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“I will always be a runner – I love it!” – Cover star Rachel on her lifelong passion




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February 2017

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Start 2017 right with our fourweek plan

49 ULTIMATE RACE GUIDE 2017 100 races you’ll love


How to boost your energy levels

15 4 MOVES TO FIX YOUR RUNNING STYLE The 15-minute workout to help you run better

44 RAISE £10K FOR CHARITY! (WE’LL SHOW YOU HOW) Meet three women who raised thousands


Marathon training but still gaining? Here’s why

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"NOW, I RUN BECAUSE I ENJOY IT AND IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD" ON THE COVER Photo: Eddie Macdonald Model: Rachel Stringer Hair & make-up: Bea Burton Location: Parliament Hill, Hampstead Heath


Sport presenter Rachel Stringer competed on the international stage as a junior and says the experience has given her the best start in life

18 RUNNING TECH Gadget addicts, get your fix here!



The latest advice, stats and facts

Claire Chamberlain is ready to set her own goals




24 MY PB

Use our 15-minute workout to run better

Learn how Karen Green swiped almost three minutes off her best 10K time



Nutrition know-how you can count on

Heading out for some winter sun? Here’s the kit you need

The hills are alive to the dubious sound of Damian’s music

How Brenda O’Keeffe went from sedentary smoker to running record holder



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TRAIL ZONE 96 TRAIL ESSENTIALS All the gear you need to take to the trails

98 PROJECT TRAIL: THE RACE Read about the ups and downs of our team at the Bath Hilly Half in November

GO! 109 THIS MONTH’S RACING Where to race, spectate and what to book this month

102 BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE Introducing this year’s long-distance ladies

106 RECHARGE YOUR RUNNING Lost your buzz? Get it back with these energy-boosting tips

78 REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT You can’t save the world through running – but you can help it out

Love our mag?

80 WORKOUT: WINTER SPEED Six moves to help you stay fast till spring

86 POWER PLANTS Use these four veggie recipes from expert Anita Bean to help you run well

90 WR TESTED: RUNNING WATCHES Buy the right running watch with our in-depth tests of six crackers



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112 BARBADOS MARATHON & 10K Tina Chantrey on running, rum and relaxation in sunny Barbados

REGULARS 06 EDITOR’S NOTE “Running is a commitment that many people find they can stick to"

07 MEET THE TEAM The writers, testers and experts who help bring you Women’s Running

84 ALL IN GOOD TASTE Seven indulgent foods that are actually good for you

Hannah Ebelthite reports from the original mass marathon


30 LETTERS Have your say on all things running related

31 YOUR RUNS Show us your most inspiring run pics!

114 THE CHALLENGE Every month, the Women’s Running team sets a new challenge. Find it here…




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WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO THIS MONTH “I ran my first 10-miler - and did so five minutes quicker than any of my training runs! It was chilly, muddy and hilly and I loved it! I think I’ve found my new favourite distance.” –Jenny

“This month I’ve felt so sluggish, but the highlight was running in 30⁰C and sun at the Run Barbados 10K and Half Marathon.” – Tina

“In the studio shooting workouts with fitness editor Anne-Marie, ending in a stability ball deflating competition. She won!” – Liz

“I’ve been crunching along some frosty trail runs watching the sun rise - then back to get the kids up and ready for the day!” – Claire

“At St Michaels Mount for the Remembrance Run 2016. We wear red and observe the two minutes’ silence – then run two miles up the beach and back.” – Jackie

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RUNNING RESOLVE Apparently, a third of all New Year’s resolutions are broken by February. Or was it half? The stats change all the time, but one thing that doesn’t is the human desire to make those resolutions, regardless of how many times we’ve broken them. If you’re in the process of making New Year’s resolutions right now, you’ll find plenty to inspire you this issue. Thankfully we know that running is a commitment that many people find they can stick to. Having met our new Big Marathon Challenge team a few weeks ago, I’m pretty confident that they’ll all be able to keep their dedication to training for their spring marathon. They’ve got firm goals and the will to reach them. Here in the Women’s Running office, our number one resolution is to keep trying to help you reach your own running targets. We must be doing something right as, just before we went to press, we found out we’d won two prestigious awards: Social Media Campaign of the Year at the PPA Digital Awards, and Front Cover of the Year (Consumer) at the PPA Independent Publisher Awards, for our November 2015 cover featuring Lindsey Swift. Thanks for all your support in 2016, and here’s to another great year in 2017!


What we’re running and recovering to this month

Elizabeth Hufton_Editor

Follow me on Twitter @LizzieWRMag

Jenny Bozon “I’m listening to ‘Now and Later’ by Sage The Gemini on the spin bike. You can’t help but turn your legs over to the catchy beat!” Tina Chantrey “‘Long Way To Go’ by Hare Squead – the summer feel in the depths of winter makes you believe spring is just round the corner!” Elizabeth Hufton “I’m mostly stuck with walking at the moment but ‘Certainty’ by Temples brightens things up for me.”



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Editor’s choice We’ve got a packed issue for you this month – if you’re short on time, don’t miss these essential features!

Eat for your feet

Challenge accepted!

Need some inspiration to fuel your runs? Try Anita Bean’s recipes

Meet the four women on our Big Marathon Challenge 2017 team

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Editor Elizabeth Hufton Assistant Editor Jenny Bozon / 020 8996 5056 Art Director/Designer/Production Xavier Robleda Social Media Editor Melody Smith Commercial Editor Angelina Manzano Contributing Editors Tina Chantrey; Lisa Jackson Editor-at-Large Christina Macdonald Fitness Editor Anne-Marie Lategan

THE WOMEN’S RUNNING TEAM HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE TO HELP YOU GET THE MOST FROM YOUR RUNNING LIZ HUFTON Lizzie has been running since her student days in Liverpool in 1999, and has been writing about health and fitness for 13 years. She’s run nine marathons and has dabbled in triathlon, too.

TINA CHANTREY Tina is happiest running off-road and up a hill. She’s worked as a health journalist for over 20 years. She is a running coach, a mum of three girls, and writes about her running at

JENNIFER BOZON Jenny is a runner, a foodie and a country girl at heart. She enjoys nothing more than getting muddy in her trainers, and loves that running allows her to appreciate the great outdoors while living in a hectic city.

CHRISTINA MACDONALD Chris is an experienced health and fitness journalist, a Level 3 personal trainer and running group leader. She is author of Run Yourself Fit. Follow her @writefitchris.

LISA JACKSON Lisa is a clinical hypnotherapist ( and author of Your Pace or Mine?, Running Made Easy and Adore Yourself Slim. This spring, she joined the 100 Marathon Club.

ANNE-MARIE LATEGAN Anne-Marie has a BSc (Hons) in Human Movement Science & Rehabilitation. She has completed eight ultramarathons and trains clients at Ignite in London (

Editorial Director David Castle Commercial Director Allan Pattison / 020 8996 5058 Advertising Manager Cristina Lopez / 020 8996 5167 Advertising Executive Alex Sage / 020 8996 5090

JULIET MCGRATTAN Juliet is a GP and keen runner. She’s been running for six years and has taken part in many races, including the Beauty and the Beast, the Cross Bay Half Marathon and the London Marathon.



The former deputy editor of Women’s Running has returned as a columnist. She’s mum to Jacob, 3, and Seren, 1, and blogs at

Our columnist and token bloke Damian is a dad of two, a fitness and outdoors writer with 15 years experience and a mad-keen ultra-runner. This summer, he achieved a top-20 UTMB finish.

Senior Marketing Executive Paul Clayton Managing Director Nick Troop


Contributors Anita Bean, Claire Chamberlain, Hannah Ebelthite, Damian Hall, Dr Juliet McGrattan, Louise Pyne


Published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd 1st Floor, Gable House , 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace London W4 1QP

meant smaller portions and no treats! I didn’t go to extremes or do anything faddy though. Lots of people think that you can’t perform well without meat protein, that you’ll be weaker and have less energy, which is so untrue. It’s definitely possible to get enough protein from vegetarian sources – the key is to not just cut out meat but also to add in the right kinds of foods.

Licensing and Syndication Allan Pattison / 020 8996 5058 Printed by William Gibbons Distribution by Marketforce (UK), 2nd Floor, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU / 020 3148 3300 To advertise call 020 8996 5058 To subscribe call 0844 245 6918 No part of this magazine may be copied, reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written consent of the publisher. © Wild Bunch Media Ltd 2015. Women’s Running is a UK publication, published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd, and is not associated with any other women’s running magazines. The UK standard annual subscription rate is £29.97 for one year. The Europe standard annual subscription rate is £50 for one year. The Rest of World standard annual subscription rate is £80 for one year. ISSN 2042-0242

AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE FRONT COVER OF THE YEAR (CONSUMER) (PPA Independent publisher awards 2016) SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR (PPA digital awards 2016) CONSUMER MEDIA BRAND OF THE YEAR (PPA Independent publisher awards 2015)

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Anita Bean is an award-winning author, nutritionist and former bodybuilding champion. This month she shares some her latest performance-based veggie recipes with us . Get them on page 86. YOU’VE COMPETED AT A HIGH LEVEL - HOW DID YOU BALANCE DISCIPLINED EATING WITH A LOVE OF FOOD? When I competed as a bodybuilder I had to be strict with my diet for eight weeks before contests to get that super lean look, which

TELL US HOW YOU LIKE TO KEEP FIT THESE DAYS… I no longer compete but enjoy keeping fit with daily yoga as well as regular running (I do 5K three times a week) and circuit or gym training. Exercise will always be an essential part of my daily life – I feel so much better when I’m active. WHAT’S YOUR OWN FAVOURITE MEAL TO COOK, AND WHY? Spicy chickpea and spinach stew is one of my favourite mid-week meals, especially when it’s cold outside. It’s easy to make, warming and super tasty. For me, this dish goes with cosy evenings by the fire.



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Meet cover star Rachel Stringer, the elite track athleteturned-sport broadcaster who still loves to run

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The latest fitness and health news for you


Nutrition know-how at your fingertips


Boost your running technique in just four moves


Have fun in the winter sun with these kit picks


The latest fitness gadgets, reviewed for you


Claire Chamberlain is looking to score her own goals


The hills are alive with the sound of dreadful music...


How Karen Green knocked three minutes off her 10K


Former sedentary smoker Brenda O'Keeffe has now run hundreds of marathons – here's how she did it!


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“I WOULDN'T CHANGE BEING A RUNNER FOR THE WORLD!" Sport presenter Rachel Stringer has put the pressures of the track behind her – but, she says, she'll never lose her love of running PHOTO: E DDIE M AC DONA LD

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Kit: Rachel's own

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lite sport is a hard taskmaster. To race against the best requires toughness and a ruthless competitive edge. But despite her background as one of the country’s top junior middle-distance runners, there’s little evidence of those traits in Rachel Stringer these days. It’s easy to see how her personality has helped her translate her sport background into a career as a sport presenter: a warm, constantly positive presence, she’s relaxed and clearly in her element leaping through the mud on Hampstead Heath, London, for our cover shoot. “Maybe I’m just more chilled in my old age!” she jokes when asked about it. Of course, this is all relative. Rachel’s “old age” is 26, but she’s already fitted in half a lifetime of running, beginning her competitive career aged 12. And, although she’s no longer studying her competitors’ form when she lines up for a race, she’s clearly still a disciplined runner and sets herself high standards – like the sub-three-hour marathon she’s keen to achieve next year. It’s still a world away from travelling the globe to compete in international track meets, though. “Now, I run because I want to run,” she says. “I did used to want to run, but there’d be mornings when I didn’t want to get out of bed because it was cold and then it would stress me out if I hadn’t done it. Now, if I miss a run, it’s no big deal. I will do another run tomorrow or when I feel like it. Running now is a way to clear my head and get out and enjoy it.” In fact, Rachel’s competitive career was born out of love for the sport, when she was just 12 years old. She remembers clearly how it all began. “I did a 200m race against a girl at school who I thought was the fastest girl on the planet and I ended up beating her. I was so happy and excited, I ran home and told my dad that I’d won this race and that I was going to be an Olympic runner and I wanted to go to the City of Norwich Athletics then and there!” They may not have quite taken her on the spot, but Rachel’s parents did take her to train with City of Norwich AC and she soon found herself regularly competing, with her family’s support. Quickly beginning to realise her potential, Rachel became a middle-distance specialist in her teens, winning the English Schools at 800m and competing internationally. It meant growing up faster than many of her peers, as the stress of travelling, training without her family and having to be ready for round after round on the track meant she needed to be a pretty tough teen – but Rachel says she’s still benefiting from that experience today. “I am so glad I did sport as a youngster. I find that anyone who has done sport is quite similar to me in terms of what they do now. I think what I got out of it is, firstly, I made loads of friends and you learn social skills because your parents weren’t holding your hand either at a training session or at a competition; and secondly, I learned how to set goals. From a young age, I was like, ‘Right, this year I want to set this PB or get to this competition.’ It made me very focused and dedicated.” Even as her elite athletics career was taking off, Rachel learned that running could help her to cope with life’s stresses – none more so than when her brother Andrew – who was also a keen runner – died from a brain tumour, when Rachel was just 16. “I was going through a lot of difficult times but it gave me something to focus on. I remember the day he passed away I went running. People might look and say I was really weird to do that. But you want to keep going because life doesn’t stop.” Looking to continue her sport, as well as to get a good degree, Rachel went to Loughborough University, which is a UK Athletics High Performance Athletics Centre that has trained countless Olympic stars across many sports. In her final year, though, she began to reconsider her direction. “I got glandular fever, I got a stress




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fracture the year before in my sacrum and, mentally, from my brother not being here, I wasn’t 100 per cent,” she says. “It was that transitional period where you either take a year out to be a full-time athlete after graduating, or get a bit of work experience and see what you want to do.” Rachel applied for a sports reporter internship at BBC Leicester and got it, leading to opportunities to work on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. She decided to take a year or two out from athletics to see where her broadcasting work would take her, initially aiming to work behind the camera before an opportunity to present came her way. “It’s something I never thought I’d do, but someone asked if I wanted to work in front of the camera and not behind it. I was like, ‘Mum, do I want to do this?’ and she said, ‘Rach, give it a go, if it doesn’t work out it doesn’t matter.’ I found something l loved equally as much as I did running and then felt I didn’t need to be an elite athlete, because I could be something else." Now Rachel works across a variety of sport programmes, presenting Nick Kicks, a football show on Nickelodeon, and sections on BBC’s Football Focus; she’s also worked for the FA and ITV – and, as you might expect, she’d love to move into working on more athletics coverage. Despite such a varied job, she still makes sure she runs. “Running fits into it when it can. So if I go away, I’ll take my trainers because you can run anywhere. I get up quite early to go for a run. That gets me up

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Rachel's local route is over Hampstead Heath – she's "completely in love" with the London running scene


Rachel talks brunch, bridge runs and very old gadgets


Through the Heath, or I love running across Millennium Bridge and seeing St Paul's.



London Marathon, hands down, is the most amazing race I've ever done!


and out the door.” Moving to London for her TV work in 2013 has meant Rachel’s discovered a whole new side of her sport. “I hadn’t been running much, because I’d made a conscious effort for work and then, finding myself getting in with London running clubs to make friends, I found myself completely in love with it. The London running scene is super social, I now know London like no other because I’ve run round it and know all the cool places to go.” Rachel’s 2017 running goals are still to be confirmed: she plans to run the Gran Canaria Half Marathon, and is hankering after a sub-three-hour marathon finish, having run London in 3:00:14 last year. If that sounds pretty hardcore, rest assured that Rachel’s number one running goal is to keep enjoying it. “Running’s not stressful at all now,” she says. “I do it because I like it. I did the Amsterdam half [in 2016] and I said to my friend, ‘I want to enjoy this race, I don’t want to come away thinking that was awful, I want to think, that was great fun, I want to do another one.’ Maybe that means I don’t push myself as much but I’m not going to try and get on the Olympic team, I’m going because I want to get a certain time or achieve something, rather than to qualify for a championship or because a girl in the age group above is running a certain time. Now I run because I enjoy it and it makes me feel good about myself to do it. “Ultimately, [my elite running] has made me the person I am and given me the career that I’ve got. It’s made running quite an easy thing for me to do and I’ve made a lot of friends now in London through running. I wouldn’t change being a runner for the world. I love it!”

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I have a 10-year-old Garmin that hasn't died yet. And I like a headband in winter!


Brunch! Pancakes and a flat white. I used to drink cherry juice to reduce inflammation.



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Research has found that health anxiety may increase a person’s risk of heart disease. Those who worry about illness are 70% more likely to develop the condition than those who don’t, a Norwegian Hordaland study showed. Over the course of 12 years, 7,052 people, born between the age of 1953 and 1957, were monitored and asked to answer questions about their lifestyle, health and education, and to have physical check-ups. Each person measured their anxiety levels using the Whiteley Index – a widely used test for hypochondria (health anxiety). It was found that twice as many people suffering from hypochondria had developed heart disease, compared to those without it. Ischemic heart disease had developed in approximately 6.1% of anxious people, compared with 3% of people who were not concerned about their health. Experts are encouraging people to try to avoid unnecessary worry and to speak to their doctor if they are suffering from health anxiety.


The reason some foods act as triggers for migraines has been found by a new study, published in the journal mSystems for the American Society of Microbiology. It found people who suffer from migraines had different bacteria in their guts, used to process nitrates found in foods such as chocolate and wine. When broken down efficiently by bacteria in the mouth and gut, these nitrates causes vessels in the brain and scalp to dilate, leading to a migraine.


The estimated number of people in the UK living with cancer

Findings from Stanford University School of Medicine reveal why we put weight on when stressed. Research showed that our bodies produce Adamts1 – a hormone which generates fat cells – when we are under pressure. In addition to causing weight gain, this hormone also affects organs such as the liver and pancreas and increases the risk of developing heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Source: macmillan

Demon drink: wine can cause migraines



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Eating one egg a day may lower a person’s risk of having a stroke, according to a new study. Researchers reviewed existing studies conducted over 30 years involving data from almost 300,000 people. They found that the chances of having a stroke came down by 12% when people ate one egg daily. The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that egg consumption does not increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.


According to a study, published in the journal Science, smoking changes people’s DNA permanently. Research found that people who smoke a packet of 20 cigarettes every day see 150 mutations in cells in their lungs every year. Even if the person stops smoking, the changes continue. An expert said every mutation in the lungs created opportunities for lung cancer to develop.


6 The percentage at which the heart rate lowers when running in the British winter, according to a new study conducted by Professor John Brewer from St Mary’s University

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PANCREATIC CANCER INCREASE Experts have warned that pancreatic cancer is set to kill 91,500 people across Europe by next year. This compares to 91,000 deaths expected from breast cancer. After lung and bowel cancer, pancreatic will become the third deadliest form of the disease. Survival rates among pancreatic cancer patients are the lowest amongst all cancers, making early diagnosis critical.


6AM CLUB MOTIVATION RUNNER KOJO KYEREME EXPLAINS HOW THE 6AM CLUB HELPS HIM FIT TRAINING AROUND HIS BUSY FAMILY AND LIFE-SAVING JOB The On 6am Club is about normal people with busy lives achieving some amazing things through earlymorning runs. Each person has their own reason for running at the crack of dawn – high pressured jobs, busy family life – but the 6am Club is their common ground. The club runners have been sharing their stories with us, and this month we speak to Kojo to find out what motivates him… Hello once again from the On 6am Club. I’m Kojo, one of the founding members of the club. Fitting in training, competition, full-time work as a cardiac physiologist and having a young family of two daughters has its challenges, which is why I started training with friends early in the morning. If I left my run until after work, the inevitable to-do list of bedtime routines and socialising would always take priority. By making my run the first thing I do when I jump out of bed, I know I’m set for the day – in the past when my children were younger it sometimes meant taking the kids along for the ride! I’d often be spotted pushing the three-wheeler multi-terrain buggy up to 18 miles on a Sunday morning. I am one of the oldest members of the club at 41. The training schedule is tougher than when I was in my twenties, but my motivation has never been greater – and my 6am Club team mates are a big part of that. This year has been my most successful in cross-country, achieving lifetime best performances at county, regional and national level among athletes half my age. Furthermore, I achieved a PB in the London Marathon of 2:21:28, finishing 31st. This led to my being selected for the first time to represent England at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where I finished 11th overall and first masters athlete 40+ – a real highlight of the last year. My goal for 2017 is to break two hours 20 minutes in the marathon and sub-66 minutes in the half. I’ll be wearing my On Clouds to do it. If I can achieve these targets, 2017 really will be a special year!


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Researchers at King’s College in London have found that sleep deprivation may result in the consumption of up to 385 extra calories the following day. That’s the equivalent of four-anda-half slices of bread! The research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that the sleep-deprived participants chose to eat foods higher in fats and lower in protein – all of this aiding weight gain. The study restricted the sleep of the participants to between three-anda-half and five-and-a-half hours per night. The control subjects were allowed the recommended seven to 12 hours in bed. It’s thought that a disruption of the internal body clock affecting the body’s regulation of leptin (the ‘satiety’ hormone) and ghrelin (the ‘hunger’ hormone) is the reason behind increased hunger following a poor night’s sleep. Do you need a better excuse to get your PJs on early?


Just when we were getting to grips with 5:2 fasting, new research suggests only eating early in the day could be an even better approach. The study from Pennington Biomedical Research Center found that early time-restricted feeding (ETRF) – eating between 8am and 2pm then fasting for 18 hours – could do wonders for your metabolism. 14


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E IS FOR EGGS Vitamin E is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is one of the most under-consumed nutrients, according to Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science. New research from Purdue University shows that the easiest way to boost your Vitamin E intake is to add three whole eggs to a colourful salad. The fats from the egg will allow the body to more easily absorb the Vitamin E from your veg.


It emerged at The Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting that adding canola oil to your diet may help to reduce excess abdominal fat in as little as four weeks. Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on body composition, especially in those already with obesity. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST FOODS TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION OR JOINT STIFFNESS AFTER A RUN? Oily fish like salmon, mackerel or fresh tuna are better known choices, as well as turmeric, but there are some other lesser-known foods that can reduce inflammation, too. Personal trainer and WR fitness editor Anne-Marie Lategan says: “Some good anti-inflammatory foods include peppers (also high in vitamin C), pineapples – also an anti-inflammatory – and couscous, which helps to heal wounds and rebuild muscle. Apples are another good choice, as they contain flavonoids, which reduce inflammation and free radicals. Cauliflower also works as an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory.” SEND YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT RUNNING, NUTRITION AND HEALTH TO: EDITORIAL@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK



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Preparation: Warm up for at least five minutes before you do the exercises, either by jogging, brisk walking or using the stationary bike. Make sure you feel warm before you start. About the session: Move slowly in and out of each movement and practise two sets of each exercise twice a week.


Use this functional exercise to improve your control when you’re running - Stand on one leg, making sure you are standing tall with your shoulders relaxed. - Bend your knee to move into a single-leg squat. - Keep your knee above your toe. - Straighten your leg to stand upright and then lift the opposite knee in front of you. - Tighten your tummy muscles and relax your shoulders. - Hold this position for 10-30 seconds, stand on both feet, take a breath and repeat the process on the other side.


Work on your glutes and core strength with this challenging move - Lie on the floor on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat and together. - Squeeze the muscles of your bottom (glutes) and lift your hips off the ground until you’re holding a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. - When you feel steady, move your weight onto one foot and lift the other foot off the ground. - Hold this position for five to eight seconds, squeezing your glutes. Keep your hamstrings relaxed. - Lower your foot and repeat on the other side. - Alternate legs until you’ve performed five raises on each side and then lower your hips to the ground.



- Lie on the floor on your left side with your left arm extended underneath your head. - Rest your head on your arm. - Place your right hand on the floor in front of your stomach. - Slide your feet towards your bottom until your knees are at 90 degrees. - Keeping your feet together, squeeze your bottom and lift your top knee as high as you can. - Return to the start position. Do this 12 times in total, then swap sides.

- Grab a couple of light dumbbells or small bottles of water. - Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart. - Hold the dumbbells at the front of your thighs. Keep your shoulders back and down. - Pivot forwards from the hips (not the waist) until your top half is at a 90-degree angle to your body. - Return to standing by squeezing your glutes tight. Avoid pulling yourself upright with your hamstrings or your lower back. - Do this 10 times with slow and controlled movements.

Try this exercise to target the smaller glute muscles and stabilise your strides

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Boost strength in the glutes and hamstrings for a more efficient leg turnover when you run



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5 3




1/DHB printed run tights

5/Icebreaker Comet Long Sleeve

9/Fake Bake Sport Daily Tan

Wage war with winter in a dramatic monochromatic print from DHB, in smooth, soft Italian fabric. Pull them on and turn up the heat while turning heads!

Your essential baselayer with beautifully spun Merino wool fibres, this top will keep you moving faster than the coldest of winds.

Daily Tan works with your skin’s own melanin to gradually build a natural looking tan, so you look fantastic whether it’s on the trails or après-ski.


£85 and £25,


2/Saucony Ride 9 Reflex

6/Tribe Sports Elite Sports Bra and Thong

10/Hey Like Wow

Keep your speed up when the lights are low in the Reflex. You get 360-degree reflectivity including fully reflective midsoles. Discover what it feels like to be light on your feet, on the road or the track.

Gorgeous underwear can make you feel amazing. You’ll fall in love with the luxurious, thick knit and soft feel of the fabric in this new collection from Tribe.

This healthy drink contains no sugar or preservatives The packaging combines vitamins and water at the moment of drinking, so it’s as fresh as it tastes!

3/Montane Anaconda 19

7/Tisserand Muscle Ease body oil and Neroli and Sandalwood body wash

11/MGO Manuka Honey Blend

Heading out to the Scottish mountains, or Alpine trails? Pack everything you need in this light, yet tough, day bag. The comfort back pad is thick and moulds into your back – this bag won’t slow you down.

Refresh your skin after your run with the uplifting blend of neroli and sandalwood essential oils, then soothe your legs with Muscle Ease body oil, with spicy ginger, refreshing lemongrass and toning rosemary.

4/Schöffel Tenies Hat and Wrist Warmers

8/The North Face Endeavour Thermoball Jacket

Look cool while you stay warm with these stylish woollies. Pull them on as soon as you’ve finished your run so you can focus on enjoying the rest of your day.

This is the perfect jacket to throw on after your workout, with sumptuous, deep insulation around your core to keep you toasty all day long.



£29.95 and £34.95,



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£40 and £12,

Both £9.95,




Especially beneficial during winter, make sure you pack this honey blend to top up your immune system when you’re travelling or just avoiding winter bugs. 12/Tribe Sports Engineered LS Zip Jacket £65,

When the temperatures are dropping and you need an extra layer, but don’t want to overheat, this premium jacket will look after you. It’s soft against your skin but will stretch to meet your needs – throw on some black leggings or jeans and you’re good to go after your run.

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M A R AT H O N | H A L F M A R AT H O N | D U O M A R AT H O N | 5 M I L E R U N




29 OCTOBER 2017 L U C E R N E


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06/12/2016 14:10

Garmin Forerunner 35 £169.99,

Checking resting HR over time is the best way to detect fatigue, overtraining or a depressed immune system. So wrist-based heart-rate (HR) monitors are exceedingly handy. But while chest-strap sensors are still more accurate, attaching that tight band under your bra first thing in the morning isn’t everyone’s favoured pre-caffeine activity. The main appeal of the 35 is that, as well as GPS, it records wrist-based HR data constantly – if a little erratically - something the dead-fancy watches don’t do yet. Compared to the top-end watches, features on the 35 are understandably basic. But its activity tracking (with effective “Move!” alerts if stationary for too long), smart notifications, music controls, weather updates, virtual pacer, alerts for HR and distance, LiveTrack (where friends can locate you) and ease of use, make this an attractive option. Thirteen hours of battery life using GPS is decent, too. Design is a bit blocky and our tester’s wrist got a tad itchy underneath, but the strap itself is comfy. The smartphone app feels comprehensive at first, but dig about and you’ll find the data you need, eventually. The 35 has all the key features, especially GPS and HR, the entry-level of casual runner needs. A handy proposition indeed.


My Money Time

Polk Boom Bit

Your kids a bit chubby? They’re kids. They’re meant to be! But if you’re genuinely worried about their lack of exercise, a collaboration between Suunto and Reima could be just the job. A pocket-friendly, waterproof sensor records little Trixie dashing aimlessly about, in duration and intensity. Once paired with a ReimaGO app, the data turns into virtual energy for a character in a game, with virtual rewards. They won’t want to sit down!

Want to get paid to run? The My Money Time app rewards your training sessions with money. Kind of. Your tracked runs – it’s compatible with Strava and other apps – accrue virtual cash, which can be exchanged for online discount vouchers for adidas, ASICS, The North Face and other sports brands. There are limitations though. Even if you wrack up £1,000 in virtual cash, it’s split between the brands and then again, over several discount vouchers. But you are still being paid to run. Kind of.

The fun-to-say Polk Boom Bit claims to be the world’s first “truly” wearable Bluetooth speaker. Putting temporarily aside the potentially obnoxious nature of forcing Shania Twain on others, and its ineffectiveness near traffic, it’s a great option for wire-free music listening on the run – and hands-free phone conversations (useful for the car, too). The Zippo-sized speaker pledges to be sweat-, dirt-, sandand shockproof, charges via USB (for three hours of playback) and has buttons for volume and track choice.



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16/12/2016 18:58

“It never gets easier, you just get stronger� Melissa, Marie Curie Nurse What motivates you? Like Melissa, who cares for people living with a terminal illness through the night, or the runner training hard for race day to help fund our services, we are all driven by something. Find your drive with us and sign up today to run for Marie Curie.

Charity reg no. 207994 (England & Wales), SC038731 (Scotland) B215f Photo: Adam Hinton/Marie Curie

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12/12/2016 07/12/2016 14:44 14:27


GOAL GETTING, GOAL SETTING… Our resident mummy Claire Chamberlain hits a running milestone… and realises she still has so much more to achieve

hen you are a new mum, it’s so easy to believe your PB days are over. When you are kneedeep in nappies, have sung The Wheels On The Bus for the 12th time in a single hour and are so exhausted it feels like someone has slipped prescription sleeping pills into your fifth morning cuppa, the exhilaration of crossing a race finish line in record time can feel like a very distant memory indeed. But mums everywhere, listen up: don’t believe it. Don’t believe that little voice that whispers to you that you can’t. You won’t. Your running achievements are in your past. They are not. I have spent a year plodding along at the same old pace, covering the same old routes. I’m not saying there ‘s anything wrong with this. It’s been wonderful, no-pressure running. Running has been my pick-me-up on those days when parenting negotiating tantrums, wiping ketchup off the sofa and tidying away 435 teeny pieces of Lego has got me down. Running has been my constant: a few short runs every week to keep my fitness and sanity ticking over. I’m not sure what happened several weeks ago, but something changed. An idea sparked. A dying ember of that old competitive fire flickered back into life. I think it had something to do with the fact I ran a trail 10K in 1:03, while chatting to a friend and not paying much attention to the clock. It was so close to the sub-60 that has eluded me since I first became pregnant four years ago. My mind was made up: I was going to run sub-60 in my next 10K race. I had to step my training up somewhat. My weekly jogs morphed into threshold work and hill sessions, and I pushed my long run that bit further each weekend. I made sure I did some core work every day, even if it was just 60-second planks. I started a weekly yoga class, to build my strength and ease muscle aches. And, holy sh*t, it actually happened. I crossed the finish line at my next trail 10K in 58:06! Happy? I was so elated you’d think I’d just pipped Jemima Sumgong to win the London Marathon. Or run a new 10K PB. My actual 10K PB is quicker than that, at 54:06. Set back in 2008, I assumed that would be my PB forever. After all, I was fitter and younger then, and had more time to train than I ever appreciated (damn you, frivolous younger self). But becoming a mum doesn’t just leave you time poor and sleep deprived. Becoming a mum makes you realise your body is capable of so much more than you ever thought possible (you pushed a baby out of where?!). Becoming a mum makes you realise mind over matter is the truth (from childbirth, to rocking a poorly baby through a dark night, to surviving Peppa Pig marathons).




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It helps when you run with a speedy friend! Claire and friend Kathryn after their recent 10K



Becoming a mum makes you realise you would (and could) run to the ends of the earth if your child’s life depended on it – because you love them to their bones with a fierceness you have never before experienced. Becoming a mum makes you mentally strong. At the end of the day, what’s a little 10K? I love setting new running goals at the start of each New Year and they have always been about trying to run further. But time pressures have not given me much opportunity to increase my distance of late. It has never occurred to me that my running goal for 2017 could be to get faster. But my resolution is to achieve a new 10K PB. This fits in so well with my life as a mum: fitting running around pre-school and bedtime routine means speed is of the essence in everything I do these days. And yes, while I know knocking four minutes off my last 10K time will be tough, it’s not impossible. I can do this. Have fun setting your new running goals for 2017, too… who knows what you will achieve?

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12/12/2016 14:47


Our annoyingly cheerful ultrarunner Damian Hall ponders if running makes us like crap music

s planned, November was a rest month for me. I first raced in February, a six-day multistage race in Costa Rica, and my season finale was in late October in Portugal. I’m probably not getting much sympathy here, but it’s been a long season, especially with a 630-mile jaunt along the South West Coast Path in May. So now’s a good time for a rest. At the top of ultra running – and I’m nowhere near the apex – most of the people on podiums five years ago have disappeared. Ultrarunners tend to be obsessive. Burn out is disconcertingly common. However, when I say rest, I don’t mean no running. That wouldn’t work. I couldn’t possibly go more than two days without a run. I’ve tried it before. I get so grumpy my wife kicks me out the house anyway. So I’ve been going out perhaps three times a week, for fun, easy bimbles, just when I feel like it. The extra time has gifted me two things: a tiny bit more sleep, and the chance to ponder the really important things about running. Such as, why does running give us such a bad music taste? When I say us, I guess I mean me. Now this is all very subjective. But I used to have a brilliant music taste. Still do really. At uni, during Britpop, I was a committed connoisseur of waily indie. And okay, I




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tried to look like Damon Albarn. Nothing irritated me more than when asking girls the question, “What sort of music are you into?”, they answered, “A little bit of everything really.” I would instantly stop speaking to them. It’s not that they had to like the same as me. My disgust was more that if you like everything, well, then you have no real critical faculties. The most interesting and worthwhile people have opinions. They don’t just like everything. (Though on reflection, I never did get any of the bright girls to go to bed with me. Odd that.) The songs I’ve always identified most with have been about rejection, defeat and failure. That’s not going to turn me into Mo Farah. Stick Morrissey in your ears towards the end of a race and you’ll become more concerned with going home and crying and wanting to die, than pushing through the discomfort required for a podium placing. When you’re tired and emotionally raw, you need big, uplifting, populist anthems (that don’t really mean very much). You need Bon Jovi. I’ve never liked Bon Jovi. I love Pulp, Radiohead, The National and stuff like that. But morose guitar songs are the worst kind of running music. I also love Desert Island Discs and have noticed that all the athletic types on there have terrible music tastes. It’s all Queen and Coldplay. So over the last couple of years I’ve been forced to rethink and reshape my music collection – and in a way that would utterly disgust my younger self. Yes, it was beginning to encompass “a little bit of everything.” My first running compilation went for some of the bigger indie anthems: Stone Roses, Blondie, Kate Bush (‘Running Up That Hill’ has become seriously unfunny now though). But then a bit of U2 sneaked in. Some Simple Minds. A Coldplay song. Each added with a secret sheepishness. I don’t actually like this music. It just helps my running. The next stage saw a few generic running classics, often from films, such as ‘Eye Of The Tiger’, the Top Gun theme, Chariots Of Fire theme and that one by Tina Turner. But things went too far when I bought a power ballads album. In my defence, I had a lot of music vouchers left over from a birthday. And it’s not as if I actually put Foreigner’s ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ on my iPod, is it? Ahahhahahaaaa. Yes. Yes I did. And ‘Wind Of Change’ by Scorpions. And even that ‘One Moment In Time’ one. But never Bon Jovi. Nevertheless, I’m deeply ashamed. They honestly didn’t stay on my iPod for long. In getting lost in my mission for the maximal emotional uplift, I’d forgotten another rule of running music: it needs a decent tempo, too. Ideally a beat close to the optimal running side of 180 beats per minute. ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ is, I’m sure you’ll agree, undeniably affecting. But it makes you run really slowly. Believe me. I’ve tried it. Of the music I already love, thankfully several bands have some stirring tunes with good tempos, including New Order, Arcade Fire, The Rolling Stones, The Strokes and Placebo, for example. So off went all… well most… well a good percentage of those vacuous 80s hits. Though T’Pau are still there. I’ve always liked T’Pau.



16/12/2016 19:00

SATURDAY 1st April 2017 7 PM

an enlightening running experience 5K RUN AROUND QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK AT DUSK


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08/12/2016 12:08:05 12/12/2016 14:53


“I DECIDED NOTHING VENTURED, NOTHING GAINED” The runner Karen Green Day job Independent reviewing officer, Children’s Safeguarding

QUICK Q&A Inspiration to get faster? Post-divorce I met my current partner, who ran faster than me and I wanted to close the gap. Nutrition strategy? I eat everything and anything in moderation. For the Leeds Abbey Dash, I carried on eating and drinking the same, but with more planning, to make healthy choices for pre- and post-run fuelling. Go-to pre-run breakfast? Boiled egg and soldiers, cup of tea.



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“If you want something, go get it,” goes the adage. And for Karen Green, from Brough, East Yorkshire, that’s exactly what she did, upon deciding to target a 45-minute 10K at the age of 50. A single mum to 13-year-old Jay, Karen threw herself into running in 2010 when she divorced from her husband. Since then, she’s learned to juggle her training around parenting and a demanding job. This year, she set herself her 10K challenge, recruiting a coach to help her make this happen and following his training guidelines to the letter. As a result, Karen achieved exactly what she’d set out to when she ran the Leeds Abbey Dash last month in a PB of 45:20, knocking nearly three minutes off the PB she’d set earlier in the year at the Beverley 10K. NO-NONSENSE COACHING I went into my local running shop in Hessle, Humber Runner, for advice about a sore underfoot and the guy working in the shop, Kris Lecher, asked about my running. I told him my dream of achieving a 45-minute 10K at the age of 50 and he said it was possible. He told me he offered advice for runners on a one-to-one basis and I went along. Without question it contributed to the PB, as I felt I had become accountable to a person to achieve my goal. He believes I can run faster. I hold this belief internally when I have days where running might feel like a slog. FREQUENCY, VARIETY AND INTENSITY I aimed to run each week, with one long run of 10 miles, one hill session, one short fast run and anything else was a bonus. I read running magazines and subscribe to Women’s Running. I purchased Paula Radcliffe’s book, How To Run, and she has an intermediate training plan to follow eight weeks before a 10K. I added parkruns for speed days. As I reached the race date, I commenced hill repeats. I never ran more than five days a week, to avoid injury. I aimed to get to bed early to rest and recharge.

Karen at the Leeds Abbey Dash

JUGGLING ACT On the days when I knew an after-work run would be a challenge, I set my alarm for 6am and went out to run before work. I grabbed time slots that become available before work, after work or weekends, because two miles is better than no miles. I make myself go out the door because the alternative is to make excuses and find other tasks to do. It was established [with my coach] that I needed to undertake core exercises, which I did at home, and I stretched after my runs. TEAM SPIRIT I also ran infrequently with a local club called Brough Runners, who meet three times a week. What I gained from the club was the enthusiasm and passion of the other runners talking about their races and the improvements they had made. Listening to women who were much faster discussing their running rubbed off on me. A DIFFERENT RACE The Beverley 10K in May was a great course, with hills across the Beverley Westwood. It was a very hot day and a tough run from the start to the finish – with a “Never again” standing in the shade with a face like a tomato. Abbey Dash in contrast was a wet, cold, rainy flat course. It was the end of a very difficult month as I had lost my mum just two weeks previously. But it still ended up being a proud day. I crossed the line to achieve exactly what I had set out to do and I felt thankful to all those who had believed in me. SHARE YOUR PB STORY! SEND DETAILS AND PHOTOS TO JENNIFER.BOZON@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK


The result A 10K PB of 45mins 20secs – knocking 2mins 58secs off her previous best

16/12/2016 19:29


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The Event Frontrunners

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15/12/2016 11:57


Field of dreams: Brenda at the Dorset Invader

Deep in the woods during the Transylvania 100K ultra in 2015

ronically running was the one sport I was never into as a child, even though I loved being active and did gymnastics since the age of six,” says Brenda O'Keeffe, 38, a chef who ran 106 marathons in 2015, an Irish and English record for the most marathons in a year. “My first race was the Dublin Women's Mini Marathon in June 2010, a 10K road race that 40,000 women participate in for charity. I ran with my sister Andrea and will never forget the immense pride I felt as I crossed the finish line. It was a feeling I wanted more of, so much so that I ended up running the Dublin Marathon soon afterwards. Five years later, my sister ran her first marathon with me – while I completed my 145th! “Before moving to the UK in January 2016 to be with my partner Sean, I lived in Dublin, where I trained with my running club twice a week and then ran marathons every weekend – each one was just training for the next one. In 2014 alone I ran 74 marathons. I did my first marathon in October 2010 and my 100th in Sixmilebridge in Ireland just four years later. I didn't tell anybody beforehand that I was running my 100th because I didn’t want a fuss, I just wanted to run. In December 2014, I received both my Irish and UK 100 Marathon Club medal and vest (both countries have their own version of the club).



Brenda O'Keeffe was a sedentary smoker until she took up running at 32, but boy did she make up for lost time. Lisa Jackson meets the incredible woman who's since run 230 marathons



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RECORD ATTEMPT “The decision to attempt to break the record for the most marathons run in one year coincided with the break-up of my 12-year marriage. I started in January 2015 and finished my 106th marathon on 31 December, having run 5,356 miles/8,988K – the equivalent of running from London to San Francisco! A highlight of that year

16/12/2016 21:42

was raising over €4,500 by running 120K from Dublin to my home town of Cavan in Ireland. It was all for two great causes: cystic fibrosis and Care for Cian. Cian is a baby with a rare disease called Cri Du Chat syndrome and partial Down's syndrome and this amazing charity raised money to fund extra nursing care for him. I'm good friends with his mum and his family took me in one Christmas when my marriage was going through a rough patch. I just wanted to give something back because I'll never be able to thank them for what they did for me that Christmas. Also, Cian would steal anybody’s heart, he's just gorgeous. My family and friends were so excited about this event and my whole home town was rooting for me. My new partner Sean, whom I'd met in a field while competing in the Giant's Head Marathon, came over from the UK and ran the whole distance with me, and my family crewed with two cars the whole way. It was an incredibly emotional journey; running through the night to arrive on Christmas

HEALTHY AND HAPPY “What I like most about running is that it helped me stop smoking! Before I started running, I smoked up to 60 cigarettes a day. I loved smoking, and continued to smoke for two-and-a-half years after I started running.

I tried hard to give up but it was only when I signed myself up to do a 100K run that I was motivated enough to quit completely. I'm pleased to say I'm still not smoking two-anda-half years later. Running has also enabled me to make friends around the world and taught me how strong I am mentally. I love the freedom of the road; being out in mucky fields while being lashed by rain and wind. In a strange way I love the pain and struggles running can bring. Running is my life now – I can't imagine living without the buzz, pride and contentment I feel after finishing a race. “My advice to anyone who wants to take up running is to remember that the hardest thing sometimes is putting on your trainers. It doesn't matter whether you're slow or fast, big or small, get out there and don’t let anybody tell you that you can't. My exhusband used to tell me I wasn’t fast enough or slim enough to run and I think he made me the person I am today: a very happy and strong runner. People often ask me what I do when I’m not racing and my reply is always the same: ‘I look for more races I can do!’” Date with destiny: Brenda's packed 2015 race calendar


Rounding up to 100 of 106 marathons at the 2015 Usual Suspects Marathon

Eve morning to a crowd waiting in the town to welcome me home was truly magical. “In total I've now run 230 marathons plus three 24-hour races, five 100K events and one 100-mile race, where I came second. My future running goals are to see how far my legs will let me go, so I'm looking to do big mile races such as 200 miles or multi-day runs. I've already run 10 marathons in 10 days and 10 marathons in five days (both in Dublin) so, in 2017, I'll aim for 20 marathons in 10 days in Italy. Whenever I experience pain, I just block it off and remind myself that there's always somebody worse off than I am. When I run I think about how incredibly far I've come: running gave me the courage to walk away from my marriage. It may have taken years but I got there in the end.

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16/12/2016 21:42


GET READY TO RACE! T H E W O M E N ’ S R U N N I N G R A C E S E R I E S I S B A C K I N 2 0 1 7 – G R A B Y O U R E A R LY - B I R D E N T R Y R AT E N O W !

Ready to kick-start your 2017 running? Then get your entry in for our fun, friendly Women’s Running Race Series today – and grab yourself a brilliant discounted rate on entry of just £23 for the 10K distance. All of our 12 events for 2017 will feature



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a gorgeous venue, friendly marshals and, most importantly, a varied, vibrant and welcoming field of female runners. This year, we’re also adding a one-mile event, in addition to our 5K and 10K races, so it’s a great day out for the whole family.

With venues all over the UK, from Cardiff to Maidstone to Glasgow, you’re sure to find a race near you! Visit today to enter the 10K for just £23 or the 5K for £20 (until 31 March).

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16/12/2016 19:35


STAR LETTER FUNDRAISING FEET I have been a runner since 2003 when my daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer, neuroblastoma; she was three years old. I started running on the nights we were not in hospital and found it helped for all the positive reasons highlighted in Women’s Running every month. I joined a club, met great people and, from league races, went on to run dozens of races including five marathons, all to raise funds and awareness into neuroblastoma research. After three relapses and years of treatment, Hannah lost her brave battle in January 2010 but I continue to run in her memory. I have set up ‘Hannah’s Heroes’, a group of amazing family and friends who support me and join in with my fundraising efforts. I was reading the article about Nicola Gee, who is running 24 races in 18 months for Samaritans. I am taking part in 16 races in 2016 for what would have been Hannah’s 16th birthday year and have one more to go. Solving Kids Cancer (Europe) is the charity I fundraise for. The charity helps families affected by high-risk childhood cancers by supporting access to treatment, research, parent education and raising awareness. I wanted to wish Nicola the best for her remaining races and to anyone else embarking on a running challenge of any size. Running really is more than physical, the impact it has had on my mental health has been incalculable. C LA R E A N D R EW, BY EMA I L

WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ON FACEBOOK ABOUT YOUR SUNDAY RUNS Eight-mile trail run…to blow the cobwebs away Karen Pountney

Ran a 5-mile Christmas charity race along the seafront this morning. Perfect Della Sussex

What you’veEbelthite achieved is brilliant, Clare – and we’re so pleased that running has helped you stay mentally strong as well as physically fit.

Woohoo! Managed a half on my long run today. First time ever


Just need to run, getting out there, feel the air, because I can!!!

I have just taken up running at the age of 59, doing couch to 5K, joining the gym and, on 13 November with the help of my daughter and 13-year-old grandson, completed my first 5K with a time 33mins 35secs. I have also signed up for the Woman’s Running 5K in Glasgow on 27 August 2017. I have just joined parkrun and I am looking forward to Saturday morning runs. Love the feeling that exercise, especially running, gives me and I recommend it for women of all ages. YVONNE MCHUGH, BY EMAIL

You’re absolutely right – we hope your letter inspires more women to get racing!


As it’s the last day of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week, I’d like to share my story with you. In August 2015 I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, after having

This month’s Star Letter wins a Saucony Omni Sportop, £45, from Featuring stretch thermal fabric and convertible mitt-cuffs, it’s perfect for keeping you cosy on those chilly autumn runs!



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emergency major surgery to remove a section of my bowel. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which causes sections of your digestive tract to become inflamed. There’s currently no cure and it can have devastating effects. My mental health took a hit after the diagnosis, which was made worse by the fact I was prevented from doing my favourite exercise (rock climbing) due to the surgery. In an effort to improve my mood, I went out for a tentative run. After a few gentle runs, I started to see some improvement which really helped to boost my mood and, last October, I ran the Birmingham Half Marathon in 3hrs 3mins 42secs, raising over £350 for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. The picture is of me after I crossed the line – I was so chuffed with my effort! My disease gets me down almost every day but running helps me to feel like I’m in control of my body. Women’s Running helps me stay excited about running, and reminds me that every little effort counts! REBECCA PARKER, BY EMAIL

Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca – you’re right to be chuffed with your running!

Natty Webbsta

Alli Hunt

Need to run off my Xmas meal from last night! Joanne Burden

I wasn’t in the mood this morning, then I saw this post (on Facebook) and it made me put on my #tikiboo Christmas leggings and go out. I didn’t really enjoy any moment of my #SundayRunDay so, ironically, it was the best pace I’ve run 10 miles in ages! My body must seriously have wanted to work off yesterday’s monster Godiva cheesecake at Harrods. Natalie Simmons

Did an early 7 miler. Before the sun came up! Laura Sheridan Grossart


Send your views to: editorial@wildbunchmedia. or Women’s Running, 1st Floor, Gable House, 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1QP Letters may be edited

16/12/2016 23:45


Michele @Whiffenpuff

@Womensrunninguk #yourruns Dorset coast a beautiful place. My spiritual home although just for a 16 mile half marathon

#yourruns @Womensrunninguk out in the morning on the isle of Lismore @franceswillis22 #limekilns #offroad #wildrunning


Yesterday’s super fun Great Langdale Winter 10k Christmas Pudding Run…loved it! Officially the last race of the year for me with some wonderful friends! Pretty route, excellent folk and Christmas Pudding...

Elle Tyler @FBB2VLM

Speedy @parkunUK Sat and 6k today. Some graffiti on my run, ‘nothing lasts forever’. #yourruns @UKRunChat @Womensrunninguk


Sun-day run day. 8 miles. #eppingforest @womensrunninguk #yourruns Deb R @BrummieGal

Thrilled to knock over a minute off my #ParkRun pb on a lovely crisp Autumn day #YourRuns

Mary Phelan

I ran a 32 county challenge here in Ireland for 2016. A friend surprised me after I crossed the finishing line with balloons, cake and prosecco! As a slow runner doing the challenge to keep fit, it was a huge personal achievement and great satisfaction running 5 or 10K in every county this year! Now to decide on a 2017 challenge!!

Gill Millicheap

Morning family trail run in the Peaks. Guess who fell over!!! Natalie Calvert

The photo I’ve sent in is from the Manchester October Half Marathon which I completed with my sister – the pic is off us just about to cross the finish line! Sheer determination, a bit of stubbornness and my sister got me through that run! The joy on my face says it all!

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Last official run of the year! 1.06.00 12K #Santarun @ Womensrunninguk #YourRuns Hohoho...... Bring on the 2017 mileage!



16/12/2016 19:30



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YOUR EVER! R O F EADY ING YEAR R T E G R U N N h H u f t o n i e L at e g a n T S E B ar et h M sep izab ne, Jo : An s:El d k l d r a r o Wo don th w Mac eng dios die d str Stu E : e s r o u t Fut Pho on/ nst a r B



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The New Year is here and it’s time to put your running plans into action! Whether you’re aiming to make it round the block for the first time, to get back into shape after the holidays or you have a marathon on the horizon, we’re here to help you get off to the best possible start.

When your own motivation is failing, try propping yourself up with other people’s support.

f you really want to get fit in 2017, you’ll need to regularly I push yourself out of your comfort zone. We have three training plans for different levels of fitness, but if those seem too much for now, head to where you’ll find a host of beginner-friendly options.


You may find it easy to get started in the New Year but the real test is keeping it up. Use these mental tricks to help you stick to your running and fitness goals.

CREATE A VISION BOARD If anything is likely to derail your New Year plans, it’s your emotions, whether it’s a hard day at work or just feeling down from too little daylight. But your emotions can also save the day and provide a powerful pull to help you keep going. Use a visual shortcut to help your brain re-connect to those positive, hopeful feelings you had on New Year’s Day. A quick way to do this is to create a vision board, packing it with images and quick quotes to keep you inspired. These could be photos of yourself running, of an athlete (or friend) you admire, of someone you’re raising money to help – try different images and see which resonates with you the most strongly. Find short quotes you

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feel inspired by and print or write them out; images of your focus race, or routes that you love. If you followed part one of our ‘Step Into 2017’ plan last issue and have pictures from beautiful runs you’ve done recently, add those in to remind yourself that you are committed. Your vision board can be as big or small as you like – if you don’t want it anywhere public, make a mini version on the back page of your diary, or on the back of your printed training plan.

CHOOSE A MANTRA Keep your mindset positive before, during and after training with your own personalised mantra that you can repeat over and over again. Mantras can be as simple as “Cup of tea, cup of tea!” if that’s what gets you to the end of a run – or you could choose something empowering like, “I’m fast, I’m strong” to keep your legs pounding. They don’t have to be poetry, and they don’t have to be original either – feel free to steal one from someone else! Don’t just save these personal slogans for when the going is tough. Use them when you’re feeling great and you’ll automatically associate them with your stronger days. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS When you’re having a bad day, it’s really hard to put it in perspective – sometimes

you feel as though your hard work is for nothing and you’ll never make it to your race. At times like that it’s better to switch off your emotions and give yourself an objective measure of how you’re doing. A training diary recording your distance, times and how you feel when you run is useful here, but the very simplest way to do it is to download a free app such as MapMyFitness or Strava. These provide hard evidence of every session you do, so you can see exactly how you’re getting on. If things really do start to go wrong in training, you’ll be able to work out what’s happening – perhaps you’re overtraining or you need to move your speed sessions to a day that’s less busy for you.

BE ACCOUNTABLE When your own motivation is failing, try propping yourself up with other people’s support. There’s nothing like reporting in to a group to make you more inclined to keep training. You don’t have to train with others if you don’t want to (although even reluctant team players usually benefit from the odd group session) – you can just find a group of people working towards a similar goal who you can report in to. Try looking for a Facebook page or forum for the event you’re training for, or set up an informal, local running group and commit to meeting or talking once a week.



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Harness your New Year motivation to knock your poor nutrition habits on the head. No more excuses – stick to these rules like glue for four weeks and you’ll have all the energy you need to train, with none of the excess that leads to fat gain.

RULE 1: KEEP AN ACCURATE FOOD DIARY Research has shown that people who lose weight and then successfully maintain a healthy weight are more likely to keep a food diary as one of their healthy eating strategies. Crucially, you need to record what you consume, as you consume it, and count everything including cups of tea (it’s even useful to note down how much water you drink, to see whether you’re getting enough). Not trying to lose weight at the moment? This is still a good exercise to see what you’re eating too much or too little of. Make this easier on yourself by using an app or online food diary – try MyFitnessPal (free – you can use this with a Fitbit or other tracker) or (a subscription site with support; try for 24 hours for free). You can also enter how much you’re exercising to ensure you’re eating enough calories to fuel your training, which is essential to staying well and getting stronger.

RULE 3: EAT THREE MEALS ON NONTRAINING DAYS Unless you have a really fast metabolism, an active job or you’ve been told to eat regularly for medical reasons, three meals a day should be enough to provide all the energy and nutrients you need, at least on your non-training days. If you can simply cut out snacks altogether, you lose many of the nutritional nasties that lots of us turn to for quick snacks: crisps, biscuits, chocolate and even ‘healthy’ 300kcal energy bars. RULE 4: GO COLD TURKEY ON YOUR VICES Here at Women’s Running, we are firm believers in the saying, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” It’s just that, sometimes, it’s easy to eat a little bit more of what you fancy. If you’re trying to get back to your ‘racing weight’ at the moment then

try just cutting out your worst vices. You probably know what they are instinctively: perhaps you can’t get home from work without pouring a glass of wine, or you can’t drop the kids off without buying a chocolate bar from the shop on the way home. Go for four weeks without nutritionally empty extras and you should find your self-control is restored at the end of it, and you can enjoy them in small doses again.

RULE 5: FUEL YOUR RUNNING WITH HEALTHY SNACKS Even if you are trying to lose weight, you should eat enough to keep your running on track. Use snacks like fruit, nuts or yogurt to top you up on the days that you’re training. A 30-minute run could burn anything from 250 to 400kcal, so that might mean you need a banana an hour before or a handful of nuts straight afterwards to help you refuel. If you have any weightloss goals, keeping a food diary can help you stay on track



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RULE 2: WEIGH AND MEASURE WHAT YOU EAT This sounds obsessive, but it’s a habit anyone can get into and it really works if you’re trying to lose weight or avoid gaining any as you train. On the whole, we’re pretty bad at estimating how much we’re eating, particularly when it comes to foods that don’t come pre-portioned. Splash out on a set of digital kitchen scales so you can accurately measure food in small amounts, such as butter, which can heap on calories. If the thought of weighing your food forever makes you yawn, just commit to doing it for a few weeks – you’ll soon get a better idea of what constitutes a healthy portion of your favourite foods.

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THE 4-WEEK PLANs If you already have a training plan for a race you’re working towards, and it’s doing the trick, then keep it up! But, if not, we’ve got three plans for runners with different aims, to help you start off the year strong.







Walk 10mins. Run for as long as you can – aim for 5mins. Walk to cool down for 10mins

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Walk 10mins. Jog for 1min 30secs, walk for 30secs; do this five times

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Walk for 10mins. Then, alternate 1min walking and 1min running for 30mins


Walk for 10mins, then run for 4-5mins, walk for 2mins, and run again for up to 5mins. Walk to cool down for 5mins

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Walk 10mins then jog 2mins, walk 1min x 3. Walk for 5mins, then repeat the walk/run set

30 – 45mins cross-training or stretching

Walk for 10mins. Then, alternate 1min 30secs running and 30secs walking for 26mins


Walk for 10mins, then run for 5mins, walk for 1min, and run again for up to 5mins. Walk to cool down for 5mins

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Walk 10mins then jog 3mins, walk 1min x 2. Walk for 3mins, then repeat the walk/run set

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Walk for 10mins. Then do 3mins running, 1min walking x 5


Walk for 10mins, then run non-stop as long as you can – aim for 10mins. Walk to cool down for 5mins

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20 mins

Walk 10mins then jog 2mins, walk 1min x 3. Walk for 5mins, then repeat the walk/run set

Strength training – see below for a quick workout. Then stretch for 20mins

Do a 5K event or measured route – try your local parkrun. You don’t have to run all the way, see how you feel!

PLAN 1 YOUR FIRST 5K PLAN New to running? It’s easier than you think to build up to running 5K, non-stop – which means you’re well on your way to completing your first event! This plan follows on from last month’s complete beginner’s plan, but you can also use it if you’re reasonably fit already and can run for five minutes, non-stop.

YOUR 10MIN MOVES New runners really benefit from strength training. It will help condition your body to cope with running, as well as revving up your metabolism. Do 10-15 reps of these, then repeat the whole circuit. PLANK ROTATION

A great full-body workout that will shape your waistline and improve your running technique. • Lie on your stomach and place your elbows directly underneath your shoulders • Lift your hips off the floor to form a straight line between your head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles • Lift your right arm up and twist your body towards the right • Extend your right arm up to the ceiling • Hold the position for two counts • Return to the centre position and repeat towards the left

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• Stand with your feet hip-width apart • Step forward with your right leg while twisting your body towards the right • Bend both knees to perform a lunge • Step back to the starting position and repeat to the left • Alternate between right and left

• Kneel on all fours and place your hands directly underneath your shoulders • Lift your knees off the floor to form a straight line from shoulders to heels • Bend your elbows and bring your right knee in to touch your right elbow • Return your leg and straighten your arms • Repeat with your left leg • Alternate between right and left

Work your thighs and core to improve your leg strength, improve your balance and shape your waistline all in one move.

A great full-body exercise that will improve your posture and strength.



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PLAN 2 THE WHOLE-BODY PLAN This general-purpose plan will help you build up your fitness again after a period of easy training. You’ll use cross-training to build total-body fitness and to help you avoid running impact injuries – great if you’re coming back from a lay-off. You can use this as a springboard to train for a 10K or go on to build up mileage for a half in the summer. If you’re feeling fit or want an extra challenge, repeat Tuesday’s strength session on the Friday.







Run 10mins at 5-6/10 effort, then do 10mins as 20secs fast but fun, 40secs recovery. Jog to cool down for 10mins

Quick strength training session (see below) and then stretch for 20mins OR try a circuits or Bodypump class if you have access to a gym

Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2 x 4mins at threshold (around 8/10 effort) with 2mins easy in between. Jog 10mins

Bike or crosstrainer: 10mins warm-up then: 3mins, 2mins, 1min, 2mins, 3mins (work harder on the shorter efforts). 10mins cool down

Long run: 35-45mins at 6/10 effort


Run 30mins: Do a 10min warm-up, then 5 x 2mins at 8/10 effort with 1min recovery. Cool down jog for 5-10mins

Strength session (see below) and stretch for 20mins OR 20-30min swim – swim in 5min blocks allowing just 1min for recovery

Run 10mins easy to a hill (5-6/10 effort). Do 10-15mins continuous upand-down loops on the hill, aiming to keep effort at 7-8/10. Jog back to cool down.

Bike or crosstrainer: Warm up for 10mins then increase the resistance slightly, maintaining your cadence, for 10mins. Cool down for 10mins

Long run: 40-45mins at 6/10 effort


Run 30mins: Do a 10min warm-up, then 6 x 2mins at 8/10 effort with 1min recovery. Cool down jog for 5-10mins

Quick strength training session (see below) and then stretch for 20mins

Run 10mins easy, to a hill (5-6/10 effort). Do 8-10 ‘over the top’ reps: run up the hill, increasing effort as you go to surge over the top for 50100m. Jog down

Bike or crosstrainer: Warm up for 10mins then do 10mins at 40secs very easy, 20secs sprints. Cool down for 10mins OR Do a spin class

Long run: 45-50mins at 6/10 effort

Run 10mins at 5-6/10 effort, then do 10mins as 20secs fast but fun, 40secs recovery. Jog to cool down for 10mins

Bike or crosstrainer: do 30-40mins at a steady 6-7/10 effort

Long run: 50-60mins at 6/10 effort

YOUR 10MIN MOVES These simple moves will help to build whole-body strength to support your training. Start with 10 reps of each, repeating the circuit once, and build up reps as you get stronger


Run 30-40mins ‘fartlek’ – use the landscape to run faster and slower sections, on and off road

OR try a circuits or Bodypump class if you have access to a gym Strength session (see below) and stretch for 20mins OR 20-30min swim – swim in 5min blocks allowing just 1min for recovery

SQUAT JUMPS These will improve your fitness as well as building your explosive power for running.

CYCLING Flatten your tummy and improve your running posture.

DIAMOND PRESS-UPS Tone your arms and improve your running arm swing.

• Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and brace your core • Bend your knees and swing your arms backwards • Jump up, using the forward swinging movement of your arms to help you get high • Land with soft knees • Keep your jump rate high

• Lie on your back with your knees bent at right angles • Keep your hands next to your head • Pull your belly button in but don’t hold your breath • Cross your right elbow over to your left knee while extending your right leg • Return to the centre position and then repeat to the other side

• Kneel on the floor • Place your hands on the floor with thumbs and index fingers touching • Keep a straight line between your shoulders, hips and knees • Ensure your hands are underneath your chest • Lower your body as close as possible to the floor then push back up



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PLAN 3 THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER’S PLAN Starting a half or marathon training plan in the New Year? Don’t get carried away by ramping up your mileage too soon – just use this plan to keep building your base steadily and gradually increasing strength in your legs. This plan asks you to run or workout five times each week, but if you’re fit and running well and injury-free, add another easy run on Fridays or your other weekend day. You could also add a long bike ride (1hr 30mins to 2hrs) on your other weekend day to help build your base fitness without impact.





Strength work: try the quick set below or do a Pilates class

Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2 x 6mins at threshold (8/10 effort) with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins

30-45mins easy running or cross-training

Long run: 60mins easy (5-6/10 effort)

Strength work: try the quick set below or do a Pilates class

Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 4 x 5mins at threshold (8/10 effort) with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins

30-45mins cross-training, stretching or yoga

Long run: 6070mins easy (5-6/10 effort)

30-45mins cross-training, stretching or yoga

Long run: 7080mins easy (5-6/10 effort)

30-45mins stretching or yoga

Long run: 8090mins easy (5-6/10 effort)


Run for 10mins to a hill (or ramp or steps). Do 10mins continuous hills, maintaining effort as you run down. Jog to cool down for 10mins


Run for 10mins to a hill (or ramp or steps). Do 15mins continuous hills, maintaining effort as you run down. Jog to cool down for 10mins


Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 6 x 2mins at 5K pace (8-9/10), with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins

Strength work: try the quick set below or do a Pilates class

Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2 x 10mins at threshold (8/10), with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins


Run for 30-40mins. Alternate 5mins at 5-6/10 effort, then 5mins at 20secs fast but fun, 40secs easy recovery

Strength work: try the quick set below or do a Pilates class

Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 20mins at threshold (8/10). Jog for 10mins

YOUR 10MIN MOVES Use this quick circuit to bolster your strength for long runs when you don’t have time to make it to the gym. Repeat each exercise 15-20 times and do the whole circuit twice





• Stand with both feet on a resistance band • Grab hold of the edges • Cross the resistance band in front of your body • Give five large steps to the right • Change direction to give five large steps to the left

• Lie on your back on the floor with your feet hipwidth apart • Lift your hips off the floor until you form a straight line between your knees, hips and shoulders • Lift your right leg off the floor • Ensure that you don’t drop your hips • Replace your foot on the floor and repeat on the other side • Alternate between left and right

• Stand on your left leg and hold a weight in your left hand • Step to the side with your right leg • Bend your right knee and keep your left leg straight • Lower the weight to the floor in front of your right foot, then step back • Complete one set on the left before changing over to the right

Strong glute muscles can prevent injuries and improve your running technique.

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Teaching your hips to rotate less when you run can reduce back, hip and knee pain.

Your inner thighs help you with balance during running and keep your pelvis level.



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any women take up running to lose weight and, for most of M us, it works in the beginning. Running is one of the best ways to boost weight loss – it can burn anywhere from 10 to 15 calories per minute, depending on your age, weight, fitness level and how fast and how long you run. As a new runner, you’re creating a different stimulus to which your body must adapt, so the body finds it challenging at first, resulting in more energy expenditure. However, once your body gets used to it, weight loss can plateau, especially if you stick to the same type of runs. You might think that running longer distances like a marathon is the best way to keep losing weight. But simply clocking up more miles is not the answer and if you think that doing a marathon is an invitation to eat what you want, then you may be in for a shock!

RACING WEIGHT I gained half a stone during my training for the Brighton Marathon in 2011, despite training properly and eating a relatively healthy diet. Admittedly, though, my attitude to food was more relaxed than usual. I wasn’t an isolated case. Many female runners I’ve spoken to were shocked to gain weight while marathon training. “I gained weight during my first marathon,” says 28-year-old running blogger Charlie Watson ( “Mostly because I would get back from an 18-mile run and think I could eat whatever I wanted. I gained about half a stone and I was outraged! I couldn’t believe I’d run a marathon and not only had I not lost weight but I had put it on. I felt conned!” Julia Buckley, PT and author of The Fat Burn Revolution (, ran marathons and ultras and still struggled to lose weight. “I ran my first marathon in 2008,” she says. “Two years later I ran the Lakeland 50. At first the fat comes off, but then it stops shifting. So you push yourself by exercising for longer. With the increase in training a bit more fat comes off, but then fat loss stalls again. Your body keeps adapting to cope with the longer sessions.” Julia switched to shorter, high-intensity interval training sessions to lose weight and it worked. She now has the flat, toned stomach she always wanted. “When people exercise intensely, the activity requires more energy in total than low-intensity exercise, so often we will still burn more fat and use

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up a lot more muscle glycogen than if we do slow steady exercise.” “People can fall into the trap of: ‘I’m a marathon runner, that means I can eat what I want,’” says Gareth Nicholas, nutrition expert from Maxinutrition (maxinutrition. com). “Nutrition has not necessarily been tailored for the easy reduction in training at certain times in marathon preparation either, especially in the last two weeks during tapering. Some people may be continuing to eat high volumes of food during the taper. The reality is you can’t eat as much as you want. It’s about trying to eat the right amount for the exercise you’re doing.”

BODY BASICS “Understanding how your body functions

will help you to eat correctly,” adds PT and ultra runner Anne-Marie Lategan, author of the running nutrition programme, Eat Better Run Faster ( “Most of us have enough energy (glycogen) stored in our muscles and liver to run for at least 60-90 minutes. So you don’t need to overeat on calories before your run. You should eat enough for your body weight before you run and then top up with fastreleasing calories (an energy gel or sports drink) during your run – but only if you run for more than 60-90 minutes.” A basic understanding of your daily calorie needs may help. The amount of calories you need on a daily basis varies depending on: Your resting metabolic rate (RMR) – the




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minimum number of calories your body needs simply to function, such as breathing, even if you were lying in bed all day doing nothing The thermic effect of food – the energy needed to digest what you eat Your body weight – to maintain the same weight, you need to eat the right amount of calories – if you eat more than you burn, you’ll gain weight; and if you eat less than you burn, you’ll lose weight How active you are – the more active you are the more energy you require from food On a basic level, it is assumed that 1kg of bodyweight uses around 25 calories of energy per day. So to calculate your daily calorie requirements, multiply your weight in kilograms by 25 to get your resting metabolic rate, and then add on the following depending on your activity levels: Sedentary person – add on 20% of your RMR Moderately active person – add on 50% of your RMR Very active person – add on 100% of your RMR

25 x 60 = 1500 calories per day Then add on 50% of RMR = 2,250 calories required daily

On rest days, reduce your calorie intake. Experiment and see what works for your energy levels and waistline. If you feel good and don’t gain weight, you’ll know you’ve got the balance right. If you feel tired, you may need to consume a bit more. Another method is to track calories burned during each run using a sports watch. Although this will vary depending on the type of training session and the duration of each run, you’ll get an idea of total calories burned during a typical week and that will tell you how many extra calories you will require. If you burn an extra 2,000 calories per week by running, you’ll only need an extra 285 calories per day.



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It’s important to look at your overall lifestyle. If you have a sedentary job and you only run three times a week, then you’d most likely be classed as moderately active, or at best, somewhere in between moderately and very active. So if you weigh 60kg and you are moderately active, your daily calorie requirements could be calculated as follows:

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TIME IT RIGHT The timing of when to increase food intake is key. “The trick is to up your energy intake around your training,” says James Rutherford, an ambassador for nutrition brand Bio-Synergy, who has a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Science (bio-synergy. uk). “Your pre-training and post-training meals should be the largest of the day, as these are the meals that are fuelling and refuelling your body for exercise. Then for your other meals, have smaller meals with fewer calories so you don’t overdo your energy intake when you don’t really need it.” INCREASED CRAVINGS Cravings can cause problems for many marathon runners. When I trained for my first marathon, all I could think about was food. “Feeling hungry and having cravings are probably the two biggest problems runners face when increasing their distance,” says Anne-Marie Lategan. “Reducing cravings is most easily done by increasing leptin levels – the hormone released by fat cells that signals satiety,” says Rutherford. “This can be done by focusing on sufficient protein intake from lean meats, fibre intake from grains, fruit and vegetables and omega-3 intake from fresh fish such as salmon. This will help to keep you full and reduce cravings, especially for sweet and salty foods.” “Cravings for salty foods like crisps can mean that your body’s salt levels are not balanced,” adds Lategan. “Check your urine levels. If it’s completely clear (not straw yellow), you need electrolytes. Drink electrolytes for a few days before your run and during your run and see if it reduces your cravings. Electrolytes are calorie-free!” THE LONG RUN So how much extra should you eat the night before your longest runs? “There is no need

to hugely increase calories the night before so long as the daily calorie intake is adequate to meet daily energy expenditure,” says Rutherford. “Focus on prioritising complex, low GI carbohydrates the night before a big run as this is the meal in which the majority of your energy will come from, especially if the run is early the next morning.”

FOOD TYPES Make sure you consume enough carbohydrates to fuel your runs, as carbohydrate is the body’s preferred source of energy. Aim for around 60-70% of your daily calorie intake to come from carbohydrate sources, around 20% from fat and around 15-20% from protein. When it comes to sensible carbohydrate choices, aim for fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice and potatoes. Avoid sugary foods or anything too processed. Choose healthy fats. Fat is the body’s second preferred energy source and fat is typically converted into fuel, when carbohydrate stores have been depleted (after around 90 minutes). Choose healthy fats like avocado, oily fish and nuts. Keep an eye on food portions. Many foods contain more calories than we think. A 1.5 cup portion of spaghetti carbonara with bacon contains around 600 calories. Most of us would need to run for around an hour to burn it off. Weighing out foods is a good way to control portion sizes and ensure you’re getting enough of the right macronutrients in every meal. But keep in mind that marathon training isn’t the time for strict dieting. “Immune function is essential for marathon training as the body takes a battering from all the stress involved and the immune system is weakened,” says Rutherford. “This increases susceptibility of illness and injury. Ensuring sufficient mineral and vitamin intake through eating lots of fruit and vegetables will help to combat this.”



Have lots of healthy snacks to hand

Stay hydrated so you don’t mistake thirst for hunger

Cut down on processed foods and saturated fats like cakes, biscuits, crisps and hard cheese

Don’t over-consume energy gels or bars – have them on or after long runs but not on a daily basis

“Marathon training made us gain weight” “I trained for the Manchester Marathon in 2016. At Christmas 2015 I weighed a respectable 9st 12lbs and, by the time I had run the marathon, I was a hefty 11st 3lbs. I thought I had eaten correctly as I’d had protein but I had a craving for crisps! Looking back on my food diary, I thought I was being good but, in reality, I wasn’t.”

“I have trained for four marathons and completed three, and I’ve gained weight every time. During training for my first marathon in 2014, I thought that every training run equalled cake and chocolate, so I gained over a stone! For the third and fourth marathons, I tried really hard not to gain weight and did better – I only gained about 4lbs.



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Consume enough protein to help you feel full. “Eating between 0.8-1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight will help you to keep the hunger away,” says Lategan. “If you weigh 60kg you will need to eat between 49g and 90g of protein per day.”



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“I’ve raised over £20,000 in honour of my sister who has MS” Laura with her sister Amanda

having aimed to reach £4,000, was overjoyed when I raised over £7,000 (I was also pretty proud of my 4:09 PB). Social media was key to my fundraising success. But I also hosted bake sales at a local playgroup, which meant that every week I got the chance to explain to other mums what I was doing. “Having raised about £20,000 over the past 15 years, I’m not done yet. Next year I intend to run a 40-mile ultra at the St Albans Stampede, and I’m again running the London Marathon for the MS Trust (I’m so excited but know I’ll have to train like mad to beat my PB). I feel privileged to have good health and I love the fact that I can use my running to assist those who aren’t as lucky as I am.”


Laura is moving up from marathons to ultras

“When my younger sister Amanda became horribly ill with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2001, I felt utterly hopeless and really frustrated that there was nothing I could do to help her feel better,” says Laura Lane, 37, from St Albans. “MS affects people in different ways and, in Amanda’s case, she lost the ability to walk and had to use a wheelchair and it also affected her eyesight. She was continually in and out of hospital for steroid treatment and had a really tough time of it. I was a bit overweight, working long hours, and a smoker. I definitely wasn’t a runner at that time, but knew that running a marathon would be a great way to raise money for MS. So I entered the 2002 London Marathon. I felt that would be a really positive response to a terribly difficult situation. “So I set about training through a long, dark, wet winter with my friend Kellie. The training was hard – but the fundraising was

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even harder. However, I kept reporting on my efforts through regular updates on my work intranet and ended up raising £4,000 for the MS Society. I felt very emotional when I reached the finish line in 5:59 – but was also itching to do it again as I knew I could’ve done it faster! The highlight of my entire fundraising experience was when my sister posted on Facebook saying how proud she was of me. I’m incredibly proud of her too! “The next year I did it all over again, knocking 72 minutes off my time and once again raising over £4,000. Two years later I returned to the London Marathon, this time fundraising for the MS Trust, which trains MS nurses to provide specialist care. “In the intervening years I had two children, but by 2015 I was ready to tackle a marathon again. Amanda’s condition was still unstable so I wanted to do more to help. I once again ran for the MS Trust and,

To sponsor Laura visit



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Lesley and Paul at a 2014 cheque presentation for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales

Lesley and Paul outside one of the hospital rooms showing a plaque

“We founded a charity to keep our daughter’s memory alive” “Setting up a charity when we lost our 14-year-old daughter Chloe to cancer in 2007 has been as much of a help to us, her grieving parents, as we hope it’s been to others via its funding,” says Lesley Bigmore, 58, from Bridgend in south Wales. “In the early days, when we’d been left with such an enormous hole in our lives, it was something positive we could focus on. Since founding the Chloe Bigmore Trust in 2008, we’ve raised £65,000. Much of that was spent on sponsoring two rooms at the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales where Chloe was treated. We’ve also sponsored a playground at a children’s hospice and helped another family to fund research into the rare type of cancer that claimed both their child and ours. “Running as a means of fundraising was more of a bonus than the sole reason to run. My husband Paul had been running for a few years as he found it useful in coping with the demands of his business, whereas I took it up shortly before losing Chloe as



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it enabled me to relax and see things more clearly. After her death, we both found running helped us to deal with the grief and the fundraising followed on naturally from that. So far I’ve been sponsored to run three marathons and 30 half-marathons, and Paul has done about 108 marathons and two Ironman-distance triathlons. “We’re certainly not a couple who’re very pro-active in pushing the fundraising Lesley and Paul at London Marathon 2014

element of our charity, but we’ve been very lucky as many people have wanted to help us by staging running events and holding concerts. In the early days, we did have some clothing with Chloe’s picture on it and a lot of our current kit still bears the name of our charity or ‘Running for Chloe’. Whenever we’re asked who Chloe is, we’re happy to give a brief outline of her story and why we founded the charity. We’ve had to face this question so many times that we no longer get upset in public – we reserve this sadness for our personally difficult days. “Chloe was such a vibrant, enthusiastic and caring daughter that, when we look back on the many photographs we have of her, they all make us smile. It’s wonderful knowing we can help other families while keeping her memory alive.”

To donate to the Chloe Bigmore Trust, visit

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“Running allows me to fundraise for good causes while doing what I love”

“You need to be really thickskinned – you can’t get upset if people don’t sponsor you,” says Laura Lane. “And you have to be prepared to send out your message over and over again via social media to ensure potential sponsors get regular reminders. A good way to tell everyone what you’re doing and why is to include a link in your email signature. In this way I received a huge donation from a lovely plumber who donated all the money I’d just paid him to fix my boiler.”

“I’ve been fundraising since I was a schoolgirl – it’s just part of who I am,” says Karen Hurrell, 53, from Rainham in Essex. “And, since getting into the London Marathon ballot at my first attempt in 2001, running has played a big part in my fundraising. In 2011, I was selected to run the 2012 Brathay 10in10, an event that involves doing 10 marathons in 10 days in the Lake District. The money goes to the Brathay Trust which helps disadvantaged children and young people have a better start in life. The Trust supports young offenders, improves youngsters’ chances of finding employment and provides support for young people affected by sexual exploitation. I’ve now done the 10in10 four times and am the female record holder. It may surprise you to hear that I’m not a natural sportswoman – I’m very much a plodder – but if I can tackle the 10in10, others can too! “I went into my first Brathay expecting to run a sub-five-hour marathon every day and when that didn’t happen on the first two days I had to re-assess my goals

“If you’re organising events, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family,” says Karen Hurrell. “It will ease the burden on you and people often love to feel they’re involved.”

“Think outside the box,” says Lesley Bigmore. “In addition to being sponsored for races, we’ve helped to organise charity auctions, sponsored walks and runs, a charity ball, a singathon and concerts. We’ve also done a sponsored skydive and even produced a charity CD.”

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Karen and fell-running legend Joss Naylor

Karen runs the Brathay 10-in10

very quickly. On day three I decided not to wear a watch and just run how I felt. I finished that day much more relaxed and happy and from then on I’ve never worn a watch – at Brathay anyway. “At the event, you very quickly become a team and each day you’re not only thinking about how you’re running but how everyone else is getting on too. As the days go by, it becomes harder to sleep, you struggle to eat and silly things can get to you. As beautiful as it is, it can also get very lonely on the course if you’re having a down day. When the weather’s bad, and you’re tired and sore, it can be difficult to stay chirpy. “In the early days, I mostly raised money for the Brathay Trust (and several other charities such as Alzheimer’s Society, PHAB and Sense) via sponsorship, but in the past few years I’ve found that I’ve had to do other things as well. I’ve held karaoke evenings, co-organised a race festival weekend, sold sweet cones and jewellery, held raffles and online auctions, organised cake sales and run in fancy dress. I find that you have to be a bit creative and come up with ways of giving people something for their money rather than just expecting a straight donation. “Through running, I’ve been lucky enough to visit some amazing places and meet some fabulous people, a lot of whom have become friends for life. Being involved in the 10in10 has certainly brought me a whole new ‘family’ and I’ve enjoyed being able to make a positive difference to others’ lives while doing something I love.”

To donate to the Brathay Trust visit Martin-Campbell



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Whatever stage you are at with your running, Resist&Skip Fitness Ropes can help improve your running ability. The Resist&Skip Fitness Rope is a fusion of a skipping rope AND a resistance band all in one neat, compact and sturdy rope that can be used by anyone of any ability. Use it as a skipping rope for a few minutes a day and you will see an improvement in your cardio fitness levels. Use it as a resistance band to target the key muscles groups needed for your running. Go online to view our dedicated running programmes for beginners and advanced runners. This could be the best running partner you have ever had! @resistandskip

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07/12/2016 14:49 15:37 12/12/2016

100 BEST RACES! Looking for your next running challenge? Check out these top 100 winter and spring 2017 races from around the UK and overseas. From 5Ks to ultras, and everything in between, you won’t want to miss these events…


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Y O U ’ R E P E R F E C T LY H A P P Y R U N N I N G W H E N A N D W H E R E Y O U F E E L L I K E I T – S O W H Y R A C E ?

ADD STRUCTURE Running as and when you feel like it is a wonderfully freeing experience, offering you a space to clear your head and keep your fitness ticking over. Once you enter a race, though, you are forced to give your training a bit more structure. You don’t have to run to a strict timetable. You’ll just follow a gradually progressing training plan that sees you build distance and speed each week. And following a plan like that can actually make training easier: you don’t have to think of a run to do, because it’s decided by your training plan. Most training plans will also add variety into your running – ideal if you’ve got into the habit of doing the same route or distance each time you go out. BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE Remember the first time you were able to run for 10 minutes non-stop – didn’t it feel great? You can recapture that feeling every single week when you’re training for a race. As you build up distance or



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complete speedwork sessions faster, you’ll find you’re a better runner than you ever could have imagined. Once you reach the finish line of your race, you’ll find there’s no feeling more satisfying as a runner than applying yourself to a training plan and seeing the results:

REDISCOVER YOUR MOJO Running without pressure can sometimes turn into running without purpose and,

when that happens, motivation can take a downturn. Training for a race will help you rediscover your mojo. You can either opt for a challenge so immense that you’re scared into training regularly or just go for a fun event that makes you want to get out of bed and train in the mornings.

SET A BENCHMARK There are plenty of ways to measure your running besides finish times but, when push comes to shove, most of us

runners are clock watchers. Running your first race allows you to set a marker from which you can progress, and your result feels somehow more ‘real’ than just timing yourself on your phone.

SEE SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT Most of us toy with the idea of running in a new place but, caught up in our daily lives, when do we ever have the chance to map out a new route and give it a go? Enter a race, even in your local area, and you’ll find paths you never knew existed. Try one further afield and it’s a great way to see the sights in a new area – and often the best excuse for a nice weekend away (you can bill this as ‘recovery time’!). RAISE SOME DOSH Setting yourself a running challenge is a brilliant way to raise money for a cause close to your heart. Every year, millions of pounds are raised by people in races big and small across the country. If you’re new to racing, you’ll be amazed by how much support your friends, family and colleagues are willing to offer to see you pushed outside your comfort zone. Most charities are used to supporting runners and will be able to help you through the training and fundraising. MEET OTHER RUNNERS Even the most introverted wallflower will struggle to stay silent at a race start, so it’s a great way to meet people and find out what motivates them to run. Racing comes with nerves and tough times, so the friends you make as you’re getting through them can stay with you forever – or just remind you how wonderful people can be.


elcome to the Ultimate Race Guide! If this is the first time W you’ve opened one of our guides, and you’ve never raced before, you might be wondering whether racing is all it’s cracked up to be. It might bring back haunting memories of school sports days, being forced to pitch yourself against your classmates, knowing you’d come last. Or you might just be happy as you are, running your favourite routes, and never having to get stressed if you miss a session. But racing doesn’t have to be stressful – you can approach it however you like. Here are our top seven reasons why you should enter an event this year.

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CANCER RESEARCH UK RACE FOR LIFE, VARIOUS LOCATIONS Various dates Want to help Cancer Research UK beat cancer sooner? Sign up now for a Race for Life. Finding an event near you shouldn’t be a problem as there are now over 150 5K events to choose from across the UK.



THE GRAVESEND FLOODLIT 5K, KENT 5 January 2017 This two-lap evening race at Cyclopark in Gravesend is ideal for those wanting to work on their speed during winter. The undulating course is suitable for all abilities. The self-contained course also incorporates plenty of parking, great spectator viewing and refreshment facilities. NICE-WORK.ORG.UK

THE LEICESTER CITY 5K WINTER SERIES 1 February 2017 Head to Leicester’s Victoria Park and for this undulating two-lap event, with frequent water stops and distance markers at every kilometre. It’s a traffic–free course with supervised bag storage. All finishers receive a medal, prizes and finish-line goodies. NICE-WORK.ORG.UK

RUN ETON DORNEY, WINDSOR 4 February 2017 The Run Eton 5K race is the perfect winter training run. Ideal for notching up a quick time, the route circles the lake and offers smooth, flat and fast paths and roads. With memories of Team GB’s rowing achievements still lingering in the air, there’s no reason not to be inspired for



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this one. Whether you’re looking to beat your personal best or not, don’t miss out! VOTWO.MYSHOPIFY.COM

RUN FOR CHOCOLATE 5K, VARIOUS LOCATIONS February 2017 Chocolate lovers, this race is calling you! You won’t be timed here, so forget about that PB and just concentrate on having a good time. Bring your friends and family along to cheer you on – they’ll love the party atmosphere, live music and unlimited luxury hot chocolate. Heaven! RUNFORCHOCOLATE.CO.UK

MILTON KEYNES FESTIVAL OF RUNNING 5K 5 March 2017 Starting at the Xscape Centre, this one–lap course leads you through town and country. All finishers receive a medal and this event, as part of a festival, offers competitors that large race feel. A well marshalled course, it’s perfect for a fast PB. MKRUN.CO.UK

THE SUFFERING 5K MUD RUN, LEICS 11 March 2017 This 5K obstacle race through the idyllic

grounds of Rockingham Castle is described as an ‘entry-level race’, but don’t be fooled. It’s tough. And great fun, too! So if you love a bit of mucky tomfoolery and obstacles (there are 15 of them) this is the one for you. THESUFFERINGRACE.CO.UK

INVERNESS 5K FUN RUN 12 March 2017 This race heads towards Inverness city centre before crossing the River Ness, then heading under Ness Castle and alongside the river. Runners then cross through the Ness Islands before heading into Queens Park Stadium. The race is beautifully scenic, and great fun! INVERNESSHALFMARATHON.CO.UK

THE 6TH LLANDUDNO EASTER 5K PROMENADE DASH, LLANDUDNO, CONWY 15 April 2017 Make like the Easter Bunny and hop to it along this fast and flat 5K course – good for both beginners and those looking to crack a new PB. There’s a kids race too, so this is a good event for the Easter weekend. Cross that finish line and you’ll be rewarded with seasonal goodies and – of course – Easter eggs. Sounds eggcellent! NICE-WORK.ORG.UK/EVENTS.PHP?ID=61

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Each year, Fix Events organises over 50 events across the UK, including the hugely popular MoRunning Series, triathlons, 5K and 10K runs, as well as charitable and corporate events. In addition, if you are looking to organise a run for your company or a team-building day, do get in touch to discuss bespoke event services. You don’t have to be super fit to join in. Fix Events welcomes entrants of all abilities and ages to their fun and friendly events such as the All Nations 5K and 10K runs, where you can feel like a champion representing your country as you take on the Olympic venue, Windsor’s

Dorney Lake. If you fancy a slightly bigger challenge, then take on their All Nations Triathlon on the same day, which is always a superb event full of great national spirit. In the historic Greenwich Park, there are the Tough Runs if you feel like tackling an undulating 5K, 10K or 15K, or the competitive Battle of the Boroughs which pits areas against each other to crown the top London borough! There are many more events on the schedule, so check out the Fix Events diary. Visit for more info and to book online, and follow thefixevents on Facebook and Twitter @fixevents.

FIX EVENTS 2017 DIARY Fix Events have a packed diary for 2017. To enter any of the events below, book online at Don’t forget to use the promotional code FIXEBIRD-MWR-2017 to claim your 10% discount! For all future events, please visit DATES

Sat 14 Jan

Richmond Park Race 1: 5K & 10K

Sat 28 Jan

Richmond Park Race 2: 5K & 10K

FEB Sat 25 Feb




Richmond Park Race 3: 5K & 10K

MARCH Sat 18 March

Richmond Spring Riverside 10k

Sat 25 March

Tough 5k, 10k and 15k Run


Fix Events is giving Women’s Running and Men’s Running readers an exclusive 10% discount to any of its upcoming events with promotional code FIXEBIRD-MWR-2017. Book online at to redeem this offer. Limited availability.

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Sat 1 April

Richmond Park Race 4: 5K & 10K

Sat 22 April

Richmond Park Race 5: 5K & 10K

MAY Sat 13 May

All Nations Triathlon

Sat 13 May

All Nations 5K & 10K

Sat 20 May

Battle of the Boroughs London

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WHERE’S WALLY? FUN RUN, LONDON 19 March 2017 This Clapham Common race is back; bigger and better than ever. Fancy dress is a must, but you won’t be hard to spot wearing Wally’s outfit in South London. It’s a real family affair with a 10K, 5K and 1K option available. All adults are asked to fundraise £100 to help the National Literacy Trust support those in need. LITERACYTRUST.ORG.UK/SUPPORT/FUNDRAISING_AND_EVENTS/FUN_RUN

INFLATABLE 5K, WOLVERHAMPTON 21 May 2016 (TBC) Like a 5K and love a bouncy castle? Then this race is for you. Get on over to Wolverhampton and prepare for this inflatable challenge. Don’t expect to be walking on air though. You’ll be pitting yourself against 10 extreme inflatable challenges that will let you flip, bounce and boing your way to that finish line. UKRUNNINGEVENTS.CO.UK/INFLATABLE-5K-RUN

KNICKER KNACKER, BOX HILL, SURREY 1 January 2016 What a great name for a ladies’ race. Sounds apt, too, as the organisers say this is one tough 10K. Sign your man up for the Knacker Cracker (hee hee) and the little ones can take on the Nipper Knacker. Now, can you say all of that three times fast? TRIONIUM.COM/KNACKERCRACKER

ENDURANCELIFE COASTAL TRAIL SERIES, DOVER 14 January 2017 The Coastal Trail Series is incredible – whether in Suffolk or Northumberland, 44 miles in length or 10K. This edition sees runners take on a wonderful course near the iconic White Cliffs



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tower. The coastal path skims the Kent Downs and makes for a fantastic, challenging route. ENDURANCELIFE.COM

VICTORIA PARK 10K, LONDON 22 January 2017 Held in London’s oldest park, this race is fast, flat and perfect if you’re after a PB. But why not take it slowly and enjoy the setting? It is listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, after all! THERACEORGANISER.COM/VICTORIA-PARK-10K

CANCER RESEARCH UK WINTER RUN, MANCHESTER 12 February 2017 Whether you’re looking to liven up your standard 10K with some epic winter fun, train for a spring marathon or raise money to help beat cancer sooner – this is the event to keep you active this winter. Expect snow machines, partying penguins and cuddly polar bears. MANCHESTERWINTERRUN.CO.UK

QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK 10K RUN, LONDON 13 February 2016 Feel like an Olympian in this East London venue,

renamed to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The race is a 10K jog through the park to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, while taking in the world–famous London 2012 Olympic village. There’s also a 5K option. BHF.ORG.UK

RICHMOND SPRING RIVERSIDE 10K 18 March 2017 Join The Fix Events for this fast and flat riverside race. The location is amazing with stunning scenery. Running along the riverside, from Richmond towards Kingston and back, you can enjoy views of the river for most of the way. THEFIXEVENTS.COM/RICHMOND-SPRING-RIVERSIDE-10K-2017

THE GLENLIVET 10K, CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK 9 April 2017 This race takes place in the stunning Glenlivet Estate in the Cairngorms National Park, giving it the title of the “most beautiful run in Scotland” according to some critics. The start and finish are based at the Glenlivet Distillery and every runner will receive a special event memento and a goody bag. All proceeds raised will go to the Scottish Charity Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland. CHSS.ORG.UK/SUPPORTUS

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! E S A E S I D T R A E H T S N I A G A T H G I F JOIN US IN OUR Take on a BHF Run in 2017 and join the fight for every heartbeat. From muddy trail runs, to running in World Heritage sites, to street jogs in the Capital, with 5k, 10k and Half Marathon distances to choose from, there is something to suit all. Sunday 26 February 2017

Wednesday 17 May 2017



Take on 10k or a Half Marathon across muddy off-road tracks and steep forest inclines, all set within the stunning grounds of Yorkshire’s historic Harewood House.

Sunday 5th March 2017


Starting and finishing at Warwick Racecourse, join thousands of runners on this completely traffic-free route around the beautiful town of Warwick and its surrounding countryside.

Saturday 18 March 2017


Join thousands of Heart Runners and choose from a 5k or 10k run at the Capital’s famous Royal park, with incredible views of London zoo.

Take on 5k or 10k and explore the wonders of this historic fortress at the Tower’s only running event.

September 2017


Run 5 or 10k at this popular street jog in the heart of London’s business district, a great way to end your working day, while joining the fight against heart disease.

Sunday 1 October 2017


This impressive World Heritage site provides the backdrop for the Half Marathon, 10k or 2k Family Fun Run, offering something for all ages and abilities.

Sunday 26 March 2017


Run 5k or 10k where Olympic greats made their name in 2012 and become a heart hero.

To register for one of our events, please visit or call 0300 330 3322 © British Heart Foundation, registered charity in England and Wales (225971) and in Scotland (SC039426)

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INVERNESS HALF-MARATHON, INVERNESS 12 March 2017 This race attracts thousands of runners and it’s clear why. It starts along the banks of the River Ness and runs under the impressive outline of Inverness Castle, finishing at Queens Park Stadium. The friendly atmosphere and scenic route make for a great day out. INVERNESSHALFMARATHON.CO.UK

ASDA FOUNDATION CITY OF LINCOLN 10K 2 April 2017 The City of Lincoln 10K, which is a part of the Run For All 10K Series, is as good a race as you’ll come across. Full of character, the location fits the bill in terms of scenery and atmosphere, making the day a lively and entertaining occasion for runners and spectators alike. RUNFORALL.COM

GREAT RUN BRISTOL 10K 7 May 2017 Fancy beating your personal best? If so, the Run Bristol 10K might be for you. The race starts and finishes in Bristol’s historic harbourside, taking runners on a fast point–to–point loop. The route sees participants travel along the harbourside, through Avon Gorge and twice under Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Stunning! RUNBRISTOL.COM

SCIMITAR LIGHTNING RUN 12HR 10K, DERBYSHIRE 29-30 April 2017 Taking place in Walton upon Trent’s Catton Park, this event requires you to run as many times as you can around the 10K off–road course. Runners have 12 hours to tally up as many laps



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as possible, and can run it solo or as part of a team – with runners switching after each lap. PVSEVENTS.COM

BUPA GREAT MANCHESTER RUN 28 May 2017 Televised live on the BBC, this race isn’t to be missed. Europe’s leading 10K starts and finishes in Manchester city centre, and includes a run– through shower and a few bands on the run, too! More than a quarter of a million runners have taken part in this fantastic race, so add to that number and sign up today. GREATRUN.ORG

VITALITY LONDON 10,000 29 May 2017 Starting and finishing in St James’s Park, this iconic 10K takes in the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament among many famous sights on the way to the finish line. It features the British 10K Championships this year. VITALITYLONDON10000.CO.UK

CHELTENHAM CHALLENGE 18 June 2017 An off–road event with a scenic course on sections of the Cheltenham Circular

Footpath, Cotswold Way and Winchcombe Way. This annual event is organised by County Community Projects, which provide a range of services aimed at preventing homelessness, strengthening families and supporting independence – so it’s all in a good cause. CHELTENHAMCHALLENGE.ORG.UK

VITALITY BRIGHTON HALF-MARATHON 26 February 2017 Organised by the charity Sussex Beacon – which supports men, women and families living with HIV – this is one of the UK’s most popular races. Starting at the seafront on Madeira Drive, runners head north past the Brighton Pavilion before turning back towards the coast. BRIGHTONHALFMARATHON.COM

MILTON KEYNES HALF-MARATHON 5 March 2017 Part of the Festival of Running, this race is a real treat. Starting on the central dual–carriageways of Milton Keynes, runners enjoy a beautifully scenic and winding run towards the finish. The half-marathon is ideal for those wanting to train for a spring arathon but it’s also aimed towards new runners, so there’s no reason to hold back! MKRUN.CO.UK

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VITALITY READING HALF-MARATHON, READING 19 March 2017 Ideal for both the experienced and novice runner, this event caters for everyone. The fast and flat course begins at Green Park and then heads through the town centre of Reading. Runners then make their way through the stunning grounds of the University campus before finishing inside the Madejski Stadium. The course can yield a PB, but it is also a great choice for new or more leisurely runners.



CAMBRIDGE HALF-MARATHON 5 March 2017 Beginning on Victoria Avenue and ending on Midsummer Common, this race passes some of Cambridge’s most iconic locations. The roads are pretty flat, too, which makes for a great run. The event has sold out – but you can still bag a charity place, so sign up now to do your bit.

ADIDAS SILVERSTONE HALF-MARATHON, TOWCESTER, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 12 March 2017 Silverstone is full of famous memories, but now it’s time to create your own. The motor racing circuit plays a superb host to this fantastic race, which is a suitable choice for both novice and experienced runners.



WARWICK HALF-MARATHON 5 March 2017 Organised by the British Heart Foundation, this race is both good fun and in aid of a great cause. The half starts and finishes at Warwick Racecourse, following an undulating route through the town and its beautiful countryside. A great day out with friends and family.

VITALITY NORTH LONDON HALF-MARATHON 12 March 2017 Like your team sports? This might just be for you. The race starts at Saracens Rugby Club’s Allianz Park and goes on to Wembley Stadium. Here, a length of England’s iconic ground will be covered before heading back to a packed Allianz Park. Great fun for any runner!



VITALITY BATH HALF-MARATHON 12 March 2017 This city-centre race is a real cracker. Starting and finishing on beautiful Great Pulteney Street, runners tackle two loops of a fast and flat course. Locals line the route on both sides of the Avon, cheering runners on to a fast finish.

THE HASTINGS HALF-MARATHON 19 March 2017 Expect fantastic crowd support along this course which circumnavigates the ancient town of Hastings, starting at the seafront and following the route of William the Conqueror towards Battle, round the back of the town and down to the famous Old Town and fishing village




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of Hastings. Although it’s tough at the start, the last two–thirds is flat or downhill as you make your way to the finish line on the Promenade. HASTINGS-HALF.CO.UK

THE BROOKS FLEET HALF-MARATHON, FLEET, HAMPSHIRE 19 March 2017 Now in its 35th year, this is one of the longest– running half-marathons in the UK. The race uses a flat course and takes runners across a mix of urban and rural roads. The event is perfect for those planning to run April’s London Marathon, and a few thousand participants are expected to turn up on the day. This is a well organised and friendly event, so give it a go! FLEETHALFMARATHON.COM

VITALITY LIVERPOOL HALF-MARATHON 25 March 2017 Get a ticket to run in the Fab Four’s hometown. This race starts and finishes around Pier Head. It’s mostly flat – the only incline comes after the one-mile mark, when runners head up Upper Parliament Street. The final stretch along the prom can also be quite windy, so save yourself for the end! BTRLIVERPOOL.COM

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rd Hastings

Half Marathon plus

Mini Run for 11-16 ages

Sunday 19th March, 2017 - Start 10.30am  Open to all abilities, and you can raise monies for your own needy causes.  Fantastic crowd support, six bands, two discos, two choirs on route.  Unique ‘Hastings Brass’ to all finishers, plus a hot drink.  Free quality programme, free parking.  Good train service to nearby station.

Enter now by going to our website: production.indd 1

Photographs courtesy of:

Organised by

The Lions Club of Hastings Registered Charity No. 293745

28/11/2016 14:51




EMF EDINBURGH HALF-MARATHON, EDINBURGH 28 May 2017 Following the fast Edinburgh Marathon route, this half-marathon is just as quick. The course is incredibly flat so makes for great first– time racing, and it’s also ideal for those seeking a personal best time. This is one of the largest UK half-marathons, but it has sold out every year since 2012. Sign up quick to secure your place! EDINBURGHMARATHON.COM/EVENTS/HALF-MARATHON

PLUSNET YORKSHIRE HALF-MARATHON, SHEFFIELD 9 April 2017 This event attracts thousands of runners and spectators. With a city centre start and finish, the event boasts a super scenic route – with stunning views of the Peak District for those who conquer the climb to Ringinglow. As well as great memories, finishers will be rewarded with a technical t-shirt, goody bag and medal. THEYORKSHIREMARATHON.COM

ABP SOUTHAMPTON HALF 23 April 2017 Starting at Hoglands Park, this is a fairly flat race – but there’s a unique ascent up the Itchen Bridge, which will be specially closed for the event, so expect spectacular views over the river, the city and out towards the Isle of Wight. ABPSOUTHAMPTONHALF.CO.UK

SIGLION SUNDERLAND HALF-MARATHON 7 May 2017 After five years based at the Stadium of Light, this half (and the 10K) has a new home at Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s regeneration. Although this takes the race closer to the city centre, most of the city’s most iconic landmarks



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will remain on the route. Great coastal views and a brilliant atmosphere are guaranteed. SUNDERLANDCITY10K.COM/SUNDERLAND-CITY-HALF-MARATHON/

VITALITY RUN HACKNEY HALF-MARATHON, LONDON 7 May 2017 Fancy a new PB? Then this flat race through Hackney and the iconic Queen Elizabeth Royal Park is for you. Enthusiastic spectators and live entertainment lend a carnival atmosphere to the event. There is a 5K option available, too. RUNHACKNEY.COM

HENLEY HALF-MARATHON TRAIL RUN 14 May 2017 If you’re not a local, this is a great opportunity to visit beautiful Henley-On-Thames. It starts and finishes at Temple Island Meadows, the start for the Henley Royal Regatta. There’s a 10K option, too – but the cut-off time for the half is 3hr 30mins so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. F3EVENTS.CO.UK

PLUSNET RUN FOR ALL LEEDS HALFMARATHON 14 May 2017 This highly–rated race is bursting with life and

raises money for a number of local and national charities. The race starts on The Headrow and finishes in Cookridge Street – to the side of landmark Millennium Square – taking in the city centre and suburbs. RUNFORALL.COM

ESSAR CHESTER HALF-MARATHON 21 May 2017 Chester is full of character, and this race showcases it. Starting at Chester Racecourse, the route runs north–west out of the city before turning back and finishing outside the beautiful Town Hall and Cathedral. Definitely worth a go, if only for the sight-seeing! ALE.NIFTYENTRIES.COM/CHESTERHALFMARATHON

SNOWDONIA HALF-MARATHON 21 May 2017 Snowdonia National Park is a runners’ paradise. Starting and finishing in Llanrwst, this race is wonderfully inspiring. Deep forests, rocky mountains and cascading rivers accompany participants on their way to the finish. But be aware, as the surroundings make for a tough race. In particular, the hill towards the middle is a real test! Are you up for the challenge? RUNWALES.COM

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CONSIDER TIMESCALE If you started running last spring, there’s a good chance you’re already fit enough to complete your chosen race. But it’s still a good idea to think about how long you’ll need to train to achieve the finish time you’d be happy with – and, more importantly, to finish comfortably and enjoy the race! If you would like to run a 10K, give yourself at least six weeks training; for a half or marathon, you’ll need 12-16 weeks; and, for anything longer, you should look at a four or five-month build-up. Want to plan in more than one race? Make sure you give yourself enough time to recover in between events. THINK ABOUT LOGISTICS When you’re planning your perfect race, you’re probably not imagining a panicked journey to the start or reaching the line hungry because you couldn’t eat breakfast. Always think about the logistics of your chosen race: check out the start time and make sure you’ll be able to get there (and park if you’re driving). If you need to stay overnight, research the area and find accommodation that will offer an early breakfast – and think about whether you’ll



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want to shower and change afterwards. Check out the route to find out how accessible it is for spectators. These little details can make or break you on race day.

FIND YOUR SUPPORTING ACTS Crowd support makes a huge difference to your race experience, particularly if you’re a first-timer. Of course, you might be a shy runner who prefers to go it alone

about what is important to you. For example, if you simply can’t run without your favourite tunes, make sure you’re allowed to wear earphones (many races ban them these days). Some races will let you run across the line with your children, others don’t let anyone on the course, even for a photo finish! And make sure you know what the policy is on deferring a place or getting a refund if you’re unlucky enough to become ill or injured just before race day.

BAG YOUR REWARDS You may feel that running a race is reward in itself but, if you’re the kind of person who likes to get value for money in the form of a decent goody bag, check this out beforehand. Races can vary hugely in what they offer, from medals to technical t-shirts. Or, perhaps you’d like to reward yourself with your favourite meal? Find a race with a cosy café or pub nearby for a guilt-free lunch afterwards! Think about what will keep you going during weeks of training and plan to make it happen! The support of spectators – particularly friends – can provide a huge morale boost

– in which case go for something low-key! But, if you’re doing your first half or full marathon, it pays to find a big-city event or one where you know there will be crowds at several spots on the route. The sound of them cheering for you can really help pick you up when you start to flag!

CHECK THE SMALL PRINT Make sure you know the rules and regulations of your chosen event, thinking

DON’T FEAR THE SWEEPER Finally, if you suspect you might be towards the end of the pack at your chosen race, find out if there’s a cut-off time. The last thing you want is to be robbed of your ‘official’ finish because you were one or two minutes behind the sweeper! If you don’t want to feel intimidated by lots of fast runners, see if you can find the results list from last year’s race – this should give you a feel for the spread of finish times and the kind of runners who prefer to race there. There’s a certain glory in coming last – but only if you still get your medal at the end of it!


ou’ve made the decision – you’re ready to try your first Y race. Congratulations! Now there’s just the small matter of deciding which race you should enter. Hopefully our list of 100 great events in the first half of 2017 will help but, even if you have a distance in mind, or a couple of contenders, there are a few things you need to check out before you fill in that entry form.

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BRIGHTON MARATHON 9 April 2017 This is one of the UK’s most popular events. Renowned for its lively and exciting atmosphere, the event seems to grow bigger and better year on year. Weaving through the streets of Brighton, the race then continues alongside the bright blue of the ocean before finally ending on the city’s magnificent seafront. This picture-perfect marathon boasts a support and feel like few others, so join in the fun!



ROYAL WINDSOR HALF-MARATHON RIVER TRAIL RUN 21 May 2017 Experience the historic Thames Valley with this fantastic race which starts and finishes at the foot of Windsor Castle. Follow trail paths along the banks of the River Thames, passing the landmarks which make Royal Berkshire so special. There’s a 10K option too. F3EVENTS.CO.UK

SOUTH DOWNS TRAIL HALF-MARATHON, HORNDEAN, HAMPSHIRE 17 June 2017 Don’t expect an easy ride here. The start sees runners tackle a mile-long climb up the South Downs Way to the radio mast at the top of Butser Hill. Then, at three miles, runners are given a downhill break, before joining the full marathon group down Staunton Way. Hilly and testing, this is a real off–road challenge. 209EVENTS.COM

SALOMON TRAIL HALF-MARATHON WALES, COED Y BRENIN, SNOWDONIA 17 June 2017 Wales’ Coed y Brenin forest, in Snowdonia National Park, is a place of amazing beauty. This



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half-marathon takes runners on fully marked trails through these incredibly surroundings, as well as forest roads and paths. Truly stunning! TRAILMARATHONWALES.COM

TORBAY HALF-MARATHON 25 June 2017 If you like to be beside the seaside, try this coastal classic, now in its 26th year. Starting and finishing on Paignton seafront, runners are taken on a two-lap route where they’ll head towards Torquay – passing Torre Abbey and the Princess Gardens before returning to Paignton. TORBAYHALFMARATHON.CO.UK

JCP SWANSEA HALF-MARATHON 25 June 2017 Take in the sights of Swansea, from the historic castle, to stunning views over Swansea Bay and the famous St Helen’s Rugby Ground. As you head towards the Meridian Tower, the fast and flat promenade onto Swansea Marina will give you perfect conditions if you’re aiming for a PB. SWANSEAHALFMARATHON.CO.UK

STEYNING STINGER MARATHON, SUSSEX 5 March 2017 This isn’t called the Stinger for nothing. Taking

place on the South Downs, between Worthing and Shoreham–by–Sea, the race heads up towards the top of the Downs. The course covers countryside, roads and four hills (the ‘stings’). Hold on tight, as this is one bumpy ride! STEYNINGAC.CO.UK

ASICS GREATER MANCHESTER MARATHON 2 April 2017 The Greater Manchester Marathon is a real cracker. Held in Trafford, it gives runners the chance to partake in a fast and flat race. Participants will be buoyed by the great support and entertainment offered on the day. The course has a perfect finish at Manchester United’s famous Old Trafford ground. GREATERMANCHESTERMARATHON.COM

GREAT WELSH MARATHON, LLANELLI, CARMARTHENSHIRE 30 April 2017 - TBC Over 60 per cent of those who have taken part in this event have come away with a personal best – impressive statistic, isn’t it? Join their numbers on this traffic–free route, taking runners around Llanelli’s Millennium Coastal Park. It’s a speedy, scenic, seaside treat! GREATWELSHMARATHON.ORG

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VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON, LONDON 23 April 2017 The London Marathon is one of the world’s premier running events, drawing in world-class athletes, regular racers and fun runners. First held in 1981, the race has since exploded in size but still showcases the best of the city. The course is relatively flat and fast and runners are taken from Blackheath through to Buckingham Palace. This highly rated race is extremely popular, so if accepted to run – make the most of it!



BLACKPOOL MARATHON 23 April 2017 This fun event is a great day out for friends and family. The marathon is joined by a 10K and half-marathon, so there’s something for runners of all abilities and experience. The marathon itself is a PB-friendly two-lapper. FYLDECOASTRUNNERS.COM

BARRINGTONS GREAT LIMERICK RUN, LIMERICK, IRELAND 30 April 2017 Part of the Riverfest Limerick weekend, this race promises to be a good craic. The city will welcome over 14,000 runners and 40,000 spectators along the course with a route that takes in the city centre, the University and picturesque countryside and riverside locations. GREATLIMERICKRUN.COM

MILTON KEYNES MARATHON, MILTON KEYNES 1 May 2017 The Milton Keynes Marathon has a total elevation of just 315 feet, so ready that stopwatch. The race takes place on a traffic– free course, on closed roads and cycle paths, so the potential is there for a quick time. Starting



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and finishing inside the MK Dons stadium, this is a must-race event! MKMARATHON.CO.UK

quiet back roads. It attracts runners from far and wide, with some in the past making the journey all the way from Dubai just to compete. HALSTEADROADRUNNERS.ORG.UK

DEEP RIVER ROCK BELFAST CITY MARATHON 1 May 2017 Most of the course is pretty flat, but expect a few hills through miles nine to 14. ASICS is now the official partner for the event and is offering training advice to all runners via MY ASICS; a free online service to help you achieve your goals. Expect amazing crowd support, too. BELFASTCITYMARATHON.COM

ROTARY SHAKESPEARE MARATHON, CHEADLE, STAFFORDSHIRE 7 May 2017 Starting and finishing in Stratford–upon–Avon, this race has a two–lap course through the town and surrounding countryside. Over 60 per cent of your entry fee is donated to charity. SHAKESPEAREMARATHON.ORG.UK

HALSTEAD AND ESSEX MARATHON, HALSTEAD, ESSEX 7 May 2017 This run, although mainly taking place on roads, makes use of the area’s rolling hills, forests and

BRATHAY WINDERMERE MARATHON, CLAPPERSGATE, CUMBRIA 21 May 2017 This marathon takes place in the heart of the Lake District. Starting and finishing at Brathay Hall in Clappersgate, the stunning course follows an anti–clockwise route around Lake Windermere. Tough at times but friendly enough for most runners, this scenic event is certainly one for the calendar! BRATHAY.ORG.UK/MARATHON-WELCOME

RICHMOND PARK MARATHON, SURREY 21 May 2017 If you’re looking for a race with fantastic scenery, then this is for you. The marathon takes place in Richmond Park, the largest of London’s Royal Parks. The beautiful location is the capital’s biggest enclosed space, so makes the perfect place for a long-distance race. The route is not the easiest, but the setting makes for a great occasion! RICHMONDPARKMARATHON.CO.UK

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ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LIVERPOOL MARATHON, LIVERPOOL 28 May 2017 Love music? This marathon is the one for you. The start is at the Albert Dock, a few minutes walk from the Liverpool Echo Arena. This fun and friendly event has live bands playing round the course to spur you on, a great atmosphere and lots of runners in costumes. At the end, you’ll get a very blingy medal and plenty of food.



EDINBURGH MARATHON 28 May 2017 Now officially the fastest marathon in the UK, the Edinburgh race is the largest of its kind in Scotland. The course is fast and flat and has an elevation drop of almost 40 metres. Over 70 per cent of participants enter from outside of Scotland, making this a real global event. EDINBURGHMARATHON.COM

BOLTON HILL MARATHON, LANCASHIRE 10 June 2017 This is one of the toughest marathons around. Extremely hilly, the course boasts a total ascent of 2,997 feet – reaching 1,050 feet on the first climb alone. Starting and finishing in the same area, the route follows some of the West Pennine Moors’ most beautiful country roads and trails. This one is brilliantly brutal! HILLRUNNER.ORG.UK

SOUTH DOWNS RELAY MARATHON, SLINDON, WEST SUSSEX 17 June 2017 This route takes in some of the South Downs’ most stunning scenery. The race itself is great fun, too. Starting at Slindon College, the relay race – consisting of teams of four – is split into



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quarters, with each member running a separate leg. So give your mates a call, and give it a go! 209EVENTS.COM

MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN MARATHON, TALYBONT–ON–USK, POWYS 24 June 2017 The Midnight Marathon, held in Wales’ stunning Brecon Beacons, is a gruelling challenge. Runners have between 5:30pm and midnight to finish the race, which follows part of a route used by the British Special Forces – so don’t expect an easy ride! BRUTALEVENTS.CO.UK

VODAFONE MALTA MARATHON 5 March 2017 Runners here will feel like they’re taking a cultural tour as Malta has been described as ‘one big open–air museum’. Don’t be worried about over–heating, in March the thermostat averages around a cool 13°C – just right for a long-distance run. MALTAMARATHON.COM

ZURICH MARATO BARCELONA MARATHON 12 March 2017 This urban circuit is one of the most attractive

in Europe, passing by the main city landmarks. This event has a real festival feel and there will be lots of animation points offering free entertainment from live bands. As well as the marathon, you can also take part in a free 4K breakfast where you can enjoy breakfast after the race . ZURICHMARATOBARCELONA.ES/ENG/

JERUSALEM WINNER MARATHON, ISRAEL 17 March 2017 This event mixes physical a challenge with exquisite landscapes, fresh mountain air and unique culture and heritage sites showcasing 3,000 years of history. There are also options for a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and a 800m community race, so everyone can get involved. JERUSALEM-MARATHON.COM/INDEXEN.ASPX

ROME MARATHON, ITALY 2 April 2017 You know how the saying goes. When in Rome… run a marathon. And why not? This beautiful and ancient city with its winding marathon course may not be the ideal location to chase a new PB but it’s certainly one for your bucket list. Rome’s not a bad spot to go carb-loading either – enjoy! MARATONADIROMA.IT

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HARMONY GENEVA MARATHON, SWITZERLAND 7 May 2017 This race takes in some of the finest views Geneva has to offer. Switzerland is a stunning country, and this city marathon is truly delightful. The course includes the picturesque city centre and some some beautifully scenic countryside areas. Considering the nature of the country, the route is relatively flat, too. So pack your bags, and prepare for a great trip!



MARATHON DES SABLES, MOROCCO 7-17 April 2017 Named by the Discovery Channel as the toughest footrace on earth, this event – which is a little bit more than a marathon – is a classic. Runners have to be self–sufficient as they make their way though the Sahara Desert in five to six days. Are you tough enough? MARATHONDESSABLES.CO.UK

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC PARIS MARATHON, FRANCE 9 April 2017 The Paris Marathon is one of the biggest races on the international circuit. The flat course makes for a smooth race, which passes some of the city’s famous landmarks. Starting on Champs–Elysees, the course heads down the Rue de Rivoli and the outskirts of east Paris. SCHNEIDERELECTRICPARISMARATHON.COM/US/

NN ROTTERDAM MARATHON, HOLLAND 9 April 2017 This marathon weekend combines sporting action with a festival feel. Events include fun runs, a pasta party and a quarter marathon. It’s all for a good cause, too, as money goes towards Jeugdsportfonds, the Youth Sports Fund which



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creates sporting opportunities for children from low–income families. NNMARATHONROTTERDAM.ORG

ZURICH MARATHON, SWITZERLAND 9 April 2017 Noted for being well–organised, this race loops through the city centre so you can expect an amazing crowd of spectators to cheer you on. It’s not exactly flat – but there are no sizeable hills either, so this is a great choice if you’re after a more intermediate challenge. ZURICHMARATHON.CH

BOSTON MARATHON, USA 17 April 2017 From its beginning in 1897, the Boston marathon has become an iconic race. Starting from the rural New England town of Hopkinton and finishing at the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square at the heart of the city. As you would expect from such an established event, the facilities are second to none. BAA.ORG

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MADRID MARATHON, SPAIN 23 April 2017 This is one of Spain’s best running events, and

as such is given a lot of attention. The marathon, although quite hilly and challenging, is extremely popular. The route is changed and adapted each year but the course usually takes in many of Madrid’s most famous sites. RUNROCKNROLL.COM/MADRID/

VIENNA CITY MARATHON, AUSTRIA 23 April 2017 Take a tour of Vienna’s most iconic sights on this marathon route. Run by the bank of the beautiful River Danube, past the famous opera house and Schönbrunn Castle. Make a weekend of it and drop by the Pancake and Carb–Loading party so you don’t miss your chance to sample some authentic Austrian pancakes. VIENNA-MARATHON.COM/EASIBIB

GOOD LIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON, CANADA 7 May 2017 The Toronto Marathon is not only a wonderfully scenic race, but one that offers fantastic PB potential. In 2013, over half of the event’s participants clocked a personal best time. Starting at Mel Lastman Square in North York, the race takes runners on a fast, downhill route. TORONTOMARATHON.COM

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10K A 10K race can be surprisingly tough – for both beginners and more experienced runners. To race one comfortably, you should complete at least 10K in training: this could take you anything from 45 minutes at the speedy end up to 1hr 30mins. You’ll need to run at least twice a week – ideally three times. More experienced runners looking for a fast 10K will need to put in three or four runs a week, including one or two speedwork sessions. Running up to 10 miles is useful if you want a fast 10K, so that the distance itself holds no fear for you. HALF-MARATHON Ready to commit to some longer runs? Then you could be in the right place to race your first half-marathon. No matter what your speed, you’ll need to run up to at least 10 miles in training, and ideally cover the whole distance (further if you want a fast time). So expect to spend one day a week running for at least two hours. Three runs a week is a minimum training commitment for those training for 13.1 miles and you should consider adding some cross-training sessions on top of that – even if it’s just building up your



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daily step count to get your body used to moving. Faster or more experienced runners may also want to include threshold training. This involves running at around 8 out of 10 effort level for long intervals – up to 20 or even 30 minutes – as part of a longer session.

MARATHON This classic race distance is, for many, a reason to start running in the first place. If you’ve ever watched a big race such as the

to start thinking about taking something to eat and drink on those runs, too, trying out energy gels and drinks ahead of your race.

OBSTACLE RUNS Fancy something different? An obstacle run could be the way to go. But, just because these races are brilliant fun (and they really are!), that doesn’t mean you can just rock up and complete one. To get any enjoyment out of throwing yourself over, under and through obstacles, you need to train. You’ll need wholebody, explosive strength – it’s hard to train specifically for this, but HIIT training and gym classes are a good way to start. Some gyms even offer training sessions specific for these events. And don’t forget the running aspect: obstacle runs can be up to halfmarathon distance and often take place off-road, on difficult terrain, so get your trail running in and be prepared to put in the miles.

ULTRA When you’ve ticked everything off your list – or just realised that Back-to-back long runs over weekends forms you are more suited to endurance a vital part of ultra than speed – an ultramarathon marathon training is perhaps the greatest pure running challenge. Defined as anything more than 26.2 miles, ultras London Marathon on TV, you’ll see that can be one-day road events or multi-day “anyone can do it” – but you do need to challenges over mountains, carrying all take it very seriously! your kit with you. The key consideration Training for a marathon requires a if you’re planning an ultra is time: you’ll build-up of at least 12 weeks – more for need to do back-to-back long runs on your beginners. In a typical training week, you’ll weekends and spend time researching kit, need to run three or four times, cross-train food and recovery strategies. You’ll also once or twice to build fitness without need to reset your expectations of pace: impact and include at least one strength successfully completing an ultra means session to make sure your body is up to racing slower than you’ve ever done the task. before. Make sure you have the patience One of your runs will need to be long for it. – anything up to 3hrs 30mins. You’ll need


his is a brilliant time of year to decide to step up your T running, and you couldn’t find a better way to begin that journey than looking through our Ultimate Race Guide. But how do you know whether you’re ready to move to the next level? Whether you’ve run your first 5K and are looking to double your distance, or are thinking about taking on your first ultra, use our guide to work out how far you want to go this year.

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Supporting your local community

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WALT DISNEY WORLD® MARATHON WEEKEND, CALIFORNIA 4-8 January 2017 Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World® Half Marathon with this spectacular weekend of amazing runs and endless fun in the most magical place on Earth. There’s more than one race on offer and runners can choose from a number of distances – and there’s also a fun run for the kids who would never forgive you if you left them at home. And, of course, you can expect plenty of magical entertainment to keep you amused when you’re not running. RUNDISNEY.COM/

THE SEMI–MARATHON DE PARIS, FRANCE 5 March 2017 It may be the fashion capital of the world, but it’s time to swap couture for trainers to take on the Paris half-marathon. The race, which is in its 24th year, takes you past all of the tourist hotspots and it’s a good bet for anyone chasing a PB as the course is relatively flat and fast. FITBITSEMIDEPARIS.COM/US

GOZO HALF MARATHON, MALTA 30 April 2017 If you fancy a half-marathon overseas, then try this race on the Maltese island of Gozo. The island is full of rustic, rural charm. The event, now in its 40th year, is smaller than most, so it’s ideal if you’re not a fan of big crowds.

historic sites, so you can make a weekend of it as well as enjoying the marathon. RUNCZECH.COM/

GREAT WALL MARATHON, CHINA 20 May 2017 Races don’t get much more spectacular, or physically demanding, than the Great Wall Marathon. China’s iconic landmark is globally recognised, and tourists travel from far and wide to walk it. So, what is it like to race on? Tough – really tough. The stunning route sees runners travel through the lower valley and into the villages, on a monstrous journey. Buoyed by fantastic support, there’s no reason to shy away from this one! GREAT-WALL-MARATHON.COM/


VOLKSWAGEN PRAGUE MARATHON, CZECH REPUBLIC 7 May 2017 This race plays host to around 10,000 runners and some elite athletes and goes through the streets of Prague, where the architecture and scenery will keep you occupied while you run. You’ll get a text message with your finish time at the end and free entry to selected museums and



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SCOTIABANK OTTAWA MARATHON, CANADA 28 May 2017 Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Canada’s capital as you take on this fast course. The event is the finale of the Ottawa Race Weekend which includes a health and fitness expo, races for runners of all abilities and ages and a pasta dinner at the Marriott Hotel. RUNOTTAWA.CA/

HELL DOWN SOUTH, LIPHOOK, HAMPSHIRE 14 January 2017 Longmoor Camp is the official home of the original HellRunner event. This race is tough and it’s grim, and now it’s wilder and wetter, hillier and hellier than ever before. So lace up, wrap up and prepare to do battle! HELLRUNNER.CO.UK/HELL-DOWN-SOUTH/

COPENHAGEN MARATHON, DENMARK 21 May 2017 Runners will get to enjoy the sights of central Copenhagan as they make their way round this route, which starts and finishes at the harbor front on Islands Brygge. The course is mainly flat so it’s a good overseas option for first–timers. Little ones can take part in the mini marathon so there’s family fun to be had all round!

BRUTAL 10, BORDON, SURREY 25 February 2017 Even though this 10K event uses only natural obstacles to challenge your resolve, it really is brutal. Expect a lot of hills, water, mud and uneven ground, so make sure you’re wearing sturdy trail shoes. Great fun on your own or if you’re thinking of entering as part of a team.



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8-11 JUNE 2017

Your Ultimate Trail Running weekend

Outdoor Activities, sporting Events, Speakers, Live music and Camping

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KESWICK MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL, KESWICK, CUMBRIA 8-11 June 2017 Catering for runners of all abilities, this festival is made up of numerous trail running events from 5K to trail ultramarathon. Each race offers a real mix of terrain and runners can expect wide open trails, tough descents and open valleys all set against beautiful scenery. Afterwards, camp out at the Festival Village where you can listen to live music, sample great food and drink and try your hand at various activities.



SPRING WOLF RUN, LEAMINGTON SPA, WARWICKSHIRE 8-9 April 2017 Whether you take it on as a lone wolf or as part of a pack, this 10K run will test you to your limits. The course is packed with man-made and natural obstacles. This is really wild running, taking you through woods, lakes and fields.

LIDL KINGSTON BREAKFAST RUN, KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, SURREY 26 March 2017 This course takes you through the pretty market town of Kingston–Upon–Thames and you can choose distances from eight to 20 miles, making this a great practice run if you’re marathon training.



THE MIGHTY DEERSTALKER, INNERLEITHEN, PEEBLESSHIRE 11 March 2017 Head to the Scottish Borders for some pitchblack magic on this tough multi-terrain race. Pack a headtorch, run your heart out then head to the after party for grub, beers and bands.

GRIM CHALLENGE BEAST IN THE EAST, SWANLEY, KENT 6 May 2017 This super tough 10K will test your mettle. Make your way through mud, sand and hills of the country’s best motocross circuit. Be warned, the downhill is just as tough as the uphill!

LONDON GAUNTLET GAMES, TRENT PARK 24 June 2017 Londoners needn’t think they’re excused from mucky racing – take the Tube to the end of the Piccadilly Line, where you’ll find this frenzied fancy dress event. There are 15 obstacles to conquer, including Monkey Business, See Saw, and the worryingly named Swing and Smash.




THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGIONS MAJOR MIDLANDS, ALLCESTER, MIDLANDS 11 March 2017 Details of this race are still classified. However, we’re guessing runners should prepare themselves for obstacles, mud and some pretty cold water. Luckily a 40–strong band of elite troops will be on hand to give encouragement.

REEBOK SPARTAN SOUTH WEST SUPER SPRINT WEEKEND, GLOUCESTERSHIRE 20-21 May 2017 The Spartan Race Series is not for the fainthearted. The Hurricane Heat race has now sold out but you can still take part in Sunday’s Super Sprint, a 5-6K race with 20-23 obstacles standing between you and the finish line.

RACE TO THE KING, ARUNDEL, WEST SUSSEX 24-25 June 2017 Walk, run or jog through the stunning scenery of the South Downs on this 52–mile ultra. The rolling route takes you to a climatic finish on the steps of Winchester Cathedral, the burial place of the first Kings of England.






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WILLOW WARRIOR, STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET, ESSEX June 2017 – TBC Unleash your inner warrior here! You’ll need agility and speed to dodge paint guns, crawl under cargo nets and take on the giant slippery slope to name but a few of the obstacles. WILLOWFOUNDATION.ORG.UK/WILLOWWARRIOR

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WHEN DOES A GIRLS GETAWAY BECOME AN ADVENTURE? CONQUER THE GREAT WALL TOGETHER Run The Great Wall Marathon together on 20 May 2017 and share the journey of a lifetime in China! Three distances available: marathon, half-marathon and 8.5km Fun Race

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POLAR CIRCLE MARATHON 28-29 October 2017


Albatros Adventure Marathons | Tøndergade 16 | DK-1752 Copenhagen V | Tel. +45 36 98 98 38 |

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REDUCE YOUR CARBON (RUNNING) W H Y N O T B E C O M E A M O R E E N V I R O N M E N T A L LY F R I E N D LY R U N N E R A S O N E O F YOUR 2017 RESOLUTIONS? THE PLANET WILL THANK YOU! C LA I R E C H A M B E R LA I N R E V E A LS 1 0 WAYS TO G E T STA RT E D … oing green’ is something of a buzzphrase these days… and G so it should be! Each of us has an impact on our planet and by making more environmentally friendly choices, we can all have a more positive effect on the world around us, on both a local and global scale. It’s not just about the environment, though (although this is at its heart) – living a greener, cleaner lifestyle is better for your health and happiness, and for humanity in general. After all, opting for ethical, Fairtrade products, for example, is better for everyone. As runners, we can all feel confident our exercise of choice is pretty much as green as it gets – after all, you don’t need lots of kit or equipment and you can run from your front door, meaning no transport emissions.

But you can make your running more environmentally friendly still. Here are 10 top tips to help you become an eco-friendly runner…


WEAR ECO-FRIENDLY RUNNING SHOES Seek out brands that are moving towards sustainability – companies that utilise recycled or biodegradable products. If you’re into barefoot running, Vivobarefoot (vivobarefoot. com) now works with Made-By, a European not-for-profit organisation striving to improve environmental and social conditions within the fashion industry. Brooks running shoes ( incorporate an innovative BioMoGo midsole, which is fully biodegradable. While Merrell (merrell. com) produces vegan-friendly running footwear, such as the Merrell All Out Crush Light, £90 (


DITCH SINGLE-USE WATER BOTTLES According to the Marine Conservation Society, up to 20 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our seas each year. While plastic breaks down into smaller pieces,



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it never goes away, harming and killing marine life, and entering the food chain. It’s time to say no to single-use water bottles. Instead, get your hands on a reusable sports bottle and fill from the tap. Simple!


MAKE YOUR OWN ENERGY DRINKS It’s not just the water, either. You can ditch the energy drink plastic bottles by making your own drinks. Make it in bulk, to cut down on waste packaging, and store it in the fridge. “The key to an energy drink is to include electrolytes, glucose and fluid for hydration,” says Christine Bailey, nutritionist, chef and author ( “One of the easiest ways is to include fruit juice with coconut water and add a little sea salt. For a caffeine boost, you could use a mixture of cooled green tea or even blend in a little matcha green powder with fruit juice. The ideal is a 5-6 per cent carbohydrate solution drink, which avoids digestive distress, but gives you enough fuel to boost your run.” Try Bailey’s energy drink recipe: mix 400ml fruit juice, ¼ tsp matcha green powder (optional), 600ml coconut water, ½ tsp sea salt. (Nutrition per 100ml: 27 calories, fat 0.1g, carbohydrates 5.9g, of which sugars 3.7g, protein 0.5g, salt 0.2g.)

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HEAD OUTSIDE One of the best ways to increase your green credentials is to give the treadmill at the gym a miss and run straight from your own front door. This not only cuts out any transport emissions to and from the gym, but gym equipment burns a significant amount of energy, too. Of course, some gyms are now more energy efficient, using solar lighting and converting the energy you burn on the treadmill into electrical energy! Check whether yours is a green gym.


FUEL FOR THOUGHT On the subject of nutrition, your pre- and post-run snacks can become more ethical and eco-friendly, too. Opt for real foods, such as Fairtrade bananas (or even make your own yummy banana bread!), peanut butter on toast or coconut-milk porridge to re-fuel.


PASS ON UNWANTED KIT When you’re finished with old running kit, don’t bin it and add to landfill. If it’s still in good condition, why not donate it? The charity A Mile in Her Shoes ( helps women who are vulnerable to homelessness find their feet through running. They accept kit donations (see online for what to send). And if your old kit is too tatty to donate, recycle it instead. Runners Need has launched Recycle My Run – simply drop your old running shoes into their instore recycle bins.



THINK LOCAL While it might seem exciting to jet off round the world in search of far-flung races, there are often just as many running adventures on your doorstep. Local events are key for the eco-conscious runner. Your local running clubs will usually host events, so search them out, and travel to them by public transport. This is not just better for the environment, but you’ll also save yourself hundreds of pounds, too.

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CHOOSE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS EVENTS Smaller events tend to have great environment credentials, as well as a great atmosphere and friendly vibe. The Petts Wood 10K (, for example, is a very environmentally friendly event. “To start, we have so many return runners that we do not have to leaflet at other races to promote it – we consistently sell out,” says Karen Barritt,


TRY RUN COMMUTING Cut down on your fuel emissions, and boost your fitness simultaneously, by running or cycling to work. If your office is

too far, could you run part of the way, for example, from home to the train station, instead of driving there? Run-commuting takes a little planning to perfect (you need to keep a towel, shampoo and spare clothes at the office, or carry these with you in a running backpack), but it’s the perfect way to increase your mileage while doing your bit to help save the planet.

10 chairperson of Petts Wood Runners. “The race information is emailed out, to save on printing and postage, and the race numbers are collected on the day. We have paper cups at the water station and at the end of the race, so we don’t have to use individual plastic bottles. We do not have plastic goody bags, and we have bins especially for the banana skins, which are then put on a compost heap. Our rubbish is then taken to a recycling depot that sorts it and recycles anything that can be.”

CLEAN UP YOUR POSTRUN SHOWER These days, we all have a huge array of plastic bottles lining our bathroom shelves. But you can cut back on this. Opt for virgin products – those with zero packaging. They smell great, lather up brilliantly and often last twice as long as regular bottled products, so they’re great for your purse, too. We adore Lush Seanik Shampoo Bar, £5.95 (



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Muscles used: Front, back and side thigh muscles, bottom (quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, abductors, glutes) Why do it? Improve your explosive power and balance. Technique: • Stand with your feet comfortably apart • Lift your right knee up and jump sideways to the right • Upon landing, give two more jumps sideways to the right • On the last jump, bend both knees and perform a squat • Repeat the three sideways jumps to the left, and then do a squat Watch points: Keep your tummy muscles tight to aid your balance.


Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions


Muscles used: Hip flexors (psoas muscles) Why do it? Improving the strength of your hip flexors will help you improve your running stride and cadence. Technique: • Tie a resistance band at ankle height in a loop around a secure object • Place your right leg into the loop • Lift your right leg up to form a 90-degree angle at your hip and knee joints • Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds Watch points: Keep your back upright and your tummy muscles tight to aid your balance.



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Muscles used: Neuromuscular development (the nerve supply from your brain to your muscles) Why do it? The quicker your brain can get a message to your muscles, the quicker your muscles will be able to respond. Technique: • Place three cones at equal distances apart • Step over the cone with your right foot followed by your left foot • Step over the next two cones ensuring that both feet make contact with the floor • Once you step over the last cone, accelerate to a sprint for a few metres • Jog back to the start and repeat the fast feet drill through the three cones followed with a sprint Watch points: Drive your arms backwards to help generate speed.


Muscles used: Front and back thigh, bottom, hip flexors (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, psoas muscles) Why do it? This is a great exercise to improve your strength and help you improve your explosive power. Technique: • Stand with your feet together and reach your arms out in front • Step forward with your left leg • Bend both knees to perform a lunge • Simultaneously rotate your upper body towards the left • Step back to the starting position and repeat to the other side Watch points: Keep your tummy muscles tight to aid your balance.

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Muscles used: Calf muscles, back muscles, shoulders, arms and chest muscles (gastrocnemius, erector spinae, deltoids, biceps, triceps, pectorals) Why do it? It’s important to get your body to function together as a unit and not always train muscles in isolation. Technique: • Kneel on all fours • Lift your hips up and push your heels into the floor to stretch through your calf muscles and back • Hold the position for five seconds • Bend your knees and place them on the floor • Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor to perform a push-up • Straighten your arms • Repeat both moves Watch points: Ensure that you don’t arch your back when you perform the push-up.


Muscles used: Front and back thighs (quadriceps, hamstrings) Why do it? This will improve your leg strength and your ability to absorb impact. Technique: • Stand on one leg and jump forwards and backwards • Repeat the move as fast as possible • Repeat on the other leg Watch points: Keep your tummy muscles tight to aid your balance.

WORDS: Anne-Marie Lategan PHOTOS: Neil Godwin/Future Studios MODEL: Kim Ingleby CLOTHING: Top: Sweaty Betty; tights: Lidl; shoes: Mizuno



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SPORTJOCK SPORTS BRA value for money

editor’s view

“Great price. I will definitely be buying this again.”

Like men, good sports bras are hard to find. However Sportjock certainly made the grade thanks to its comfortable design which utilises reinforced shoulder straps and moulded inner cups to ensure that women are well supported where it counts. Sizes range from A to F cup, so should cater to the masses. Although plain to look at, most of our testers did comment on how much they liked the look of the colourful fabric (Carribean Blue and Fuschia). After putting Sportjock to good use over several weeks, we found the bras performed equally well while running and at the gym – putting this garment high on our list of essential kit.

EASE OF USE “Nice fit. I felt well supported when running and it wasn’t too hard to get the bra on and off over my head – although it was a little tricky getting off when sweaty.”

PRACTICALITY “I felt well supported when running and it wasn’t too hard to get the bra on and off over my head. I really like that there are no fiddly clasps and also no rubbing.”

tested by Ranelagh Harriers Running Club

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QUALITY “Comfortable, lovely and soft good quality fabric. Great support, soft to wear, no seams or catches to scratch you, and washes really well at 40 degrees. ”

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T H E S E S E V E N D I E TA RY T R E ATS C O U L D H E L P YO U G O T H E EXT R A M I L E , SAYS LO U I S E PY N E t this time of year many of us are trying to cut down on indulgent treats in our diets. But wouldn’t it be great if our favourite foods A came with some extra special benefits? Well, we’ll share a little secret with you. You don’t necessarily have to pass over indulgent foods in order to keep your fitness in check – in fact some of the things you might crave could actually help to supercharge results. “What you eat can give you that extra edge if you are a competitive athlete,” explains nutritionist Shona Wilkinson ( “It could also make it easier for you to do specific exercise if you are just working out to help keep fit.” With this in mind, here’s our guide to indulgent foods that could help to switch your fitness up a gear.

You don’t have to cut out the Camembert if you want to kickstart results. Dairy products like cheese are a fab source of calcium – a nutrient that’s essential for bone health. “We know that calcium is vital for good bone health which is obviously important to have when exercising,” explains Wilkinson. Runners are prone to stress fractures in the shins, heels and feet, a condition that’s more common in women than men and is thought to be a result of overtraining, which puts excess strain on the bone. Improving bone density through a calcium-rich diet can help to offset this type of bone problem. We are also naturally at risk of bone loss as we get older, so making sure you get the recommended 700mg calcium per day is advised to minimise the risk of issues like osteoporosis later in life. This can easily be achieved by consuming two to three servings of dairy products daily. “Cheese has further benefits – for example cottage cheese is a good source of water for hydration plus has the real advantage of being high in protein and low in saturated fats. The protein content will help with healing and repair after any exercise,” says Wilkinson.


When it comes to improving performance, the benefits for coffee just keep on coming. “When consumed in the right way, coffee can in fact be used as a health and fitness enhancing tool,” says Wilkinson. Not only is there evidence that coffee can help to improve fat burn when consumed before a workout, it could also be beneficial when drank post-session. A study published in the American Physiological Society Journal revealed that consuming a cup of coffee with a high-carb snack following a workout helped to fuel muscles far better than simply eating carbs alone. It’s thought that caffeine helps to improve your body’s absorption of sugar, which is needed to refuel tired muscles. “Other studies have been conducted which show that caffeine from coffee can improve exercise performance by more than 11 per cent. It can also reduce your perceived level of exertion by more than five per cent – this makes exercise feel easier, so try a cup of good quality coffee before working out,” says Wilkinson.



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While bread might be banned on some weight-loss diets, it gets the green light for runners – hooray! Carbohydrate is an important component of a runner’s diet, helping to maximise energy stores, so it makes sense to consume it before some sessions. A peanut butter sandwich or piece of toast with mashed banana are both good options to keep your fuel tank full. And remember to choose 100 per cent wholegrain varieties over white bread as it contains more fibre, vitamins and minerals. “White bread will mess with your blood sugar levels too much, which could result in lack of energy,” says Wilkinson. On the other hand, wholegrains release their energy slowly, meaning you’ll get a longer-lasting energy hit to keep you going for longer.

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Good news for chocoholics! Going to the dark side could aid massive fitness gains. Findings from a recent study charting aerobic performance by scientists at Kingston University revealed that epicatechin (one of the main flavanol antioxidants found in the cocoa bean) increases nitric oxide production in the body which allows exercisers to use less oxygen when performing cardio and helps them cover a greater distance in less time. The findings were based on consuming 40g of dark chocolate daily over a two-week period. “Additionally, chocolate milk is thought to be a great drink to help with exercise – both before and after, as it’s high in carbohydrates and protein. It also provides hydration and enough sugar from the chocolate to give you a hit of energy,” says Wilkinson.

Dried fruit

If you love the sweet taste of raisins, you’re in luck as dried fruit can double up as a useful fitness aid. “We know that it isn’t really necessary to eat anything until you are exercising for over an hour. After the hour, you might want to think of small snacks to help keep you going. Dried fruit is ideal for this as things like raisins or sultanas are small and easy to eat on the move. They also have a high carbohydrate content, which will help with energy levels,” says Wilkinson. Additionally, dried fruit still contains a decent amount of nutrients so it really is win-win!

Red wine


Good news for steak lovers. Red meat such as steak could offer great health perks for runners. Not only is steak a great source of protein, which is essential for repairing muscle tissue after exercise, but it’s also high in iron, which could help offset fatigue in runners by helping red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body efficiently. “Iron deficiency is common in women – especially those who have heavy periods, and if you have low iron levels, you are depriving cells of the correct amount of oxygen which can result in lack of energy,” says Wilkinson. To get the most out of your steak, choose lean cuts such as sirloin and team with steamed green veggies and sweet potatoes for a perfectly balanced meal.

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There’s no need to feel guilty if you love red wine, as there’s proof that the burgundy coloured beverage is good for you! Scientists agree that the skin of red grapes is a source of the antioxidant resveratrol, which is thought to help offset harmful free radicals – a by-product of fitness. “Free radical damage is part of the normal process of living and ageing, but it does increase during extreme exercise. Our bodies are able to deal with free radicals and are very equipped to do so – however if you’re doing an extreme and intensive amount of exercise you may need to watch out for excessive free radical damage,” says Wilkinson. Experts agree that it’s beneficial to consume as many antioxidants as possible through your diet, and drinking red wine daily may help to work towards your antioxidant quota – just remember to stick to one small glass though.



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There’s no tastier way to obtain all your daily vitamin C quota than this super-easy dish. I like to use Romano peppers because their thinner flesh means they cook quicker than ordinary peppers, but both work equally well. Here, they are filled with cooked lentils and goats’ cheese, which means they’re packed with fibre, protein and iron too. You can substitute feta for the goats’ cheese. Ingredients (serves 2) • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 small onion, chopped • 1–2 garlic cloves, crushed • 250g pack ready-cooked puy or beluga lentils (eg. Merchant Gourmet) • 75g (3oz) baby plum tomatoes, halved • 50g (2oz) goats’ cheese, crumbled • 2 Romano or red peppers • A few fresh basil leaves, roughly torn Method • Heat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas 5. • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy-based pan and sauté the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes and goats’ cheese and remove from the heat. • Cut the peppers in half lengthways, keeping the stalk attached, and remove the seeds. Brush the outsides with the remaining olive oil then place them, skin-side down, in a roasting tin. Spoon the lentil mixture into the four pepper halves. Cover loosely with foil. • Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes, or until the peppers are just tender. Scatter over the basil leaves. Then serve it up with a leafy salad and cooked wholegrain couscous.


Nutrition (per serving) Energy: 447kcal. Protein: 21g. Carbs: 40g (14g total sugars). Fat: 20g (7g saturates). Fibre: 12g.



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These burgers are really easy to make if you have a food processor. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 oils, which are important for oxygen delivery during exercise and as well as for promoting recovery. They also supply protein, iron, vitamin E and zinc. Substitute the aubergine for mushrooms, if you prefer. This recipe makes eight burgers so if you don’t need them all, freeze the remainder (for up to three months) for another meal. Ingredients (serves 8) • 1 tbsp light olive oil or rapeseed oil • 1 small onion, finely chopped • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped • 1 garlic clove, crushed • ¼ aubergine, finely chopped • 175g (6oz) walnuts • 75g (3oz) wholemeal bread • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dried rosemary) • 1 tsp yeast extract (eg. Marmite) dissolved in 2 tbsp boiling water (or to taste) • Salt and freshly ground black pepper • 2 eggs Method • Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5. • Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the onions for 2–3 minutes. Add the celery, garlic and aubergine and cook for 5 minutes until soft. • Place the nuts in a food processor and whiz until they are finely ground. • Add the bread and process for a few seconds until they turn into breadcrumbs. Add the cooked onion mixture, rosemary, yeast extract, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Process the mixture until it’s evenly combined. Add the eggs and process until it holds together firmly. If it’s too wet, add a few more breadcrumbs. • Shape the mixture into 8 equal-sized patties 1½ cm (½ in) thick and place on an oiled baking tray. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until they are crisp and brown. • Serve with baked sweet potatoes, a green vegetable (such as broccoli, kale or Cavolo Nero) and roasted slices of butternut squash (place in a baking tin, drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes while the walnut burgers are cooking). Nutrition (per burger) Energy: 216 kcal. Protein: 7g. Carbs: 6g (2g total sugars). Fat: 18g (2g saturates). Fibre: 2g.

The Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook by Anita Bean is published by Bloomsbury Publishing, £14.99.

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BUYING A RUNNING WATCH? HERE’S WHAT TO LOOK FOR User friendliness The best running watch in the world won’t do you any good if you keep hitting the wrong button or can’t work out how to stop your session or sync with your phone. Read as many reviews as you can before buying and, if possible, visit a running store for a quick demo. Size Again, you need to feel comfortable running with your watch on, especially if you plan to use it as an all-day activity tracker. As a general rule, the more advanced the watch, the chunkier it will be. GPS Most running watches come with GPS built in these days, but some (like the Fitbit we’ve tested) need to use your phone’s GPS – so you phone needs to come with you for more accurate readings. Heart rate Wrist-based heart-rate measurement is the industry standard now. It’s an excellent way to track the intensity of your sessions.

MEET THE WR TEST TEAM Our kit tests are 100 per cent independent. The test team is made up of Women’s Running staff and contributors, who come in all shapes, sizes and speeds – but who all love running! They are: Jennifer Bozon, assistant editor; trains three to four times per week Jackie Brydon, accounts manager; races ultras and tricky Cornish coastal events Claire Chamberlain, columnist; has just run a hilly trail 10K Lisa Jackson, contributing editor; our resident multiple marathoner Tina Chantrey, contributing editor; trains for around three hours per week Elizabeth Hufton, editor; runs twice per week



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Software The real benefit of most watches comes from analysing and tracking your progress on partner apps, which could be on your phone or on a website (usually both). See if you can watch a demo of the software to make sure you click with it and that it gives you all the information you want. Compatibility If you’re already a committed user of a system such as Strava or MyFitnessPal, make sure your chosen watch is compatible (most pricier models are). Price vs needs Sports watches run the full price range from about £60 for a basic model to as much as £550 for a really high-tech training and navigation tool. Don’t spend hundreds on features you’ll never use – work out your priorities, whether that’s training, listening to music on the go, activity tracking – and find the best priced model to suit you.

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How does it feel when you’re running? What I was looking for


£359.99 First impressions? Not too big, not too chunky, loved the frost blue colour of the strap – this looks like a watch I can wear all day, every day. How good was the fit? Even on my tiny wrist it fitted just right and importantly didn’t look like a small computer or a man’s watch. What did you think of the quality/attention to details? It was very easy and quick to set up and navigate through the screens. On my first use I automatically tried to navigate through by touching the watch face. I’m sure eventually it will become touchscreen, which would make it even more saleable and easy to use. Any useful and/or unique features? Oh yes! I wanted to be able to look at cadence on the go, so I could think about leg turnover as I ran, and at the end of each session you get VO2 and recovery advice, instant feedback for quickest times, longest runs and so on. It picked up a satellite signal almost immediately. The battery doesn’t die as soon as you think it might and you can switch sports on the go. It’s also easy to sync with your computer to upload your details, and as an activity tracker it displays your steps throughout the day with a bar on the watch face. Speaking as a mum – but also for any busy woman – one very useful feature is that you can sync with your phone, so when you’re ferrying kids around you can safely see incoming texts while driving and change plans on the move. It’s great having a running watch that enhances your lifestyle!


£399 First impressions? First impressions were great. The Suunto

Spartan Sport box looks very impressive and has all the hallmarks of a quality product. The watch itself has a sleek black face and the strap is made from soft-touch silicone. How good was the fit? The fit for me was somewhat annoying because the buckle holes on the strap didn’t quite fit my wrist properly and consequently I was forever pushing it back down on to my wrist as it would keep riding up my arm. What did you think of the quality/ attention to detail? There is no doubt

that the quality of this watch is very good. It has a touchscreen, a great battery life of up to 16 hours, 100m water resistance and a compass. It also comes with a Suunto Smart sensor and heart-rate belt. It was very easy to set-up using the

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was a watch that didn’t feel (or look) too bulky. The body of the watch isn’t too thick – compared to the last Garmin I bought it’s much more svelte. We expect a lot today from our tech, and this watch delivers everything I want while running and training, without being too masculine. How do you feel about the look of the item? The bright strap is such a simple way to feminise this watch. I was 100 per cent happy wearing it and had a lot of positive feedback on it from women I run with. I wore it out in the evening and don’t think I would have if it had a black strap. What’s the best thing about this product?

Diversity. So many metrics at your fingertips while you’re out running. It’s easy to switch from bike to run with just one press of a button (which my last Garmin didn’t do) – perfect for brick sessions. I don’t think you’d outgrow this quickly or need to upgrade. What’s the worst thing about it? The price. It is relative to what you get, and I love this watch, but it’s still a lot of money for me to invest in one item of kit. For some it may be better to start out with a cheaper model. If you do want this, I think you’ll be very happy. Mark out of 10 for value? 8 Mark out of 10 for performance? 9 Would you buy this? Definitely. If you can afford it and are a multi-eventer who wants a wrist-based heart-rate monitor, this watch gives you everything.

set-up wizard. It tracks distance, calories burnt, steps taken, pace and quality of rest for better recovery. However, I did find it was just as easy, if not easier, to use the buttons on the side of the watch rather than the touchscreen. I easily downloaded a GPX file onto it, but when out running I tried to view the route and found it difficult to recall the map from the watch to see if I was on course. Any useful and/or unique features? Charging was incredibly easy. There are four charging dots on the back, along with two lines for the magnets of the charger to fix onto. The magnets are really strong, and snap onto the back of the watch, making it simple to charge. Runs are downloaded onto Suunto Movescount where you can then share the info with runners. I did find it difficult to sync the watch to Movescount and each time I did it, I had to download software to enable the sync to happen. How does it feel when you’re running? The watch did move around more than I would have liked while I was running, due to the fact the strap didn’t fit my wrist very well. How do you feel about the look of the item? For me the watch face was too big. It looked oversized on my wrist. What’s the best thing about this product? I liked that I could select different types of running, ie. trail, running or treadmill. You can also rate your run with an emoji which was quite fun. What’s the worst thing about it? The fit. Mark out of 10 for value? 6 Mark out of 10 for performance? 7 Would you buy this? No.



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FITBIT CHARGE 2 Tested by: Jenny

£129.99 First impressions? A really sleek-looking activity tracker

that is delicate and feminine enough in design to be worn day to day, without feeling too sporty or techy. And with a one-button control and tap display, it looked pretty simple to use. How good was the fit? You can adjust the strap to fit and I was pleased to find there were enough holes on the strap to make it fit my teeny tiny wrists. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The Fitbit Charge 2 has

everything you’d expect from a fitness tracker – and more. It monitors your sleep, heart rate, steps, distance travelled, calories burned and so on, but also has features that other trackers and previous Fitbits (namely its predecessor, the Charge HR) don’t have. Unlike the Charge HR, the Charge 2 has connected GPS, which means if you have your phone with you while doing an activity it can add GPS tracking to your

workout, giving you more accurate stats. The tracker also has a multi-sport mode with lots of activities to choose from, so you can track your crosstraining and commute (if you run or cycle) as well as your runs and daily steps. How does it feel when you’re running? It feels really comfortable to run, walk and even sleep in. It’s so light, you hardly notice you’ve got it on. Any useful and/or unique features? The Fitbit app is compatible with other apps such as MyFitnessPal and Strava, meaning you can record all of your fitness and nutrition data in one place, and helps to ensure this data is as accurate as possible. Based on your profile information, exercise data and heartrate levels, it also assigns you with a heart-health score for your age and gender, which is a great way to get an indication of your fitness levels. The watch also notifies you when you get texts and calls to your phone, although, annoyingly, you can only read the first few words of a text message. What’s the best thing about this product? I loved being able to set my activity goals via the Fitbit app – knowing you have a target to work towards is really motivating. And I really liked how it gives you a nudge to move or finish off your daily step goal. What’s the worst thing about it? If you’re not using your phone and connected GPS, the data isn’t very accurate. I went for a run with my partner and we compared the Fitbit data to his GPS watch and it was over a kilometre out. Mark out of 10 for value? 8. Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 7. Would you buy this? Absolutely. Tracking activity this way is a great way to motivate you to integrate more activity into your daily life. It’s highly addictive!

MOOVNOW Tested by: Lisa


First impressions? Full disclosure: I am not a gadgety person, so when this

dropped through my letterbox I wasn’t as happy as some techno-lovers would’ve been. The Moov comes in ankle and arm versions, in stylish black. How good was the fit? I found it almost impossible to do up the straps while wearing the device, so I had to adjust it while not wearing it an squeeze my hand or foot through it. I slept in the ankle strap and it got too tight in the night and woke me up – not a good experience, as I need my sleep. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? It was fiddly moving the transponder from wrist strap to ankle strap. I would’ve preferred to have worn it on my wrist all the time. It’s waterproof, so theoretically can be worn in the shower. How does it feel when you’re running? I initially forgot I was wearing it because it’s very lightweight. However, when the robotic voice came on I couldn’t ignore it. It also features a fairy-dust-being sprinkled sound that doesn’t seem to relate to anything you’re actually doing at the time, which I found amusing. How do you feel about the look of the item? It’s sleek and lightweight, but not much to look at. What’s the best thing about this product? I used the speed training/interval programme on the Moov and it meant I didn’t have to time my running and jogging sessions. I liked the way the robotic voice says lots of encouraging



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things – when I stopped to fiddle with my phone in the middle of an interval session, for example, the voice asked if I was OK and suggested we just keep moving “and we’ll get through this together”. It also gave me posture tips as I was running, which were very helpful – how on earth did it know I was gritting my teeth and hunching my shoulders? What’s the worst thing about it? I just don’t like gadgets and would rather chat to a real person than listen to a robot when I’m running. It was also tricky to adjust the straps, which was annoying. Mark out of 10 for value? At £60 it’s the price of a personal training session in London, so not bad value for money. It can coach you in running, swimming and cycling, so it’s handy for triathlon training. Mark out of 10 for performance? 6. I’m not loving it. I had to get my phone out to adjust an intervals difficulty-level, interrupting my session. It would be useful if you do a lot of speed work, but as a long, slow distance specialist I doubt it would enhance my running experience. Would you buy this? No. But then I don’t like fiddling with gadgets when I run. I want to be free of all technology and just talk to the trees! (Or my running buddy.)

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POLAR M600 Tested by: Liz

£299 First impressions? I liked the neat size of it and the bright screen with the dial

showing how much of your goal you’ve achieved that day. The packaging was a job to get through, which set the tone for the lengthy set-up process. How good was the fit? It’s pretty small for a high-functioning watch. However, the longer I had it on, the more I thought it’s not great – although small, it’s quite stiff and that makes it quite noticeable to wear. The hard part of the watch, which is rigid, makes it uncomfortable for women with small wrists. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? This is a great unit and, if anything, there’s perhaps too much attention to detail – it takes some figuring out. However, it’s clearly well made, it’s waterproof and I certainly bashed it about during long days and commutes and it was fine. Any useful and/or unique features? It’s packed with features. It measures heart rate on the wrist and the usual speed and distance metrics. Using Polar’s Flow app you can drill into your training and look at training load (helping you recover better). It’s ‘powered by Android Wear’ – a Google developed system that means you can take and respond to messages from the watch, sync to your Agenda and listen to tunes through Google Play. How does it feel when you’re running?

It locks on to GPS straight away and gives an accurate heart-rate measurement. The screen is nice and bright and flicks brighter when you move your wrist – a nice touch. However, I found it frustrating that I couldn’t review my training history on the watch and had to sync it with the Polar Flow app on my phone to do so. The touchscreen and two buttons are easy to use. How do you feel about the look of the item? It’s smart in a sporty way, but

like a lot of hybrid watches/activity monitors, it’s not really the kind of thing you could wear on any occasion – it would look odd with a dress. What’s the best thing about this product?

The bright screen, easy to use sports modes, clear representation of activity. What’s the worst thing about it? The faff. Set-up was a pain, involving downloading the Android Wear app to my phone – which you then have to remember to leave running – and updating the Polar Flow app. I constantly had to reconnect it to my phone to use all the functions and it struggled to sync with my phone so reviewing training data was frustrating. I’ve used a couple of sport watches that do call alerts and so on and they did it much more smoothly and intuitively. Mark out of 10 for value? 7. It’s pricey, but does a lot (if that’s what you want). Mark out of 10 for performance? 6. For me it would just be better without the lifestyle elements, which make it confusing and faffy. Would you buy this? No, it just didn’t click for me. Kind of too much stuff and not enough at the same time!

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TOMTOM RUNNER 3 Tested by: Claire

£119.99 First impressions? Once I recovered from my initial

technophobia (I’m a bit of a technophobe, so FREAKED OUT at having to do this test), I have to admit, I liked the look of this. Not too bulky and I loved the colour. How good was the fit? The fit was perfect. I tested a large size, which I thought would be too big, but it was actually great – nice and snug. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The quality seemed great and there are no awkward buttons on it – just one large control button. As it’s not a touchscreen, it’s perfect for winter training, as I can keep my gloves on! Any useful and/or unique features? I’ve never had a proper sportswatch before, so I don’t have anything to compare this to. However, I loved it! Despite my initial reservations, I got to grips with this quickly. It was easy to use, so I’d say the best feature is its ease of use for gadget newbies. However, it also stores 500 songs and comes with wireless headphones, and has a built-in heart-rate monitor. Plus it has a compass that tracks your route, so you can explore safe in the knowledge you won’t get lost. How does it feel when you’re running? Nice and snug – it vibrates when you hit certain markers, and I found this quite motivating. How do you feel about the look of the item? I really liked the look of this product. What’s the best thing about this product? Ease of use. I was strangely averse to running with a gadget as I thought it would be far more complicated. It’s always put me off! What’s the worst thing about it? It took a minute or two for the GPS to kick in. I’m used to just getting out the door and heading straight off. But as I have no prior history of other GPS devices, I don’t know if this is normal or not. Mark out of 10 for value? 9. I think this is great value for a GPS sportswatch. Mark out of 10 for performance? 9. Would you buy this? Definitely. I’m a gadget convert!



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Prepare for colder weather with these winter off-road must-haves



The team take on their longawaited challenge

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w e l c o m e w i n t e r A S
















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ITOR’, £13



Run Mummy Run Winter Beanie

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compiled by tina Chantrey

The perfect pop of colour for dark days, we love running in this beanie. Made in a four-way stretch, it fits snug to your head, keeping you cosy. It also wicks away moisture to leave you feeling comfortable during those longer training runs and events. And there’s even a small hole at the back to slip your ponytail through.

eGlove Sport Touchscreen Running Gloves, £19.99

Once you’ve worn them you won’t go back to normal gloves. Specifically designed for running, this glove allows you to operate touchscreen devices, so important for checking your pace mid-run or that end-of-race selfie! The breathable performance Lycra features a sweat-removal strip. Available in black and pink. The North Face Ultra MT Winter Running Shoe, £130

Carnation Silversock, £10

If your feet suffer in the cold, these socks, made with pure silver threads, will act as a natural heat thermostat, keeping your feet warmer in winter and cooler in summer. The silver won’t wash out or lose its thermal and antibacterial properties over time either – they’re the socks that just keep on giving!



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Step into the most supportive trail shoe in the market. The shrouded upper will deflect debris, while the stretchy collar and gaiter keep out the wet. You get so many nifty extras, including an internal heel grab and oversized zip, so you can get the shoe on/off in gloves and with cold hands. The Vibram Icetrek outsole, with multi-directional lugs, is incredibly grippy – even on ice. On top of all this, a two-piece midsole ensures enhanced cushioning for both heel and forefoot. You’ll be a beauty as you beast the trails.

Petzl Reactik + 300, £85

Be sure of every step when you wear the Reactik + due to 300 lumens of power and a light sensor that ensures your light output adjusts automatically. The washable headband is comfy to wear, but the true beauty of this product is you can easily customise the beam pattern, burn time and brightness with the MyPetzl Light app. It’s the Ferrari of headtorches that will lead you through many new adventures.

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DYNA-BAND, £10.50

These resistance bands originated in hospitals for use in rehabilitation. They encourage muscle balance and strength, as well as helping in the prevention of injury. As they are colour coded according to their strength, the bands can be used by athletes of all abilities.

Merrell All Out Charge, £100

Get to the front of the pack in the toughest of terrain in this rugged shoe. You’ll love the secure feel of the upper’s specialised 360-degree fit that moulds to your foot, making you feel stable, even over larger rocks. Impact-responsive UniFly cushioning underfoot helps you feel constantly connected to the ground and the GRIP outsole does what it says, delivering superior traction.

SportFresh Spray, £9.99

Zakti Daring Dash Thermal Run Tight, £35

The insulating thermal brushed-back fabric will keep you warm however cold it gets, and the subtle print dares you to be different. Ankle zips are on the inside leg – if you’re looking for great quality, warm tights will a twist of character we recommend Zakti.

Fed up with stinky trainers and kit? Eliminate stubborn odours naturally with this spray. It doesn’t just mask the scent, probiotics (or good bacteria) neutralise bad bacteria without the use of harsh chemicals.

CEP Night Run Socks, £39.99

Sistema Tritan Active Bottle, £9.99

The perfect sports bottle, it’s both shatterproof and has a carry handle, so you can hook it onto your kit bag. As it’s dishwasher friendly and made of tritan, it won’t degenerate. It’s also BPA and phthalate free and comes in six colours.

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Bright neon colours and side reflectors to improve visibility make these compression socks ideal for any runs you have to do in the dark. They help stabilise your muscles as well as stimulate blood flow and you can feel the compression zone around your arch providing crucial, extra support. With a true-to-size anatomical fit, these are high-quality, top performance socks.

Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir (3 Litre), £25.20

Ideal for large volume packs and long duration activities, the Osprey Hydraulics 3L reservoir’s clever design makes filling, cleaning and staying hydrated on the trail easier than ever. The HydroStatic backerplate provides structure for easy loading into a full pack and maintains a flat profile.



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FINAL FLING In November, the Project Trail team faced their challenge at the Bath Hilly Half photos: elizabeth hufton

A beautiful day for lots of slippery hills

Trail running is tough. If you need evidence of that, just look at what our Project Trail team – Abbey Payne, Steph Dutton and Clare Steel – have gone through in the last four months. They’ve tackled hills, strength work, mental struggles and jammed diaries, and suffered real problems with injury. In fact, in the end, sadly Abbey’s knee problem was so bad that she was forced to withdraw from the Bath Hilly Half. However, that didn’t stop Abbey travelling down to Bath on 13 November to wish her team-mates on their way. With coach Anne-Marie joining them on the start line, Clare and Steph battled round the slippery, steep two-lap course from Bath racecourse, encountering the famous Fool on the Hill as they went…



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From milton keynes • Age 62 Job Swimming teacher, specialising in fear of water

I can’t believe the Bath Hilly Half has been and gone. The race was not what I expected. Yes I was expecting hills, but maybe not quite so many of them! They were relentless, long, steep and muddy in places. In one particular place it was near impossible to stand up. You kind of slid your way down the hill and prayed that you didn’t fall on your butt. Although challenging, I enjoyed enormously the first lap. The sun was shining and it felt good to be running in such spectacular countryside. The marshals and spectators were all so encouraging, and so were the runners who passed me by.

Some of the dirt tracks, particularly the ones uphill, were tough going and not easy to run up. Towards the end of the second lap (mile 10), I wasn’t feeling quite so energetic. Not even the jester could coax me into running up one particular hill. After I left the jester, I could feel I was running out of steam. The last two miles were up a steep and stony track, which was hard going, followed by a field of sheep and a long, winding and muddy track to the racecourse. I was starting to get disheartened as I didn’t have it in me to even jog. My energy was shot. By the time I got to the race track, which seemed to take forever, family and Liz Hufton (the WR editor) were all there shouting words of encouragement. It was just what I needed to pick myself up to cross the finishing line with my grandchildren, Harry and Isabelle. That moment was priceless! On reflection it was an extremely challenging course for a novice runner, and

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I did well to finish it in under three hours. I now know that at mile 11 when I was feeling low, it was because I had lost a little bit of perspective: I thought I would come in 15 minutes earlier. But, it wasn’t to be, the last two miles were like running through treacle. I have to accept the reality of the situation: the course was demanding and challenging, while I’m 62 years old and only took up running 18 months ago. My body is still adjusting to the demands of this sport, so I need to be patient and, more importantly, to just be grateful that I can run at all. I slept like a baby that night. Trying to get out of bed the following morning was hilarious. It felt like I’d been run over by a bus. I was as stiff as a board and could barely walk. So another chapter closes for me, but another one is about to begin too, with my training for the Z2H Winter Half Marathon in December. I don’t really feel quite ready to say, “So long, farewell, it’s time to say goodbye” to the Women’s Running team. But sadly it is time to move on. It’s been an awesome training journey with Project Trail. Anne-Marie Lategan and the team were always there for us when we needed them and I’m so grateful for the kind sponsorship from Columbia, HIGH5, TomTom and adidas sunglasses. Thank you all for a great opportunity. It’s one I will never forget.

Heroic Stephanie still in fine spirits

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Clare finished the race with a smile

From Coaley, near Tetbury • Age 55 Job Head teacher at Alderman Knight Special School, Tewkesbury, Gloucs

Well it’s over! The challenge has been met. I like the saying, “It’s not just the destination but the journey that’s important.” Yes, of course the race was important, as it was a culmination of four months of preparation. But for me, the training experience has been more significant than the run itself. On the day, I felt that the race was physically the hardest thing I have ever done and, to be honest, I underestimated just how challenging it would be. I’d been unable to train for the two weeks leading up to the race because of an injury to my right foot. It wasn’t enough for me not to run the race, but it was enough to worry me! However I was determined to complete the challenge – and goodness, what a challenge! I didn’t anticipate the extent of the hills or the difficult terrain – stony and rough as well as muddy and slippery. But I did finish and, with encouragement from my son and brother (who came back and ran the last mile with me), and the sight of my parents cheering me on at the end, I even managed to run across the finish with a smile! I must admit, I didn’t feel as elated after the race as I hoped I would – probably because it didn’t really go to plan. I had taken a good 20 minutes longer than I had anticipated. And my foot hurt! On top of that, I felt really sick – Anne-Marie said it was the build-up of lactic acid. So, all in all, I felt pretty rough. However, over the last two weeks, I have reflected on the whole experience and realised I have learned so much. I know now that I enjoy trail running more than anything else – for the peace and tranquillity it offers, the opportunities to run in beautiful places, with people I wouldn’t normally meet, and because it makes me appreciate the body I have. The Project Trail experience has made me look at my lifestyle and accept that, if I don’t make changes, then I cannot expect my body to cope with extreme races like the Hilly Half. But I also love my job and that means I will continue to work crazy hours. So I have to accept that I am going to find hilly half-marathons tough! However, I do know I can train sufficiently to allow me to do anything from weekly parkruns with a reasonable PB to nine-mile

trail races, and even the occasional 12-mile run in the woods with my dog when I choose to. And that’s what I want. I don’t expect to win races. Running is something I do for me and, fast or slow, it’s got to be about enjoyment. In fact, I have just treated myself to some lovely new trail shoes in preparation for the next challenge – the Seven Sins, consisting of seven muddy miles and seven steep hills on 28 December in the Forest of Dean. Thank you, Women’s Running. It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve met some great people and I’ve had the opportunity to tackle something I wouldn’t have tried on my own. I had some fantastic runs with my brother and son and a particularly memorable weekend when new friends from the Project Trail team, Stephanie, Abbey, Anne-Marie and Liz, came to the farm for a weekend of running. I have also done runs on my own that have inspired me and I’ve learned I can run hills! Overall I feel the experience has done what I hoped: given me some time to focus on me and learn more about me as a runner, both the good and the bad! On some days you might fly and on others you might crawl, but, as long as you’ve given it your all, that’s all you can expect of yourself. So at the end of any run, just smile and be happy. For we are truly lucky to have the ability to put on our trainers and get out there! BIG THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS



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— When all you want to be is better —




11 ways to reboot your energy levels


Our winners have met coach Richard and they're ready to start training!


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Meet the four women who we’ll be helping to train for very different goals this spring Photos: Eddie Macdonald

R e c o rd n u m b e r s o f y o u a n s w e r e d o u r c a l l f o r e n t r i e s t o t h i s y e a r ’s B i g M a r a t h o n C h a l l e n g e, making it our most difficult year yet for choosing team members. After hours of reading and a few tears, we finally whittled it down to our final four: A l i c e D o g g re l l , Ka t i e H a i n b a c h , L e a h M c D a n i e l a n d C l a i re P r i c e. O v e r t h e n ex t f e w m o n t h s t h ey ’ l l re c e i v e c o a c h i n g f r o m R i c h a r d C o a t e s a t F u l l



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P o t e n t i a l ( f u l l p o t e n t i a l .c o.u k ) a s w e l l a s k i t a n d s u p p o r t f r o m o u r s h o e a n d a p p a r e l p a r t n e r AS I C S ; supplement partner Solgar; and nutrition partner H I G H 5 . I n D e c e m b e r, t h e t e a m m e t u p w i t h e a c h other and their coach for the first time and had a p hys i o a s s e s s m e n t f r o m M i c h a e l H a r ro p a t P u re S p o r t s M e d i c i n e ( p u r e s p o r t s m e d .c o m ) . W i t h t h e i r t r a i n i n g p l a n s r e a d y, t h ey ’ r e a l l s e t !

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got to change my eating habits, I’ve got to lose weight and I’ve got to get healthy.” I’d been with my sister to a few races and thought, “I’d like to be one of those people.” So I took myself to parkrun and I just got absorbed into the community. I loved the buzz. Running became like therapy for me, and the feeling of accomplishment as I did a bit more each week – I couldn’t replicate that anywhere else in my life.

Twitter: @LeanMcdaniel18



Age 28 From Wrexham, north Wales Big Marathon Challenge To rediscover her sense of self, following the sudden death of her husband in 2014, and to raise money for Save the Children Day job Mum to Bowen, two-and-a-half years old

Leah’s motivation for running a marathon is deeply personal: in 2014, when she was four months pregnant with their first child, her husband Brett was killed in a car accident. During the months that followed, she moved back from Texas to north Wales and gave birth to her daughter, Bowen – but, she says, she didn’t know where her life was going. Leah hopes that running the London Marathon she’ll be able to rediscover herself and raise vital money for Save the Children. Why did you enter Big Marathon Challenge? I thought this might be the little push I need that I can’t back out of it. How did you start running? I played tennis to quite a good level as a junior and I would run all the time, but I hated it; I much preferred to be on the tennis court. In 2012, I ran a half-marathon with my sister and then swore off running. In 2014, I lost my husband, had my baby and was just muddling through life. I came back to the UK and just thought, “I’ve

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How did running help you move forward after Brett died? I come from a Christian background and have a very strong sense of faith so that’s how I coped with losing him, but I hadn’t coped with my own life. I couldn’t see six months in front of me and had no desire to. Apart from raising my daughter to be an adult, I didn’t know what anything else looked like. I didn’t look forward to running every day but at the end of the week, seeing I’d done 30 miles, it was a small goal. It’s given me back this sense of who I am. And now I’m my daughter’s only parent, it’s incredibly important to me to stay healthy. You’re running for Save the Children – why is that important to you? Just witnessing the plight of the refugees. You watch the news and you see bad things all the time, but this has just tugged at me constantly. So when I vowed never to do a marathon, I think my sister [who works in the charity sector] knew if she threw that in, it would be a little bit of bait for me! She went to an event with Save the Children and they talked about how they’re helping and I thought, “This is something we’ve got to do.” Has your tennis background helped with your running so far? It’s helped with the discipline: I’m not afraid of hard work, especially strength and conditioning work and early mornings, but it’s different in tennis. The adrenaline rush you get through tennis – every minute’s a peak, you win a point and you’re on a high, you lose a point and you’ve got to regain focus. In running, you’ve got to fill your mind for an hour or 30 minutes. But I think once you’ve been a sportsperson, you’re a certain type of person, and that’s helped me. How do you fit in training around Bowen? My mum’s been great. She comes home from work in the evening and she’ll put my daughter to bed if I need to go running. On

a weekend, sometimes I take her to parkrun with me and run with her in the pram. We live in quite a rural area so we get to see a pig and a sheep and a duck and a horse – we do lots of ‘Old Macdonald’! What are you hoping to get out of this? Other than doing my bit for charity, I can’t wait to cross the finish line. I think it’ll be a real turning point. And I’m really looking forward to keeping up with the ladies and having a little sense of team.


Leah is our ex-professional sportswoman. She’s got a little one so we need to be conscious of the fact that some of her runs will be done with the buggy. She gets tight in the shoulders and in her hip flexors, so we need to get her to recruit her glutes more. That tightness comes from the sport she’s done but also running with the buggy and having the little one; all the challenges women go through. If she can run the marathon in close to five hours, that’s great, but she just wants to get round and enjoy it.


Richard Coates, Full Potential Richard has been running since his teens and has completed over 30 marathons and ultras. He’s a UKA Level 2 running coach, so the team’s training is in safe hands. KIT

Michael Moore, ASICS Michael is a technical representative with a deep knowledge of running apparel. He’ll help the team to get the most from their shoes and kit. SUPPLEMENTS

Paul Chamberlain, Solgar Paul is Nutrition and Education Director for Solgar UK. He has an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition. A keen runner himself, Paul has over 20 years of experience in the nutrition and natural health sector. NUTRITION

Raphael Deinhart, HIGH5 A former elite-level cyclist, Raphael is HIGH5’s technical and marketing coordinator. He’ll be providing expert advice on pre-, mid- and postexercise nutrition.



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Age 37 From Bristol Big Marathon Challenge To break 3hrs 30mins in London Day job Knitwear designer

Although she’s been running since 2011, Alice’s speed really took off when she accidentally joined “the fastest club in the West”. She loves to set herself a challenge and, in 2015, she ran at least 5K every day – including her first marathon, which she completed in 3:40:21, gaining a Good For Age entry into the London Marathon. Why did you decide to enter the Big Marathon Challenge? I applied because I think that a lot of running magazines under-represent the faster end of the recreational runner, so I wanted to see if there was scope for somebody setting quite a challenging – for me – marathon target. You’re pretty fast – how did that happen? I don’t know! I started running in 2011 just because I had the time. I started with couch to 5K. I was always training independently. I think what made the big difference was that I joined a club at the beginning of 2015. Suddenly doing track work is, I think, what’s led to my speed increase. Tell us about your club, Bristol & West AC. Accidentally, I joined the fastest club in the West, just because they were really close to Twitter: @fakoriginal

me. The club is really supportive – there’s no competitiveness between people in the club, which I don’t think people get from the outside, because we’ve got a lot of very fast individuals. People have said at races, “Ooh, you run for Bristol and West, you must be really fast!” And I say, “No, I just bought the vest. We let anybody in!” What made you do 5K every day in 2015? There’s a man who lives near Bristol called Jim Plunkett-Cole who for, the last few years, has been trying to get people more active with something he calls 365, where you try to do some kind of physical activity every day for 365 days. And there is a parkrunner called big Kev who, in 2013, was doing it for Macmillan, so I went to see him every week going up and down in his charity vest and thought, “That’s interesting, why would you do that?” Then a friend of mine did it the following year and started beating me [at parkrun], which wasn’t acceptable. So I thought, “Why don’t I give it a go?” Richard said he thought your challenge would be resting (see below) – is that fair? I do agree. I think resting is the hardest thing because then your mind goes off on its little journeys, the brain weasels come out and you start doubting yourself. What are you hoping to get from this? I’m looking forward to the personalised element of it, because so many people buy a book, they look at the plan, they copy the plan. I wanted something that’s more personalised to my weaknesses particularly. I can see it being very interesting to follow the other challenge competitors and find out how they’re going as well – sometimes marathon training is a very solitary process.


Alice is looking to hit a 3:30 marathon. She possesses a lot of fast PBs: she’s got 19:30 for 5K and 41 minutes and change for 10K. So she’s got lots of speed there. Alice likes to train a lot. One of the challenges for her is going to be having rest days. The training plan she was going to follow had one rest day for the entire period, the week of the marathon. She’s even saying, “Can I do swimming on rest day?” Nope! It’s not because I want to stop her doing exercise but I think a lot of people forget how important training adaptation is on those rest days.



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Twitter: @ClairePrice2017



Age 55 From Whitchurch, near Aylesbury, Bucks Big Marathon Challenge To get off her pace plateau and get her marathon time under four hours, while raising money for Wheel Power, a local charity Day jobs Practice manager for a physiotherapy centre and works evenings in Waitrose

Claire had applied to be on our Big Marathon Challenge team last year, for help running her first marathon in Manchester, but wasn’t successful. Undeterred, she applied again this year in the hope of getting some help breaking out of her pace rut. She ran an impressive 4hrs 15mins last year but now she hopes to break four hours at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, followed three weeks later by London. How do you feel differently about the marathon this year, having done your first last year? I’m a lot more positive – about everything – having done one marathon. It just gives you so much confidence in general. I’m a lot more positive that I can raise money for charity and I’m not going to be injured. Tell us about your charity… Wheel Power is a local charity to me in Buckinghamshire, [working nationally] to promote wheelchair sport. I live near Stoke Mandeville, which is the birthplace of the Paralympics, and my husband is involved in sports marketing and has done a lot with the Paralympics both in London and in Rio so I’ve always had an interest in it. You started running five years ago – what got you going? My daughter got me running for Race for Life. I couldn’t run more than 10 yards

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without a stitch before that. I just built up and felt so much better so I continued it. How did you find the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon last year? It went surprisingly well! I was aiming for four hours and decided, at the start, that it was stupid to bust a gut to do the four hours when I had no idea what I was going to be up against. I was absolutely petrified about hitting the wall. In the end I was fine, I didn’t walk any of it. The last quarter of the race took an hour and a quarter, whereas the first three took me an hour each, so I need some help approaching the training to get that last quarter the same as the first three. How do you hope Richard will help you get off your pace plateau? Richard has explained about threshold training and effort level. I run within my comfort zone so I need to speed up.



Age 29 From Essex (originally Dublin) Big Marathon Challenge To run her first marathon to raise £2,000 for the Stroke Association and awareness of how running can help mental health Day job Musician and teacher

Katie began running in spring 2016 as part of a drive to improve her physical and mental wellbeing, having suffered from depression and anxiety. Now, she’s lost two stone and discovered a love of running. Her marathon motivation is strengthened by running for a good cause: she aims to raise £2,000 for the Stroke Association because her aunt suffered a stroke aged just 57.

Tell us about your health kick this year… When I was younger, I used to be quite fit and then, in my mid 20s, I became lazy. I got to the beginning of this year and tried on a pair of jeans that weren’t going up my legs. What are you hoping to get from the Big I was getting out of breath quickly Marathon Challenge? and feeling I’d let myself go To raise the profile of Wheel and I was only 28. My mental Power. And I want people who health wasn’t great either; I are my age to think, “I can do Follow the team’s was going through a difficult this as well.” It’s to encourage progress on Twitter using #BigMarathonChallenge time and rather than go on other people to take up – and look out for your own medication – which I’d been running who had previously Big Marathon Challenge on in years past – I wanted to thought they couldn’t do it. training plan, starting see if I could do it by getting next issue! my physical shape better to What are you most nervous improve my mental state. about right now? The three weeks between the two Had you thought about using exercise to marathons. I think we’re going to focus on help with your mental health in the past? Manchester being my PB – it’s flatter and I have tried, but I’ve been very quick to go there’ll be less people, so you’ll be less held on medication in the past. The worst thing up and you’re not zigzagging round people. about medication is that it makes you feel numb and getting off of it is really hard. I read a book by a man called Matt Haig and THE COACH’S VIEW running really helped him and I remember Claire is doing the double marathon: experiencing my first runner’s high and Manchester and then, three weeks later, feeling amazing and I was like, “Yes, there’s London. Claire’s previous PB is 4:15 and she’s something to this.” hoping to hit nearer four hours. We identified that, at the moment, she’s running at the same You’re also raising money for the Stroke pace all the time, so we’re going to get her Association – why is that? doing more variety within the training. We’re When I first came to London I was living putting in some strength and conditioning with my aunt and uncle. My aunt, who was work, too: she does Pilates but she’s weaker on 57 at the time, and was the healthiest of all her left side, so we’re going to work on that. of us, just collapsed at work one day and We had to discuss which, out of the two had a massive stroke. She was in rehab for marathons, she would run faster. Unless about three months. Then she moved back you are a freak of nature, you’ll run the first home and I saw first hand how devastating marathon faster. So we agreed Manchester it was, not just to the person who’s had the would be Claire’s target for a fast one.

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stroke, but also to the family. It was just such a big adjustment. I really wanted to do something to raise awareness and to raise some money. What are you hoping to gain from it? I know from speaking to people who’ve done marathons that it’s going to be an amazing experience and being able to share that with other people who’ve all gone on a journey together makes it even more special. It’s going to be amazing having the blogs and the magazines to look back on, to show people what I did, and to inspire other people – someone might look and think, “She was two stone heavier and had never run before and now look at her” – that’s really cool.

Twitter: @katiehainbach


Katie is our professional singer. That will help a lot: breathing is often forgotten in running. Controlling your diaphragm and breathing into your lungs is very useful for her so she’s looking forward to bringing that in. Katie needs a flexible training schedule because she often works at weekends. We’re going to give her some workouts to do at home in case she can’t get to the gym. She’s going to buy a Garmin as well, to keep an idea of her pace. She’s hoping for about a 4:30 finish. OFFICIAL PARTNERS



16/12/2016 20:01


Tr a i n i n g h a rd a n d f e e l i n g t i re d ? B o o s t your energy levels with our guide to rejuvenating your diet and training words: christina macdonald

and Applied Science (SHAS) at St Mary’s University (, Twickenham. MONITOR YOUR HEART RATE With wearable tech, it’s easy enough to monitor your resting heart rate. Try to do it first thing in the morning, almost as soon as you wake up. “If you’re five to seven beats a minute over your usual resting heart rate, it’s an indication that your body hasn’t recovered from the last session,” says running coach George Anderson (runningbygeorge. com). “But if you decide to adjust your session, then you need to have an understanding of how to do that. A running coach can easily adapt a session for you.” CARB SENSITIVE? TAKE IT EASY… “Some people are more sensitive than others to carbohydrates,” says Anderson. “If I have carb-heavy meal I feel sluggish. Play around with timings of food and experiment and learn which variables to tweak. If you’re having a really carb-heavy meal and you plan on going running a couple of hours later, it might not be a great move.”

hen was the last time you woke up feeling great? How have your legs been feeling lately? If your body feels stiff and your energy levels aren’t what they used to be, then it’s time to take a careful look at your training and your diet.

“In the past, I’d look at sessions I had to do in the last two weeks before a race and think I had to do them, but sometimes I’d be exhausted. Now I’m more flexible. If I’m too tired and my legs feel really bad, there’s no point in doing that final key session if all it’s doing is making my legs worse for race day.”

DON’T LET THE PLAN TAKE CONTROL OF YOU When training hard, many of us stick rigidly to a strict training schedule. But it’s not such a bad thing to be flexible. Training plans are there to give you structure and a guideline, but ease back if your body needs a rest. “I’ve definitely become much better at listening to my body,” says Olympic athlete Jo Pavey.

DON’T PILE ON THE PRESSURE Never follow a hard session with another hard session the very next day. Always allow a few days’ recovery in between tougher workouts. “Having at least one rest day a week is important and if you feel tired, unwell or generally under the weather, don’t be afraid to take some time off,” says Professor John Brewer, Head of School of Sport, Health



BODY 106


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CHECK YOUR IRON LEVELS If you’re constantly feeling tired, see your GP and check your iron levels. “Up to 40 per cent of women have inadequate iron intakes which can lead to deficiency,” says Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietician on the Meat Advisory Panel ( “Iron is essential for making haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body, so one of the symptoms of low iron intake is shortness of breath and fatigue. Eat beef, pork and lamb. Choose lean versions and serve with plenty of green veg.” Non-meat sources of iron include beans, dark green leafy veg, dried fruit such as raisins and apricots, pulses, lentils, kidney beans and tofu. ALLOW YOURSELF AN EXTRA EASY WEEK “Add in an extra week of low volume training to allow your body to recover properly,” says George Anderson. “Some people find that hard if it’s not

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on the schedule. There’s something very satisfying about ticking off boxes on a training plan, but often you can do that to your detriment. If your legs are aching and your training plan says you have to smash a really tough hill session, you’re not doing your body any favours.” TRY CHIA SEEDS 35-year-old Eva Hatfield from Surrey, a three-and-a-half-hour marathon runner and a former winner of the Human Race Richmond 10K, uses chia seeds regularly. “I take them as a pre-race supplement,” she says. “I mix them with coconut water and drink them 15 minutes before a half marathon or marathon to ensure I am well-hydrated.” CHOOSE THE RIGHT CARBS Carbohydrates should make up around 50-60 per cent of your daily calorie intake. Choose complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa, rye and dark green leafy veg. Eat protein for muscle recovery (around three servings a day) as well as some healthy fats.

TRY BEETROOT JUICE “Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which are converted in the body to nitric oxide and this natural chemical seems to have a beneficial effect on blood flow, muscle contraction and energy efficiency, so you end up needing less energy to fuel muscles during exercise,” says Dr Carrie Ruxton. “Beetroot juice is worth drinking once a day.” EAT GOOD FATS “Nuts and seeds provide a rich source of B vitamins and magnesium, both of which are essential for energy production,” says Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK. com. “They also provide essential fatty acids which are beneficial fats that are important in sustaining energy.” TRY ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS “Three groups of foods help reduce inflammation,” says Wilkinson. “Vegetables and fruits, including orange, red, yellow and green ones for antioxidant carotenoids, as well as purple and darker coloured fruits and veg such as berries for polyphenols (plant-based molecules that have antioxidant properties). Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, mackerel or sardines can have a natural antiinflammatory effect in the body. Spices such as turmeric and ginger can have an anti-inflammatory effect too. So a meal of baked salmon and spicy ginger sauce, with sweet potatoes and greens on the

ENERGY-BOOSTING SUPPLEMENTS Good nutritional supplements to help boost energy levels include coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), L-carnitine, magnesium, vitamin B complex, and chromium. Dr David Mantle, a medical adviser for Pharma Nord (, says: “All have a key role in the body’s energy supply process which takes place mainly in organelles found in most cells called mitochondria. This process is of particular importance in tissues with a high-energy demand such as skeletal muscle and heart muscle. Chromium, in conjunction with insulin, helps to control blood glucose fluctuations, which can cause low energy and fatigue.” Ruxton recommends taking a multivitamin/multimineral supplement. “Several nutrients are important for energy release, particularly the B vitamins, magnesium, iodine and vitamin C,” she says.

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ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM OVERTRAINING SYNDROME? Overtraining syndrome is where the body is pushed beyond its natural ability to recover. Overtraining can be caused by too much volume or frequency of training or both. “It is almost certainly a combination of the two, and is also linked to insufficient recovery and possibly diet,” says Dr Charlie Pedlar, a Sport & Exercise Scientist at St Mary’s University. Symptoms include fatigue, irritability and poor performance in training and races. “This can become a vicious circle as the response of many runners to a poor performance is to train even harder, which just makes the problem worse,” says Pedlar. “The main defining feature is loss of performance that persists despite what would usually be adequate recovery.” Pedlar recommends training at an appropriate intensity and avoiding a sudden increase in training volume. “Prioritise recovery when it’s needed, even if you’re feeling good. Get adequate sleep – for most, this is seven hours per night but more is better. Your diet needs to supply adequate energy and adequate protein to aid adaptation and repair.”

side could be an excellent inflammationbalancing, energy-restoring post-run meal.” LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE What else is going on in your life? When your body is under prolonged stress, it releases cortisol into the system and chronic cortisol release will deplete your energy levels, making you more fatigued. “Everyone has a genetic potential,” says Anderson. “If you had the opportunity to live the life of a professional athlete with no other pressures, then you’d achieve your best time for a marathon or half marathon. But then you have your realistic potential when you take factors like work, family and the occasional stresses and big upheavals into consideration. If you’re trying to win a race, and something significant has happened in your life and you haven’t been able to give training the same focus this year, that’s something to take into account.”



16/12/2016 22:06

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It’s a big birthday for Hannah Ebelthite – with big celebrations in the Big Apple, p110



Run for Chocolate · Various locations · Various dates Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Grab a few friends to walk, run or jog your way to a brilliant finish line, where your efforts will be rewarded with a party atmosphere, treats and unlimited luxury hot chocolate. Sweet. RUNFORCHOCOLATE.CO.UK


Cancer Research UK Winter Run · London and Manchester · 5 and 12 February 2017 Prepare for snow machines galore, partying penguins and some touch-feely polar bears at these fantastic city races. Sign up with some friends and you’ll have a blast. LONDONWINTERRUN.CO.UK


The Original Hampton Court Half · Surrey · 19 February 2017 There’s a real opportunity to bag a PB here as the course is flat and fast. You might want to take it slow, though, so you can enjoy the riverside grounds of the magnificent Hampton Court Palace. HAMPTONCOURTHALF.COM

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The Icing on the Cake Marathon · Shropshire · 4 February 2017 Do not be deceived by the sweet name. This tough trail marathon takes you through the Shropshire hills, so expect some serious undulations. You’ll need to carry your own supplies and be able to navigate yourself to the finish line, opposite a National Trust tearoom where you can refuel with tea and cake (of course!). CODRC.CO.UK/ICING-ON-THE-CAKE

Something different

Brutal 10 · Bordon · 25 February 2017 Brutal by name and nature, this tough trail 10K requires resilience – and plenty of hill training! Forget gimmicky inflatables, the obstacles are all natural and hard as nails!


Tina Chantrey jets to Barbados for a week in running paradise, p112

CAN’T RACE THIS MONTH? NO TIME TO TRAIN? GET A TASTE OF THE ATMOSPHERE AT… Vitality Brighton Half Marathon · Brighton · 26 February Though you can still bag a charity place, this event is now closed for general entry. Not to worry. Get yourself down to beautiful Brighton to watch this hugely popular seaside half. Spectators will line the seafront, where you’ll find plenty of purveyors of fish and chips and 99s to keep you going. Valentine's 10K · Chessington · 12 February Fancy getting your other half into running ? Show him the love at this speedy 10K. While it's unlikely you'll see couples crossing the line hand in hand , an electric race-day atmosphere is guaranteed.




Winchester 10K Road Race · Winchester · 26 February

Edinburgh Marathon · Edinburgh · 28 May

Entry for this race closes on 22 February, and no late entry will be allowed on the day. So if you want to be part of it, make sure you sign up now. You'd struggle to find a more exciting course.

Missed out on the London ballot, but still fancy a big-city marathon? Then sign up fast for this epic race through the heart of the Scottish capital. It’s a fast course with glorious scenery.



16/12/2016 22:40


NO SLEEP TILL BROOKLYN HANNAH EBELTHITE RAN THE 40TH TCS NEW YORK CITY MARATHON TO CELEBRATE HER 40TH BIRTHDAY, TAKING HER HUSBAND ALONG FOR THE RIDE he New York marathon is on most runners’ bucket lists. For T me, it’s been right at the top since I first started running. I finally made it in November, to mark a milestone birthday, and my husband agreed to run it with me – his first, my sixth. Fittingly, 2016 was also the 40th year the marathon has been run on the current route, which made it feel extra special. We couldn’t have toed the start line any more excited. People who’ve run New York love to tell you what a nightmare the start is. Because all 50,000 runners need to be on Staten Island,

Support from the crowds holding brilliant (often humorous! ) banners kept runners’ spirits high



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you get there super early on official transport (the ferry or buses, make sure you book) and there’s a lot of waiting around getting cold. In fact, it was fine – just pack a lot of layers that you can discard, including hat, gloves and something to sit on. We were lucky with the weather but still grateful for the layers. We’d bought some disposable DIY overalls from the expo, too (think Breaking Bad boiler suits, see attractive pre-race pic) and they were a windproof godsend. The start of any race is thrilling, but this one takes the prize. Runners are sent off in waves, which goes a long way towards

reducing congestion and, when it’s time for yours to go, there’s a scarily loud canon and Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ blasts out. There were squeals of excitement from all the runners and we started the race on a real high. It famously begins by crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn. This is an imposing, mile-long bridge, uphill for the first half and downhill for the second, when it’s important not to set too fast a pace. Fortunately, there’s plenty to distract you and stop that happening, from the breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline to your left, to the NYPD helicopters hovering level with the bridge and waving at you. Despite the warm day, it was windy and exposed up there, so we were glad we’d heeded advice to keep one extra layer on for that first mile, discarding it after the bridge. Once over the bridge, miles two to 13 are in Brooklyn. It’s a straight, flat, easy route with incredible crowd support. Here’s where you get into your stride and enjoy the bands, banter and brilliant banners along the way. As it was two days before the US election there were some laugh-out-loud slogans: “If Trump can run, so can you”; “Let’s make America chafe again” (little did we know they would soon seem a lot less funny). As you pass through each district, the local police and fire teams are out in force, spreading goodwill. An ambition of mine had been to high five a cop and I didn’t even have to ask – I managed three before I got to mile four! From miles eight to 13, there’s a big contrast between very busy residential areas where the crowds spill right into your path, in scenes reminiscent of the Tour de France, then stretches through the Jewish area where the streets are empty and silent. At the halfway point you cross a small bridge and you’re in Queens, the third borough on the route. Then it’s the notorious Queensborough Bridge – a stretch about a mile long where you run on the lower carriageway so there are no spectators. We’d been warned this part was hard due to lack of support, but it offered a calming respite. The bridge delivers you to Manhattan island and you hit First Avenue, when the waiting crowds (officially the loudest on the route) are a welcome boost. New Yorkers like to shout, “Great job!” and “You got this!” and if, like me, you have your name printed on your vest, expect to hear it constantly.

16/12/2016 21:39


Rocking the Bad Chemist look


Obligatory pre-race expo pic

TOP 3 TIPS FOR NYC POST MARATHON Head to the top of the Rockefeller building (better views than the Empire State). Looking down from 70 floors up at the route you ran is totally awe inspiring. Pick up a copy of The New York Times on Monday – there’s a marathon supplement with lots of photos and all runners under five hours are namechecked! Go for a recovery jog in Central Park and appreciate all the beautiful autumnal colours you were too tired to take in on Sunday.

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Despite the unwavering support, though, this can still be a tough stretch. It’s a threeand-a-half-mile road and, when you look ahead, it feels never ending. Fortunately, I was so excited just to be in New York that reading off the names of the roads and spotting famous landmarks managed to keep me distracted. Just as First Avenue starts to feel tedious, there’s another short bridge that takes you over into The Bronx for a whole new vibe. First came a bit of J-Lo and then Public Enemy blasted out of a sound system and it was impossible not to get an extra spring in your step. From there, signs proclaimed “the last bridge”’ and it took us into Harlem, the fifth borough. From mile 21 to 22 we were treated to jazz music, MCs and a carnival atmosphere to celebrate the fact we were nearing the final effort. Running down Fifth Avenue back into Manhattan, you know that as soon as you hit Central Park, the end is (almost) in sight. You run alongside the park for just over a mile and it’s a slight incline so many people slow right down. Be prepared, maintain pace and you’ll get a good psychological boost by overtaking them all. At mile 24 you finally enter Central Park – such a familiar sight from films and TV shows. I felt like Phoebe from Friends and Miranda from Sex And The City, rolled into one. The route is windy and undulating then, between miles 25 and 26, you nip out of the park briefly, before coming back in for the final few hundred metres.

After crossing the finish line, collecting medals and having your photo taken, be warned that there’s over a mile’s walk to collect baggage and exit the park. Have a plan for how you’ll get home after that or you can end up (as we did) wandering the streets getting cold, failing to find a café that isn’t full and getting thoroughly confused by the subway. We couldn’t have asked for better souvenirs than our weighty, impressive medals. And the rumours we’d heard were true: the next day people were walking the streets, visiting tourist attractions, wearing their medals with pride. There were even people at the airport, three days later, flashing their bling. As reserved Brits, we could only disapprove… Running a marathon is a brilliant way to sightsee – especially this marathon, which avoids switchbacks and deliberately tours the best the city has to offer. I doubt we’d have made it round all five boroughs and got such a sense of their communities on a non-running trip. It helped that we weren’t gunning for a fast time, so we could run side by side, soak up the views and atmosphere and even cross the line hand in hand. Who knew a marathon could be romantic?




16/12/2016 21:40



A dip with the sea turtles post-run is a must!

Runners’ paradise: can it get better than running beside the West Atlantic Ocean?

t’s just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, but Barbados packs I a punch on a global level when it comes to marathon weekend experiences. The island rose from the sea millions of years ago as coral limestone, rather than volcanic activity so expect to see colourful colonial houses chipped into the coral, as if they are sitting atop giant blobs of pumice. When you travel to the Run Barbados Marathon series (, held during the first weekend of December



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every year, it’s not just about participating in up to six races (1K, 5K, 10K, halfmarathon, marathon and 5K walk) and feeling smug about your medal haul. You’ll also experience the magic of island life, the Bajan people and their culture. Yes, you’re travelling to find some winter sun but you can also step into the island’s past. There’s crystal clear sea to snorkel in, where you can swim with Hawksbill sea turtles. Then there’s the rum…ah, the rum! The race series is popular with local and international people; this year there were

nearly 2,000 participants. A very generous prize fund has something to do with this, as money can be made at these races (the winner of the marathon not only wins BDS$4,000 but a return trip to the island, including flights and hotel). So, for slightly more serious runners, this is a good chance to win enough money to make the trip pay for itself. There are medals for the first three winners in all age groups, as well. Even at 5am in the morning, when the half and full marathon start, you are not only breathing in incredibly hot and humid air,

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Expect the sun to rear its head during lap two of the marathon

WHAT YOU THOUGHT… “What an amazing experience to say I’ve run a race in Barbados. I couldn’t fault the organisation. It was a unique experience to simply be there, soak up the atmosphere on a very hot and balmy evening and race! I’m so impressed by the friendliness of the Bajan people, their culture and all that the island has to offer.” Kate Mahony, Bath “Barbados is the best early Christmas present a runner can wish for! The Bajan are lovely people and are an encouraging crowd through the colonial setting of Bridgetown, where the scenery is stunning! It was lovely to listen to the sound of Christmas tunes being played on the steel drums along the way, especially at 30⁰C!” Amber Schothorst, Gosport Road Runners


Post-race wind down on the beach at sunset? Why not!

you are breathing in the fumes of the past. The course is fast, with the sea on one side, waiting to cool you down as you pass the finish line, and beautiful Bajan houses dotting the road on the other. Ripples of support follow you all the way round (if you’re doing the full marathon you get to do two laps and the sun will have risen for the second) and there are plenty of water stations – you’ll need to make use of every one. If you can, enter every race. The race organisers have ensured it’s possible to just about do this, so run them all slowly to get the most of the race series (and bag an extra medal for doing the full combo). Make sure you also plan your daily itinerary, so you don’t waste a moment while you’re there. You HAVE to visit a rum distillery or sugar plantation. Sipping rum at 11am in 30 degrees centigrade is just… surreal and makes you feel very, very happy. Travelling by submarine to watch the tropical fish or taking a sunset cruise to swim with them is also a must. There are too many fantastic restaurants to list, and so many day trips (many featuring the serene blue West Atlantic Ocean) that

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you’ll get a tan while you’re on the go. This is always going to be the perfect time of year to travel to Barbados, as it’s the week of the anniversary of the island being granted independence. Being there on the golden anniversary was a beautiful thing. We all felt the love of these people – it oozes from them as a nation, and they share it with the world through their music. As it bounces away in the background, along the course, let your body then your mind join the Caribbean party. There’s no place for tense shoulders or furrowed brows as you pound the roads. You’re there to relax. You may experience a little rainfall when visiting; just think of the water gently washing away your stress and let it caress your skin. If you get rain during your races you’ll be so grateful. The most spectacular part of this trip was feeling my stress unravel like the sprung mechanisms of a very old clock slowly peeling away, layer by layer, until all the crumpled old metal has been eased into a flatter, smoother inward landscape. Island life will wash away your tension and aches, while you do what you love most, running. Thank you, Barbados.

“I got married in Barbados 20 years ago so it is wonderful to travel back for our anniversary. This was my first time racing a half-marathon abroad and the race was absolutely brilliant, lots of support, great organisation and views to die for! Once you’ve been to Barbados you’ll fall in love with the country.” Samantha Lyddiatt

YOUR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS Enter the race weekend at: You can get return flights from British Airways to Bridgetown for approx £600 ( Stay at the Courtyard by Marriott from approx US$200 per night for two people (Marriott. com) Restaurants: Tapas, The Beach House, Beach One, The Cliff Beach Club, Buzo Italiana Day trips: Atlantis Submarines (barbados., Tiami Catamaran Cruises ( Make your trip complete by visiting St Nicolas Abbey rum distillery and Saint Peter Parish ( Beautiful Bridgetown at night



16/12/2016 22:33

The Challenge 10


COOK UP A POST-RUN FEAST Every month the Women’s Running team challenges you to complete a different running task and show us the evidence. This month, we asked you to cook up a post-run winter warmer!

Louisa MulledWine @louisamead @Womensrunninguk #wrchallenge baked sea bream with lots of onion/garlic/pepper/ toms and potatoes

sarah pearce @Sarah_p1972 @Womensrunninguk cooked up this amazing healthy meal #WRChallenge

Chloe @chloelikes2talk @Womensrunninguk there’s nothing quite like a proper (hand stretched with homemade tomato sauce) pizza and little glass of primitivo

Chloe @chloelikes2talk @Womensrunninguk ooooh and Mexican mixed bean stew (this one I had leftover cooked chicken stirred through), even better than enchiladas!

FISHBOX @Fishboxuk @Womensrunninguk One-pot pollock with chorizo, butter beans and goats cheese. Delicious! #WRChallenge #fish

Jennifer Bozon @JenniferBozon @Womensrunninguk homemade beef bourguignon with cheesy mash & greens! All the more enjoyable after a chilly 5K! Yum!


The Challenge – set a New Year’s running resolution Setting a running goal for next year is a great way to boost motivation and start 2017 on a high. Whether it’s running for 20 minutes nonstop or running your first marathon, we want to hear about – and see evidence you’re working towards it! Tell us and send a picture via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #WRChallenge, by 13 January. We’ll choose the best pictures and put them in print.




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