Blog: A New Year, with more running
Blog: A New Year, with more running

Remarkable, unbelievable and inspirational is how I’d describe my 2017.

Some of you reading this blog may not know what I mean by this – but stay with me and I’ll try to describe a whole year of running every day during a year in a short(ish) blog.

My last blog brought me up to the 8th June: (that’s saved me a few months of writing – lol) so it’s about time I updated all of my friends and supporters on how the rest of the year went.

June was the month where I really upped the mileage including half marathons every weekend. Steve Wolfe, my wife Nicola and I also visited some new parkrun venues including Pegwell Bay, but it was at Sittingbourne parkrun where I recorded my fastest 5km parkrun of the year – 21 minutes and 57 seconds – not bad given I had run to the venue from the Isle of Sheppey beforehand (about an extra 11km).

I probably reached my peak during this month, doing a half marathon each weekend and extra miles more or less every other day certainly helped. The heat was unbearable at times, but I certainly wasn’t missing the winter months so no complaints. June was also the month when the 1st of my 5 pairs of trainers fell apart – not bad considering the miles I’d put in.

July included the weekend half marathons again, mostly on my own, but I did run the Wimbledon Half Marathon (which included the attendance of a Womble) with a drunken/hungover Steve who was out the evening before and didn’t return home until about 2:30am!

Despite his state, I wasn’t too sympathetic as I dragged him round the course in a time of 1 hour 52 minutes – I’m sure he appreciated it…….

I was very touched by the incredible gesture of my South East Water (SEW) work colleagues on the 3rd July where they laid-on a special and surprise run/buffet lunch event to celebrate what was originally my halfway day of the 366 challenge – unfortunately for them they had already planned this day before I decided to increase the challenge to 401 days.

The 401 days was then extended at this lunch, as during speeches, Steve Wolfe sprung the greatest surprise on me anyone could have done when it came to running anyway – he presented me with the Kent Sports Trust (KST), London Marathon spot for April 2018, all my dreams had come true….so true I almost wept!

Other events in July included day 190 running at the Sittingbourne parkrun where comedian Lee Hurst was in attendance and day 200 soon came and went on the 18th July, where yet again, lots of South East Water (SEW) runners joined me at lunchtime for a run as did Ben “365 marathon man” Rogers and Steve Wolfe.

The holiday season of August saw me doing quite a few lunchtime runs on my own which felt a little weird after being joined on so many runs by my colleagues. One noticeable thing during this month was the harshness of the humidity – at times a real struggle.

I also completed my first of what turned out to be many midnight runs this month. Why midnight? Simply because it’s nice and quiet, cool, time for you to reflect on things and gives your body more time to recover before the next running day.

The first time I did this, I found it a bit creepy – rabbits running through bushes, rats and foxes speeding across marshlands and fields and of course the odd drunk staggering across the opposite side of the road. Despite all of these new eye openers, I really enjoy the experience of running at this time when it suited my timetable.

September was a special occasion for Steve Wolfe and I – our friend Ian Walker asked us to start the Weald 10km. Starting the run was the easy bit – running it was hard. We joined the pack at the back and the first 5km is pretty much all downhill and despite having to weave through lots of bodies, we get to the 5km marker in 22 minutes.

At this point I’m starting to breathe out of my backside and dreading the reality in knowing that ‘what goes down also goes up’ when it comes to running a loop.

The 5km climb to finish the run almost breaks me if I’m honest and even though we are climbing all the time we complete the final 5km in 24 minutes for a total 10km time of 46:11 for me, and Steve breathing literally on my neck right behind me…..we both collapsed to the ground once over the finish line, we both knew we pushed it to the limit.

September also sees me pass 2000 miles, carry out more midnight runs, complete my 100th parkrun and fit in my ice hockey fix. Ice hockey is a sport myself and the family follow with passion – I haven’t missed a game for 4 years and our team, the Invicta Dynamos, play pretty much every Saturday and Sunday from September through to mid-April.

Fitting this into my running and voluntary work I do at the Club (programme editing, match day tweeting and match reports) does make this challenge even harder – but I love both the running and the hockey and although I felt fatigued at times I’ve managed to cope with fitting everything in so far.

At SEW we have a staff awards night event every 2 years called “STARS” where there are several categories including ‘STAR Giver’ which I had been nominated for. There were several other contenders for this award and I wasn’t expecting to win it if I’m honest, but was absolutely delighted to have won it – and I had the honour of accepting the award from Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan.

Katherine was great speaking to me and taking a selfie for my photo collection. I should mention that before my award she had delivered some brilliant jokes including poking fun at marathon runners, needless to say I was bricking it when going up to the stage, but she was brilliant with me.

My final mention for September is day 271 which fell on the 27th. Ben “401” Smith who I’ve mentioned in many posts before came to visit SEW and take part in a lunchtime run – needless to say his presence drew a big attendance and inspired many people to take-up physical activity at lunch.

I’ve never ran in fancy dress before, it’s never really ticked my box if I’m honest, but this challenge has changed me and on October 7th (day 281) Steve and I took part in the Maidstone parkrun dressed in shorts with bums sticking out – it drew a few funny looks!

Having not done over a half marathon for a while I had the perfect opportunity on the 12th October whilst waiting for Nicola to have an operation at Medway Hospital. Knowing I had a few hours spare I ran 23km in warm conditions, it felt good to do that distance again but I was certainly a bit tired afterwards – something to remember ready for 2018 events when I need to start increasing the miles again.

Other events in October included day 300 on October 26th and me dressed as Beetlejuice at the Malling parkrun on 28th October.

November 9th (day 314) brought me to another landmark in getting 100 people joining me on a run thought the year – and that 100th person was our MD at SEW, Paul Butler. Ok, Paul didn’t run, but he walked and it helped reiterate one of the key things I set out to do at the start of this challenge – to encourage people to get active whether it be walking, jogging or running, it all helps.

A couple of days later it was the KST Gala Evening in Ashford. It was great to meet some of the great sporting ambassadors the Trust have as well as catching-up with colleagues, friends and other inspirational people, Carol Ford and Steve Craddock are two of many of them.

Unbeknown to me, I was given another award for the money I had raised throughout the year – and to accept the award from Ben Smith and Dame Kelly Holmes was the icing on the cake.

Both of these people are great role models to me, heroes in fact. Once we get to day 500 Steve Wolfe and myself will have the honour of running with Ben and Dame Kelly – look out for updates on how that may include you too!

November 25th is a day I won’t forget in a hurry for the wrong reasons – I had really bad diarrhoea and sickness. I really struggled with my 10km, so much so I had to go round a few blocks and then hurry home to be either sick or sit on the toilet. Not only did it take me ages to complete, but it also had me question why on earth I was doing this – thankfully I only have those thoughts on a rare occasion and come the following day my illness was starting to get better.

Into December and the 15th marked the 350th day. I must confess that only a few trusted people knew this, but for most of December I had been struggling a little bit with a groin strain. I know how I did it too – overstretching to jump a puddle of all things.

It was very niggly at times, but on other days it wasn’t a problem. Luckily for me I managed the injury by plodding and running in as many straight lines as possible, unlike say football I wasn’t doing sharp turns or explosive sprinting. The injury is much better than it was when I originally did it and come early January I expect to be fully fit – ready for marathon training.

So after year 1 my stats are:

  • Days ran: 366
  • Money raised to date: £3218.00
  • People ran with to date: 101
  • Minimum KM required: 3660km (2271.21 miles)
  • Actual KM ran: 4355.43km (2706.34 miles)
  • Extra KM so far: 695.43 (435 miles)

It’s been a brilliant year and I thank everyone who has either ran with me, donated money or encouraged me along.

So what for 2018? Firstly, now my wife Nicola and friend Diane Davey are running their own personal challenges again after injury I plan to run with them when I can. I will of course be running with Steve Wolfe a lot and Brendon Davey when time allows him to as well as joining fellow “KST” runners and the Medway Rebel Runners at various events including parkruns.

My work running group “the Snodland Sprinters” will continue to grow in 2018 – so much so that around 10 of that group will be running the Dartford Half Marathon in March. For many of these runners it will be a new experience but I’ve no doubt they’ll smash it.

In April I’ll be running two marathons within a week, that being Brighton and London. For Brighton, work colleague Caroline Gould will be running her first marathon, as will Tracy Harris for London, so no doubt I’ll be training with these two between now and April.

Finally, I will of course target to run a minimum of 10km every day until I get to 1096 whilst raising funds for KST. I would like to thank all of my corporate sponsors for their kind donations and support. If anyone wants to run with me (beginners very welcome) please get in contact.

For donations please use the attached link: