Category Archives: Guest Post

1,000 Mile Challenge

Guest Post by Sean Bridge

Sean's 100 milesSo…… this is my first blog for someone other than my own website so I’m an amateur at this and am getting my apology in early people.

I’ve been running since 2010, but it was on and off as I had a bigger love for beer and football. I did a few 10Ks here and there and a couple of half marathons (my PB for a half is 1:57), but in 2012 I was persuaded to run the London marathon.

I work for a leading homeless charity in London and we have roughly 25 places each year to the London marathon and there were a few injuries to our runners. So on a cold Friday night after work in early January, I was drunkenly asked if I would “up my running” and run the London marathon.  Bear in mind I was 5 or 6 beers down at this point.

My obvious drunken reaction was, “yeah of course I’ll run 26.2 miles.” Then, come Saturday afternoon with the obligatory heavy head, it hit me……… I’ve agreed to run 26.2 miles!!! And there’s no going back.

But the more and more the hangover disappeared, the more I kept thinking “I could actually do this; this is an amazing opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.” So, long story short, I did the London marathon with my IT band in tatters, in well over 5 hours.

This is when my love of running disappeared completely. After 2012 I bumbled along and ran very little. The same is to be said of 2013 and most of 2014. But a few work colleagues decided to do a couple of Greenwich 10Ks, and for those of you who know Greenwich park, it’s VERY VERY hilly.

Whilst doing the first Greenwich 10K with very little training, I thought to myself “This is either my last run ever or I’m going to focus solely on running and make a proper go of it.” So I finished the hilliest run of my life in 1:00:16 – YES 16 seconds over an hour.  Annoying wasn’t the word at the time, but it did prove to be a very good source of ammunition and I will go back one day and break that hour mark.

So after that I decided the only way I’ll get back into running “properly” (in my words) was to challenge myself, and challenge myself I have. I am attempting to run 1,000 miles in 2015….. not for charity but for myself.

I am also training for the North London half marathon and am currently about 60 miles behind target, which isn’t ideal but this only motivates me to run more. I have fallen back in love with running all over again. I have started my blog – Lots of Running 2015 (shameless plug), I’ve joined Virtual Running and came 7th in January, and have already made some on-line friends through RunKeeper and UK Run Chat (#teamred).

In all honesty I am struggling with keeping on target for the 1,000 miles as I find it hard to run after work during the week, but I am determined to complete this challenge and pick up some medals along the way 🙂

Thanks for the opportunity to write this Kirsten and for those that are reading please join Virtual Running UK. It’s an amazing idea!!!!

Huge thank you to Sean Bridge for writing this post for us. Please visit his blog at Lots of Running 2015.

13 in Thirteen

I’ve been asked to do a guest blog here on virtual running and to tell you about my story and charity challenge(s). So lets rewind to 2012.

Back in April of that year I topped the scales at near 20 stone. I then had a kick up backside from my  3 year old daughter who gave me a reality check. I then decided to lose weight and over next 4 months with help from a PT instructor dropped 4 stone. I then needed motivation to keep going so I signed up for the Great Yorkshire run 10k in Sheffield.

I did the race and finished in 57:58. Not a fast time by anyone’s standard but I was hooked.

Mohican RunnerI signed up for another 10k 2 weeks later and dropped down to 55:15 and then I was hooked on getting faster. By time I had done my 3rd 10k in December of that year I had gotten my 10k time down to 50:15. It was then I decided to do my first charity challenge. I always wanted to fundraise for the NSPCC as they saved me from abuse as a child. I came up with doing 13 10km races in 2013. The challenge was called “13inThirteen.”

The other part of the challenge was I had to set a new PB at each race. Over the 2013 my times continued to fall and I completed that challenge back in December 2013 with a PB of 41:17 and I managed to raise over £2,000 for the charity.

However I felt I had unfinished business so decided to up the challenge for 2014. I decided to keep the 13 in thirteen name and do 13 half marathons in 13 months, Jan ’14 to Jan ’15. Now before this I had only done one half marathon in 1:41:42 and set myself a goal of getting a sub 90 HM. The challenge was a lot harder, plus we had issues along the way.

Firstly the cancelled Sheffield HM meant I had to go all the way to Plymouth 2 weeks later to keep challenge going. I suffered a hamstring injury after my Feb HM but had to race a week later for my March HM. That was painful. At the Great North Run. I was struck down with illness at mile 11 and collapsed over the finish line. It turned I had severe Tonsillitis and was laid up for next few weeks. However I kept going and in October I finally ran under 90 minutes, then went faster in my next two half marathons. Then the other weekend was my final race in York and finished with a new PB of 83:17! and so far raised over £4k from my challenge, and through telling my own story the NSPCC has used that and raised over £1,000,000 from it.

I now have the following PB’s 5k – 18:33, 10k’ – 37:47,  HM 83:17.  I am now in training for London and my goal is to get a GFA time.  One thing that stands out about me is my obsession with going faster, oh and my Mohican.

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My charity challenge site: 13inThirteen
My own blog: Mohican Runner
My justigiving page: Just Giving – 13inThirteen
and if you’re on twitter follow me at @mohicanrunner

Going from 0 to 100 miles…

‘The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible’
– Arthur C Clarke

I first started running in May 2004 as I was feeling unhealthy and unfit and I knew I needed to do something for myself.  Having not run since leaving school, where I was probably one of the few who actually enjoyed cross country, I started running with a friend and we began by not being able to run for more than a couple of minutes and then needing to walk, which was great because the plan we were following told us to do just that!

I ran my first 5K in September 2004 which was the Hyde Park Flora 5K in 32.36

From there I fell back in love with running, with racing and getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the countryside.  So in January 2005 I joined my local club Ampthill and Flitwick Flyers and have enjoyed the fun and nonsense that belonging to a club gives you, ever since!

I tried my hand at many different distances from 5K up to half marathon and then got a place in London Marathon in 2009.  I trained hard and then with 8 weeks to go I got injured and couldn’t run… I decided to just do some short runs and go for it anyway.  It was the most painful experience I have ever had and it took me 6 hours to get round and I had caused so much more damage that I was only able to run sporadically for the next 18 months! (and yes I was a pain to live with during that time and yes as a coach I would never suggest it as a good idea to any athlete I was working with!)

So in 2011 I decided I needed a goal to work towards that would take quite a lot of time to train for so I could come back to running slowly and not put any pressure on myself.  There is a local run near me called the Greensands Ridge Relay which is 35 miles long and done with 6 relay members… they do allow solo runners if you have a team in (which we always do) so with my running buddy (get one – they are the best!) beside me we decided to train for the June 2012 race.

‘Only if you reach the boundary will the boundary recede before you. And if you don’t, if you confine your efforts, the boundary will shrink to accommodate itself to your efforts. And you can only expand your capacities by working to the very limit.’
– Hugh Nibly

It was hard going and we loved it – from there I was hooked and that year did a 50K and a 56 miler (it was supposed to be 54 but myself and above mentioned running buddy were too busy talking to read the map properly!) which was a qualifier for the LDWA 100 which was in May 2013 and was an amazing experience across Cornwall and Devon.  Pushing me mentally and physically to new and unknown levels of ability!

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Me at mile 37 of 100!

I have a three favourite sayings that keep me going when I think I need to stop (in running, life and business!) which you will find throughout this article.

Overall I have now done 9 Ultra’s and looking forward to my next one in May 2015, which is 40 miles in the Oxfordshire countryside.  There are now so many options out there you can always find one that suits you!

One of the most common things I hear is that someone doesn’t think they are good enough or fast enough to join their local club.  This isn’t true as most clubs have people with all abilities in, but it is one of the reasons that in 2011 I wrote my book ‘How to get off the sofa and start running’ as an easy guide for those who were starting at the beginning or were coming back from a long time out and just needed a bit more confidence to get out there! 

‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.’
– Nelson Mandela

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Coming up Stairway to Heaven – Grizzly 2014
(and yes we started the climb on the beach in the background!)

 Annie Page is a qualified Level 2 UK Athletics Endurance Running Coach, Owner of Essentii – developing the potential within – specialising in Business and Sports mindset development.  The book ‘How to get off the sofa and start running’ is available from Amazon and The Endless Bookcase.

Copyright Annie Page © 2015  All rights reserved