PictureHatfield McCoy 2011
Hi all. I need your help to help Alex who has been a great "driver" of fitness and health in his home town.

I met Alex in 2011 in the Hatfield McCoy marathon in West Virginia. He warmly welcomed me at the end and since then, I have watched his running progress from Strength to Strength thru to his health campaigns in his area to inspiring others to get fit.

PictureAfter a year of training, joy! 1:37 1/2 mara PR
Right now he wants the opportunity to get on the front cover for Runner's World and thus be a statement for a community that has struggled with obesity, diabetes and heart disorders.

You see Alex lives in West Virgnia which has a high prevalence of obesity and is in fact the fourth obese state in the US. West Virginia also has the second highest rate of physical inactivity at 31% of the adult population. (http://www.fasinfat.org/states/wv/)

Up until 2008, Alex was part of that statistic and looked likely to follow in his parents' health footsteps: heart problems and type II diabetes.

PicturePre-2008
In 2008 an event happened that would "kick him hard in the head". Alex saw himself! A person with low esteem, overweight and on a road to health destruction. This was a turning point: either continue along his self destruction or to proactively change his ways. In 2008, Alex attempted to run a mile. It started with what seemed a long 1 mile walk. But Alex was determined to make that change. It would take Alex 3 months when he could run his first mile without stopping. And if he could now run a mile, he would go for 2 miles and when he could run 2, he entered a monthly 5K race.


PictureEncouraging others achieve a fitness regime
In 2010, Alex completed his first marathon in an excellent time of 4:16. In May 2013, Alex ran his first sub 4 marathon and in 2013 has run his fastest time of 3:49 in the Flying Pig Marathon.

With being fitter, Alex found a new confidence and wanted to be able to encourage others to get out of the spiralling circle of obesity and poor self image.

In 2012, the number of adults with obesity in West Virginia increased to 33.8% up from 27.7% in 2003. With the rising trend, Alex joined Mingo Coalition Diabetes to encourage his local community into health and fitness as well as became involved in volunteering and supporting fitness events. You will see him as a volunteer or as a Race Director in a number of running events in the Williamson area.

So why should you support him:

Because he turned his health life around, discovered a running community that has supported him and now helps others change their "health life" so they can also be rewarded with life changes. After all it isn't just about the money you make, nor
is it how long you live, it is about the positive change and difference you can make. Alex has helped so many others to make
that life change.

So am asking you to help him be awarded the Runner's World Cover for December by simply voting for him using your facebook or twitter account. You can vote for him at the following URL:  http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/548/

Please vote for him daily until 15th August.

Let's encourage a community to be proud of its member and to inspire them to take the journey to health and fitness.
 
 
Picture
Celebrating the Tour De France. Lots of painted bikes for sale! Though think someone didn't read the brief about them being only yellow!
Picture08:30 RD Steph briefing the walkers
Type of Race/Course: Trail with some steep hills (3000 ft of ascents) and lots of excellent points of interest. Route description provided.
Location: Dacre Banks Including parts of the Ripon Rowel Trail, and passing through the Valley of Seven Bridges and Brimham Rocks
CPs: Couple of self CPs (clip yr own card) + regular CPs @ every 3-5 miles. Water, squash + snacks + cake and there is a lunch stop as featured in many LDWA events.
Weather: @24-26 degs C; very sunny; exposed.
Start Time: 08:15 for the runners; 08:30 for walkers/slow runners
Finish: Ends at Dacre Banks (loop trail)
Post Runner Recovery: Certificate + badge + a brilliant buffet.
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres of squash + 3 breakfast bars + 2 cheese rolls/2 hot cross buns + cocktail sausages

Website: http://www.ldwa.org.uk/NorthYorkshire

Picture
Top Photo: At the top of a hill (starts with a steep hill); Bottom Photos: The enchanted Valley of 7 Bridges Deer Park. The rivers were dry
The Difference Between a Northern and a Southern Event
Up Norf, people are more likely to:
1. Talk to you (even if you don't drag a tyre around with you)
2. Look out for you and help you
3. Be more generous
4. Have a general community spirit

In the South, commuting distance to London, I think we can be more paranoid, with a tendency to be quite self centered!!!  Or perhaps as I tend to work in London, I see the dog eat dog world. I feel the aggressive emotions of commuters trying to cram into trains, and cars that will cut you up and run you down. Its bad to have eye contact with anyone and you will see the same people on the platform that will never talk to you unless the train is late or an accident has happened. In rush hour commuter traffic, I have watched commuters tut and push aside an older looking gentleman who was perplexed about how to use his ticket to get through the station's barriers. I assume if they had helped him, they would been a couple of seconds late to stand in the queue on a crowded platform.

This and the last event, have both been in Yorkshire and has certainly been a breath of fresh air physically and mentally.

Implied Companions
The day started slightly cool and I attempted to stay ahead of the walkers. However the route starts with a hill and, for obvious reasons, I slow down on hills and then speed up on the down hills over taking many people. Initially two guys (Andy and Graham) became my "implied" buddies as we continually overtook each other and dished out banter to amuse ourselves. They would confirm the route I was taking, though by CP3 I could no longer keep up with them. However I was never alone with walkers still behind me overtaking me on yet another uphill slope.
Picture
Approach to Studley Park church and side view of church with Obelisk to the left of the church.
Acts of Kindness
The sun shone brightly, and the day certainly grew warmer. Two women (Fiona and Marion) passed me on the approach to the church, however the heat was taking its toll, so they decided to take a respite in the shade of a tree outside the metal gates of the church entrance. Fiona on hearing Reu nearing and seeing me closing back in, walked back 10 metres to open and hold the gate open for me. You might be reading this thinking that is no big deal....but NO-ONE has ever gone backwards to help me.

Embarrassed, I thanked Fiona and checked that her buddy Marion was well. Her reddened, anguished face was a concern and so ensured they had electrolytes and water. They ushered me to keep going, assuring me they were fine. There is only so much mothering one can do, before it becomes overbearing. I continued on and they followed soon after, though I lost them on the downhill at Fountains Abbey. They became another pair of "implied" companions who I would meet again in the last 5 miles.
PictureThe clasp broke! A spare karabiner was used to hook on to some string
As I jollied along a tarmac road, my load suddenly lightened. I looked behind and Reu was waving goodbye. Another first in 45 marathons, the wire hook that I had created for Reu had snapped.  The beating Reu had taken 2 weeks ago at Osmotherly might have caused lots of contortion on the wire weakening it until now broke!

A passing participant stopped for me as I figured out what I should do. Thanking him, I ushered him on. A family (Peter, Sue, Sammy) also stopped and would not be ushered on. They stayed to ensure that Reu was suitably fixed. Fortunately, I carried a spare karabiner and thus hooked my load bearing rope onto some of the string I used to secure bucket onto Reu.

I became confused and told them I was doing my 44th marathon, and thereafter I was sure I was on my 44th (at the end Grahame and Fiona would tell me I was on my 45th). They became my third set of implied buddies, looking out for me whenever they saw me. I left them on a downhill, though I would see them again in the last 5 miles with Fiona and Marion.

Reu was no longer dragging well. The new position of the rope caused her to bounce and topple on any slightly rocky terrain or grassy fields and again had to carry her even on the downhill slopes. She was only happy on tarmac or a gritty path.

PictureCP4: Lunch stop + ice cream
Lunch Stop
CP4 was a fantastic stop. Food galore and with the hot weather there was an ice cream stand! With it being so hot, couldn't eat any of the wraps, cake or snacks on offer, but the ice cream was like food from the heavens.

The great thing about the ldwa events is that they are low cost (less than £10), food at every CP and there's always the banquet at the end. They provide certificates and some give cloth badges, at others you buy the badge. I prefer this rather than the "technical" t-shirt and "bling" other marathons provide. However there is an orienteering element to the events, and you are expected to find your way with a map and/or route description.

PictureStepping stones for Reu to jump over
Guiding Lights
After grabbing an ice-cream, I headed back out onto the trail, which was another steep hill.  Having plodded half way up, I heard some recognisable voices behind me: Grahame and Andy! Another merry short banter and then they were gone, disappearing over a stile or through another kissing gate as the hill continued to rise. But at the top, is a downhill which meant I traveled faster even though again Reu would bounce and had to carry her down. I caught up with them again and thankfully so, as I don't think I would have ever found the stepping stones which was on a switch back route.

They also ensured I found my way through a wooded area where paths split off into different directions. Although they were ahead of me, they were just holding back so I would see them. Nonetheless, I could not keep up with them. Reu was getting caught on protruding roots and rocks and had to carry her through the woods, anyhow the route was soon clear on the direction I should take.

Picture
The magnificent Brimham Rocks
There were still participants overtaking me and would also aid me to find the Brimham Rocks, boulders balancing on top of each other. I will have to come back here in the future to clamber and sit on the top. My mind reflected, and with my frost bitten finger with now 80% feeling, I believe am ready to get back into rock climbing.

CP6 was just inside the park and everyone seemed to take a sit down break by the rocks. I allowed myself a chance to refill my bottle before heading back onto the trail. As I headed onto the wrong track, another participant called out to me and corrected me. Eventually the family, Fiona and Marion caught up with me in the final miles. They also corrected me as I was obviously no longer fully comprehending the route description.
Picture
I ran the final mile with the family/Marion/Fiona cheering me on. I arrived 2 minutes before my last companions and to a hall full of people applauding my efforts. Yes there was a hall full of people! And a gammon feast at the end of the hall! With being so hot, the only thing I could eat was 2 bowls of ice-cream and jelly. (By the end I had eaten 2 breakfast bars, 1 cheese bun and drunken 3 litres of squash)

Thank you to all the guiding lights who helped ensure I navigated the route correctly, the organisers who put on a brilliant event (the same ones who put on the most excellent Smugglers Trod event), and all those who encouraged, kept gates open for me and donated funds.

Raised
£40 on the day for EarthWatch.

Though this is Rock and Rowel, it has a real soul. Really enjoyed this event :)

Next event is back to Salisbury.

 
 
Type of Race/Course: Trail with lots of steep hills in North Yorks. Made the "Hill of Despair" in the Cheltenham marathon (previous blog entry) seem a minor inconvenience! Worth ascending/climbing every mountain for the marvelous English countryside scenery .

The written route description from the site needs to be complimented with a map and some orienteering will be required (see image below)
On the left are the written instructions from the website. I decided to reformat to something I could more easily digest. After all we always have a choice as to how we want to read our situations.

Location: Osmotherly village, North Yorks national park
CPs: There are self CPs (clip yr own card + token into bucket) + regular CPs @ every 3-5 miles. Water, squash + snacks
Weather: @24 degs C; very sunny; very exposed.
Start Time: 09:00 for all runners
Finish: Ends at Osmotherly village
Post Runner Recovery: Certificate + badge + plenty of village pubs to down a pint or three.
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres of salty squash + 3 breakfast bars + 2 jam sandwiches + 2 sausages
Mandatory gear: Map, compass, waterproof trousers/jacket

Website: http://osmotherleyphoenix.wikidot.com/
PictureWith Linda (missing Gerry) - end of the event
TG: Dear Organisers, my tyre and I wish to join your marathon. We know not what we are getting ourselves into, but as this is the land for adventure, please can you entertain my tyre desire.

Organisers:
Hi TG – we think you are MAD! This qualifies you and your Tyre for a place in the Phoenix – no extra charge for the tyre!

...and like the merry dwarves..... "hi ho hi ho it's off to research I go...."


 

PictureThe Cleveland Way. Somewhere in the middle it says Cleveland Hills!
Osmotherley is a village, on the outskirts of the glorious North Yorks national park and the start of this crazy marathon. According to local folklore (well a chappy in the local museum) there was a Viking who presided over the area way before I was born. His name was Asmund or Osmund as the Saxons would say.  One day his mother had gone out and never returned. Her son Osmund became anxious  and went out to search for her. Sadly he found her dying in the snow. Unable to carry her back, he lay down in the snow and died next to her. Thus the place was called Osmund's Mother Lies, hence Osmotherley.

PictureKiwi Alert! Discovering Captain Cook's Schoolroom Museum in Great Ayton
This area is essential history for all the Aussies and Kiwis out there. This is the motherland, the start of where the New World would be mapped out by Captain Cook. So you can do a marathon, stay in some lovely B&Bs or campsites and explore the life of Captain Cook. There are 3 Captain Cook museums, one is free :). Of course, it would be rude not to visit a number of village pubs in this "ancient world" as well as to stuff yourself with fish and chips.

PictureNew Forest runners and the lovely Jeremy
We stayed in a B&B about 5 miles away from Osmotherley called the Swan House. This is an excellent B&B run by Christine and John who cannot do enough for you. Recommended to stay there if you are late booking into the village or cannot get in early enough to the camp site (gates close at 9pm).

Here we met the lovely Jeremy who needed a ride over to the village. Uncle would drop us at the village and be checking into the local Parkrun at Ripon.

Jeremy would accompany me for the first couple of miles, before leaving me in his trail of dust along an ascent up a steep hill.

Picture
Lots of hills, disappearing people and Wain Stones on the right
About 6-7 miles in, I lost everyone. I was pretty sure people were following me, but when I looked back there was a deserted trail. In the route description it read: "For the purist, keep ahead and climb Cringle Moor to view finder (GR534034) ...."

Later the route description referred to an alternate route:
"For those who prefer speed to the views, it is possible to contour round Cringle Moor to the North..."

Of course I am a purist, and was pretty sure there would be more purist. I mean what's a hill after having ascended 3 steep hills? A crow circled above and squawked out, "hills roll along this route".
In my head I heard Mohammed Ali say:

"If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain"

So Tyregirl must go up every mountain! The crow squawked "fool, fool" then drifted off over the moors.

I looked up and cried out: "Hills are fun, especially going down!"

...Not these ones! Most of them I had to carry Reu up due to kinks, ruts and rock protrusions along the route. Many of them I could not simply run down due to those same tyre grabbing rocks descending  the hill. And then there were the Wain Stones - a bunch of large boulders thrown up on the top of a hill. Tourist sat out on the canter levers admiring the views below. We had to climb it....as in there was a "high" step and a narrow passage meant I had to lob Reu onto a boulder, which would enable me to step up and shimmy through. Perhaps there was an easier route....oh yes that's where everyone disappeared to.
Picture
So I was on my own, no one behind and obviously those who were in front had long disappeared into the horizon.

I had blindly followed the Cleveland Way, and 10 miles in, the signage was not altogether clear as the sun baked upon my head. Thankfully, the map reassured me I was going along the correct route, warning me of more hills along the way......great. My initial enthusiasm of hills had waned away. Without being able to hurl myself down a hill, Reu was a drag (sorry Reu), often being tipped over and bouncing on bucket instead. This caused the tension in the rope to change and fray and would soon become an issue as further beatings upon bucket meant the rope would snap and threaten to let bucket loose. Time would have to be spent stopping to do bucket checks, attempting to keep the rest of the thinning rope intact.

As we headed off the Cleveland Way, I would take a wrong path searching for a hidden gate that headed towards Bilsdale Hall. I should have remembered the song by Freddy and the Dreamers in Oliver and the OverWorld "Oh you can't go wrong if you just go right 'cos rights the proper way." Here is a clip of a childhood memory that my brothers and I used to sing along to in the car.

PictureThe smile is due to the applauding village finish
After a 20 minute delay, whilst retracing my steps, I was fortunate to see a group climb down behind a small mound to the gate towards Bilsdale Hall, and hence would help me find the next CP, Chop's Car Park in Seave Green.

Using the map to navigate the next part of the route, we ascended another steep hill. A passerby pitied me as I must have looked a tormented soul.

I might have felt lost momentarily, I meant have regretted going the hilly route, but the finish was fantastic. Made it within 10 hours to a heros welcome by the entire village and participants clapping every last person over the end line.

After 9 hours and 47 minutes playing with hills and open landscapes, my mind had to catch up, suddenly back in civility, soaking in images of kids playing in the street, people taking in laundry, pubs over flowing from walkers and participants, and people happy as the rain had held back and the sun had smiled throughout.

It was tough out there; apparently a number of people had to be pulled off the course with sunstroke!  I sat in a pile in front of the end desk. My legs had made it, my arms and back had a tyre work out from lifting and carrying 10 kilos, and I was happy I had climbed every mountain. The positive reception at the end made the event worth doing.

So I leave you with another oldie song. The original on the left or on the right if you want to hear a more modern take.

Thank you to the donations (6.50 raised) + photos from Jeremy.
 
 
PictureRD takes Reu for a run. Perhaps "tyre pulling" should be an official category
Type of Race/Course: Trail with a "Hill of Despair" (in photo background) that has to be done twice, 3 styles to leap over plus a number of kissing gates. Excellent views over the Cotswolds
Location: Cheltenham Race Course
CPs: @ every 2-3 miles. Water + snack
Weather: @24 degs C; very sunny
Start Time: 08:00 for marathon runners
Finish: Ends at Cheltenham Race Course
Post Runner Recovery: Small snack bag + water
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres of salty squash + 3 breakfast bars + 2 marmite/honey sandwiches

Website: http://www.cheltenhamcircularchallenge.org.uk/

TG: Dear Race Organisers, Please may I pull a tyre on your course. I promise to carry my tyre when the paths are narrow and could potentially damage flora & fauna, impede a runner, as well as could potentially damage farmers crops

Race Organisers: Dear TG,
you need to be fully aware that the course is predominantly off-road, following public footpaths, crossing stiles and kissing gates, over farm land, and passing through a registered AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty) and SSSI (site of special scientific interest). You may find that there are long stretches where you would need to carry the tyre rather than pull it. You also need to be aware that this is a fairly tough course with some significant climbs and rough tracks.

TG: Sounds like an excellent challenge for the day after the longest day of the year.
What could be worst than Rhonda Rollercoaster?
Picture2 lap marathon course
The route takes you through the race course on a gradual rise through some SSSI, and then there is this hill. We (Chamey, Reu and I) looked up this hill....South Downs marathon's "hill of dread" flashed back in my mind. They call this Agg's hill.....and that's what everyone would have to do to get up it....."agg agg argh agg".....Follow the rhyme with "agg agg argh" steps and that hill will  slowly be mastered.

Agg agg argh step, Chamey's head was down.....Agg agg argh step, TG's head was down....Aggie aggie aggie, Reu says keep on going!!!

Yeah - fine for a 10kg lump of rubber!


PictureSpots of purple to colour the grassy landscape
The top of the grassy slope, marks the beginning of the tarmac climb which tapers off for about 1/2 a mile to a gentler climb, entering a clay, rocky grooved path. the actual top is in an AONB where butterflies and dragon flies abound and your eyes can feast on a panoramic view of the Cotswold and the race course.

After that, the challenge turns into a slope teaser,. The route meanders down and then meanders up again, occurring several times to perplexing this tyre runner's hope of running down a gradual slope to the bottom.

Another gradual climb and the trail opens up into a wide field and later skirts around a golf course.....yeah yeah yeah bucket would be good target practice....."Bucket in one eh golfers...."

A sharp right angle turn marks a short steep descent followed by a gradual gnarly path down to the road and back towards the race course to repeat the route again.

In this marathon, I am learning to breathe through my nose! This reduces phlegm and the need to drink as much. Also teaching myself to allow my foot to relax onto the ground to spread the impact over my entire forefoot. I noticed I have been slightly pulling the toes back, causing the fore foot to arch on impact. Long term this becomes an "oucher" and should be avoided!

Thank you to the fantastic welcome and cheers from all the volunteers/organisation, the encouragement from fellow runners as well as the donations from you all that will go to EarthWatch......and runners/walkers, let's make next year a litter free course.  Leave all rubbish at checkpoints and BYOB - Bring Your Own Bottle to refill at checkpoints :-)

All is all this is a challenge, so do not expect a PB. Aim only to beat the person in front of you :-)
 
 
St Joseph International, Singapore used Hazel (the pledge tyre) to promote Earth Day on 22 April 2014. Students/teachers competed to see how fast they could pull the tyre over 25 metres.

This was a short distance, and a good thing too. Hazel was roughed about as the students and teachers examined the effort to creating a sustainable future.

1. One person can move sustainability easily by themselves but as time goes by might find motivation to be an issue
2. Sometimes one person in a team has to do more than the other in order to move sustainability along. This can occur in teams where one person finds him/herself doing the work for all the others! It will become a struggle for the person who becomes the donkey!
3. Trying to be sustainable can have all types of obstacles, but if we work as a team we can move mountains!
Note: The pictures were compiled in YouTube's video editor. So the video ends a little abruptly. Better to create these types of videos in PowerPoint or Movie Maker! Will allow you to add introductions and endings for a more complete video.

Pictures were provided by Margaretha from SJI. (thank you)
 
 
Picture
Garden Spot Village's pledge tyre guardian Scott, has found Tyrone (the pledge tyre) a prominent seat to exchange ideas on sustainability and how to reduce trash within the village.

 
 
PictureLevitation at Stonehenge. Reu was keeping grounded!
Type of Race/Course: A couple of big hills and then undulating on hard gravel track....lovely for a tyre. Easy to follow signs and mile markers.
Location: Avebury to Stonehenge
CPs: @ every 2-3 miles. Water available. Second CP and 11 mile CP had food that you could purchase.
Weather: @15 degs C; mostly sunny
Start Time: 10:30 for runners; Earlier for walkers
Finish: Ends at a car park a mile away from Stonehenge
Post Runner Recovery: Small snack bag
Water + supplies carried: 2.5 litres + 3 breakfast bars + 2 marmite/honey sandwiches
Extras: Free entry into Stonehenge (@ 13.90 GBP)

Recommend this marathon and doing some pre-reading beforehand
to really appreciate the area.

Website: http://www.wiltshirewildlife.org/sarsen-trail

Picture
Exploring the South West of England
Tyre Differences
Last week the South Downs marathon, had amazing sea cliff views, rolling hills and dales, panoramic checkerboard views of rape seed fields; broccoli and other green veg. But the hills were long, the hills were steep and Red was certainly giving me a hard time by sucking in her grooves and tumbling down hill. As a BMW tyre she believes this is all beneath her and she shouldn't be dragged through muck and mud. I had to repaint her when I was painting Reu. She got her wish to be Red and now she's got her wish to be put to bed. Oh well she'll make a nice plant pot or something ;-)

The Neolithic marathon was easy in comparison. Reu was a delight to pull up hill and glided down hill (as all good tyres should), but let's not get ahead of myself.
Awl Right Me Lovers
Yes we are in the heart of Wiltshire. It is an area that is still intertwined with ancient history, with Stonehenge standing tall amongst a network of roads (thankfully there have been some changes), Chalk horses and giants etched into the ground, ancient burial grounds and vwoodhenge (a new discovery for me)!

There's a kind of mystical air in Wiltshire, with tales of Dragons, Druids, Witches and King Arthur's last battle on Salisbury Plain.....and then there are those mysterious crop circles. But then after all we are surrounded by dead people (West Kennett and Silbury Hill)

The area seems to buzz with energy. This is my third marathon in Wiltshire
- Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1
- Ridgeway 40

....and I am still enthralled by the area. Entering Avebury, I could hear Enya singing out her rich celtic melodies.

The Event
This event caters for walkers, runners, and bikers. Walkers can start at any time, runners have to start at 10:30. I decided to become a wunner (walking runner) as this would allow me to start the event earlier than the runners.
I started at 08:05.
Picture
....obviously Tyre Pullers are not dangerous
Reu and I were having a blast, talking and passing walkers. Yes we were passing walkers! I was warned by several walkers about the "boring stretch". However, there is only one road stretch towards Redhorn, that is a little disconcerting. It is a narrow road with coaches carrying walkers chundering up the hill to the 11 mile marker to start the 15 mile walk. All along this stretch of road (and other roads) there were warnings about dangerous walkers/runners. The coaches were far more scarey as they rumbled by you.

From Redhorn there were more warnings. We were entering Salisbury Plain and on that day there were military exercises going on. Reu wanted to play chicken. I played the chicken and pulled her back onto the gravelly road.

Runners Coming
The lead runner came through whilst we passed mile 14. From there on, we were running with runners. Normally we are running with walkers or behind walkers, but for some reason, either the walkers were slow today, or the Wiltshire air was in me legs.

Armoured vehicles entertained the "boring stretch" along with a couple of Chinooks flying over head. I enjoyed the boring stretch far more than I think I should have.
Picture
"Just a girl" at Woodhenge (taken later)
Picture
Driving towards Avebury Village
Picture
Start point is in Avebury village.
A "dangerous" marathon!

The pre-pack information made me a little nervous with warnings of Lyme Disease in the area. After all Bart Yasso nearly died of Lyme disease. However ticks can be pulled off......my memory drifts to a trip in Scotland where we were all infected with ticks after camping in a forest. We discovered ticks on our bodies as we dropped off a friend at his mother's. His mother gave us dettol to wash ourselves down! We spent hours de-ticking each other!!!

The route itself starts in Avebury village (well worth wandering around to hug a henge or just have clotted cream scones and tea). Am not the most alert in the morning so missed a sign and did a 1/4 mile before meeting someone else who "got lost".  We back tracked and found the "missing sign" to head up onto a long hill that merges onto the Ridgeway. Once up on the ridgeway the eyes feast on a panoramic  views of hills, dales, farms and far away ancient villages.

Thereafter you head back into another village. If you've timed it right, the jubilant chorus of bells from the local church will welcome you in and then the waft of BBQ will reel you into CP2. If you have time you can head to the local library to read a book or two.
Picture
Other side of CP2, Reu wanted to be read a motorist manual
Runners over took me telling me I was hard core...."hard as nails"!

Gosh I'd always thought I was just a bit of a girl. However I've been wearing pink more often so I'm can't be mistaken for a bloke (as I usually am when I go to a counter of some sort, like an airline counter...."hello sir where are you going?....")
The Finale
The runners' route goes an extra length that both myself and another walker took. Well I was a wunner and he was a fast walker! Last check point, met the James' family with 4 young kids who had woken up early to do 15 miles (age range about 7 to 12). I was so impressed. I do not believe at that age I would have wanted to complete 15 miles! But here they were, all excited and full of beans on the last 5 miles. Kudos to them. As we neared Stonehenge, and more mounds of ancient dead people, young Amy (12) ran the last couple of miles to ensure I ran to the end. At mile 22 I had run out of water and did not want to bother to dig out my final bottle from my back pack. I thought I could make it to the end. After all it was only 4 more miles in glorious sunlight.

Somewhere on the last mile I lost it, feeling dehydrated and a little zapped.  I could no longer push myself along and had to stop to find my last water bottle. I thought I'd walk in, but Amy cajoled me along to run the last couple of hundred metres with her (thanks Amy).

Completed at 15:26 - making that 7:21 completion time. A big difference from last week's time of 10:13 and there were still participants finishing behind us and there were still people lolling around!

Thank you to the folks who donated on the day and pledged to reduce their trash. Raised 23.70 for the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust
 
 
Picture
Type of Race/Course: Navigational with a route description that was easy to follow. The course itself is very hilly and seemed to be more up than down! Some muddy tracks.
Location: East Dean Village and heads onto the South Down Way.
CPs: @ every 6-7 miles. Second CP had sandwiches,  cake, tea, coffee, sheltered in a village hall. The other 2 CPs had water and biscuits.
Online progress: RFID provided so online progress could be monitored
Weather: 12-15 degs C; cloudy, windy, rainy and some sun
Start Time: 09:00
Finish: Ends at start point
Post Runner Recovery: Baked beans on toast; rice pudding and tea/coffee.

Overall: Excellent scenery, lots of hills and an easy route description to follow
.

Website: ldwasussex.org.uk


The last time I went out for a drag was in February 2013. I had to negotiate round dog poo littered on the streets of London, and was pulled through thick glutinous mud. Thankfully I was able to woo Donkey Boy to carry me over muddy stretches. What kept me sane, was the thought of being back with my Landy. BUT on returning back home, he was rubbing up against some younger tyre called Reu. He said I was looking "worn". I was so traumatised, TG put some new paint on me and sent us both off to the tyre-rator, where we screeched through some tracks and made up.

TG was so pre-occupied with Ecuder and Red, that I thought I had been retired. Landy and I enjoyed time together, sitting around, talking about rubber, treads and grooves whilst watching tyres roll in unison to move bits of metal around on the road. We would have long in depth discussions about what would happen to them after they "expired".

....And then TG picked me up and said "c'mon Red we're going for a run".

I was like "Woah what happened to Reu and Ecuder? They're younger and more willing."

TG explained that Ecuder had become a pledge tyre and had been left in Modesto and Reu wasn't feeling prepared. As my pet bucket was all ready to go, I had been volunteered for the job. Bucket was excited, Landy was encouraging me to go and have a new experience, other tyres were telling me I was so lucky......Under pressure, I agreed as long as
1. Reu stayed away from Landy.
2. I was not dragged through mud and poo, after all no one likes poo stuck in ones treads.

TG said she'd ensure I was kept reasonably clean and took Reu over to see grandma Tam in the garden. "It's unlikely to be muddy", she said, "as we'd be going over limestone hills and dales"
PictureTG following a route description to take us out of East Dean
Satisfied, I went along with TG to a small village called East Dean. TG was provided an RFID card so that our progress could be monitored online. We were impressed.

We left at 08:15 and very soon headed up a hill and over a stone wall. As much as I could, I glided with TG as we wandered into a valley that joined the South Down Way. Rabbits sprung out from hidden grounds as we passed a Dew Pond, and as we headed up another hill, we were joined by a couple who had also started early and who we would come in at the finish after us!

Up and down over the hills we went
Thru the Seven Sisters valley
Where the wind swept trees were bent
And from whence we left the white cliffs and sea

Up another hill, clambering over stiles
Passing new born lambs huddled close by
But TG was not paying attention
She pulled me through a somewhat boggy path
So when she tried running downhill through a field
I decided to take a tumble!

Alas poor old TG, had to carry me down
For fear of losing me in the farmer's crop
TG thinks it was only 8 miles
When the main lot of runners came to the top
(happy 100 Jane)
And it was about 10 miles when Adam said hi
********************
Hmmm I wonder....Back in February 2013, when I became difficult, Donkey Boy carried me over muddy grounds.

"Treads dig in, let's make some magic happen."

Adam would not bite. TG proclaimed she loved a good struggle and continued to have a "deep philosophical discussion" on intelligence and such......"what's intelligent about pulling a poor defenceless tyre through muddy grounds?"
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Long Man of Wilmington (image from CountryFile)
PictureAt the Hungry Monk with Adam and Martin
Chapel Hill was merciless, having many phantom tops and yet TG continued to drag me up with stubborn determination. I thought I looked pathetic going up the hills, but runners/walkers took pity on TG! Unbelievable! It's harder on my rubber than on the soles of her shoes......and there was Adam opening and closing gates for TG.  I must have left my "human whisperer" charm with Donkey Boy way back in February 2013.

About 6 miles from the end, passing over the Long Man of Wilmington, we met the incredibly young looking Martin (you'd never guess how old he is) and we all took a photo at the Hungry Monks to celebrate the creation of Banoffee Pie.

Anyway we got to the end, TG polished all food put before her and I think I have now convinced her to let me gracefully retire so that I can continue to snuggle up to my hunky Landy. The last I heard, she was grumbling about how naughty I was!

Overall time = 10:13

Thank you to everyone who donated. Raised 9.20 for EarthWatch. You can still donate at http://www.justgiving.com/tyregirl

 
 
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We all have to go at some point, so make of life what you want it to be. I don't know Stephen but a friend made me aware of him this morning. So I looked at his story and was so impressed with the vibrance he exudes. We can do what we want with our gift of life. We can choose to walk the path of the apathetic and passive or the proactive. Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer and rather than feel sorry for himself, chose the proactive journey to fulfill as much of his bucket list before he left the world. At the same time he created a facebook page to positively influence others to get a hold on their own life, however long or short that is.

Yesterday, although weak, he thought he was exiting the world and so left them with a message, a smile and a thumbs up. Meanwhile as it seemed he was drifting out, all the vibrant energy he gave was sent back to him. Death had to stand back and lift him back into life. A true legend.

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#ThumbsUpForStephen and let's help him raise 2 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust as a celebration of life and to continue to inspire those who have life!

I hear "eye of the tiger" for him!


You can see his story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvG3ifEd0t0


 
 
PictureTring as a pledge tyre
SynTech Chemicals is located in Singapore and specialises in producing cleaning agents to help restaurants, hotels and other organisations make their premises look clean. But are they green?

The staff are, like so many people round the world, focused on making "ends meat" to pay the bills, feed the family, etc. Being "Green" has to be convenient and economical.

Great, this meant there was a place for me to talk about making changes to the way we live in order to reduce what we purchase. It's so easy with a BYO (Bring Your Own) attitude. It was exciting to see all staff members add to the list of what they could do to live greener. After all, going green can mean money savings. All signed Tring (who has participated in 2 marathons in Singapore) as a pledge.

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So that's the staff dealt with but what about the way the company operates?
- Will keep the air-con at 25-26 C (many shops and restaurants keep their air con at 18 C or lower)
- Reusing the blank side of used paper for notes and then recycling the paper
- Looking at reusing bottles to reduce plastic trash
- Monitoring product and chemical wastage
- Switch off lights and air con in unused rooms

That looks pretty reasonable, but however about influencing others?
Oh yes, the company has just launched a range of "green products" that is over and above the certification level set at the Environmental Council. The only problem is back to the first point: many organisations will only go green if it is convenient and economical to do so. Unfortunately purchasing "green products" can be more costly like "green cars". The staff have an uphill battle to convince organisations to make the move and to be part of a wider global sustainable picture....that is to have less impact on our resources. Go on Syntech - sound them out - see who really cares about our future resources!

Happy Earth Day.

Thank you Susan for the fabulous spoon and chopsticks and starting the staff off on the BYO road. I use the spoon and chopsticks everywhere I go, refusing the plastic cutlery provided everywhere.