While we were exploring trails and yoga postures to improve recovery at our Girls Run the World retreat, this weekend was a big one for running events, not least, the biggie, the Berlin Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge smashed the world record with such effortless grace
Last year, I saw the Richmond Running Festival and thought, ‘I must put that in the diary for next year,’ and promptly forgot until I saw everyone’s posts about it this weekend on what was perfect late summer weather for running. This event offers a 10km flat race in Kew Gardens on the Saturday and then you can switch to a Half Marathon or Marathon on the Sunday (again, it’s flat apparently). This is in addition to all the other kids events and a 5km Pirate themed race.
It’s a beautiful place to run and by all accounts, a great place to get a personal best offering both a flat course and – crucially if you get bored of road running – great views due to it’s location. Another great trail event of multiple distances was the Maverick Kent race in the beautiful grounds of Groombridge near Tunbridge Wells in Kent.
Maverick races are the scene of our Get Together event this year in few weeks in Snowdonia, and they seem like an event company to watch offering something a little bit different from traditional running event companies with a manageable number of runners so it feels friendly and – crucially – it means that you don’t have to turn up hours in event to queue for starting pens, bag drops and toilets.
The same of course can’t be said of the Berlin Marathon, one of the World Abbot Majors (which includes Chicago, Boston, New York, Tokyo and London) where queueing before the race is all part of such a massive event. Lots of you ran it this year, many for the first time, (well done Sarah Shaw) and got to share the day when the World Record was smashed by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in 2 hours, 1 minute and 39 seconds beating the last record by one minute.
Most of you will have seen his final mile by now and the effortless grace in which the 33 year old strides – well, sprints – into the record books. Yes, he’s an elite athlete and yes he trains all the time. But there is something truly inspiring about watching a runner break a record in such a way. I for one woke up this morning feeling inspired to sign up to another marathon in 2019. Have you?
From the beach to The Beast, there were plenty of unique events taking place over the first September of the month – not to mention our monthly Parkrun get together…
Just when you thought we were bidding goodbye to the summer, the warm weather returned this weekend but with much more manageable heat for running, which made for some fantastic events this weekend.
There was the Kent Coastal Marathon, a beautiful road half marathon that starts in Margate and travels along closed roads to take in Ramsgate and some of the rest of the Thanet coast. Word on the street is that it’s a bit of a loopy course though…did you run it?
And it was to Margate again this weekend that the inaugural RedBull Quick Sand event took place. A one mile race of two 0.5 mile loops, it sounds easy but it certainly isn’t when you learn that the event takes place on sand and you run up and down huge hills topped with stand castles and sand trenches that sap the energy from your legs. The event is split into male and female heats and you race other competitors to either go through to a semi-final or to a qualifying round. Let me tell you, it was a killer on the quads (race review coming up). RedBull’s goal is to build this event and eventually grow it so that the format can be taken elsewhere in the world. It’s a fun format, and definitely one to do with a group. But bear in mind, a mile is not a mile when you run it in sand!
And then on to The Beast, an event that one of the GRTW the community took part in over the weekend which caught our eye. A beautiful 12.46 mile trail event that takes in place along the beautiful Dorset coastal path…which means it’s brutal. With a maximum elevation of 1697 feet, this is one off road event that is all about the ups and downs! It’s too late for this event for 2018, but The Beast is part of a Purbeck Coastal Trail Series, which comprises six races – and there are some unique ones still to come this year, including the Studland Stampede, a 12km route over the beaches on Studland Bay on October 15th.
But over to you. Where did you run or race this weekend? Did you Parkrun debut or PB? Did you do a unique event that you want to shout about? Let us know!
While many of you all seem to be making a final escape to European shores with some beautiful holiday running pictures being posted, back in the UK there have been some equally stunning races taking place from the Sussex Hardway 13 (yes, it was hard!) to the intriguing sounding Two Tunnels Half Marathon… (18-19th August)
Why would you run up tank tracks ascending 419 ft with a gradient of 13% on a August summer Saturday? This is the very start of the appropriately named The Hardway Half, a just over half marathon (13.7 miles) event from Sussex Trail Events. It’s an evil start to a stunningly beautiful route that follows the South Down’s Way at a time of the year when the fields are full of golden wheat and you can see as far out to the Seven Sisters.
A group of GRTW runners took part, mainly as training for the upcoming Get Together Maverick Snowdonia. As my glutes felt like they were on fire on the return leg of this out and back race, all I kept thinking is that the Snowdonia event will be a great deal more difficult, climbing to over 3,000 ft in the first five miles (agh!). But then, that’s the beauty of doing an event as a training run; it pinpoints EXACTLY what you need to focus on in your next block of training and helps focus the mind.
The GRTW ultra coach, Sarah Sawyer placed second lady in this weekend’s event and her secret for getting super strong on the hills? Lots of hiking up hills with 8kg of dried chickpeas in her backpack (her A game is the Grand Raid des Pyrenees, a 123km races with 7000 metres of ascent which takes place over the August bank holiday – good luck Sarah!)
And one more thing to add about The Hardway Half…I thought it was called this because it was a hard trail half marathon. However, it could equally have been called this because actually, the second half of this race is MUCH harder than the first. Bear that in mind if you do it next year!
Elsewhere, we loved the sound of the Two Tunnels Half Marathon by Relish Running Races in the beautiful West Country around Bath. Taking in the gorgeous countryside of the Limply Stoke Valley, the route is on mixed terrain footpaths and trails, taking in the beautiful city of Bath before going to the riverside and traveling through the Combe Down Tunnel, which at 1672 metres long, making this event the one with the longest underground section of any race. Through Monkton Combe village and along the Somerset Coal Canal before merging with the Kennet and Avon Canal, this sounds like a truly stunning route.
They also have half marathons in May and July, so it may be worth checking out their events for 2019.
But over to YOU! Where did you train or what event did you take part in? Anyone run Parkrun abroad this weekend?
Based in Brighton? Don’t miss our Adventure Runs every Thursday this summer. Details of all Brighton events can be found here
While the weather broke almost all over the UK this weekend, that didn’t stop the GRTW community taking on some absolutely beautiful events from the magical Mhor Marathon in Scotland to the Sailsbury’s 54321 Half Marathon in the West. Where did you run?
August 11-12, 2018
As the summer holidays begin to draw near to an end, there are not so many of our runners posting from far flung destinations but there are some equally as stunning routes as part of events taking place here in the UK which is showcasing just how beautiful running can be in this country in the summer when you can actually see the scenery without cloud, mist and/or snow.
A case in point is the magnificent Mhor Marathon which one of the GRTW runners participated in this weekend. Also available as shorter distance, the full marathon takes in the breathtaking mountainous terrain which make up the Trossach’s National Park, with a maximum ascent of up to 2250 feet , with enough level parts to allow you to take in the stunning Lochs Lubnaig and Voil.
It’s certainly an event that would have benefited the runners from all over the UK who will join us in our first GRTW Meet Up at the Snowdonia Maverick event (it’s almost sold out, book it if you want to meet us there!). There have been lots of training runs recorded over the weekend from these runners, although for us Southerners, nothing quite as hilly as we need.
Elsewhere, runners took part in the Salisbury 5,4,3,2,1 Trail Half Marathon, although again, this event offers a range of distances from 5km up to a 50km ultra. Why the name? It passes 5 rivers, 4 hills, 3 country estates, 2 castles and one cathedral. The terrain is mixed using bridleways, trails and road but allowing runners access to private country estates which are usually closed to the public. Beautiful.
Where did you run this weekend and what were you training for? Comment below. And if you ran either of the races above and would like to contribute to our Race Review section, please email email@example.com
Love running off-road but unsure where to run or worried about getting lost? Or are you visiting Brighton for the weekend and have your trainers with you and would love to explore? Join us this Sunday for a gorgeous run that will take you through poppy fields and via the amazing Breaky Bottom vineyard
here at GRTW, we colour our running seasons, January – March is usually the white season – skies full of cloud, snow on the ground. March to April, is yellow season for all the daffodils, then it’s the Blue Season, which is all about the carpets of bluebells.
But right now, we’re at the tale end of the Red Season, with poppies carpeting the fields with the Purple Season edging in with the powder purple of flowering flax. This and more you’ll get to see on our nine mile run open to anyone who can run the distance.
For those wanting a shorter route, there is a 4.5 mile route, with the latter part returning on your own on a easy -straight back to car park – route.
Book online, £10. Details of where to meet can be found here. All runs leave at 8.30am.
It’s going to be a beautiful weekend and the perfect time to explore the trails. Why not join us this Sunday for a guided route of five or ten miles?
Join our GRTW coach, Amy, as she guides you through two different loops on this beautiful trail one, the first one five miles through the beautiful Stanmer Woods (she may even throw in a few trails you don’t know as this is her back garden!).
After that, if you’re working towards building endurance, you can join her on the second, different loop that will take you up on to the South Downs before dropping down through the beautiful Falmer Village.
You can join us for a one off run explore, £12 or use it as part of your training. As long as you can run the distance, you’re welcome to join.
Details of locations and meeting points are here. Book via booking page. Starts, 8.30am.
If you’ve been hibernating or pounding out the miles for marathon training, NOW is the time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the trails in early summer…
This week is the start of our Summer Trail Series in Brighton, £45 for the entire series which runs to the end of June or you can drop in per session to suit.
We have two distances, a shorter one for those who simply want to build their endurance and start running on trails but for fun, and a longer distance that will build week by week for those who are joining us in training for the Bewl 15, July 1st.
This week’s run meets at Ditchling Beacon for a beautiful run along the top of the ridge before heading down for a loop past a local farm and back to the return. The total distance on the start of this season is six miles but it is also open as a four mile route, with runners being able to turn and return on their own should they wish.
Get fit, meet new runners, explore new trails. It is the BEST time to be on the Downs.
For details of the full season, click here. To book visit our booking page and choose the full series or book per run.
Plus don’t miss our once a month Running Adventures, starting in May. Details coming soon. If you’re not in our Brighton and Hove Facebook group, don’t forget to join.
During our 2018 Girls Run the World® Runuary™ Challenge, over 500 women across the globe participated in running a tiny bit every day of January to help boost their own health, fitness and well being and to help inspire and encourage others. We also ran several competitions that were only open to those who registered for the event. Here are the winners – congratulations girls!
There were so many brilliant entries to our prize to win a running jacket and run leggings with Sundried. We asked people to share why they loved running but we thought the best was from Helen Monk, whose instragram picture and reason why she loved running summed it up. Congratulations Helen (or Molly as she is on her IG!)
And we are awarding Fi Thomson a three month subscription to The Protein Ball Co. for her posts which best sum up the ethos of support, inspiration and motivation through GRTW community, #bettertogether. And quite frankly, because her posts were so damn funny! (And yes, they really did create a Strava route in the shape of boobs!)
Devinder Bains, now 39, was a magazine features editor on a busy weekly magazine, more used to press launches and cocktail bars than running through the Sahara Desert without showering for a week. But that didn’t stop her taking on the Marathon Des Sables, an arduous six day multi-stage race of over 155 miles on just 12 weeks training that has a tiny 14% female entry level.
Whatever your goal, to complete GRTW Runuary, to train for a marathon to reach your first 5km, read these tips from these four inspiring, every day female runners who took part in GRTW Runnual – to run every day of the year – in 2017…
Hildi Mitchell, 47, teacher
Why did you decide to do it?
It was New Year’s Day when my friend, Emma told me about Girls Run the World Runuary 2017. I’d been ill all holiday and was feeling despondent but she persuaded me that it would be a great way to get back to running (I’d had to take 2 months out of my training for Brighton marathon due to injury and illness), on top of which we were at La Santa, it was sunny and there was a running track on my door step. By February, I was loving the challenge and decided to carry on.
I almost gave up when…never although there were hard days when I was ill and super busy. I had to run on a morning of my sister’s wedding after a gruelling two day interview, and once at 5am in the morning before packing all the kids suitcases to dash to the airport to fly home from holiday. Only once did I nearly not run and that was in January when I went out in my pyjamas, coat and wellies to walk the dog because I wasn’t feeling the running vibe. Then I thought, ‘What the hell!’ and ran a kilometre holding my hands over my boobs because I wasn’t wearing a running bra! It was then I realised I’d probably been making too much fuss about the effort required in ‘going for a run’ in the past.
The biggest surprise was…that I didn’t get injured because I learned to listen to my body in new ways. I adjusted my route, distance and time of day to reduce grumbles. Plus I got a 5km PB after five years, which I think came from the discipline of running every day.
My friends and family …were really supportive although my husband thought I’d get injured or make myself seriously ill. I did most of my runs with my cockerpoo, Pippin, but it also meant I ran with my sister and my daughter who did her first park run with me. We all ended up running the Edinburgh marathon relay with my daughter doing the final leg which was really special.
The best thing… about it has been all the amazing sunrises and sunsets, and the experience of the changing seasons, the light, the weather and the world around me, a special gift which I’ll never forget.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018 here’s my three best tips…
1. Commit to a minimum distance and route: it’s 1 km from my door, round the half of the field over the road that is lit by street lights, and back again. That was my go to run on bad or busy days – and it doubled as a quick dog walk too.
2. Stop washing your hair after every run. Anything you can do to reduce the time it takes means it’s more likely it will happen. Get some dry shampoo and an attitude instead.
3. Get another challenge ready for After You Finish. You’ll be setting yourself the expectation that you WILL do this, but you’ll also have something ready to keep you motivated once you’ve achieved it. I’ve signed up for a 12 mile relay swim – better get in back in the pool!
Ruth Farnell, 56 IT Project Manager
Why did you decide to do it?
I didn’t I just found myself carrying on after runuary. After a few months, people started asking me “when are you going to stop” and I had to have an answer so I said “after a year”
I almost gave up when…. I got back from a long day at work and had to go out for a short run at 11.30pm. I’ll be forever grateful to my partner for sticking my trainers on and pushing me out the door because he knew the streak was very important to me.
The biggest surprise was… finding some beautiful running routes in parts of the country and in cities where you would least expect to and the joy of running in the rain.
My friends and family…were really supportive, my four adult kids are really proud of my running in general but particularly with runnual and completing my first 2 marathons. My partner has thought me barking mad but has also been quietly very supportive.
The best thing about it has been…
1. Meeting lots of new people, especially Anne-Marie D, a quiet dignified lady who let me share her runs in a beautiful part of Belgium, South of Brussels who i met through GRTW Runuary.
2. The sunrises, which set me up for my day and helped get everything into perspective. We are tiny specs in the universe with such a short time on the planet so enjoy your running and as many sunrises as possible.
3. introducing me to a community that stretches across generations and brings you together with people you wouldn’t normally meet.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. Use the internet and find out where people run in places you might be visiting.
2. Plan when you are going to run and do not be put off by the weather – get out there at the time you said.
3. Keep kit at work so you can nip out at lunch time if possible and to generally give you some flexibility.
Runuary has changed my running – or me – …..I’ve have developed muscles running 1300 miles this year – little and often suits me and all my times have improved and I’m much braver. Statistically women are relatively safe going out at night (women are more likely to be attacked in their own home). I’ve run places I wouldn’t have considered before and found them perfectly OK. I have also dealt with my phobia of big dogs.
Jenny, 46, project officer
Why did you decide to do it?
I split up with my husband in autumn 2016 and was looking for a new challenge to kickstart my health. Being part of Girls Run the World Runuary gave me a good reason to get out of the house every day, to run off some of the stressful emotions and to have a little time focusing on me.
I almost gave up …. on day 282, it was October, the days were getting shorter and I was working on a deadline at work so time was limited. The year was a long way in and I was feeling tired and it just felt pointless to run a joyless 1mile but fortunately my kids pushed me out the door and I’m glad I went.
The biggest surprise was… how much of a difference running every day has made. I no longer negotiate about whether I’m going to run, I just find the time slot each day that will be most convenient.
My friends and family …have all been very encouraging.
The best thing about it has been…the stress-relief, just one mile per day and the fun of discovering new places and sights to enjoy.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. embrace those 1-mile runs – they are basically a rest day and help you stay injury-free and stop the injury risk of increasing your mileage too quickly
2. Find new timeslots in your week to run (I now run in the 30 minutes between dropping off and picking up my daughter from her flute lesson; also I drive past a park on my way home from work so once a week or I change into my running gear and get in a couple of miles before I get home.
3. I’m now a massive fan of taking running pics. They’ve helped distract me from thinking about the actual running and it has been really useful to look out for new/interesting/photo-worthy things, particularly on those local 1-mile runs that would have become very monotonous otherwise.
Runuary has changed my running – running every day means that each run matters less, so when you have one of those runs where you feel like a tortoise trudging through treacle happen, I don’t worry about it any more. Tomorrow is another day and will be different.
Wendy Davidson, Administrative exectutive
Why did you decide to try and run all year? I’d had a terrible 2016 and the idea of runnual inspired me. I thought that running was unlikely to make me feel worse, and would probably help.
I almost gave up when…. Believe it or not, apart from the odd day when I thought “Oh no I’ve got to run”, I never thought of giving up. I’ve run in rain, snow, ice, with hangovers, once I make my mind up I rarely give up.
The biggest surprise was… how much I enjoyed it and how much better it made me feel, so quickly.
My friends and family thought …I was crazy but they were really supportive.
The best thing about it has been…running with some lovely people, especially my partner in crime, Liz Shand, who was the one who suggested we do runuary and who also did runual. We’ve both lost our mojos at different times but we’ve been able to get the other one back into it We only run together 2-3 times per month but following each other on Strava has given us that support.
Runuary has changed my running – in that now I enjoy it, so much that sometimes I’d go out and run twice. IT’s also made me a much happier person and stopped me spiralling into depression. It’s lifted me further up than I’ve been in a very long time.