Thursday, 29 November 2012


Palermo Marathon. ( Sunday 18th November )

Palermo is the capital city of Sicily. A hustling bustling city situated on the coast in the North West of Sicily
The buildings are decadent and portray past elegance still apparent through all the rubble, decay and graffiti  Palermo is a city with a lot of character. A place to people watch. A place full of charisma!
The people are friendly, helpful, jovial and pretty  laid back.

We flew from Manchester to Bergamo. ( close to Milan, Italy) and spent a day looking round the beautiful old town quarters. Later that day we flew to Palermo, Sicily. The day before the Marathon we went for a 4 mile run ( Ok it ended up being 6 plus miles ) to loosen our legs off and see a bit of Palermo's seafront.   The weather was 24 degrees A bit different to the 8 degrees in the uk. Shirley was feeling pretty rough after having come down with a cold bug a day or two before flying and with no running since the Hardmoors 60  6 weeks before, Palermo Marathon was going to be tough for her.

The morning of the Marathon came and the streets where full of runners. Alongside the Marathon there was to be  a half marathon. The marathon route was two laps of the half marathon route   The half marathon runners had red writing on their race numbers while the marathon runners had black numbers. As the only Brit Male I was wearing the flag for the uk with a union jack buff and Odlo socks with a union jack logo on the hem of the socks with A pair of brand new brooks pure flow cadence shoes ( promotes a forefoot/mid foot land ) going on their  first outing. I was all set to go.

For the first 10 miles I ran with Shirley who was really suffering with her breathing (due to the bug she had) but was pushing on regardless proving how tough she was! I decided to press on and push for 4 hours.
Passing the race start on lap 2 I noticed a lot of people had stopped ( majority of runners where Half Marathon runners) The first half of the 13 mile lap took the marathon into the outskirts of Palermo, while the second half of the lap went back into the city and through the main streets of Palermo passing by beautiful buildings full of history and character. A few miles into the second lap I noticed at points there wasn't a person in site, either runner or spectator, crazy for a Capital City Marathon. Cars where being stopped by the Police to keep the streets safe to run on, and the Drivers didn't appreciate this, holding their hands down on their car horns (at the time I thought this was in support of the runners, I now know  much differently now.)

Passing by the race start the music had stopped and there was not a spectator in sight. Further on the aid tables which had been handing out water had gone!!  Sicilians where on the streets but not taking a blind bit of notice of the runners.

 I enjoyed running down the main streets window shopping. With 1km to go I set off on a pretty fast pace and with 200 metres to go turned it into a sprint. I could hear someone right behind me so I decided to not let them pass and pushed as hard as I could, but the faster I got the faster the pitter patter I could hear behind me was.

I crossed the finish line and looked behind me, there was no one there, it had been my shoes making the noise :0))  I looked around for my Medal, this turned into quite a mission, eventually  I was handed one.
Not one person near the finish line had clapped me or said well done. I looked over to where a tent which had been providing massages earlier was. It had gone!!!

I set off to rack another 2 miles in (28.4 in total) by running up the Marathon Course to Shirley and back to the finish with her. She had suffered with her bug but was still pushing on. For 10 miles of the course she hadn't had a drink because they had removed all the water stations!!!!

Looking back, they were purely catering for the half marathon. After the Half Marathoners had finished they had stopped the music and started to take aid stations down while runners where still out on the course with miles to go.  Crazy!! Local Sicilians had no interest in the Marathon and the traffic hated us being there. The City itself is beautiful so worth running the marathon as a form of sightseeing though!

 I finished in 3hrs 58 mins in 131st place.

The Brooks Cadence where brilliant and the Rocktape on my knees did its job!

We spent a few more days in Palermo before flying to Milan. We had two nights in Milan.
Italy and Sicily are beautiful and by far the best way to go there is with someone you truly love.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Ultra 39 - 43

Ultra 39 Ennerdale Trail Ultra

Ultra 39 was supposed to be the Round Rotherham and the Ennerdale Ultra would have been number 40.
I had stopped with Dave Cremmins at the Premier Inn a couple of miles away from the start of the Round Rotherham 50.
First thing Sat morning we arrived at registration and caught up with Garry Scott and Mark Dalton who we would be travelling to the Lakes after the Round Rotherham, I had a great time catching up with Sharon Gaytor, John Vernon, Martin Dietrich to name a few before the race started. Alas Rotherham wasn’t to be. Minutes into the run I was in a lot of pain with my knees and my legs didn’t seem to have any speed in them, after 20 miles of pain and struggling on I asked Dave to head off without me. I pulled out at the next checkpoint after about 25 miles, 2 miles off an Ultra but I had had enough. I was given a lift back to the start and spent awhile chatting to Ian Symington and Dan Shrimpton plus others. Later on I caught up with Sarah Booth, Andy Norman, Dan Aldus, Charlotte Charmain and Nic Ham (I apologise if I have missed anyone) After a lengthily chat to Si Berry The gang (Mark Dalton, Garry Scott, Dave (The Creminator) Cremmins and myself ) set off to Buttermere Youth Hostel via a chippie in Ripon. Buttermere Youth Hostel is beautiful and we had a 4 person room for less then £10 each. The next day I toed the start line with a knee support on courtesy of Mark Dalton and wearing a pair of inov-8 x-talons courtesy of Rorie at Runfree. My aim was to concentrate on landing midfoot to prevent any overpronation which may aggravate the knees. The course for us was 2 loops of the Ennerdale valley, each loop was about 16 miles, while there where other runners running 1 lap and a 10k option was also available. The event was organised by High Terrain Events and was sponsored by Salomon and 9 bars (I love 9 bars, Gluten free, high in omega 3, healthy fats and a massive 8grams of Protein, plus they taste pretty good as well! )
The weather was perfect, chilly but the sun was out reflecting the mountains in Ennerdale Water. The scenery was just beautiful. I ran with Garry and Dave for the first lap, the second lap I dropped back quite a bit and ran / walked to the middle way checkpoint and then with a reasonable amount of decent I picked up a good pace. In the last 5 miles I came back alive and passed 7 runners finishing with a sprint. My knees had given some pain throughout the 30 odd miles but no way as bad as the day before at the Round Rotherham. The combo of X-Talons and a support bandage seemed to help. I had also given my new pack ‘The North Face Enduro 13’its first proper outing and it had passed with flying colours. I finished the 32 mile course in 6hrs 20 mins.
We left Ennerdale and headed to Keswick and yes you guessed it! The chippy. ;0))

                                                                      Garry Scott

L-R Mark Dalton, David Cremmins, Me, Garry Scott

Ultra 40 Tadcaster 28

Ultra 40 was a 28 mile run around my local area, Tadcaster--Boston Spa-Wetherby-Bramhan etc
My run was racked with pain. Knee pain, hips and quads too where screaming out in agony. A tough 28 miles. (Ran in Salomon Speedcross)

Ultra 41 Kilburn Kanter ( plus extra miles)

Ultra 41 was the 24 mile LDWA Kilburn Kanter, an event which as you can guess starts at Kilburn in North Yorkshire. Very close to the White Horse on Sutton Bank. The village is beautiful and the route was too. I had a little chat with Sharon Gaytor before the start and later ran with Andy Knowles (A great way to catch up with a good mate) The event took me on several paths around the North York moors I hadn’t been on before so was a big plus. No knee pains.!
A pain free run ;0) (Ran in Inov-8 x talons)

                                                                   Andy Knowles

Ultra 42 Hardmoors 55 (recce 28)

Ultra 42 was 28 miles spent on the Hardmoors 55 2013 route (Reverse 2012 route) with Shirley crewing. A great day out with some stunning views. (Ran in Inov-8 x talons)

Roseberry Topping

View over to the coast from Guisborough Woods

Ultra 43 Osmotherley Trail Marathon 30

Ultra 43 was ran with Garry Scott and what a good day with great company. Initialy the run was to recce the Osmotherley Trail Marathon Route (Hardmoors 26.2) The course was measured at 30 miles (gps) The weather was beautiful and we chatted the whole way round, no knee pain and felt as fresh as daisy
(Ran in Inov-8 x talons)