Running The Bath

It’s been a while since I last blogged…7 weeks in fact!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that may be because I haven’t been doing anything worth sharing, but actually it’s quite the opposite. I’ve done a lot, and I mean a LOT in the last month or two that I’m very proud of, but I’ve been doing so much running, TOO much running, that I haven’t wanted to sit and think about it once the trainers are off and the miles logged.

So here we are with a lot to catch up on, I’ve missed you, I hope the feeling is mutual.

There’s so much to share, going back weeks, but I’m going to start with where I ran just a few days ago. After a long period of intense training, studying times and distances and being totally focused on outcomes, it was nice on Friday just to go out and do a run for fun, for me, for the hell of it.

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Tunnel entrance, looks foreboding!

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Love taking the train for some run tourism

I’d heard about the Two Tunnels route from friends who ran it recently. Part of the Sustrans network it is a shared use path that stretches out from the centre of Bath and includes two tunnels (hence the name!) which run for over a mile. That’s just the start of the entertainment though, if you follow the full loop you take in rustic villages, canal towpaths, an incredible weir; in fact this run will go down as one of the most scenic and entertaining I’ve ever done.

A mile of underground to run through

A mile of underground to run through

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One of the most incredible places I’ve ever run

The tunnels are quite incredible. They’re lit, but subtly so you know you’re underground, and the echoes of your footfall and ragged breath are a fantastic soundtrack to your running. The aural entertainment doesn’t stop there though, in the middle of the longer tunnel a section provides background music from recessed speakers, the haunting strings and electro beats accompanied by a miniature light show. It really is an experience!

I love the sights of the canal, like this incredible mural on the side of a barge

I love the sights of the canal, like this incredible mural on the side of a barge

Once back above ground there’s a mile or two to enjoy past a lake, through a village and down a country path before you reach the Dundas Aqueduct and the start of the canal section of the run. Where the novelty of the tunnels is over, the beauty of the canal is a worthy replacement.

Dundas Aqueduct, perfect spot for a snack and to watch the world go by

Dundas Aqueduct, perfect spot for a snack and to watch the world go by

A short diversion from the canal path is the incredible Warleigh Weir. Easily missed if you aren’t careful, it isn’t signposted so look out for the noticeboard about the Claverton pumping house. I would have stopped for a dip but I had the area completely to myself and was a little worried about getting into trouble with no one near by. (You’ll remember from my triathlon exploits swimming isn’t my forte!)

Warleigh Weir, play safe

Warleigh Weir, play safe

I have no idea how far the route was as I didn’t wear a watch, partly so I could relax and enjoy it and partly because I knew I’d be underground for a while and my Garmin barely works in perfect conditions as it is! What I do know is that the run ends at the train station ready to head home…which also happens to be where Grillstock Bath is located, my favourite post-run treat!

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Incredible meats and beats for tired feets – Grillstock

So there we have it, back in the blogging game at long last and with so much to catch up on! Over the next few weeks I’ll tell you all about Edinburgh Marathon, my first attempted ultra, taking running to the classroom and spreading the word about this thing we all love. Lots to share…but I’m not done making new stories yet! 2015 has been incredible so far, who knows what the remaining 4 months will bring…

 

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Chatting CALM and Ultra Running On The Radio

On Tuesday we were invited in to the BBC Radio Gloucestershire studios to chat to the lovely Claire Carter about this weekend’s ridiculous running challenge. We talk motivation, logistics, cashews and CALM. If you’ve got a few minutes spare give it a listen by clicking the picture below.

We chat a few times in the first hour, you can find us at…

  • 14 minutes – chatting about the challenge
  • 24 minutes – talking cashew or cashew (and no one is still quite sure)
  • 34 minutes – explaining who CALM are and why they are so important.

And don’t forget, this is all happening to raise funds and awareness so please make a donation or at the very least share some information about this incredible charity.

Thanks for listening, see you on the trail…

Click to listen...

Click to listen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Running The Cotswold Way For CALM

A little bit of lazy blogging, but here’s the press release just sent to local media about next weekend’s challenge…

Two Cheltenham runners are taking on the challenge of a lifetime, running the entire Cotswold Way for charity.

James Clay, 37, and Greg Hollingworth, 39, both of Lansdown, will be tackling the gruelling 104 mile off-road run over 3 days. Starting on Friday the friends, both members of Almost Athletes running club, will be running over 30 miles a day to raise funds and awareness for national charity CALM. who aim to reduce numbers of young male suicide. “We’ve both lost people to suicide. Men find it difficult to open up about their worries and mental health and CALM. offers a helpline for men to talk about their problems” James explained. “It’s incredible to think suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 20-45, and it’s wholly preventable if only guys could talk openly about how they feel. CALM. – or the Campaign Against Living Miserably – encourages men to talk freely when they are down or in crisis, and have loads of resources to help normal chaps get through the dark times we all experience occasionally”.

The runners will be setting off from Chipping Campden on Friday morning, with the finish outside Bath Cathedral on Sunday. “We’re really lucky to have some great support” said Greg, “we are able to get home each evening to recover and eat, and have friends joining us to run sections of the route which should provide a boost to morale. It will be fantastic to run past Cheltenham as well, we’re hoping to see lots of friendly faces along the way and to share our story with anyone who will listen. Promoting the charity is just as important as raising funds for us”.

You can support the guys by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/cotswoldwayultra and learn more about CALM at www.thecalmzone.net. The helpline number is 0800 585858

 

NOTES:

More information about the challenge can be found at http://whatjamesdid.com/2015/05/28/jim-and-greg-do-the-cotswold-way/

About CALM

The campaign against living miserably, CALM, is an award winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide in the UK.

In 2014 CALM supported over 30,000 callers via its helpline and webchat. CALM runs:-

There were 6,233 probable suicides in the UK in 2013 of which 78% or 4,858, were male. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK (NISRA, GRO, ONS 2013).

CALM is reg charity no’s. 1110621 and SC044347

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The Road To Edinburgh

No, not a post about overcoming the struggles of the M5/M6 interchange…although I could go on at length about unmanned roadworks and average speed cameras! Actually, the drive from Lancaster on to Edinburgh is quite lovely, but this isn’t about roads. Not real ones at least.

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The metaphorical road to Edinburgh started months ago, with a drunken chat (as all great adventures do) followed by taking action. That’s the key to making adventures happen, you have to take action as soon as you think of them. Race booked, accommodation booked and it was just the training to do…

It was in my thoughts from the start of the year, as I knocked off PB after PB over the shorter distances, but it was 12 weeks ago that focus shifted to 26.2 miles. Not only did I bring in the ever longer weekend runs, but I started planning my midweek activity as well. For the first time I was actually doing things right, and the results were obvious on Sunday mornings. The long miles were falling away with never before enjoyed ease, and have continued to do so right up until my last twenty miler, which was so comfortable I could have continued for the full 26 right then.

I haven’t done this alone though. I’ve had incredible support from members of my running club, Almost Athletes, who have organised long runs in the woods or joined me on my own madcap long run adventures. Special thanks to the Gills, Ian and Glen, quite simply the most supportive and enthusiastic people you could ever want in your gang.

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Maddie, who herself has done wonders with her race times in the last few months, was always ready to join me for the midweek miles and keep me accountable. There was no chance of missing Wednesday’s efforts as long as she was around!

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Greg is running Edinburgh too, I disapprove of his training techniques but it doesn’t look likely to stop him doing a bloody impressive time! He’s always pushed me to be a bit quicker, definitely his fault I knocked off some of those new personal bests when I probably should have been taking it easy!

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And finally my personal trainer, I never thought I’d have one and now I hope never to be without her! I’m undoubtedly stronger, fitter and more capable than ever thanks to her weekly abuse, and without Catherine Jasat I wouldn’t have got in anywhere near as much quality running.
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So all that is left now is to run 26.2 miles. I start at 10am, dinner is booked for 5pm, in the meantime memories are made and medals are earned.

Good luck to all running and thanks to all who joined me on the road to Edinburgh.

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Jim and Greg Do The Cotswold Way

 

cwrYeah we jog…but not like this!

Over the course of 3 days in mid-June we’re attempting to run all 104 miles of the Cotswold Way. In all honesty, with our navigation skills we’re probably going to do more than that!

The mathematically minded among you will already have worked out that means running at least 34.6 miles a day. That’s a lot. Yes we will have just done a marathon, but that’s only 26 miles and believe us, it really isn’t ideal preparation either! You can help us get through this trial of physical and mental endurance by rewarding our efforts and supporting an incredible charity working in something nobody likes to talk about…

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CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably – is a charity aiming to reduce young male suicide (see the brilliant video at the bottom of the page for details). You may not know how much of a problem this is, like we said no one wants to talk about it, but suicide kills more men aged 25-45 than ANYTHING else. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, all those other charities you support…none of them could save as many lives as just helping men to talk about their mental health. (Great Guardian article explain the problem)

CALM is an amazing organisation, I urge you to take a look at their work and spread the word about their existence. Chances are you know a man, aged between 25 and 45, and while they never show any signs of depression or anguish it’s because “blokes don’t do emotion” or some such nonsense. The more we talk about mental health and promote charities like CALM the better the chances of improving life for all.

So please, make a small donation, then share share share the fact that you’ve done something brilliant because you don’t consider mental health a taboo subject and you refuse to live miserably.

Thank you.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/CotswoldWayUltra

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