Run Streak – The Start

CalendarYou know what it’s like – you stare at your calendar at the start of a week trying to decide which days to run; trying to slot in runs where you can; trying to motivate yourself to run when you don’t always want to. How can you simplify that? By running every day of course. Welcome to run streak.

It might sound a bit bonkers if you stop and think about it for too long, but when you look into it a bit more you will find that it’s actually becoming fairly common.

The king of the run streak is undoubtably the legendary British runner Ron Hill, having run at least a mile every day since 20th December 1964. Even hospitalisation after a car accident never stopped him.

Around the end of 2013 I was actually considering starting a run streak, mostly after a conversation with my furry buddy Bear Schlenker who was also planning on starting in the New Year. He started, but I bottled the idea. Bear has now been streaking since 1st January 2014 – at least two miles each day, even after races including ultras, and is still doing really well.

Over the past few months I have come across more and more people who are streaking and I started to question my original decision. Every now and then I would think again about starting up, but quickly forgot about it again. Then I saw Mike Wells announce his 1000th streak day of running at least 5km every day, which seemed like such an awesome achievement. Once again I thought more about starting up. This was clearly an itch that wasn’t going away.

Not long after Mike passed through his 1000th day (with a fundraising 100km run round the Peak District) my birthday was coming up and as an imaginary starting post it seemed as good as any.

So here we are scratching that itch. At forty-five years and one day old I am starting out on my own streak of at least 5km each day. Rain or shine, race or recce I will run. Here we go. But where does it end?

Birthday Book Bargain Bonanza!

Happy BirthdayBirthdays, we all like a nice present right? Well here’s one for you. As Fat Man to Green Man author Ira Rainey is about to turn forty-five, we’ve decided to celebrate forty years since he first believed he was bionic, watching Steve Austin grace our television screens for the first time. The speed, the strength, the delusion.

So as our gift to you, from now until midnight on Friday September 12th, you can buy a paperback copy of Fat Man to Green Man direct from Tangent Books for just £5 – that’s pretty much 50% off RRP. And with free UK P&P that’s definitely a present worth having.

To snap up your copy now simply visit, add the book to your cart and enter the coupon code BIONIC into the box. Happy birthday!

5 Things I Learnt Running The Midnight Express

A hardy group of brave starters

A hardy group of brave starters

Running through the night is a very different experience to taking on an early morning race. Not only do you have to contend with the navigation in the dark, but also the increasing tiredness and desire to sleep.

So with the sole idea of finding out more about what exactly that was like I decided to enter The Green Man Midnight Express – a 44 mile loop of Bristol following the Community Forest Path (in reverse). Like I had anything better to do on a Friday night anyway.

The thing is the race is local to me, I already knew the route fairly well and I wouldn’t have far to clamber home in the morning. But what else did I learn from racing at night?

  1. Fields that look like they are empty probably aren’t. Who knows who or what is hiding in the darkness waiting to chase or even eat you. There is nothing creepier than seeing a herd of eyes coming towards you fast out of the darksome night (unless you’re in a dogging spot). Scream if you like but that might spook them all the more. Remember you’re not in a cheap horror movie. Best option? Keep running.

  2. Despite running all night staying awake is fine until you actually tell yourself that you’re not that tired. That’s when you will in fact notice you really are and somebody is trying to pull your eyelids down. You will at times see things that aren’t really there, just ignore them unless they bite you. They’re probably not real. Best option? Keep running.

  3. People you run past who happen to be out and about in the early hours look at you like you are some kind of lunatic, they may even tell you so. Some will be walking a dog, some on their way to or from work and some could just be shouty drunks. They could of course be correct and it might all be a bit nutty, but best to ignore them. Best option? Keep running.

  4. Seeing the sun come back up in the morning is not a euphoric moment that fuels you with a direct happiness to be alive. This is hippy bullshit. Forget what you’ve read anywhere else (except here). It’ll get light and you’ll barely notice it because you’re too busy trying not to trip over tree roots and fall into a ditch. When the sun comes up the likelihood is you won’t even know what day it is, but you will know you still have to run some more. Best option? Keep running.

  5. Finishing is amazing. Even better still is a hot mug of coffee and a sausage sandwich. Best option? Stop running and relax.

Are You Hip Enough For The Trail?

HippyI find myself in something of a quandary of late. I’m a naturally lazy person and I find shaving a real pain. So much so I feel like I only want to do it once a week if I can get away with it.

The trouble with this is that, whilst the hair on my head seems to have stopped growing, the stuff on my face has definitely taken up the slack. A week of not shaving makes me look like an ageing Cornish fisherman.

This used to be fine in the 90s, even at the turn of the millennium I got away with facial laziness, but the problem nowadays is that beards are hip again. Everybody has one. It’s like men’s faces have gone back in time to the 70s. There are just too many beards out there now, I seriously think we’ve reached overbeard. Hopefully a backlash is going to kick off soon with people setting fire to their beards and shares in Wilkinson Sword rocketing.

My problem is that by being lazy I inadvertently turn myself into an apparent wannabe hipster, and I don’t want to be cool. I so don’t want to look like I’m trying to be hip it drives me to shave more than I want to.

Problem solved you think? Well no, actually not. Because you see, along with a growing number of runners I’m finding that running trails is much more fun than running on the roads. When I go out now I try more than ever to hit the woods if I can. I love jumping over the rocks, skipping the tree roots and picking mud out of my trainers at the end. It’s just such good fun.

But looking in magazines, reading websites and watching Unbreakable: The Western States 100 as I did for the first time a couple of weeks ago it’s clear that the cream of trail runners so often reside just a little in the realm of the hippy. Hair, beard, alternative lifestyle, the full works.

I work in software and watch TV. I don’t eat organic food, don’t live by the mountains and couldn’t grow my hair into a full Jesus even if I wanted to. What hope do I have of reaching true trail greatness?

Timothy Olsen

Take Timothy Olson for example. The guy is a trail running legend. Watching videos of him run with my begrudgingly shaved chin and cropped hair I can’t help but feel so far removed from the world of trail running that he lives in. The dust, the sweat, the beard. I felt distinctly uncool and not even worthy of my off-road shoes. I am trapped in a sweaty bearded paradox.

But then I remembered, this was running and not a fashion contest, that and the fact that I’m a grown man approaching his forty-fifth birthday. If I want to not shave and look like Shaggy I will, whether the cool kids hang with their beard to impress the ladies or not.

Likewise if I want to have a wet shave and make my cheeks resemble a shiny babies ass and then go run through some woods then I will.

I know I’ll never reach the incredible talents of Olson, nor will I ever be able to look like I live in a tent on a commune, but I’m OK with that. I’m just an ordinary guy. I live in a suburban house, work in an office, love processed food and I run wherever I like.

That of course is the beauty of running. It’s just you and your shoes. Enjoy it, whoever you are and relish in your own uniqueness – beard or no beard.