(C) London Marathon, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge, December 2002
(C) London Marathon, press conference for Flora 1000 Mile Challenge, December 2002

 

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December 07

Well it has been over a month since my injury problems in Monaco, crutches for the first couple of weeks to help me walk more normally and then was able to cycle and and a week later add rowing to the list of exercises. Cliniband exercises were the start to rehabilitation followed by wobble board exercises, one legged squats various other things to hard to describe that will probably be continued for the next 6 months to ensure this does not happen again and am strong enough to tackle any corners my next 6 day race will throw at me. Many thanks go to Darren Cooper from the University of Teesside for all his superb expertise in diagnosing and getting me moving again. The injury was far worse than I expected, the posterior tibialis muscle was the first muscle I damaged and continued running on this without this muscle working caused the sheath of the soleus to be pulled away from the bone on the opposite side of the ankle. I also sustained some nerve damage due to the swelling and was unable to distinguish between hot and cold on the affected area, this has now been reduced to a very small area where I cannot detect the temperature. I just did my first 3 mile run yesterday (20th December) and although the ankle is still a little stiff it is probably just scar tissue and will hopefully progress quite quickly now back to my normal routine and hoping to run the annual challenge up Captain Cooks Monument on New Years Day.

Its looking very likely that the Antibes 6 day race in June will be the venue for another attempt at the record. Before that the Libyan Challenge and Marathon Des Sables will be a couple of nice warm challenges to take part in and should be a good work out for the ankle. Also to see just how hard "the toughest footrace on Earth" really is (personally I think Libya is harder). There are just a few km difference in distance, both self supportive in terms of equipment to take and only water supplied by the organisers, the difference being one is non-stop and the other a stage race.

As for other challenges for the year, they are always coming in. It is now looking very likely that my personal story including LEJOG will be written in 2008. I have been approached by an Author and have the dilemma of going with him or doing it myself. I think the time is now right for a book to come out after many people have asked when and if a book will be written and cannot see the point in waiting until I retire (which could be some time yet!!) when LEJOG is still so fresh in peoples minds. I am also thinking of releasing a DVD of my epic journey on LEJOG, amateur footage that will make a short story - should this be sold in conjunction with the book to make it complete and different from other books??

November 07

November has arrived and it’s the month of the big World Record Attempt, the nerves have set in and occupies my mind most of the time. I go to bed thinking about it, visualising the race and wake up still racing, it will soon be reality. The only thing that is not real at present is the pain that goes with it!! Although I have felt confident most of the year when it gets so close to the event the doubts begin to surface – this is around 20 miles extra per day compared to LEJOG, frightening, just how will the body cope with this and just how sore will the feet get (and how big – they grew 2 sizes last time).

But there is a lot more stability during the race – no vans whizzing up and down main roads, sleeping in lay-bys, hijacking passers by to sign witness statements, cyclists following me with food and drinks, no traffic to negotiate or map reading and route finding, hopefully no head torches and tripping over debris and conkers during the night, no police to get me off the road or white vans screeching around me making my heart skip a beat. Just poor husband Bill labouring away mixing milkshakes, filling drinks bottles, cooking pasta and rice, mash and beans. There is only Bill compared to the six strong crew on LEJOG, so no one to take over when he is tired (but also no ditches to fall in when he falls asleep as he did on the bike on LEJOG). He will be getting 4 hours sleep per night – same as me (but will allow him a little dose in the afternoons!!). There is the long drive down to Monaco as the van is again an essential item for cooking, eating, sleeping and a bit of privacy. 6 days of food for the race are all gathered neatly in bags in the garage, each meal labelled – there are 25 meals during the 6 days of racing – a few bits of snacks for Bill, hope the caffeine in the chocolate does it job. The meal plan has a timetable attached to keep me constantly supplied with just as strict a running schedule times to the nearest minute.

Just a one mile loop tour of the millionaires yachts harboured in Monaco, a trip down the pier and u-turn back again, lots of corners and a short section of cobbles. Championchips will record the number of laps completed and the target set of 820km. The plan is 160km the first day (100 miles) then 135km for the remaining 5 days (that’s 85 miles) making 835km. That leaves just 15km to play with – cutting it very fine compared to LEJOG and my “34 hours to spare” that did get eaten into by 16 hours!! Mentally this is a grind as you will never know if the record will go until the last day, there is not much room for manoeuvre to have “a bad day”, the clock will tick away relentless and if the miles are not covered there is only the 4 hours sleep that I can use to pinch a few minutes to make a few km, and then sleep deprivation, that drunken feeling of no co-ordination, inability to walk in a straight line despite not having touched so much as a mouthful of alcohol.

The van is doing its job covered in detail with the attempt and sponsors of Darlington Building Society – and of course don’t forget to sponsor me for Asthma UK, please pop into any Darlington Building Society Branch, there are collection tins to make this a worthwhile effort. Hopefully Bill will be able to make contact every evening to update the website so you can follow my progess – or the event website at www.nofinishline.com

My deepest thanks go to Darlington Building Society for paying my entire costs, donating to my charity and for taking such an active and personal interest in supporting me - and that means when meeting such friendly, happy staff and particularly Peter Rowley at races the last couple of weeks, their support goes much further than just a financial role. Thanks to Ella for updating the website so frequently for me (and taking photos) and to Sarah and Denise for looking after my lively dogs yet again.

October 07

Download:
Sri Chimnoy 24 hour race report (tooting 2007.doc - 31kb)

A new sponsor from Darlington Building Society is my first bit of good news to report. They are funding the full cost of my World 6 Day Record attempt at the No Finish Line event in Monaco 17th - 23rd November 2007. As many of the staff are runners themselves it is great to be part of such an understanding team.

The last couple of weeks have seen me run in the Welsh International 4 Days at Llanwrtyd Wells, quite a small low key event but very enjoyable with local entertainment every evening. The 4 days of 25 miles (some were a little short) over different routes every day were very enjoyable but not great competition. David Burton has run the event a couple of times and was excellent company for much of the runs. Although he was stronger than me we ran a bit together on the first day, finished days 2 and 3 together, and again had to let him go on day 4 after a battering from wind and rain on a high ridge.

The Sri Chimnoy 24 Hour race at Tooting Bec, London is looming for this weekend now. My fitness is not quite peaking as I did for Canada earlier in the year and so am just going for a solid performance that will hopefully see me remain at GB number 1 for the 11th consecutive year, achieve the A standard selection criteria for UKA (this is 214km, a distance that only 8 women in the world achieved last year, such are the UKA standards) and may be a pb of 217km.

Other interesting news was a short attempt on my LEJOG record that lasted just 3 days. One comment on the supporting website that she was the "UK's top ultra runner", rather insulting to Lizzy Hawker as last years World 100km Champion and winner of many mountain ultras and herself going for a World Record later this month running from Everest Base Camp to Kathmandu (which I am sure she will achieve), also to Adela Salt as UK's leading 100km runner this year and to myself as UK's best 24 hour runner for the last 10 years.

October latest:

The Self Transcendence 24 Hour Race at Tooting Bec was a solid performance as expected. I achieved a distance of 212km (131 miles) to win the ladies race. This puts me at the top of the UK Rankings for the 11th consecutive year. The race was just about text book stuff, standard running of around 10km an hour, just 48 seconds off my 120km target at 12 hours. I had hoped to run 100km in second half but several changes (or additions) of clothing due to the cold weather (around 6 degrees overnight) and poor breathing in the last few hours (probably due to smoke on track from flood lights that caused a small drama at dawn with fire engine) slowed me down a little and struggled to keep a consistent pace. Full report shortly.


September 07


It’s now been a year since breaking that classic LEJOG World Record and plans are well underway to break my second world record at a 6 day race in Monaco. The latest stats have just come through showing a distance of 820km (approx 510 miles) is the target to beat, this means an average of 85 miles a day, roughly 140km per day. From my experience of the first 6 days of LEJOG I know how I can improve, and just the fact that this is not on open public roads and does not involve map reading and traffic negotiation will make a massive difference. It will be on a short road loop so facilities are always close at hand

After Canada I spend a week of walking the West Highland Way, it was the best ever recovery strategy, being active, outdoors and exercising. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole week and even got some reasonable weather for Scotland. Bill was a bit jaded by the end of the week and was relieved to go back to work for a rest and recover from the blisters he picked up. Bill did incredibly well considering it has not even been a year since he second hip replacement, but did highlight that he requires a little more fitness to contemplate future trips.

The other bit of good news was that the trip away from running gave me good time to plan the next few weeks. I already knew after Canada that I wanted to run another 24 hours and that the Spartathlon was off, but I still had the World 100km event that I could go to in Holland on 8th September. After the trip it was just 7 weeks to the 24 hours, I really needed a confidence booster with a long event and did not really want to wait until the 100km to do this so decided to take part in the Boston 12 Hours. This was just a week after walking the WHW and 4 weeks after Canada. I had lost a lot of fitness through no proper training for 4 weeks and just went to have an enjoyable run with a goal of achieving 10km an hour for 12 hours, to run 120km.

The event went through the night starting at 6pm, not ideal. The run went exactly to plan, running well within myself just to achieve the 10km per hour. By the finish I was the overall winner with 120.5km, I had practiced my strategy of taking more salt, had ran consistently, just putting a little more effort into the last hour after I dropped some time with toilet stops and didn’t was to dip under 120km. It was just the confidence booster I needed and could easily have continued running. It was an identical set up for Tooting Bec some 6 weeks later and was great to have Bill back by my side supporting me.

After Boston 12 hours the next 6 weeks had to be planned – an easy week after Boston, 4 hard weeks and then one easy week to taper. Looking at the World 100km it would have disrupted consistent training for that 4 week period and would have meant another easy week to run well at Winschoten and another easy week to follow to recover and so decided not to run. Part of my schedule will include the International Welsh 4 Days – that is 25 miles a day for 4 days and should provide some hard training.

I do not expect to be in the peak form for Tooting that I was in for Canada but still plan on running a good race that should see an improvement on my personal best of 217km and hopefully back into the World Top 10 Rankings.

August 07

Well after my biggest and best build up the result in the World 24 Hours in Canada was disaster, never had such a major incident in a race ever - collapsed on the course after 9 hours of running after experiencing problems for over 3 hours. Had been complaining of mild chest pain and dizziness before the inevitable happened, it's not often I will push myself to these extremes but this was the most important event of the year for me and probably the only time of the year my body will be pushed to extremes. Despite never having had problems like these before it was a major shock to the system, the results from the hospital were basically a lack of sodium which had the knock on effect of causing the chest pain and heart fibrillations, easily corrected with a sodium drip and no long lasting effects, just a massive dent in my confidence and pride and now left completely subdued and deflated.

The full Canada report is here: canada_2007_report.rtf (20kb)

I always thought the first signs of lack of sodium would be cramps and nausea, I completely bypassed the usual symtons and went to the next level, not far from kidney failure.

After getting home I had the bad news that my planned world record attempt at 6 days in Colac, Australia in November had been cancelled yet again and then a feature in Runner's World magazine that says I never run to a program, just do races when I feel like it and advise you not to listen to music while running - forget it, if you like music and I believe it has been proved to be beneficial then please do listen to music - it was just a question I was asked and don't personally like to listen to music, and just for the record I had a 19 week program to build up to this world championships with all races scheduled into the program and not done on a whim - there is a reason why I have been ranked in the top 10 in the world for much of my career.

So after a week of wallowing in self pity and depression its time to get back on track. My plans for the rest of the year will now change, instead of the planned Spartathlon (which I was having major concerns about with the smog in Athens being on the news and me being asthmatic), I will now run in the Sri Chimnoy 24 Hour track race at Tooting Bec in London on 6th and 7th October. Instead of the 6 day race in Colac there is now the 6 day race in Monaco, not such a good course but always had this pencilled in as an alternative with the "on and off" Colac race. That dates are the same but the good news for me is that I can now probably have the comfort of our campervan, just a long drive to put up with. Then there is the obvious trip to the doctors for further advice and research into how much sodium I will need to take in future - still not a black and white subject, but Dioralyte (electrolytes in water) seems the obvious solution at present.

As for my recovery, well I did have a few days off to get over the trauma of recent events, lack of sleep and travelling and within a week was back out for my first "groggy" run, this over with my second run the next day I felt almost back to normal and just 9 days later have now done a fell-race and feeling much more confident again. I was very apprehensive before the race and not sure I should even run it, but needed to know how my body would react, I ran it steadily and was pleased to finish with no problems and so may run in a local 24 mile race over the moors this weekend (2 weeks after Canada), the Hanging Stone Leap. It is then off to walk the West Highland Way 95 miles. This is Bill's only holiday for the year other than looking after me in races, so we are both very much looking forward to it, Bill probably more so as he has been unable to do any backpacking for several years due to his hips problems.

July 07

Well it is just days until the World 24 Hours in Canada, training is complete, a magnificent spell of 3 off-road marathons in 3 weeks and first lady in all 3. Finished with the first man in Tranquility Trail and second overall in both the Durham Dales and Osmotherley Phoenix and a fantastic new course record in the Phoenix with wet and muddy underfoot conditions and finishing in torrential rain. Repeated my good 5km performances for speed and another sub 20 minute clocking at Sunderland. Just got to hope there are no problems with travelling from Heathrow on Thursday, this late travelling does not allow for any delays so hope all goes smoothly.

My confidence still remains extremely high and am very excited to know what my performance will be. The couse suits me very well, it looks like a square loop over a river, similar to my favourite course at Apeldoorn where I set my previous pb back in 2002. Recent courses for World 24 hours in Taiwan, Austria and Czech republic have all had lots of sharp corners and narrow areas where it has been difficult to overtake and get bumped and had to alter pace because of obstacles such as kerbs, u-turns and pot holes. The course here look wide, only 4 corners per 2.2km lap, championchip recording to take out the worries of lap recorders missing you. My only downside is not having Bill by my side due to constraints put on us by UKA, luckily one of the official helpers is Andy Smith, a great friend and ultra runner that supported me during the Flora 1000 Mile Challenge and my World Record Lands End to John O'Groats last year. He understands me very well and have great confidence he will be just as good as Bill at looking after me, but I do not have his sole attention, his duties will involve looking after others too, unlike the one to one attention I get with Bill.

The weather is looking very likely to be hot as there is a heat wave on at present in Quebec but that will not be a problem, having successfully navigated the desert in Libya earlier this year I am well prepared for the heat. All that remains is to get out there and perform for my country - we have a team of 3 women and 3 men competing for Great Britain, probably the first time I can remember a full team of men and women competing for around 10 years. In the women I have Sandra Brown (previous LEJOG world record holder) and Pauline Walker to back me up and in the men there is Chris Finill, Jim Rogers and John Pares. The results should be available on the website at www.iau-ultramarathon.org and expect the results to be put on every 4 hours during the race so you can track progress.

June 07

Fantastic news, training has gone superbly well after my inconsistency late April/early May and performances significantly improving all the time, best half marathon in 4 years, best 5km in 7 years. Not missed a single training session, been doing weights twice a week and with the help of Matthew Wright at the University of Teesside have confirmed my 1 rep max is significantly better than the lead up to the Libyan Challenge earlier in the year. Good marathons at weekends and good performances in shorter mid-week races. Mileage has been high, up to 110 miles a week and in the first 6 months of the year have run a total of 37 races.

My confidence is extremely high at this stage just a month before the biggest event of the year - the World 24 Hours in Canada. I am very confident of a huge personal best in Canada after a reasonable performance with big blip in the middle in Taiwan last year. I acheived 214km then and equivalent to 6th place in the world. Unfortunately this year there have already been some very good performances and to come higher than 6th will have to improve significantly. I am looking at a minimum performance of 225km which I do not realistically feel will give me a medal but this is the minimum I expect, I am hoping if things go exceptionally well I could achieve as much as 230km which could be nearer the medals and it is all down to what happens on the day. Travelling will be a problem to overcome as UKA funding will only allow us to fly out from Heathrow on the Thursday giving us just Friday to get over the travelling for a Saturday race, not ideal but just something we have to cope with. UKA would not permit me to travel earlier and pay for my own hotel as Spender Barden will not allow any flexibility for travelling as the team have to travel together as in other disciplines they support.

May 07

This has not been the best month for training, a little inconsistent as a result of the fall in Guisborough Moors race. It was a heavy fall on a downhill section and was initially more concerned at my knee having been stitched and quite swollen, I had also fallen very heavily on my right hip. I had a steady run around the Wensleydale Wander 22 miles the week after and didn't feel particularly good and right hamstring was tight - I put this down to not bending right knee properly due to stitches still in knee. The week after was the Shakespeare Marathon, this time the hamstring felt as though it was "pulling" from about 7 miles into the race, it was nothing major but didn't want to risk injury and so did the sensible thing and just ran the half marathon instead. I got my hamsting treated and the following week was a couple of 10km races, these went well and had no signs of hamstring trouble and went into the Titpon 12 hours confident of a good run, but may be not the British record planned had training gone really well. It was disaster from the start, within the first hour my shoes that I had worn at Crawley 6 hours had cut my left heel and had to patch it up and change shoes, by 2 hours the hamstring was "pulling" again and very frustrated. There was just too far to run with 10 hours to go and knowing this was going to be a long painful run. I withdrew early while the hamstring was still a "niggle" as opposed to injury but was very upset as this was my last chance for a long run before the world 24 hours as am now restricted to nothing more than marathons for the next couple of months until the World 24 hours.

The following week I managed to find the cause of the problem, the hamstring seemed to tighten in different places and guessed it was something to do with the fall on the hip. The Monday afterwards I made appointments to see Simon Barnard, Osteopath and Darren Cooper, Sport Therapist at the University of Teesside. I managed to see Simon the Monday after Tipton and it appeared my lower back was the problem, immediately after treatment my hamstring stretched much further with little pain. Darren backed this up with his diagnosis, the problem was fixed but it was still going to take a little bit for the slight damage to the hamstring to heal. Although it took a few weeks to figure out there was a problem I am now confident I can get back to consistent training.

At the weekend I ran the Windermere Marathon, it was a bit more hilly than I remembered, I ran around this lake on my honeymoon 15 years ago after getting married at Gretna Green, Bill decided to have a cycle around too (but not with me!!) but was quite embarassed to be overtaken by runners on the big hills. The only disappointment was seeing the Mountain Ash hotel where we stayed had been converted into apartments!! We had planned on returning for a special anniversary as we loved the place - but its not to be. It now looks likely that I will have to run the Blackpool Marathon at the beginning of June to prove to UKA that my injury is healed as a result of dropping out of Titpon. This is frustrating when I have 16 races planned between now and the World 24 hours and none of these are suitable as they are not of sufficient length on the road, the Wharfedale off-road marathon had been planned the same weekend as Blackpool, but I suppose it is a small concession to make.

Bill is continuing to amaze me, he improved his 10km time by 4 minutes to 49 minutes when running the Kirkbymoorside 10km. This is a hilly course compared the the Mermaid 10km for his first 10km, his next race is the Raby Castle 10km this weekend. As for me that is already 26 races completed this year!

April 07

I have hopefully now satisfied the UKA criteria for "proof of fitness", 60km in 6 hours was required for this and went to the Crawley 6 hour race at the end of March to achieve this - 3 weeks after Libya, wasn't feeling great after a long run of nearly 5 hours the week before in winning the Cleveland Survival off road marathon. Although I have planned races every week now up until the world 24 hours in July there will be only one long one which will be the Tipton 12 hours on May 13th.

Bill has also now done his first race back since his double hip replacement - he ran the Mermaid 10km in 53 minutes, not bad after 4 years out and last operation in October last year, he will never run another marathon but just hopes to run 3-4 times a week of no more than 1 hour and just the odd short race.

Not a great deal more to report other than I am currently forced into having a few days off after a tumble in the Guisborough Moors Race at the weekend and ended up visiting the hospital having dirt scrubbed out of my hand and knee with a toothbrush for nearly an hour and then stitched - but I did win a bottle of Baileys!! Next couple of races are Wensleydale Wander (knee permitting) this weekend and Shakespeare Marathon the following weekend.

March 07

The Libyan Challenge went well, not as expected but a real experience and wonderful to do something so totally different from anything I have ever done. The sand, heat and backpack preperation served me well, just had a few problems getting used to GPS navigation and did not like running in the dark on my own in such a lonely deserted place. The desert was a beautiful place, very hard to describe, but not all sand and dunes as expected, some significant climbs, absolutely amazing landscapes and just the odd rat and snake to look at. The result was 5th place overall, 1st lady in 36 hours 46 minutes, some 7 hours off the existing ladies course record. Enjoyed every minute of the new challenge from living in mud huts to crawling up soft sand dunes and rolling down and eating chciken and cous cous for just about every meal!

Read the full Libyan Challenge report with photos here:
DOWNLOAD: The_Libyan_Challenge.pdf (585kb)

Selection has now come through for the World 24 Hours in Canada, although with a lot of strings attached that has spoilt our plans for going out to Canada early. 3 women and 3 men have been selected making the minimum numbers up for a team event. Bill is now unable to come with me due to the restrictions placed on supporters by UKA, so no massages for anyone on the team either. I have to "prove fitness" in a 6 hour race or 12 hour race as Libya does not prove I am fit as it was on a different surface - both the 6 and 12 hour races are on track, Canada is a road race. Not sure what quantifies "fitness" so have to wait and see on that score.

Running has resumed again since Libya, just as after LEJOG I came back down to my shortest event ever, a 3km track trial, I have not just done the same again, after my longest non-stop run of 36 hours I have just completed two 1500m time trials at Guisborough track, 6 mins 04 seconds just days after getting back from Libya, a week later 5 mins 53 seconds. In between was the Redcar Half and a real blast back to winter after all the warm weather training.

It will now be back to "normal" running in preparation for the World 24 Hours in Quebec, Canada on the last weekend in July. The break to train differently for Libya was a welcome break, but am now ready for the hard slog to improve on my 6th place in the World 24 hours from last year in Taiwan.

February 07

The last few weeks have been sand running on the dunes at Redcar and gradually building up the weight in my back pack for Libya. I have also had some long sessions in the Environmental Chamber at the University of Tesside at around 37 degrees with the support of the Elite Athlete Bursary Scheme. I am really priviledged to have the use of this facility and is one of the best in GB and right on my doorstep. Physiological testing has also been carried out working out blood glucose levels, rates of burning fat and carbohydrate (RQ), lactate levels and levels of hydration. There have been some very interesting results that can be worked with. In one 6 hour run with full back pack and 37 degrees I drank 5.5 litres of fluid and came out exactly the same weight as I went in - amazing!! I must admit I do love the heat and it was so nice to run in shorts and t-shirt instead of full body cover, hat and gloves - not sure the staff enjoyed it - they kept making excuses to get out of the heat!!

I have not done much racing recently due to the specific training for Libya, I did have a couple of good races at the beginning of February running the 25 mile Rombalds Stride and the 8 mile Castleton to Danby fell race the following day. I have just had time to work out the GPS and put in the 86 reference points that I have to take to Libya, the course is not marked and checkpoints are approximately every 20km which only supply water, also quite novel practicing how the anti-venom pump worked. There are three main challenges for me in Libya - sand running, heat running and carry backpack. Of the three I have easily adapted to the sand and heat but have really struggled to carry a 8kg back pack and 3 litres of drink. I have not had enough time to build this up as gradually as hoped for and it is the only thing that is worrying me. My right hip has stiffened up a couple of times after long runs with the pack. It does not affect me when I run without the pack but one practice run earlier in the week has told me the problem has not gone. You may be able to follow my progress on the official website at www.libyanchallenge.com and my number (dossard) is 59.

January 07

As a reflection at the end of the year, 2006 really has been my best year ever, my performance in Taiwan was extremely good considering the problems of being on my own for the first time ever, unfortunately this is not a Commonwealth or Olympic event and often gets overshadowed as a result and is the reason for not qualifying for lottery funding. 2007 I have big plans and may be another world record attempt, but this could never be better than my LEJOG achievement this year, the planning and organisation and continuous travelling really did add to the achievement and I don’t think I can ever surpass this achievement. My World Record Certificate also arrived after verification and my time was rounded down by one minute – official time now 12 days 16 hours and 22 minutes.

I attended three sports awards last month and the first was the best and only one that really recognised my achievement. The Northern Echo held its Local Heroes awards in a marquee at Hardwick Hall, the event was so big there probably wasn’t a hall big enough to accommodate it. Nearly 1000 people attended for the 4 course meal and entertainment. The first award was for the “Most Remarkable Achievement”, the three finalists were announced and I was the winner. At the end of the evening all the winners of the various categories were put in for the Local Hero of 2006, it was overwhelming to be awarded this title and to walk on stage with everybody standing and clapping for me, it was probably the best night of my life and an experience to savour (www.thenorthernecho.co.uk), far more exciting than finishing LEJOG itself.

As for the other two awards, the North East Sports Personality at the Seaburn Centre in Sunderland by Sport England the BBC, I didn’t really know why I was there, never even got mentioned. The last was the Evening Gazette Sport Awards, up against footballer Stewart Downing from Middlesbrough FC and Chris Newton, a cyclist that now lives near Manchester, he won gold in the team pursuit in the Commonwealth Games, he was the winner. Unfortunately my event is not in the Commonwealth Games, but if it had been my performance in the World 24 hours was easily the best in the Commonwealth with only Japanese and Russian athletes ahead. But clearly the judges thought Commonwealth Gold better than a World Record that took over 12 days to achieve – I know what I would rather have!

January has started well but my training has still been restricted to shorter runs while my Achilles strengthens, my speed is taking some time to return but am training consistently again, I have been racing almost every week again, apart from 20/21 January where we flew to the South West to collect the Charlie Hankins trophy from the Lands End to John O’Groats Association, another superb evening recognising my performance and the biggest trophy I have ever been awarded (luckily I only keep a small replica as would have problems finding a place for it).

ITV also did another clipping on my progress for the Libyan Challenge, training in the heat in the environmental chamber at the University of Teesside and in the sand dunes with my pack on at Redcar. View the video clip (Filesize: 7.4Mb)




   
   
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