Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Faith and running seems a strange combination, but I am surprised to see that the further you want to go or the faster you want to run, the element of 'believing' that you can do it is important, as the mental endurance required is vital. Some running series have quotes and slogans that lead participants to 'believe' that they can do it. Believing and doing are two separate things but they go close together in the realm of putting it into action and being able to endure both physically and mentally. The heart and mind are inexplicably linked. 
As a Christian my faith although not focused on running as such does give me hope in the journey and rather than a pure 'Faith' in my own ability... which is often sadly lacking, rather it helps me see beyond my own expectations and to enjoy the outside and nature, the untangled moorland and learning to take the rough with the smooth - trail running is good for this. Jesus is described as my 'Forerunner', he has gone before and knows the route that I need to take in life, the ups and downs, pitfalls and crossing points where decisions need to be made. As runners take on greater challenges, myself included, the need to recce a route is important as getting lost on a mountain ultra or trail race can add miles to the race distance. So it is with faith and Christianity, I'm glad to know that Jesus is my Forerunner.

So it is now less than 3 days to go tot he start of the #UGB200; I have sat in a hospital waiting with my son for 9 hours where I have been able to pour over the route maps and further consider my race options, even with having done some recces and reading the maps I am still awaiting the journey, time to put the belief, or I could say 'hope' into action.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why 200miles?

Putting 200 miles into context - 4 days to go

A 200 mile ultra running race seems somewhat extreme! That's 320km, in Parkrun terms that's 64 Parkruns... for my local Parkrun at Woodhouse Moor in Leeds that's 128 full laps and the 64 half laps and a little bit extra!! Not too bad after all, but enough to make you dizzy. I've only actually completed about x20 Parkruns and have a long way to go to get my 50 Parkrun vest.

However I know for sure that at during the last 3 miles of the 200, in my head I will just tell myself only a Parkrun to go and probably count myself round imaginary laps of Hyde Park, but unlikely to be popping out a 5km PB!

Please visit my JustGiving page if you would like to sponsor me ( I have been running various ultra marathons in 2017 culminating in the Ultra Great Britain 200 mile coast to coast race that starts on 19th August 2017. It goes East from Southport to Hornsea along the Trans-Pennine Trail and I am raising funds for Dementia UK in memory of my father Eddie Armstrong who passed away 2 years ago after a period where he suffered with dementia before he died. It was a week later that I did my first half-marathon in nearly 19 years.

After seeing my dad struggle with dementia for some time before he passed away, I would like to raise funds for this worthy cause because those suffering with dementia need to be cared for. He would often have moments of clarity where you could again see the person that can often be forgotten in the condition. So this is why I would like to support Dementia UK in providing nursing care.

As I take this on my planning has really been to break down the 200miles into sections between the CP' s, I need to be able to manage this and I have a spread sheet to boot. Figuring out pace, times, nutrition... when and where to sleep, and what to put in the 4 drop bags etc. Race strategy thinking seems to have taken over and my body is feeling good, my pair of twisted ankles seem to have recovered and have healed well, although I will be careful with them in the race and will taped them up. No section of the race is much greater than a marathon, the smallest is 3.5miles, so just over one Parkrun and a section of the race would be done.

I seemed to have signed up for this race ages, it feels like aeons ago, but now it is only this coming Saturday at 6am when it will all start. As much as I know I will enjoy it, I will be focusing on times and CP's and the route. It feels like a challenge and a half, but I know that as I have trained that there is a real big run in me, and this may be just the start.

I'm looking forward to the ultra vibe and some ace support from my running club Hyde Park Harriers.

Four days to go...the countdown continues. Bec says "she deserves a medal" as I keep going on about the race and my plans, just a few more days to go now. I've been tapering for a week almost and starting to bounce, starting to feel the long run ahead.