run the river: may 2-5, 2014


click below and amazon will support caspa - running total £188

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Shortest Day

This week we passed the shortest day of the year. As a child this was an exciting event - the days began their inexorable journey towards the long, warm evenings of May and June. Slowly the day came to bathe the dark, wet night with glorious light. We looked forward to this moment for weeks and awaited the parental announcement: "the days are getting longer!!".

The picture library goes back to 2010 when snow fell in December in Orpington. The shortest day was a great running day. High Elms Country Park was dusted with a layer of snow and the trails were crisp and crunchy, waiting for the distinctive print of an Asics running shoe.

Remember, the days are getting longer and Cornwall 2013 is getting nearer. Happy Christmas and happy running.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Maps, glorious maps

Ever since I was very young I've been fascinated by maps. Long walks and runs have followed, using detailed Ordnance Survey mapping. I refuse to buy a Sat Nav!! I would rather look down from the sky and plot my route on the glorious world below. When flying as a 17 year old, the instructor took me to a height that showed the world like a map - a moving experience!!

Above is a small piece of Cornish map. Take a look, a long, careful look and wonder at the picture it paints. Beaches, some accessible and some not, ancient settlements, undulations, islands, one with a lighthouse. There is a farm, a trig point and the remains of a Manor House. History and Sociology seeping from this small segment of Cornish Geography!!

And there, winding its way along the top of the cliffs is a green line. An official looking line, taking us on a guided tour of this sacred topography. The South West Coast path. We'll be there on the afternoon of Friday May 3rd. We will pass through the map in about 30 minutes, but what a glorious 30 minutes it will be.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Charity begins in the pub, 

The Chequers in Crockenhill held a quiz night for CASPA last Monday and what a night it was!! The quiz raised over £100 for young people with autism. But the fun really began later in the evening with "play your cards right" or "higher and lower" as it's often known. Much hilarity followed as no-one could win in this "play to the death" version of the game. Finally, at about 11.30 the winner was found. By then the charity had received over £200 from the generous locals in the Chequers.

The pubs of our area are vibrant hubs of community spirit and play a vital role in keeping the Big Society alive. Without the support of the landlord, staff and customers, charities would be much worse off. Pay them a visit and enjoy this generous corner of society.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Closer to Cornwall

In five months' time we will be on the road to the world famous Cornish peninsula. The team is pretty much complete. A rower, a mountain biker (or two?), 13 runners and two on support. The accommodation is booked, the rooms allocated and the training well underway.

Finally, and most terrifyingly, the towering cliffs and stacks of the Cornish coast await...are they scared of us? I don't think so...!!!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Definition of Hilly

Something that has made me think over the years is the age old question: what is a "hilly" run? We run, we rumble, we do hills and little undulations. But what is the definition of a hilly run? Finally, we have the answer!! The Steepness Index or STINker!!

This is worked out by taking the number of "feet of uphill" as a percentage of the "miles covered" in the run. For example, I have been doing a long, relatively flat, 9.40 mile run recently with an elevation of 337 feet. So the "Stinker" of 337/940 or 36%. The Petts Wood 10K, a fairly hilly race is 329 feet over 6.21 miles or 53%. A favourite hilly run in Biggin Hill is actually 7.74 miles long with uphill of 727 feet giving it a "Stinker" of 94%. We know this is a stinker and the index shows it.

However, when I did some recent coastal path running in preparation for our Cornwall adventures, I ran 4.66 miles covering 800 feet of climbing given it a Stinker of 172%. This is true hill running and Cornwall has plenty waiting for us next May. For the record, Day 3 of Hadrian's Wall was 15.74 miles and 2178 feet of uphill (a "stinker" of 138%).

So, under 50% = basically pretty flat, 50%-100% = getting fairly hilly, 100% to 150% = will be very strenuous and 150% - 200% = severe running test.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Amazon supports CASPA

A big reminder this weekend to support CASPA through our link with Amazon. If you are using Amazon this Christmas then please click the link in the banner above - you will go straight through to the usual Amazon site BUT they will remember where you clicked and pay CASPA 5%!!

Currently we have raised £99 together and if we could get 100 or even 1000 users then we could raise hundreds or even thousands of pounds for CASPA. And it's all free!! Hard to believe? Well yeh, but let's do it. Give as you spend.

Spread the word. As we look towards the next "fourdaysrunning" rumble, don't say no to free money. Tell your friends, link them, like them, poke them, share them, whatever it takes.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Time to run

From my window
Trails are calling,
In the glorious autumn sun.
Through the trees
Where leaves are falling,
I hear voices: "Time to run".

Smoke is rising
In the distance,
Blessed by glorious autumn sun.
Hilly paths and
Woodland mist and
Voices calling: "Time to run".

Come the day,
The final trail,
Watch the glorious setting sun.
When time is up,
And senses fail me,
 Silent whisper: "Time to run".

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Recycling for CASPA

All of our runners and readers know that we are raising money for CASPA, a charity that works so effectively with young people and children with Autism. Now here is a chance for you all (there is no running involved!!). It only involves recycling!!

If you have INKJET cartridges, LASER cartridges, TONER empties or old PHONES then collect them up and let Ivor have them OR ask Ivor for envelopes or collecting boxes OR, if you live further away, then you can register on the website and get your own freepost envelopes or boxes.

This is easy money. Get collecting and I'll put the total on here to let you see how we're doing. No running or cycling, JUST recycling!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Route for 2013

The route has had its first draft and what a magnificent trail it will be!! Over 110K of steep cliffs, grassy headlands, sandy beaches, secluded harbours and plenty of hills.

If you want the details, then click on "the route" above and have a look. Every road, path and trail is there for you to see. This will either make you want to join the team or fill you with fear!!

Each day will be around the 28K mark (two thirds of a marathon) and Day 2 is already looking like a monster. The Coast Path walking guide has parts of it rated as "severe" - so, be ready!!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Four Days "Rowing"!!

Cornwall is only six months away and we have added a new member of the team. Robin Morris is joining us in his sea going rowing boat!! Robin has rowed across the English Channel and will be keeping pace with the runners as we run the Cornish Coast Path. Every step we take, we should see the little rowing boat bobbing along offshore!!

The team is taking shape; runners, rower and support driver...all we need now are sponsors. Your first move could be to join the facebook page (click the banner on the right). Keep up with our daily news, results, action and fundraising totals. CASPA needs you, and so do we!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Petts Wood 10K

Once a year in the leafy suburb of Petts Wood, a 10K is run - and this is no ordinary 10K!! It is the Runners World readers top autumn 10K and is a very special event. For a start, the course is challenging!! None of this "four laps round the field" nonsense, no, Petts Wood has roads, trails, mud, tracks and hills and gives even the best runners something to think about.

This year was a beautiful day, sunny, cold and perfect for running. There were PBs everywhere (Petts Wood PBs anyway) and cups of tea at the finish, a gorilla giving out bananas and a medal worthy of the Olympics!! A great day out, and always marks the start of training for "fourdaysrunning". Cornwall here we come and thank you to all at the Petts Wood 10K for another award winning event.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Introducing Rayle Farm

The accommodation for next year's run in Cornwall has been booked and the deposit paid so it's final...we're off to Rayle Farm. This beautiful courtyard of converted barns has six separate accommodations that form one community, ideal for the fourdaysrunning team.

Rayle Farm is in the hamlet of Bridge, which is a mile or two from the thriving seaside village of Portreath. There is a pub down the road serving a good selection of sports drinks (ale) and the infamous cider known as "Rattler". The run starts from Rayle Farm and so it is ideally situated. Keep in touch with us, join up on Facebook and support CASPA in any way you can. Of course, if you fancy a run...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

We're off to Cornwall in 2013

The much anticipated announcement of the 2013 four day run has been made - we're off to Cornwall!! This is the Land of Legends, of dream holidays and Land's End. We are running from Portreath to Porthleven taking in some of the most iconic coastal sites in the UK.

The 70 miles will be challenging in the extreme. There are stunning clifftop trails, glorious beaches, quaint harbours, tiny villages, lighthouses, steep rugged descents and massive hill climbs. The staple diet of fourdaysrunning!!
The recipe for success is still the same - "we don't run fast, we run together".

Some runners have been part of all four ultra runs so far, while some have only done one. For others this could be your first. Make contact, get involved, share on facebook, get support, spread the word. It's an annual pilgrimage, a festival of running, a tremendous fundraiser, the "spirit of fourdaysrunning". Join in!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

What about the weather on Hadrian's Wall?

The Wall presents many challenges, not least the weather!! What will it be doing? Rain, wind, cold, snow? These are all possibilities.

However, according to the 10 day forecast at it looks like sun tan oil and shades will be the order of the day!! Is this a wind up? We'll find out in just one week...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Caesar Salad in Nero on Hadrian's Wall?

Probably an unlikey combination!! But I'm definitely turning a bit Roman as we approach the Wall. I've started walking in straight lines and admiring marble surfaces. However, the modern version of these three Emperors is something we probably won't see, but real ale pubs - now that's another matter!!

A good example of this is the Boathouse at Wylam. This pub has 14 real ale pumps along the length of the bar...and is a perfect place for one of our stops en route. It is in the classic "fourdaysrunning" slot - 10 miles done, 10K to go!!

If you are up in the area you can meet us in the pub on Friday May 4th at about 4.00pm. Although we won't be able to try all the ales, there are at least 14 of us so...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Rose and Crown boosts CASPA

The Rose and Crown in Green Street Green, Orpington is well known for its Bank Holiday hospitality. Its bar, gardens and kitchens regularly buzz with crowds of happy people enjoying themselves. This year's activities will make a massive difference to one small, vibrant local charity.

CASPA supports over 100 families every week. It runs 5 clubs for tots, children and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their parents and carers. Their work is expanding rapidly and you can be part of it this year.

You may not know too much about Autism but get yourself down to the Rose and Crown and, as you support them, they are supporting CASPA. Thanks for all you achieve over this special weekend.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Hadrian's Wall - the route is revealed

28 days to go and the route is revealed!! We are running for four days and take in some very contrasting terrain. There are streets, trails, mountain paths, riversides, golf courses, dykes, cliffs and Carlisle airport!! But the main attraction is the Wall itself: bleak, impressive, iconic and 1900 years old!!

Every type of terrain is covered and there are some amazing views. Each day has a detailed Google route that you can take a look at. Just click "THE ROUTE" above and choose a day.

Day One is called "Tyneside" and leaves from St James' Park, making its way through parks and streets, finding the Tyne after 5 miles and following it to Wylam, famous for its real ales!! From Wylam the team make their way up country through picturesque villages to the finish in a fabulous gastro pub in Newton: The Duke of Wellington!!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

World Autism Awareness Day

For one day in the year we stop and think about Autism. Monday April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day. This should mean that Autism is mentioned on the news, talked about in cafes and bars, discussed on TV and shared via social networking.
In our household every day of the year is Autism Awareness Day. Every morning, every mealtime, every trip out in the car, every discussion, every decision, almost every moment we have to be autism aware.

So, Monday will be no different.

Except it will - because everyone else can think about it too!! So go on, I dare you!! Try and imagine a household with Autism and if you can't, then ask a parent or carer and they will fill you in. And thanks for being aware - it means a lot.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

50 days to go until we hit the Wall

Now we start the business end of the fundraising run. Fifty days to go. Fitness, planning, weight loss and money coming in. Personally, I'm coming back well from injury and running at "fourdaysrunning" pace of 11 minute miles. We don't run fast but we run long, we run together and we enjoy it.

You can help in three ways: Firstly, whenever you spend money with Amazon - click on the advert above this blog. Secondly, go to our justgiving site click here and donate some money, Thirdly, share the page. Make sure we have as many links, friends, likes and shares as possible.

And that's it!! Just need to stay healthy, get fit and look forward to what awaits, in fifty days time.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Amazon support CASPA

Amazon are a massive business with an twenty first century business model. In addition to the traditional channels, they look to bloggers to find business for them. They offer money to bloggers who advertise Amazon on their websites.

How does it work? When you want to buy from Amazon, and we all do, just click through this website. Use the panel just above this article. You will go through to Amazon as normal BUT, and it's a BIG BUT, Amazon will pay money to the blogger and then on to CASPA.

As we run miles and miles on an ancient Roman site, make sure you use this ultra modern site to support us.
Save this Blog on your desktop. Use it every time. Share with your friends. Support CASPA.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Calf injury can be a pain

Twelve minutes into a regular 10K run and suddenly, without warning, my left calf goes "pop". It wasn't particularly painful but I could only shuffle along and just about made it to a friend's house for a lift home. After 12 days I managed a 5K with no problems. So, now what?

The next longer run and after five miles it starts to cramp again so I stop and this doesn't feel good. Maybe I've made it worse. The rehab is slow and frustrating. The Physio says there are no deeper problems and the GP says to take it slow.

The mental side is the worst. Will I get up to full speed again? Will I be fit for the "big one"? What about Monday? See you on the trails!!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Seabream - feeding the CASPA team!!

Seabream is quite simply the best fish and chip shop in Orpington, London and possibly the UK!! Their fish is tops and the chicken is unique and tasty. But the standout from the Seabream is the chips which have a fantastic blend of crispy and tasty. Get down there for your dinner!!

Seabream are supporting CASPA as our big team take on Hadrian's Wall. They have agreed to have our collecting box in the shop until the end of April, so eat their chips and put your change in the box!!

Seabream website
Seabream on facebook

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hadrian's Wall - the running challenge

Hadrian's Wall provides a unique running challenge. Four days to do 70 miles in multi terrain. There are riverside runs, hilly trails, city roads and climbs - oh yes, lots of steep, sudden, rocky climbs!!

Training for hills and steep rocky inclines needs to be in woods, out on trails and in the rocky countryside. All the fourdaysrunning team will be looking for multi terrain over the coming weeks. Some are top runners, some are novices, one or two of us are heavyweights and some look like athletes!! We will all be out there in the next few weeks and we need your support.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Our headquarters - the Bunkhouse!!

Halfway along the route lies a bunkhouse - not the prettiest, not the plushest, but the warmest welcome on the Wall. This will be our headquarters as we aim to run the Wall in May. 

The views are incredible, mainly because there is not another dwelling in sight!! There are doubles, singles, twins, bunks and, of course, a front garden for Dave's tent!!

When the sun sets and the legs have been rested, we'll chat about the day's running, reflect on the young people we are raising money for and get set for the day ahead.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Running on the Wall

In the New Year two of us went for a "recce" to Hadrian's Wall. We were inspired by the iconic River Tyne, the vast, bleak hillsides of upper Tynedale and the Wall. A reminder of historic glories, the Wall is 1900 years old. An unbelievable and audacious reminder of an epic building project that provides us with an immense backdrop for a once-in-a-lifetime run.

Look out for more pics and reports as we get nearer the big weekend. Just less than 100 days to go. Get fit, get involved.