Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Running in Ireland

I'm back in rainy Saddleworth after a very nice time away in the Emerald Isle.  We stayed at my Mother-In-Law's and took Pat's family with us.  Carolyn, Jo and the kids are still there, as the men came back early due to our work commitments.  We took in Castles, Heritage Tours, Irish Folk dancing and, yes running.

As well as 4 local road routes, we ventured out to both Loch Gur and the Ballyhoura Mountains for the trail runs.  Loch Gur started off in comedy style, when we realised we couldn't run round it.  We should have asked in the visitor centre before setting off with merry abandon.  Thistles, stinging nettles and electric shocks were our punishment for trying to be clever.  I had the GPS on hand to track the miles, and we had to do 3 final laps around the edge of the loch to bring in 6.3 miles.  If any readers find themselves in County Limerick, then you really should visit, especially the heritage centre.

Loch Gur

The next adventure out was on Saturday when Pat and I drove to the Ballyhoura Mountains, which have many trails and fantastic views over both counties Limerick and Cork.  The climb up around Black Rock was pretty intense, yet we were rewarded with the best views of the area - really lovely.  Ann recommended it, as she has been there during her training for last year's Mont Blanc trek for JDRF with Carolyn.

Black Rock Edge
View over County Cork at the trig point

Here's the log:

Weds 24th - 6.3 miles (number 75)
Thurs 25th - 6.5 miles (number 76)
Fri - 26th - 7 miles (number 77)
Saturday 27th - 7.1 miles (number 78)
Sunday 28th - 7 miles (number 79)
Monday 29th - 6.3 miles (number 80)

Today's run - 6.3 miles (number 81)

All in all, a fantastic trip - many thanks to Ann and Hauly for their hospitality, Carolyn and Jo for allowing us out for the longer trail runs, the boys for keeping us on our toes with the disputes over who's turn it was next on the DS.

Most of all a thank you to Pat for running with me on what was supposed to be a nice relaxing break.  It can be pretty boring running alone, and it says something that even by day six we still had plenty to talk about, encouraging each other and the like.  Cheers Pat!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Running with Gareth and Frank

An evening run today, and it was a faster-pace one at that.  Gareth and Frank are both running with me on the final 100th run, next month's Bupa Great North Run, so this evening's run was a tester for me to keep up with their pace.  I'm sure Frank is half machine, the way he shot up Friezland Lane towards the Bridle path that led us out to Mossley Hollins School and down to Micklehurst, before heading up to Top Mossley, Grasscroft, Greenfield and back to Uppermill.  It felt good to be tested, as when I'm out on my solo runs, it's easy to fall into a comfortable pace, then stay like that until the end of the run.  I led a couple of times, although I wasn't sure if it was adrenalin kicking in on my part or the others had dropped back to make me feel better...Either way it was a really enjoyable run and clocked in at 8 miles.

Thanks to Gareth and Frank for the company and pace setting.  The speed I thought I lost during the runs in the heat in France has returned, along with the fire in my belly!

Yesterday's run - 6.3 miles
Today's run - 8 miles

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Run to the hills

I have to admit that it was a treat to run somewhere so flat over the past 11 days, I realised It would be difficult to have to go back to hill running back on home soil.  Yesterday I did the Friezland loop, which is the flattest route I know around here, so it was with a heavy heart that I decided to bite the bullet and go for the hills.  The weather was perfect, the traffic was also light due to the Rushcart taking place today and tomorrow, so I decided not to get caught up with both boozy morris men and weekend pagans in Uppermill and kept to a faithful Dobcross - Standedge route. 

Today's run - 6.4 miles

I suppose my new aerodynamic hair cut at Bryn Daniels In Grotton (a trim to prevent me from reslembling a fuzzy tennis ball) helped me adjust to the hills.  I had words of support and encouragement from the proprietor Bryn, and one of the regulars wanted to sponsor me too. Bryn raised a lot for Carolyn's trek last year and is a good mate.  We had a great night last December when we saw Half Man Half Biscuit in Holmfirth. He's up for running in the Great Yorkshire Run, so I'd better get weaving and book my place - I'll see if Pat's interested too.

Only 29 to go till the big day - my number arrived in the post on Friday:


I've never got my head around twitter.  Referring to other conversations with the "@" symbol and all this "#" business makes some modern text-speak look pretty legible in my book.

However I'm in the business of spreading the word with the blog, facebook and now twitter (although I don't think I have any followers yet).

So get updates on both the blog and now twitter.  Follow me at the below "Handle":


Yesterday's run - 7 miles.  I'm pleased with this as I haven't been feeling too good since we came back from our holiday.  A combination of cold, crap weather back here, a pile of work waiting for me in the office and seeing shops in Manchester city centre still boarded up was pretty depressing.  I have number 71 to perk myself up with after Jake's swimming lesson.  I'm also conscious that I have a lot to cram in before next week's trip to Ireland, starting on Wednesday, so I'm calling into the office tomorrow to get on top of things.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

59-69. St Cyprian, France

We're back from our holiday in France.  We had a great time, the weather was hot and breezy and Jake kept his blood sugar in check by sampling various ice creams (bubble-gum flavour was his favourite) and swimming in both the pool and the sea.  I read "Born to Run" and it was fantastic - very inspiring.

Any doubts I had about the feasibility of running in the area were eroded as we approached the campsite.  On each side of the road were these cycle/bridle paths - ideal for running routes, and I was able to try out a few routes - some planned, others made up on the hoof, so to speak.  I also switched them around to allow for time for all three of us, ensuring that whilst the runs were undertaken every day, I remembered that the reason we were away was for a family holiday.

Along these bridle paths were all kinds of apparatus for stretching, hurdles etc - a real runner's paradise.  I exchanged a few "Bonjour's" with my fellow runners.  Some replied, some didn't.  I spotted one, wearing a Newcastle United top, who said a hearty "Bonjour" and I replied "Hi there" - he then turned at me surprised that I recognised him as a Brit  - come on...who else would wear that top?

On the first day, I trotted out at around 5pm, and got lost on what I thought was the return leg of a 6.3 mile loop.  Finding myself in the middle of nowhere with no phone or money wasn't the best start.  My limited French would be useless as well, so just like Forrest Gump...I kept running. After getting my bearings, remembering that traffic approaches from the opposite side of road.  I also had to remind myself that I was lost, with no money, no phone, a very basic grasp of the language.  All I had was basic common sense, internal compass and 2 eyes to read the road signs. I eventually found my way home albeit an extra 30 mins longer, but played it cool and told Carolyn and Jake it was "All part of the plan"...

I have to say that the Helly Hansen top worked a treat for the duration of the holiday - leaving me nice an cool, either running in the morning or evening it kept the sun off and most of all - dry.  Thanks once again to Jax @ Helly Hansen for sending me the free running wear - it worked wonders when I needed it to.

My first Injury of the challenge was a nipple related injury, a combination of sunburn, and chaffing from the New Balance top, when the HH top was hung out to dry.  The pain was so bad this morning that I ran in just a pair of shorts and trainers for this morning's run along to the port and back along the beach.  I felt a bit of a charlie and a show off, but needs-must and there were plenty of others doing the same who were show off's and charlies. Macho Man, indeed.  There will be none of that back in blighty, I promise.

Here are the runs, which were tracked on a scrap of paper:

08/08 Run 59 : 9.3 miles - I got lost!
09/08 Run 60 : 6.2 miles
10/08 Run 61 : 6.6 miles
11/08 Run 62 : 6.6 miles
12/08 Run 63 : 6.3 miles
13/08 Run 64 : 6.3 miles
14/08 Run 65 : 6.8 miles
15/08 Run 66 : 6.2 miles
16/08 Run 67 : 6.3 miles
17/08 Run 68 : 6.9 miles
18/08 Run 69 : 6.2 miles (Bare Chest Cheek...)

I got a message from Gareth, where he had it confirmed that his fracture is actually a break and the cast needs to stay on for another couple of weeks.  I know he can run the 13.1 of the Great North backwards and still get a decent time.  He texted me last night to say he's defied the Doctor's orders and undertaken a 5 mile run and felt great - good on you Pal!

I'd like to say a big thanks to my big sister Lucy for her sterling work in spreading the word via Twitter of my campaign.  I've had recent donations from her friends Jane and Fran, and Lucy's been great in spreading the word - thanks for your support!

So there we have it.  One of the most challenging sections of the 100 runs challenge so far and it's back to running in Saddleworth until Weds, when we are visiting Carolyn's Mum in Limerick with Pat's family for a week.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Update from France

I sneaked online.  I am up to run 65, which I will do this evening.  This much I know:

1) It is better running in the morning than at night
2) The letters are all over the place on the french keyboard
3) It is a runners paradise here

Full update to follow

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Thank you to the Roebucks

I'd like to say a massive thank you to Julia Roebuck's Sister in Law, who arranged a very nice surprise for me when I was passing on Shaw Hall Bank Road on the run this morning.  Julia, who's today's run is dedicated to her son Alex, had asked when I would be passing on that route, so I gave her a rough estimate of around 9:30.

I planned to do the 6.4 mile route from Diglea to Friezland Church and back, taking in Dobcross and Uppermill.

As I passed Friezland Church, I kept my eye out for anyone loitering around the house where Julia had told me her relatives live, but nothing.  I carried on running, however caught sight of the time when I was passing Greenfield train station - I was at least 15 mins early.  I ran down top the top of Chapel Road, then turned back and did another lap back down to the church.  This time I noticed there was now a huge banner tied to the railings outside the house with "WELL DONE TOM" and "RUN 58" emblazoned in huge font.  I also got a wave as I ran past.  To say this gave me a boost is an understatement.  I was grinning from ear to ear, and finished the last 3.5 miles at race pace - a real high.  Thank you Roebucks - I really appreciated that!

I'm so glad I turned back and did the extra lap.  The kindness and support was amazing - and from people I don't know, I've only communicated with Julia, and she picked up on the link to my blog as it had been posted on twitter by another mum who received an earlier dedication.

Today's run - 7.4 miles, dedicated to Alex Roebuck and thanks again to all the Roebucks for your support

Today's run is dedicated to Alexander Roebuck

Today's run is dedicated to Alexander Roebuck. Julia, Alex's Mum contacted me a couple of weeks ago by email after coming across the blog:

"I've just found your 100 runs blog and wanted to email to say thank you for doing this. My son Alexander was diagnosed T1 in June last year aged 11 months, and well, I don't need to tell you how it's affected our lives since, because you already know yourself being a parent of a T1 child. It was extra hard him being a baby, and things didn't settle down until he was 18months old.  My husband Steve grew up in Greenfield. I've made my husband a Saddleworth exile - we live in Devon now but he is enjoying looking at the photo's on your blog of all the places he knows - you can take the man out of Yorkshire, but you can't take the Yorkshire out of the man!"

Alex Roebuck
 Julia told the "Input me" website about Alex and living with T1:

Alex was diagnosed at 11 months old and we took the offer of a pump straight away being fans of technology. The pump enables Alex to have a normal life as possible with diabetes. Because he is so young, he needs fractions of units of insulin and the pump is the only way we can administer this. He can eat what he wants, when he wants, and the temporary basal helps keep his blood glucose under control if he is more or less active in the day. We sometimes use continuous glucose sensors, and set the pump so the basal is automatically cut off if he drops too low, which is very re-assuring at night. We couldn’t imagine using any other way to treat his diabetes"

Read more at:


Steve has developed the Easy Diabetes App for the iPhone and iPod touch, which helps you quickly and easily record all the information required to enable you to manage your diabetes.
All details can be entered on a single screen, so that you don't have to keep swapping between many screens.
Only the details that you have logged are displayed on the daily log meaning that its kept clear of un-used settings.
Highs and Lows are clearly marked colourful icons to let you quickly assess your levels for the day.
You are in control of what ranges of Blood Glucose levels your aiming for, so that you can set the system to display your exact requirements.

Features include:

  • Log Insulin,
  • Log Blood Glucose
  • Log Ketones
  • Log Notes / Comments
  • All data defaults to current date and time, which can then be simply updated.
  • All of your entries can be emailed out directly from within the Easy Diabetes as simple tables, and / or as CSV files that can then be imported into a spreadsheet application.
  • You can set your own ranges for blood glucose levels, these levels are then used to indicate if your higher, lower or on target for your desired range.

As you can see by the screenshot above, Steve has set the usual advert banner, which is a vital source of revenue to link this blog for today, so I'm really grateful for this - thanks Steve.
I'm proud to dedicate today's run to young Alex, Julia and Steve.

I extended the run to 7.4 miles (details to follow in the next blog post) - There was a nice surprise waiting for me outside 36 Shaw Hall Bank Road - Thanks Roebucks!

Tomorrow I take the challenge to France for 10 days, so the blog entries may become less frequent, however the running will not.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Trombone Trail

For run 57, we (Pat and I) decided to take to a route that we know as the "Trombone Trail".  The basic route is to start at Dove Stone Sailing Club, run up to Chew Reservoir, over to Laddow Rocks, and along and over Black Hill, ending the route on the Isle of Skye Road by the "Snoopy's Big Bite" van.

This involves some serious logistics - dropping Pat's car at Snoopy's, and me taking Pat in my car back down to Dove Stones to start the trail, and so on.

It came to be named "Trombone Trail" in honour of Raff, the trombone player in Innviertler Wadlbeisser, a fantastic Brass Group, who my Father in Law promotes in this country.  They came over last year for a series of gigs in Huddersfield, Marsden and Diggle. Raff was keen to come out on a run with Pat and I.  We did this route, however took longer than we thought and knew were on a tight timeline to get Raff back to play a lunchtime gig at the Conservative Club in Uppermill.  It turned out that we got Raff back to the Con Club, sweating and stinking and he hopped out of the car, grabbed his trusty trombone and started straight away with the group, after running 9 miles on the fells, still wearing the "five-fingers" shoes - what a trooper!

Innviertler Wadlbeisser are a great act - and should be seen whenever you get the chance. Check out their website at http://www.innviertler-wadlbeisser.at/ or take a look at the clips on You Tube - you will not be dissapointed!  So Raff - the route has a name in your honour, Sir!

That's Raff, 3rd from the left
We made good time up to Chew Res and made very light work out of Black Hill, Pat set a good pace and he got the first round of pepsi's and teas at the van back at Dove Stones.  Cheers Pat!

Sailing Club at Dove Stones

Chew Res

Laddow Rocks
Black Hill trig point

Tea in the Carriage House later...

Today's run, for Emily Brown was 9 miles

Today's run is dedicated to Emily Brown

I'm dedicating today's run to Emily Brown.  Emily is 7 and was diagnosed in April 2009.  Emily lives in Amesbury, Wiltshire with her Mum Laura, Dad Iain and 7 year old sister Katie.

Laura told me:

"It is relentless. You never get a break from type 1 diabetes. You have to think about it constantly. As a parent of a six year old child with diabetes, I have had to learn how to inject my child, how to count the carbohydrate she eats at each meal and latterly how to use an insulin pump. I record everything my daughter eats, I test her blood sugar on average 12 times a day. I am constantly looking at all the information I have gathered and trying to interpret it to see how I can improve control of her blood sugars. I have two very big fears for my daughter."

"One is that she will suffer a severe hypo and become unconscious or worse. This fear is particularly prevalent overnight, so I wake up at 2am every night to test her blood sugar to ensure that she is safe. The second fear is that I may fail to control her blood sugars well enough to prevent her getting diabetes related complications in the future. I am very conscious that by the time my daughter is twenty she will have had diabetes for fifteen years. As a parent, how could I look my daughter in the eye if she developed eye or kidney problems at that young age, because I had not managed to control her diabetes to the best of my ability whilst she was younger? I am lucky in that I have a very supportive team at our local hospital who recognise my efforts and concerns and do their best to help. My daughter has been able to access an insulin pump and that has made a huge difference to the quality of her life and also to the control we manage to get, hopefully helping to reduce the likelihood of long term complications. However, even with this support I feel that as a family we face huge battles constantly. Her twin sister has had to learn to take a backseat at times as we are dealing with diabetes - changing infusion sets, testing for ketones, testing blood sugar, counting carbs, filling insulin cartridges. Her sister is constantly being asked to "wait a minute." Whilst my daughter with diabetes has had to deal with sitting at school and watching all her class mates eat cakes and she has had to bring hers home so that it can be carb counted and she has the right amount of insulin for it. She has had to come to terms with having daily injections, then infusion sets put in. She has to deal with feeling rotten every time her blood sugars go out of range (which sadly is quite often, despite a tremendous amount of effort being put in). She also has to put up with being woken at night and force fed glucose tablets if she is hypo or having a new infusion set inserted if there appear to be problems with her pump. I am constantly on call."

Laura adds:
"I receive on average two or three phone calls a week from school with diabetes related issues that I need to deal with. I also end up having to go into the school on a regular basis to deal with problems that have arisen. This makes it very difficult for me to work. It is nearly impossible to get a break from diabetes as very few people are willing to look after my daughter due to the extra responsibility of having to deal with her diabetes. For instance recently my daughter asked my mother "Nanny, when can we come to your house for a sleepover again?" To which my mother replied "You can't because I don't know how to work your insulin pump." My daughter is a bright, sensitive, kind and sociable six year old and I wish more than anything that she didn't have to face the challenges of living with diabetes."

Read Laura's entry on the JDRF 1 Campaign scrapbook:


I'm proud to dedicate today's run to Emily and her family.  Today Pat and I are are running the "Trombone Trail" - Full details on this run later...

Friday, 5 August 2011

Today's run is dedicated to Charlie Howard

One of the things that I have really enjoyed during the challenge is to be able to raise awareness of fellow families with children living with Type 1.  One of those is young Charlie Howard, who I am dedicating today's run to.

Lucy Howard, Charlie's Mum told me:

"Charlie was diagnosed in January 2010 at the age of 13 months following 2 trips to our out of hours Dr who told us he had a stomach bug. We insisted on taking him to hospital where he was diagnosed within 10 minutes of arriving. After 2 nights in PICU and a further 10 days in hospital we were allowed home on the basis we could ring or return to hospital if necessary. Charlie was very lucky as he received an insulin pump a week after diagnosis. The pump has made a huge difference to Charlie's blood sugar levels as we can tailor it to meet his needs. That's not to say that every day is easy - he's recently starting having tantrums which makes hypos more tricky to spot but is reassuring in that he's just like any other 2 year old! We all get involved in looking after Charlie, our daughter Kate is 4 and she's a dab hand at reading the meters and telling me if he's high or low. Having a child with Type 1 diabetes does change life for the whole family but we try to do as much as anyone, we just have to plan things carefully. Meeting other families in the same situation has been very helpful, we can share experiences with people who really understand."

Read Lucy's entry on the JDRF 1 Campaign scrapbook:


Today's run: 6.4 miles

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Today's run is dedicated to Imogen Keywood

I'd like to dedicate today's run to young Imogen Keywood.

Imogen's Mum, Teresa told the JDRF 1 Campaign :

"My baby daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at just 15 months old, and it has totally changed our lives. There is a huge amount of ignorance when it comes to type 1, and nobody understands how dangerous type 1 is and the difficulties that you come up against on a daily basis. Having children is a huge responsibility in itself, but having a child who has type 1, you are faced with fears and worries daily that most people do not ever have deal with in their whole life. Insulin injections just keep type 1 diabetics, it does not cure this dreadful life threatening illness.  There needs to be more government funding for type 1, so that there can be research into finding 1 the prevention to type 1, and 2 the cure. All type 1 should be entitled to have the choice of an Insulin Pump that tightens control, and thus gives type 1 sufferers a better, healthier and longer future. An Insulin pump should be standard to all type 1 sufferers. There should also be more awareness. Although Type 1 is rare in children under the age of 4, it is becoming and more frequent illness with more children being diagnosed at a younger age."

Imogen is now 2 and a half years old and I'm proud to dedicate today's run to both Imogen and her family.

Read the scrapbook entry at:


Today's run - 6.4 miles
Yesterday's run - 7 miles

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Taking the challenge north of the border

I've just got back from 2 days working away in Edinburgh.  I'd already given some thought around how to fit in the running whilst away, the main concerns were around logistics (If I leave Diggle at 5am, then I'm going to have to run in the evening in Edinburgh, then early the next morning...etc) and the new route.  I'd taken a rough estimate of the route by visiting http://www.mapmyrun.com/ and plotting at least 6.2 miles starting from the hotel.  My boss Scott Taylor is based in Edinburgh, and a sporty type.  He's also a "numbers man" through and through, so if ever I tell him of different runs I've been on in the past he's always quick to ask me what time I did, and then he's judge if this reached his approval.  I was looking forward to a run out with him, and we were all set for a 5:30pm start yesterday.  I sprinted back from the hotel to meet Scott outside the office.  I wasn't too worried that he wasn't there as his timekeeping leaves a lot to be desired at the best of times, however knew he'd cancelled when he sent a colleague, Ashley outside with a map of where I should run that she'd kindly printed out for me.  Scott had forgotten his daughter's birthday cake and needed to rush off to get one.  The toad.

Ashley's a keen runner, and I understand our team up here used to have a regular running club most weeks, so I knew she'd send me out on a decent route.  Thanks Ashley - much appreciated the old skool map...

The route took me from the Gyle Business Park, up through Corstophine, the Park, Glasgow Road and back - 2 laps reached 6.6 miles.  I followed the route again early this morning, but cut out the park bit and clocked up 6.2 miles (involved running round the Novotel car park until I hit the required mileage!)

I've had lots of sponsorship on the just giving page over the past couple of days, so thanks to everyone who has donated - Hazel, David and Margaret, Steve from Liphook, Brendan, who I met in the office today - a top bloke and looking forward to meeting up for a run next time I'm up in Edinburgh.  Lastly a big thank you to Sam Broom, who until 6 weeks ago used to be on our team and is now a lady (always a lady) of leisure before embarking on her business venture with her husband Steve.  Sam has donated a nice slice of her redundancy money to my cause, and I'm very grateful to her for this.  I won't let you down, Sam - remember to call in next time you are in the area visiting Steve's Mum.

It was nice to spend time with my colleague and good friend Jaci Morton, who has given me lots of encouragement throughout my challenge.  Jaci is super-fit - attending gym classes every day and has recently discovered the joys of extreme hill walking and climbing.  In September, she and 8 friends are taking part in a 12 hour spin challenge for Erskine Hospital - their team is the Sweaty Bettys.  Their sponsorship page is www.justgiving.com/sweatybettys12hourspin A great cause and one that deserves to raise plenty of cash.

Although it's only been 2 days, I'm glad to be home with Carolyn and Jake and looking forward to gazing at the hills of Wharmton, Alphin and Pots and Pans over the next 5 days, then the challenge moves across the channel...

View from the war memorial, Pots and Pans

Yesterday's run - 6.6 miles
Today's run  - 6.2 miles