Practice Run

With our team being almost complete now, we thought it might be a good idea to try and replicate each of our roles that we’ll have in Africa.  This way we will have plenty of time to iron out the problems we discover before we leave.  We had a look into trails that are already established in the UK to have a practice on.  The West Highland Way was looking like an exciting, wild and rugged trail to use but unfortunately the road doesn’t get very close to the trail often.  At a similar distance, we found the Cotswold Way (103 miles).  Apparently, the most sign posted trail in the UK, so fingers crossed the navigation should be super simple: follow the sign!

DSC00452So, on Wednesday we had our first team meeting, in which the main topic was the practice run (along with a million other things).  This was our first meeting that Mike has attended so there was lots to update him on.  We have probably completely overloaded him with information and tasks for him to get started on but he’s a good’un so I have no doubt he’ll get stuck in.  Aysha was particularly quiet for most of the meeting, this might have something to do with the snot running down her face and her lack of voice! (this is why she isn’t in the picture!) Bless her.  And I did a cracking job of supplying health snacks.

I think having a meeting, chatting about plans and throwing around ideas is always a great way to get motivated.  At least for me it is anyway.  I’ve come away from the meeting feeling overly excited just about the practice run.  I can barely contain myself when I actually think about Africa!  We’ve all got our own list of jobs that we each need to get ticked off, hopefully this has been shaped by our individual skills.  Doing this kind of challenge with a team is so incredible. I don’t know about the rest of the team but at the moment I am feeling really supported and a real sense of team spirit, which in turn makes me want to be better myself and not let them down.

Go Team Head Over Heels!!!!

By Emma

February (better late than never!!)

So, February wasn’t as productive as I would have hoped.  In the way of increasing mileage anyway. But I suppose I have started to lay the foundations for my training in a really a positive way.

I have started to see my physio again which is working on ironing out all of the problems I have.  Loosening up my muscles, strengthening my knees. All aspects of running which are easily neglected but play a vital role in remaining injury free, therefore helping me to complete my charity run.  I managed to go to circuit training at Sandbach Fit club a few times which is an amazing all round training session. Fantastic for building up strength.

run014I have gained a new running partner who is super keen for trail running which is great for me. He knows lots of places to run that I don’t know and also works shifts meaning we can run together in the week. I have managed a couple of long runs but not as many as I had hoped.  I’m not too concerned about this as there is still plenty of time, and I do worry about overloading my knees too early.  I have also had my only run in the snow this year, it was so pretty. What a shame the winter has been so mild!

Just as with January I have had lots of events going on this month so it’s been a case of IMG_0420slotting in training around other things. I turned 30 so there has been lots of celebrations to squeeze training around. At the beginning of the month I spent a few days in Scotland doing more winter mountaineering so there was no running then and at the end of the month I went out to Taiwan to visit my brother.  I can’t complain as these are all things that I want to be doing.  I am eager to start building up my mileage but I need to remember that its still at least six months before I leave.




February total mileage: 97.7miles

February longest run: 16miles


Very-Inspiring-AwardWe have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I like this award. Who doesn’t want to be very inspiring? Although, if I got to choose a personal attribute, first choice would be very wise, or funny, or can move at the speed of light or as strong as an elephant – I realize I’m drifting into super powers. For your adventure what super power would you like to have?

(I know that Emma also writes on this blog and so ought to be accepting the award too but, to make up for it, I will ask her to do a post on inspiration when she’s back).

Anyway back to the award. I like it. I like the idea that the blog is inspiring. And I am delighted that the award is for being “very” inspiring and not, “a little bit” inspiring.

Thank you for the award, Dear Kitty. Some Blog – who writes about anything and everything. If you are into news, especially interesting news that doesn’t make it into the mainstream, but don’t have much time for sifting through it all, this is the blog for you.

Keeping with the theme of inspiration, I have here 3 quotes, 2 films, 1 story and 1 change in attitude that enable me to do the things that make me happy. Maybe you will like them too:

1. Quote

Emma run windswept

Emma is inspiring because she does it and, whatever it is, she does with determination and a brilliant sense of humour. Perhaps, that’s what Dear Kitty was thinking as well.

2. Quote

Just Fucking Do It!

(Pam Warhurst of Incredible Edible Todmorden Unlimited)

I love this statement. If you ever have a chance to go and listen to Pam Warhurst, definitely go. Funny and full of energy. But, basically, stop with the committees, thinking you need this or that and even sometimes asking permission and just do it. I’ll do as much preparation as I can, but ultimately we’re going and we’re going in August.

3. Quote

“The wonderful things in life are the things you do, not the things you have.” Reinhold Messner

(although I frequently think, a warm house in winter, is a wonderful thing.)

4. Film

It’s not just that they scaled El Capitan without all the limbs that most people have but, that they failed the first time and had to go back to do it again. It’s the sheer determination that makes me love this short film (8 minutes).

5. Film

Wide Boyz. Another climbing movie. Sorry. We’ll make a movie about Emma and in years to come I’ll use that for inspiration. This is a 2 minute clip, but its much better if you can watch the Reel Rock 10 minute version. Then you get a feel for the two years of dedicated training that Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker do before their amazing climb. It reminds me everything takes hard work. Keep going.

6. Story (sort of)

Jennifer Steinman made a film about ultra-marathon runners (Desert Runners, its fantastic). Ultra Runner Girl interviewed her. The runners taught Jennifer. Jennifer taught me:

“The biggest thing I learned out there was that the difference between who makes it and who doesn’t has nothing to do with fitness. I saw people out there who you wouldn’t think in a million years could run a 5k race actually finish a 250k race. And those were the people that always knew they would finish. They never entertained doubt. They didn’t even allow it to enter their consciousness.

I would ask them “what does it mean for you if you don’t make it?” And they would reply, “I’ll make it.” They weren’t even willing to have that conversation. They were focused on what they needed to do next and how they could move forward. That was it. It was about the kind of mental commitment and determination that didn’t leave you any option other than to finish.”

(Here’s the link to the full article:

Occasionally, people say to Emma and I,

“If you go to Africa …”

and we interrupt with

“No, we’re going. There’s no if.”

There’s no other option. We’ll find a way. It makes everything a lot simpler.

7. Change of Attitude

Lastly, I used to think, “I can’t” a lot. It was ingrained and I didn’t even know those two words where in my head. But, when I catch them, I silence them and allow the thought “I can” and see what happens. So here goes: I can organize Emma’s run across Africa and we can raise £100,000 in sponsorship for the charities – though I’ll admit that second one makes me feel slightly queasy.


Now, I get to tag a bunch of bloggers I find inspirational  (there are meant to be 7). I nominate and recommend:

Ultra Runner Girl

Under African Skies

Fungai Neni