2015 is coming to a close and it is a time when I can reflect on my running achievements, injuries, the training and my overall health and well being.

This year started off very strong and hopeful but then after some great A races with a huge personal best, the summer and autumn didn't quite go as planned and by October, I scaled back on running, as work, home life and family commitments become a priority...


It is sometimes hard to stay focused and consistent with training over the Christmas period. Although I was off over Christmas I still work shifts, so like most the population I do not get a week off, which I think does help keep me motivated...

The weather has been very cold and wet for the first few weeks of 2015, and today is a chilly start, but dry and very calm winds. The heavy rain has held off the past week, but still mud is thick and heavy in places along the river.

Just shy of four hours, I make it in 3:57:25 and in 7th position


As a Brightonian this has become my regular yearly event, just like the full marathon. This is the 25th anniversary addition with a record number of 12,500 entrants! 

That compared to 200 club runners back in 1990, makes Brighton the top spot for the half marathon in the south east.

This year we are lucky with dry conditions and some sunshine. But with a chilly and fresh start.

It is always great to catch up with local running friends and from afar at the start. Our friend Gillian had come
All the way from Glasgow especially...

My ultra training has been mostly off road and with plenty of climbs and hours on feet. I've not spent much time with intervals or speed sessions this winter. 

I managed the best I could but suffered in the later stages finishing in 1:27:29. Not my best at this race distance...


March my training started to improve with plenty of off road trails and running long. I ran the Stinger again, a local low key event with 200 runners taking part in the half and full marathon. 

I finished with a strong result and feeling good throughout. The mud was so deep and thick in places it made the last few miles unbearable, but I managed to finish well in 9th place 3hr 44min. Not as quick as the dry conditons last year but a very good training day...

Mid March is the Endurance Life event in East Sussex starting in Birling Gap, near Beachy Head. The weather had turned drier but with strong winds along the cliff tops. 

I went into this event strong and with my mileage higher, so was looking to improve on last years overall time and position if strong enough....

The route is rather strenuous with an overall eleavtion climb of 5,800ft in the 34 mile distance. The course is the full marathon route then the 10k route after running past the finishing area. 

The front field runners were very fast and strong from go and it was impossible to keep up their pace. I just ran on feel and power hiked the really steep climbs, then raced the flat and downhill sections. 

It seemed to pay off towards the end as I gradually caught up and overtook the faster runners in the last 6 miles. I surprised myself in finishing 4th position and with a 19 minute personal best of last years time, 5:15:26


Early April is the first Centurion 50 series along the South Downs way, starting in worthing and finishing in Eastbourne. I have only ever been a spectator cheering on my friends for this event so this year it was my turn to give it a go...

I am lucky to live nearby most of the route and have had plenty of practice along most of the route. I think the CTS last month was a good warm up practice with enough weeks inbetween for a rest to be ready to race hard.

Another good catch up with my local running friends and to ease the nerves at the start is always a nice experience to start any race. Again I admire the very fast front runners, this time the super elites who I never actually get to catch up with through the entire race...

I manage to run strong and hold my pace throughout, a slight wrong turn right at the end cost me a few miuntes but with a strong sprint finish I managed to make a personal best on this distance in 7:18:46 in 6th position.

This is the sixth Brighton marathon since the first for the city back in 2010. As it is my home event, I have run every year and wasn't going to let the SDW50 from last week prevent me from running today... 

Starting with the mass start at Preston Park this year, instead of the 300 Elite runners at Withdean Park like previous years. I enjoy the crowd support and buzz. 

I felt good pretty much most of the race, except for the last 5-6 miles where I really started to feel the discomfort from the sun and no shade. I started to feel sick and my legs are done on the repetitive flat road, with my pace slowing to a 7:10-7:20min/mile average.

The worst part and change to this year was the plastic cups of water instead of the squeeze packets of previous years. This really did add time on at the drink stops and over the full distance cost me those vital seconds to reach a sub 3 hour time. It wasn't my plan but as things went so well it was the only thing slowing me down...

I came in 3:00:32. So close and yet again.. so far. I have yet to reach a sub three hour at Brighton. 

As always Brighton delivered and was an amazing day. The crowd support is one of the best I have experienced at any marathon.

This year is the 35th anniversary of London Marathon and almost 38,000 runners have come to be a part of the big day!

Compared to Brighton the weather has turned and got rather wet and windy with a drop in temperature. With the damper conditions I stay with shorts, compression socks and a vest as I will start to heat up in the humid conditions...

This is my second go at running the London Marathon and I think after my personal best of a sub three hour two years ago, I have a tough run on my hands. I have not been training much road or interval sessions so can only race today on feel and see how it goes.

The first half went well but already the huge numbers of runners really starts to make me uncomfortable and I feel slightly off balance and costrophobic. My time is on target at the half way marker.

The next leg I start to suffer and my body fatigues drastically. I am not sure if the past two events have caught up with me or the damp humid is wiping me out, but my pace drops quickly and I am unable to keep up my target of 6:25-6:45min/mile...

Once reaching Westminster I realise I tried my best and to not over think things. I take in all the loud crowd support and the last 800m I get the goosebumps and feel so overwhelmed. It really is amazing to finish in London and is fantastic to be a part of. 

I catch a glimpse of the clock above and was so close to a similar Brighton time... 

I finish in 2:59:17 this year.


Sussex Trail Events hold the second edition of this out and back trail marathon (27 miles). Running along the river banks to Arundel, North Stoke, then Amberley where the route meets the South Downs Way leading up Rackham Hill then to Springhead Hill for the turnaround point. 

The conditions are perfect spring like weather with cooling breezes and some sunshine. Unlike the much warmer weather of last year. 

I run nearly the entire race strong and keep my pace up on the flat and downhill sections, power jogging the steep climbs. It is only towards the last few miles I suffer on the thick grass and my pace drops.

I surprise myself making it in 3rd place overall and in 3hrs 38min. A personal best on last year and without going off route adding more miles...


Just one week before my first 100 miler of the year I decided to attend the Seaford Half Marathon as places were still available. This is a local club event with usually around 400 runners taking part.

The weather has improved and started to get very dry, but still with a good breeze, so I was planning on taking this easy and just run on feel using this as a good taper run.

The route is mostly off road and is a loop up onto the South Downs Way to Bo Peep, then down to Cuckmere Valley before heading up two more climbs to Seaford Head. The last section is the flat promenade along Seaford seafront to the finish. 

I felt good throughout today and saved my legs on the climbs by power hiking and then making up time on the flat and downhill sections. 

I manage to get a personal best from when I ran two years ago in 1:38:58 in 15th position.

That day has arrived to battle another one hundred miles! 

I feel confident I can give it my best as training has gone to plan and I have been fairly consistent where possible to keep my hours training higher per week and use the warm up events to my advantage.

It is a really humid and damp start but already the temperature feels warm, even at 6am. 266 runners are towing the start line tody.

I stay with my pacing plan of running an average 8:30min/mile pace and then power hike the steep climbs to save my legs for the second leg.

I run on feel today and everything seems to run smoothly, my nutrition and hydration is going to plan and I am making good time. I really enjoy the sights and all the support from my crew and the volunteers along the way. 

The time passes so quickly and soon darkness comes. The wind picks up and I enjoy the cooling breeze. I slowly start to pick off the front runners who start to flag and drop their pace. 

I cannot believe what I am seeing on my clock as I approach nearly 17 hours and the finish is in sight. 

I sprint as fast as my knackered legs can take me around the sports track and make it in 16:52:33. My fastest 100 miler and a huge personal best time. 

With another runner losing his way and going off the route I make it in 2nd position and just two minutes behind first place! I cannot believe my luck!

This was rather a last minute decision as it is only run every other year, so this was my first attempt at what the real big miles are all about...

Only ten days after my SDW 100 victory, this would either go very well or very badly...

My body felt recovered and strong but I wasn't sure how I would hold up with the constant flat tow paths and canal route towards the end. Flat has never been my ideal and I am too used to lumps and bumps easing off on the repetitive strain that roads can give.

This distance is completely unknown territory for me. I started with my plan of staying at 9:00min/mile on average as the route is very flat, it seems comfortable to sustain.

The weather was really heating up and temperatures along some parts of the Thames reached 30C with very little breeze and shaded parts. I really suffered with feeling the heat and was constantly drinking water and salts. I just kept drinking to thirst and was always thirsty...

I finally relaxed into my run during the first night and enjoyed the cool and calm darkness along the canal. Some friends caught up with me on the way and some of the checkpoints were not available as I arrived just too quickly for them.

After 24 hours I was four hours in the lead and had no sleep as yet. 

The next day heated up even faster and my body started to feel effects of sunstroke and fatigue. I became lightheaded, sick, dilerious with no sleep and my ankles were very sore. 

Lindley the race director managed to strap up my ankles which eased the feeling of strain but only for so long...

By the second evening and reaching Nether Heyford Village Hall I decided to freshen up, eat, then have a nap for an hour or so. As soon as I stopped my ankles felt on fire and had swollen quite considerably...

I had decided in my head if they felt this bad on waking I would need to really think about to call it a day?

The rest only eased my head but my ankles and legs were throbbing and felt so swollen, I could feel the strain on my ankle ligaments just like my injury last year. So I decided to drop. 

Reaching 159 miles through the 250 mile event, I was not too upset with my effort, just annoyed my feet couldn't cope any longer. 

I have most certainly learnt plenty should I come back again in 2017...


After a good rest period and come the end of July I head on up to Glasgow to meet my friend Gillian and her Daughter Gail. 

We take the road trip north to Fort William and get settled in a self catering apartment just ten minutes form the Ben Nevis base range, where the start of the inaugural marathon will be held. 

I am fortunate to know one of the race organisers and have a good idea of what to expect, although I am a complete tourist to the West Highlands. 

I am very excited to be a part of this new multi-terrain event in Scotland.

Almost 400 runners arrived today for the start. With much cooler and dry weather, unlike the humid south this timne of year, it is very pleasant conditions to run in. 

Shortly after the start the route takes a steep climb up into Leanachan Forest on trail paths with stunning views overlooking Ben Nevis. I am in awe of the sights I see...

The route goes past Commando Memorial on trails and then winds on towards the Caladonian Canal path. This is the flattest and fastest section of the route. 

I pick up my pace on this part and manage to jump up a few places. Still feeling strong but slightly fatigued from all the flat on my ankles, I reach the finish back at the Ben Nevis Range in 18th position in 3:22:25

I feel good but my body and ankles are still scarred from the Thames Ring attempt a month ago...


August arrives so it is the Centurion North Downs Way 100 race! 

I have a love hate relationships with these Downs, unlike my home turf of the South Downs, the NDW is very contrasting and steeper in parts with more than a few steps in and out of woodlands and forests. No matter how prepared you are the Downs will get you in the end...

I came back knowing what to expect from last year, just in a much slower time than I imagined. I was hoping to improve on this today and finish quicker if possible. 

The day started humid but soon dried up and became rather warm. Again I suffered in the sun and was forever thirsty. I tried to focus on the course markers and relax but it never came. 

I soon navigated away from the route deep into woods on numerous occasions...

Once reaching Boxhill at the marathon distance I had dropped in places and wasted time going off route. I had even fallen over on stones srapping my hands and arms. 

Not a good start...

The day progressed and so did my low mood, I felt uncomfortable and frustrated in the sun, annoyed at myself for getting lost and not paying attention to my surroundings. 

By sunset I could at least cool down and feel slightly more comfortable. I picked up my pace and slowly overtook runners from the front. The Centurion crews and my suppoirt have been amazing all day and keeping my spirits up. 

All seemed well... until my ankles started to nag, then nag some more... 

My tendons had really started to swell again, like when I ran along the Thames and soon enough they got too sore to keep up the pace. I had a rest at Bluebell Hill with the comapany of my good friends crewing here and checked the damage. It wasn't good, the ligaments had swollen and bruised like before and I was at risk of causing even more permanent damage. 

If I carry on like this, my pace will slow, then eventually be a crawl, just to make the last 25 miles to finish. I decided I really didn't want the risk of being injured for the rest of the year...

75 miles was enough and all I could accomplish today. I tried but the North Downs beat me today!

This is a new race for Sussex Trail events and takes place along Worthing seafront. An out and back route racing the evening tide...

Finishing in 25th place in 43:32. Four minutes slower than my best and only 10k race time!


The end of the month I return to Hornchurch Country Park for the Spitfire Scramble 24hr event. Myself and Helen are running again as a mixed pair like last year and hope to improve on our number of laps between us or at least match it...

The multi-terrain course is 5.79 mile loop on smooth footpath, grass, mud, shingle and wooded tracks.

The weather has turned cooler with a nice breeze and the chance of some light showers. Perfect for a weekend of running. We set up base with our own small tent full of supplies, fresh clothing, sleeping bags and blankets for later. 

Our plan of one lap each goes well and we stick to this until sundown. Then we take it in turns with sleep breaks while the other is running. The rest periods get longer for Helen as the night goes on, as I am completing quicker, so she has less down time. 

I am taking things easy as aware that only three weeks ago I damaged my ankles and really didn't want to create more serious damage to them...

Our laps get slower and I manage a few double laps while Helen is crashed out. 

Once morning arrives we manage a lap each before midday and finish in 2nd position with 17 laps in total. I safely covered 57.9 miles without casuing too much stress on my feet. 

Anymore I think it could have been far worse...

I really enjoy this event and decided at the finish I would like to return next year as a solo runner to see how far I am able to go!

I decide to give the Sandstone Way 200k event, I had planned, a miss, as I was not fully trained long to feel strong enough and do not know the area or logistics too well compared to my local southern events. 

I figured the month off will rest my body and mind so I can focus on winter training and look forward to my vacation in November...


Another Sussex Trail Event and the last in their calendar. I was not so lucky to run the Downslink last year as I had ligament damage and Plantar Fascitis in my heel. So this year was my chance to run strong and experience the route along disused railway track. 

The route starts on North Downs Way, St Marthas Hill and leads onto the Downslink footpath through Surrey and West Sussex, where it reaches the South Downs Way. The field is small with just over 125 runners today. 

I finish strong and the best I could acheive today. I probably didn't get my pacing as accurate as I liked but for so much flat, I am never really prepared for it to be honest. The last few miles paid off when front runners were slowing down and starting to walk with fatigue. 

I came in 3rd place overall in just under 15 minutes from the lead runner in 5:12:10

This was to be a nice finish to the year and it ended on a high! 

The Hill ultra in December was going to be my final event for 2015, as I have unfinished business to complete it, but with no more hours to take the extra time off and family commitments I had to make the decision to not run it and stay at home instead.

It turns out the relax, vacation in November and time off running has done me good and a nagging glute muscle injury has finally subsided.

2016 Look Out!


Sussex Trail Events host the third edition Downslink Ultra today. Starting at St Martha's Hill, North Downs Way near Guildford and finishing 38 miles south in Shoreham along River Adur. 

The link route uses mostly the disused railway line passing through, Cranleigh, Fudgwick, Southwater, West Grinstead, Partridge Green, Henfield, Steyning and Bramber. Once meeting the South Downs Way at the river it follows this to the finish at the scout hut. 

-Sussex Trail Events

No line yet at race check in

A sunny but chilly morning is the setting in Shoreham as I arrive at the Scout Hut and meet the other runners. 

Three mini buses have been booked from the finish to take us up to the start in Guildford. This was an extra bonus added by Jay, Danny and Chris.

I catch up with running friends John, Lee, Nick and Marina before we head over to meet the other runners for the transfer to the start. 

Jay is here and issues our race numbers as he checks everyone off his list...

Selfie with Sharon, our first Downslink 

The mini buses are right on time and I get to catch up with Mark Johnson, Tom Sawyer, Thomas and Trefor before we board. 

Soon enough we are on the road and the hour journey passes by quickly. 

I started my day with my usual race fuel of an avocado and bulletproof coffee (coffee with cream, coconut oil and butter). 

But after plenty of water in the car I am really ready to reach Guildford as soon as...

Walk up the hill to the start

After catching up with Chris Ette and the race registration I spot running friend Sharon and Maria. Sharon, like Lee have not yet run over the 50k distance, so they are rather nervous but still very excited all the same...

I missed the Downslink last year with injury problems. Plantar Fasciitis on my heel and tendon troubles on my ankles was not a good indication to run a flat 38 miler. 

I feel stronger this year and although I have still had the ankles issues, I can control it with cross training and rest. 

St Martha's 

Danny briefs us just before the start and advises that at Southwater there is another running event taking place so to just be aware the route maybe crowded some here. 

After just a few minutes to spare before the go, I wish everyone the best of luck and make my way through the crowd to the front pack runners. The start is on the sand dunes and has a wide area to run on, but looks to narrow as we head down to the woods. 

With the Ultra club, the new and old school ones

A smooth, yet fast start heading downhill over sand dunes of the North Downs Way. I follow the fast front pack runners and already Paul Sargent is tearing ahead in the lead. 

The track meets the Downslink footpath at the Sussex Border Path divide. 

The route becomes rutted, uneven and with plenty of tree roots to navigate. It is impossible to run too fast and I stay close behind others while it is so narrow. 

Heading down hill along North Downs Way (Jon Lavis)

I keep an eye on my pace and stay to an average of 7:45-8:00min/mile, but get more relaxed once into a rhythm. The first couple of miles have the most climbs, through woods and on trails. It gives my legs a chance to relax and take it easy before putting my foot on the gas.

After five miles the route picks up the gravel bridle track and remains flat from here onwards...

The track leads parallel through Wonersh, Shamley Green, Cucknell Wood, Rowly and then heads toward Cranleigh.

Just before 10 miles I reach Cranleigh Leisure centre for the first checkpoint. I spot Chris who records my number and asks how I am doing. I just stop for a few cups of water then thank the team before making my way forward again. 

I feel warmed up and the sun is increasing the air temperate. I am in the zone and feeling good. I keep to my pacing plan and enjoy the scenery and route.

Race face on the smooth flat (Jon Lavis)

Many Sunday strollers, cyclists, dog walkers and horse riders pass in both directions, enjoying the warm sunshine and dry day. The temperature has risen and I roll down my arm sleeves for some air. I take my first Salt Stick capsule. 

At 14 miles I pass through Rudgwick and across the Guildford Road, 16 miles passing Slinfold and then heading on to Itchingfield. 

John Fitz and Mark Johnson

Reaching 19 miles and the half way point, just approaching Christ Hospital on Weston's Hill. A few miles of road section then back onto the Downslink trail throiugh Two Mile Ash and onto Southwater.

The next checkpoint is in Southwater and I arrive to a large crowd of cheering spectators and see a running friend, Ash and Poppy the dog taking a photo. I drink two cups of water and the team check my pack that I am carrying enough to the next stop. I am not ready for any fuel as yet and still feel strong enough running on my fat stores alone.

All smiles still...

Lee staying strong (Jon Lavis)

I take another Salt Stick capsule and sip on some olive oil I always carry on me. I am not yet overly needing the fuel but take some to just keep my stores up. 

I run through Copsale, Furzefield Wood and then come to the disused station  of West Grinstead. Plenty of spectators and cupport are cheering us along here. 

A mile or so further down I hear someone call my name from behinf me. It os running friend Rachael from Worthing, she has come along to support on her push bike and is waiting for other running friends of ours to pass through. 

It is always good to see a friendly face along the way and it is a shame she didnt decide to come run wioth us this year. I thank her for coming to see me and she wishes me well before heading in the other direction...

Here comes Ultra Nick

At 29 miles and reaching Henfield checkpoint, there is a big group of supporters and families waiting for runners to arrive. I drink some water and suck on a jelly baby. I chat to the team and they ask how I sm feeling. They check my water and decide I have enough until the nest stop at Bramber just 4 miles away. 

I spot another runner here who knows me but I cannot remember where I know him from... It will play on my mind now until the finish....

Number recored I thank everyone and keep moving forward across the road and back onto the route through the sheltered trees. My legs are starting to ache from all the flat but I still feel strong and focused to kepp up the pace. 

Few miles later the route passes through Steyning and I take in the enjoyable views of fields and countryside. The sun is strong now and it feels like a warm spring day out here! I text Sunday that I am less than ten miles to reach the finish. 

soon enough the trail leads out into a housing estate and back onto road. I remeber this section from last year where I came out to meet John. I wonder how he is getting along at the moment...


The last check point at Bramber Castle is just around the corner and I am running next to the leading lady. We have been cat and mouse for most of the duration today and she is holding a very strong pace with little give...

I can see a small group of supporters through the trees at the roundabout up ahead. I can then hear the clapping and cheers from them and the team at the checkpoint.

Steve and Tina are here and it is good to see my friends doing a great job. Steve helps to undo my water pack whilst on my back still. Tina logs my number and tells me 'Well done you are in fifth position'. The other team member is giving the first lady directions for the next section as she is leaving already. 

Steve is just about finished topping me up when he tries to tighten the lid but without realising it is loose, Tina sees my surprised reaction and laughs, the water just leaks and floods my back and buttocks... 

It is very cold but cooling all the same. Atleast half is left and with just over 5 miles to the finish I am good until I reach. Steve cheekily slaps my bum and jokes will I forgive him?!

I hug them both and thank them for their support. Few cups of water and a jelly bean for my sugar hit, I am on my way. The route is slightly different this year, following the path under the road and back along to the river on the other side. 

I am now at the River Adur and can see three front pack runners on the banks over the other side. A sip of my olive oil, music cranked up. I push harder in 5th gear and quicken my pace. 

The last stretch into the finish (Shawn Timmons)

Just as I approach the South Downs Way footpath I have already caught up with two male runners ahead, who look to be fading and fatigued. Their gait is tired and with a shuffle to the feet. 

At this stage in a long distance event like a 50 miler or 100, I tend to find my strong and feel nicely warmed up to push on quicker, especially when the terrain is flat and smoother trail. My energy is constant without any dips to worry about so I still have the mental focus to get my head down and push on hard...

Stop that Garmin (Shawn Timmons)

The trail crossed the bridge then stays on the cycle path side until the Shoreham footbridge. This section is very quiet, long, winding and sheltered from the river and landscape. I find it a struggle and the last few miles feel forever. 

I see the first lady walking and catch up with her once again. Following the markers and over the bridge to the otherside of the river. Just me and nobody else to be seen up ahead...

This last mile leg is probably the most difficult part of the entire route. The paving slabs are uneven, slanted, with holes and gaps of grass in-between. It s impossible to run fast with all the wobbling sides and gaps. It is also very narrow and passing walkers is difficult. I can spot the finishing flags and Scout Hut up ahead.

Finishing 3rd Place in 5:12:10

Once back onto smooth grass and reaching the playground, already supporters and families are eagerly waiting and cheering as I pass them. I can see familiar faces as I approach the end. Shawn, Sarah Sawyer, Lucy and Mark are there to greet me...

I try for a sprint finish but not much power is left in my legs for this. It is done. Finished. It is good to see everyone and I catch up with Chris and Jadon about how the event unfolded. 

Paul came in first position this year followed by Tom Saywer a few minutes before me. 

The yummy vegetable chilli 

I get changed and have some of the delightful vegetable chilli that is served. 

Eventually we cheer on Thomas, John and Marina who make it into the finish top 50, still looking fresh and strong. Sharon is not far behind, sprinting along still, for Sharon's first Downslink she did superb and is elated with her result and race. 

Mark, Trefor and Lee are not so far behind and had a great race too. 

John and Marina finishing

Sharon finishing and now an ultra runner

Lee still holding on strong for the last mile

Steve and Tina come by after the final checkpoint has closed ready for Nick to come into the finish. 

In true Nick stlye he makes it in strong but worn out, greeted by all his friends, Carin and Ruby (that bloody dog). He didn't have the best race but always seems to soldier along and get the job done! 

Everyone performed so well today and it has been great to eventually run this event and watch the day unfold. I am happy with my result and didn't want to race as hard as possible as I still have another utra coming up, so will need my strong and rested legs for this...



The medal bling