Archives for March 2015

Countdown to THE ONER!

The Oner 2014

In just under two weeks, at precisely noon, I shall be dressed in my harlequin outfit and leaving a small carpark on the outskirts of Charmouth to run over 80 miles along the coastal path to Studland as I start the infamous Oner. You can find the official Brutal Events website for the event here.

This is a tough, extremely hilly, trail run with rigid cutoffs that absolutely owned me last year. My training was pretty good and I thought I was ready, but lack of preparedness for inclement weather was my downfall. You can see my full write-up of the occasion here.

Last year I was raising money for the Plymouth District Leukaemia fund and I was dressed as superman. This year I am raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity and, after learning the hard way why it is a bad idea to run an ultramarathon in a one piece lycra suite with only a zip up the back, am running in my two piece harlequin outfit (three piece if you count the headgear, 5 if you include the bells 😀 )

You can sponsor me here should you so wish:

The reason for the charity change was because we have raised a lot of money for the PDLF over the last few years and we have decided to shift focus to another charity this year. This change was massively driven by my Dad’s death in January this year from a Glioblastoma Multiforme brain tumour. This hit my family really hard and we were shocked when we learnt how poor the survival rates are for brain tumours.

The Oner itself is an amazing race, being well organised, friendly and on a truly spectacular route. The whole distance has to be completed in 24 hours and it does involve running through the night. At another time of the year the Oner is presented in under the guise of a 3 day stage race if you want to run a marathon a day for three days instead of doing them all at once. That sounded far too time consuming, so the Oner became my nemesis. Hopefully to be conquered this year.


Last year’s preparation was pretty good. It was mixed in with the beginnings of my training for Ironman Wales, so included quite a lot of swimming and cycling on top of the running. This year, on paper at least, my ultra marathon training has been a lot more specific and I am a fitter and better runner than I have ever been. Unfortunately so far this has not been born out in any of my early season races. So far I have missed three races due to bugs and I failed to finish my first ultra of the year, the 50 mile Thames Trot, due to a lack of specificity training for such a flat race. You can read my report from the Thames Trot here and my Ironman Wales 2014 write-up here. IM Wales was a success for me, and one of the best racing experiences of my life, so it is worth a read if you like that sort of thing.

Before any of you rush off thinking that my training is hammering my immune system, slow down as that simply isn’t true. My lovely wife has a very compromised immune system due to her stem cell transplant last year, and we have two children in primary school. That, combined with the fact that this winter has been one of the worst for flus and colds for many years, means I have done pretty well coming through it with just one bout of flu and a couple of minor colds. It’s just that their timing has happened to coincide with my racing plan for January to March.

Since January I have managed several 80+ mile training weeks, including one 8 day period where I covered 109 miles, almost exclusively on trails, and I have been watching my fitness steadily increase as the weeks have rolled by. My appetite has gone up proportionally, as has our weekly food bill!

Some of you will now that I have had knee issues over the past couple of years, which were a result of mostly what I was doing when I wasn’t running plus a fair amount of poor form while running. My visit to Jonathan Bell (orthopaedic surgeon) and Claire Robertson (Physio specialising in patella femoral pain) at the Wimbledon Clinics in London was critical in getting me back on track. I have then had the help of my local sports therapist, Kelsie Peters, to keep me on the straight and narrow. Kelsie’s services have been key in keeping my muscles going through the long training weeks. I am also on extremely close terms with my foam roller!

Come race day I will be fitter than I have ever been. I have the fitness, I have the kit, I have the nutrition and hydration sorted. Now I just need a little bit of luck to help me get to the start line injury free, healthy and ready to rock. The weather on the day means little to me as it is what it is. I am prepared.

Success on an ultra, particularly one with such tight time limits is never a foregone conclusion, so now wish me luck and please do go and donate a pound or two at

A bit about Honey Stinger Waffles

You wont like them, so you’d better send yours to me. Don’t worry I’ll put them to good use and they don’t taste at all delicious….

Honey Stingers

You may gather that I like these quite a lot. They taste great, are organic and are also great energy food. If you ever find me collapsed at the side of an ultra marathon or cycle sportive with unfocused eyes, a distended belly and an empty backpack then it’s because I had to keep having just one more!

In the words of the manufacturer:

A thin layer of honey infused with natural strawberry flavor and sandwiched between two thin waffles. The subtle fruit taste of strawberry and honey will satisfy your taste buds and keep you going as an afternoon snack, during your favorite activity or go great with your cup of coffee or tea. Certified USDA organic.

Honey Stinger Waffles are almost always in my back pocket while running and cycling and these days I tend to use them instead of energy gels. They always seem to go down nicely, without the acid reflux that can follow a gel, and I haven’t yet got myself into such an exhausted state that a Honey Stinger wasn’t tempting. Those of you that know me will appreciate that it isn’t for a want of trying.

I do have a small criticism though and that is for the packaging. The snug foil wrappers are a little too tricky to get open. I can’t manage it on a bike without ending up in a hedge, so I unwrap them before riding and pop them into individual food bags. While running the packaging isn’t too bad unless you have freezing cold fingers or are 30 miles or more into an ultra marathon and are too weak and pathetic to be able to rip them open. 😉

Anyway, I got mine from if you fancy giving them a try for yourself. I would try one of the other flavours, but the strawberry waffles are just too good and somehow they always end up in my basket first 🙂