but at this race they were really lovely and telling everyone to smile which was nice as I got to have a couple of photos of me actually smiling! #It’sAMiracle

The medal was cute and had a little purple dragon on it and I also treated myself to a piece of free cake at the finish line and a bacon butty afterwards.

Even though my time wasn’t my fastest and I didn’t enjoy the experience of the race much it was enjoyable and if I was a better runner I’d probably have loved it.

Next Week’s Plan: – I’m going to up my mileage on the runs a bit more (injuries permitting) and incorporate more stretching and cross training.

10k Race Reviews

Clock Change Challenge (2017)

This course is fast and flat, perfect for a PB with an out and back route along quiet country lanes.

About the race

When: –
Sunday 29 October 2017 @ 11.00am

Where: – Calne Leisure Centre, White Horse Way, Calne, Wiltshire, SN11 0SP

Cost: – £15.00 unattached

Organisers website: – www.riderhq.com

Race Facts
The Calne story begins AD 978 and is known for its canal (which was completed in 1810 and abandoned in 1914) and rail travel (the railway station opened in 1863 and closed in 1965 from insufficient demand), woollen broadcloth and meat production.

Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen at the nearby Bowood House.

Race Aces
Impressive medal for a less expensive race and with chip timing.

Free parking at the race site.

Pre and Post race sports massage.

Clock Change Challenge Medal

Race Unlaces
Even though parking was free, I got there later than I usually arrive at races, the sports centre car park was manic. There was an overflow car park on the tennis courts but they were also gridlocked.

Headphones are not permitted and the road is open to traffic.

As it was a smaller race there were very few spectators at the finish line, and by the time I’d finished there were only a couple of people left it seemed!

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:04:46 | Pace: 10:22 | Mile splits: 10:02, 10:14, 10:26, 10:33, 10:13, 10:34, 2:36
Position: 287/331 | Gender position: 115th

Total runners: 331 | Fastest Male: 30:55 | Fastest Female: 41:13 | Slowest Finisher: 1:23:16

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 11, 90 miles | Birmingham: 2hr 07, 103 miles | Bristol: 1hr, 36 miles| Cardiff: 1hr 36, 69 miles | Exeter: 2hr 12, 114 miles

Next event: 25 March 2018

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a splendid little race with a great medal! The only things I didn’t really enjoy were that it was quite a lonely race around the course and not many spectators at the end (which is great for anyone who has come to support you as they have full view of your spectacular finishing sprint!) but it was quite strange and a contrast to the drumming and festival atmosphere at the start.

I also wasn’t a fan of the car parking arrangements, while I’m sure there were plenty of spaces for the amount of runners, it was just chaos and I didn’t leave race HQ until enough cars had gone home as there was only one road in and out. At the end of the day though parking was free and you could see the start / finish line from the car park so at least any spectators didn’t have to hang around outside at the leisure centre if they didn’t want to.

Would I run it again? Yes and in fact I am going to race the spring Clock Change Challenge (although this time I’m going to be losing an hour instead of gaining an hour).

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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Half Marathon Training | Week 3 | Diary of an Injured Runner

Monday | Week 3 | Rest Day
Really enjoyed this rest day today, my legs weren’t feeling great after yesterday’s run. Spent some time with the pup snuggled on the sofa.

Tuesday| Week 3 | Interval Training 3 Miles
Today I hate running! I decided I needed to up the training a bit as I’ve been doing far too many ‘easy’ runs and incorporate some interval training. I did 3 mins warm up, 1 min easy/ 1 min hard, 2 min easy/ 2 min hard, 3 min easy/ 3 min hard x 2 and the remainder was a cool down jog. I do love pushing myself, however, the inside of my legs were agony the entire run but I did push through it. Not only that, my running shoes that I’ve had for 6 months are still super uncomfortable and rub the back of my heel so I was bleeding everywhere too (I’ll be honest, I think it’s slightly too big a shoe size).

I feel absolutely defeated. In 2017 training was going well up until around June time and then I was plagued with plantar fasciitis and pain at the back of my knee and down my leg. It meant that I really couldn’t push myself in training and didn’t improve from there on out.

Fast forward to today… I’m signed up for Glastonbury 10k, which was my first race of 2017, in May and it’s looking like I won’t even make a course PB even after a year of training.

For me, improving on my times is one thing that keeps me going. If I can’t improve then I’m just plodding along!

After today’s run I spent a long time stretching out followed by a bath and I’ve gotta say, I’m still in pain

Miles:- 3.28

Wednesday| Week 3 | Rest Day
Feeling pretty sorry for myself today. The pain in my legs is still there and I actually couldn’t think of anything worse than going for a run.

Thursday | Week 4 | Rest Day
Another rest day, I’m STILL in pain! I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to move forward with running seeing as I’m only into week 3 and already I’m in a lot of pain and I’m nowhere near up to doing any kind of long run yet. I’m not sure what to do for the best…. I guess I really need to see some kind of sports therapist, however, they’re so expensive that I’m reluctant (and broke) to be able to afford to go at the moment. I’m wondering if I need new running shoes (even though I was properly fitted for the ones I have now but clearly they aren’t doing me any favours). If I bought some proper insoles would that do the trick?

The last time I went to a physical therapist was the beginning of last year when I had an AirHop injury which had persisted for nearly a year (while trampolining I flicked my leg out and felt something go at the back of my knee). They did every movement possible to find out what might be causing the pain but couldn’t and suggested that I strap up the back of my knee for races for a bit of stability. He also told me that I have a high arch under my right foot in particular and that I have hyper-extension in all of my joints, which is probably how my knee injury occurred in the first place, and that I shouldn’t overdo stretching as this could lead to further injury.

So here I am. Stuck between a rock and a broke place. Do I just suck it up and pay for a PT until I’m confident I’m on the mend? Do I cross train (I have this spin bike at home which got me through my knee injury and kept my fitness up)? Do I ditch my expensive running shoes and get new ones? Or do I just abandon running altogether??

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

Friday| Week 3 | Rest Day
I’ll usually run on a Friday but that was just not happening for me today! I’d planned to do just a few minutes on the bike but I was so exhausted from a week of bad sleeps that I decided I’d skip it. I’m also still sulking over my ‘injury’.

Saturday | Week 3 | Rest Day (yes another one)
Still feeling down about this whole injury business, I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’m going to get to a Physical Therapist in the next couple of weeks. I need to get this sorted out ASAP, I’ve got a half marathon in 8 weeks and if I can’t train enough for it I’ll be devastated! #TakeAllMyMoney

Sunday| Week 3 | Race Day ~ Bath Skyline 5k
Whoop it’s another race day! I don’t know why I do it to myself…. last year I did two races from the same series (Killerton and Cheddar Gorge) and I found them really tough so I don’t know why I thought that Bath Skyline would be a good idea. The race description is ‘hilly, narrow and technical underfoot, this is one of those races you should be taking in the splendid scenery but will probably be too busy trying not to take a tumble’.

Start & Finish Line

I was under no illusion that I was going to stay upright for the entire race. I fell over on the steepest hill on the final stretch of Killerton… myself and a couple of other people were stood at the top of the hill looking down and I joked ‘what’s the best way to get down, roll down?’. Turns out… I did roll down… right in front of everyone. But I didn’t care, if I got down there faster that was all I cared about I just wanted it to be over.

Then there was Cheddar…. probably the most difficult course I’ve ever navigated. It was very wet, muddy, steep and slippery underfoot. There were so many times I nearly fell over but I did manage to stay on my feet but another runner did make a comment to me that I ‘should be running’ when I was steering myself down a steep hill which was muddy, with wet leaves covering stony ground in woodland (which I thought was kinda rude if I say so myself).

It’s a good job I’m not fond of these running shoes!

Anyway, back to Bath Skyline! Because of the two races mentioned above, I suspected that Bath Skyline would be pretty much the same… and it was. I was originally signed up for the 10k which would have been the same route twice but I was really not feeling the whole trail vibe this morning so I asked if I could go for the 5k instead. Luckily there were some spaces left and I felt a bit better but still kinda anxious. What was I doing?? I’m not a technical runner! I do, however, love running trails. The views on trails are like nothing you’ll ever see on a road run and this one didn’t disappoint, the views at the top were stunning even if I did have to fall over twice to see them.

This is why I wore old clothes and cropped leggings

Moving on to my fall, I was sort of running with a couple of other people that were keeping a similar pace to me, but when we got to the really muddy parts in the woodland I just knew I was going to fall over. I even said to them ‘I’m determined to fall over’ as I was sliding around all over the place. And what do you know, the very next second I slipped right over. They asked me if I was ok which was kind of them, and then just a moment later I was on the ground again. One of them offered to help me up which, again, was very kind but I’d got myself into this mess I had to get myself out haha! I can verify that I already have a giant bruise all down my left hand side so this race is just going to keep giving…

Oh look a muddy hand holding a medal

Would I run this again? Nope. But did I enjoy this race? Also nope (just kidding I did a little). Note to myself: please do not sign up for any more races like this!

Miles: 3.1

TOTAL MILES: – 6.38

NEXT WEEK’S GOALS: – 3 easy, short runs | 1 x spin workout | 2 x yoga