A Plea For Sponsorship + Injury Worries (2 for 1 Blog today!)

You buy one, you get one free, I say you buy one, you get one free!

My blog today is firstly about sponsorship, and then talking about injury worries. Hang on… I covered that already with the title… Don’t go skipping the begging bit though! It’s not like those TV adverts where you can just turn over, or turn the sound down, or throw a cake at the screen. Not at all.

Sponsorship Begging Plea 

WARNING! There is going to be lots of capitals, exclamation marks, bold typeface, and pictures of puppies WARNING!


The above link is for my sponsorship page, as you can see (if you clicked. CLICK IT!) my target is £300.00. That is, I want to raise AT LEAST £300.00 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Charity. The entire cost for the lifetime of a Guide Dog, from being trained as a puppy up until it retires (and becomes a Watch Dog. Golden Watch for retiring and it’s a dog… Nevermind) the TOTAL cost for the training/feeding/equipment/dentasticks is £49’800.

This is how much a Guide Dog costs

£49’800. That’s more than I earn in a whole month! To put my target into perspective, if I raised my target of £300.00 I would have to run the Great North Run 166 times to fund JUST ONE DOG! As the Great North Run is once a year, I don’t think I’ll live long enough to do that, so I need help with sponsors.

Is this cute puppy making you want to sponsor?

If you don’t want to sign up to Just Giving, because who likes filling out forms? You can send a quick and easy text from anywhere in the world (I think) using a free service from Vodafone. You don’t even have to be on Vodafone to donate.

You text 70070 from your mobile followed by code HATB61 followed by amount you want to donate in GBP (£). You can donate 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 10 this way. So for example, to donate £3.00 you’d text:

To: 70070
HATB61 £3

Easy as that! And quick! Quick and easy! As that!

I am so so happy for every single pound that I receive that sometimes I do a little dance in my chair. Join in, and make me dance.

So far I’ve had donations from family and friends (thanks Mum, Sarah’s Parents Susan and Ironman Tony, Duffman, Sheena & Leon, Tikka John, Vicky, Anna, Steven + Paula + Alex, Charlotte, Duffmans Claire, and Jeanette) but also donations from people I know on Facebook but have never met (Andrea, Lesley, Emma), someone I know on Facebook and have met once (Neil), someone who lives in Hawaii who I’ve never met, and I only know because he shares my name (Marc…obviously), and someone who donated because he likes my blog (Keith). Blown away by the generosity of strangers!

Please, please, please, even if it’s just a pound, send it!


(This is not the last of my begging.)

Injury Worries

On the 19th August I ran the Birchwood 10k (You know this, you read my blog and you chuckled.) Since that day, my left foot has been hurting. The first few days it was painful to stand up for a long period of time, since then it’s eased off a bit but still sore when standing for any amount of time.

I’ve had a look on the internet (never a good idea when injured/ill, normally turns out you’re dead) and it seems that it’s a complaint called Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced fa-shee-eye-tiss) and seems to be caused by bad running posture. I didn’t have this problem with the other 10k I did so I’m wondering what went wrong. I didn’t even notice it was hurting until I got home and went out again. (An hour after the run) so I’m thinking maybe I should’ve stretched a bit after the run.

Here is the worry. On Sunday, I have another 10k run. (The Great Yorkshire 10k) and haven’t done ANY running or exercise for two weeks because of the pain in my foot. Further than that, the Great North Run is in two weeks time, and I don’t want to re-aggravate the injury this weekend so will have to take it slow and steady. Does anyone know a good cure/something to help? Do I use ice or heat? I’m hoping my blog update about the Great Yorkshire 10k on Sunday/Monday will be a nice upbeat one about needless worrying, and not about trips to the doctors…

One more thing:

Another cute puppy to get your sponsors! Aww, bless it!

Birchwood 10k – 19/08/12

I woke up at eight o clock after a not-too bad nights sleep. Quite tired though, so had a coffee and then got dressed. (I don’t mean I drank my coffee naked, that’d be dangerous, I mean I drank my coffee wearing my bed stuff then got dressed into my running stuff.)

I wasn’t hungry but Sarah made me eat some porridge. Probably a good thing because I’d need the energy. She also gave me a cereal bar but I think that’s still in my rucksack.

There were three of us doing the run, myself, Sarah’s Uncle (Nigel) and Sarah’s Dad (Ironman Tony.) Nigel turned up around 8.45am so we put our stuff in the car and set off (after I finished my porridge.)

The race was being held in Birchwood, near Warrington, about an hours drive away. We had a map that the organisers had sent, and also used a sat-nav. About 45minutes into the journey the map and sat-nav were at odds as to which junction to take, so we got a little lost, stopped, decided we’d gone too far, turned around, then found our way.

Arriving at the Birchwood shopping centre, we were met with a C full of runners. (the C stands for car park.) There were runners from lots of different running clubs jogging around and warming up on the grass, loads of different running vests and colours everywhere. They seemed a lot more serious about the race than at Gateshead four weeks back. I noticed a few people wearing running shirts from the Fetch Everyone website I use.

‘Haribo?’ Said Nigel.
‘What?’ I said.
‘Haribo sweets, for energy half way round.’
I laughed and took a few for the race. Tony didn’t take any. Not sure if he ate them when he did the Ironman either. Maybe not all kids and grown ups love them so. Before long they were announcing that the race was about to start, so we waited about two thirds of the way towards the back of the pack. The gun went off, and so did we.

It took a few minutes for everyone to get into a stride, and then we were in quite a cluster of runners. Tony sped off straight away and I didn’t see him again til the end of the run. I ran alongside Nigel for a bit but chatted to a bloke on my right and when I looked back to my left Nigel wasn’t next to me anymore.

When I looked back to my right, the bloke wasn’t there either. Don’t think I was sweating by then, so maybe i just smelled a bit funny.

I managed to run without stopping to the 3k marker, and then had a drink of water. The day was heating up and so didn’t want to over do it. When I do a run near home I stop every mile or so to cross a road so figured a ten second walk for refreshments would be fine.

I read that this course is flat pretty much all the way around, which it is, but I think that they should also mention the number of roundabouts that you pass along the way. If you’re into roundabouts, I don’t think you could find a better run.

Also, the route is on the main road most of the way around, and so if you like to hold up traffic at every turn, this ones for you. None of the drivers seemed to mind waiting (not the ones at the front of the queue anyway) and most of the pedestrians clapped as you passed. There were plenty of mashalls offering encouragement and directions, and quite a few police too.

I got into quite a good pace, keeping an eye on my watch, and knew that I’d be somewhere near the hour for the 10k. After the water station, however, the sun put his warmest hat on and most people around me slowed down. I was slowing down too and taking walking breaks more frequently, when I wiped the sweat from my forehead and wiped my hand on my shorts, that I felt something in my pocket. Slightly worried that I’d forgotten to take my keys out, I put my hand in my pocket and found a sticky mess of Haribo. I still ate them.

Towards the end of the run you pass over some motorway bridges and so it adds in a few unexpected inclines. The bonus is the declines on the other side, and who doesn’t like running down hill?

I was keeping an eye on my time and when I got to the 9k marker I knew that I wouldn’t be beating an hour. I still ran as fast as I could towards the end and received a nice towel as a finishers prize. Tony was waiting there, and Nigel turned up before too long. It started raining then, which was very refreshing and welcomed.

Later on that night, Tony said that his result and Nigel’s result were both on the website, but mine wasn’t. I emailed the organisers and told them that it was missing. Obviously they would be busy with other peoples results so didn’t want to rush them.

The next day my results still weren’t on, so emailed again and got this reply:

Hi Mark, (spelt my name wrong)

It appears you wore your Great North Run timing chip instead of the one we sent you. We’ve managed to get your time, and you finished in 01:02:04.”

Wow. I felt like a right prat. Pleased with my time though, six minutes quicker than the Gateshead 10k which is about a 10% improvement! Hopefully I can put in a good showing at the Great Yorkshire Run in two weeks and get under an hour.

Maybe, if I wear the right timing chip.


Where’s The Time Going?!

When I started this blog, the little countdown counter-downer thing said ‘3 Months Until Great North Run.’

It now says ’29 Days Until Great North Run.’

Where have the last 2 months gone? That means it’s about 3 months ago that we were in Lanzarote watching the Ironman contest when the idea of doing the Great North Run first hit me! I think I need to up my running a bit, suddenly it seems a bit more real (and close!) 

My race pack arrived the other day with my race number and timing chip inside, and the number is pink (again!) It means that I start quite near the back. Which means that I have loads of people to overtake! (HAHAHAHAHA!)



Also, tomorrow is the Birchwood 10k run in Warrington. According to the website, it’s quite a flat course and is in it’s 29th year. No medal for this one, but you do get a towel, which will come in handy for mopping up all the sweat.



Hoping for somewhere close to (hopefully under) an hour for the run. My last three 5k’s were 0:30:23, 0:29:36 and 0:30:07, so I should be near if I can keep the same sort of pace. If not, I’ve got the Great Yorkshire Run 10k in two weeks where I can smash the hour! 

Running Etiquette

Had to Google the word ‘Etiquette’ just then, and was pleased that I spelt it right first time!

To start with, here’s an inspirational video for you to watch. Doesn’t make me want to buy anything new, but the message is a good one:

Other People – Runners

Sometimes on my run I pass people coming the other way. I was chuffed the other day because when I was running there was a runner on the opposite side of the road and when I looked over he nodded at me, so I nodded back. (He nodded first! I must look like I know what I’m doing!) This has happened a couple of times now, but I’m not sure what the proper action would be if I caught up to another runner or found another runner catching up to me. (Not caught anyone yet…)

Do you make conversation? (Hello! Sweaty? No, normally I just say Hello. Sorry. Goodbye.)

Ignore them? (Wish this sweaty git would bugger off.)

Try to race? (Eat my sweat!)

I have no idea. When it happens, it’ll probably just be a bit of awkward muttering before I let them past.

Other People – Non-Runners

When people are walking towards me as I’m running, they normally move to one side. (Old people are the best, they move, stop, make eye contact and then smile. Bless ’em.)

Chavs  Young people with pushchairs don’t move one way or the other, they have to get home and not do any work then shout at Fuschia and Chardantelle or what ever horrible name they gave them.

Young kids on bikes normally try race you as you go along, but they pretty much play in the road so not a problem. (For me.)

How do you go about approaching people that are aiming in the same direction as you though?

I think we should all get together and come up with a way of letting people know you’re coming up behind them without worrying/shouting at them. If you shouted a warning (like ‘on the left’) does ‘on the left’ mean for them to move to the left, or that you’re going to the left? Also, I don’t think that many people would appreciate (had to Google that too, got it wrong) someone running up behind them and shouting.

Mostly I’ve been able to nip off the pavement and pass them on the road, but there’s been a few times where there’s a load of cars parked next to you so you can’t get on the road, or there’s been a load of traffic so not a good idea. It puts me off of my stride and find myself having to walk when I didn’t want to. Inconsiderate public…

I normally just get quite close, because with the smell of sweat and sound of heavy breathing, they seem to move quick enough.

Might start carrying a horn. Ho-HONK!


If I spent as much time running as I do looking into upcoming races, I’d be a much better runner. Also, if everytime I missed a run for what ever reason, I’d actually gone and done a run, I’d be a much better runner. As it is, I’m happy with my progress but sometimes just need a little push (shove) to get motivated.

Still having trouble with Sports Tracker, this time it stopped tracking altogether when I was half way round my circuit which put me off completely. Deleted it and re-installed so hopefully that’ll sort it out. All my info has come back on, so looking good! Shame it’s a rest day.

Entered my second ever 10k run next weekend in Warrington (Birchwood) so aiming to get out on the road every other day this week, and have a couple of days off before the run. Seemed to work quite well for the Great North 10k the other week! Thinking of 4 miles tomorrow, 4 or 5 Tuesday, 3 Thursday then the 10k on Sunday. Plus now I have snazzy new running gear so I’ll look the part. (Or a prat.)

Apart from that quite a steady week this week. Been out three times since (and including) Sunday and feeling good. When I started this running nonsense my legs would kill the next day (sometimes next two days!) and that was after running a mile or so. Now I’m out for 3 miles and no pain the next day. Yesterday was quite a tough 3 miles though, because of the weather. Not used to seeing the sun up there, and it was VERY hot when I was going round. Plus I didn’t take anything to drink. (Idiot.) Must’ve looked a proper sweaty mess!

About halfway with my sponsorship now, and still to beg most of family and friends which means that I’ll get to my target and maybe a bit more. Feel free to join in!

Sponsor Me Here

Stupid Tracker App

UPDATED – Progress

Does anyone else have problems with the GPS tracker app on their phone/iPod/what-not? A few times I’ve been out and when I’ve got back the tracker says I’ve run a lot further and/or quicker than I actually have.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to believe those stats but know deep down that they’re fake. FAKE!

Yesterday I ran 3 miles in 28minutes. The tracker says I ran 4 miles in 28 minutes. Further than that, it says my first mile was run at a pace of 28.7mph. After that it drops off a bit (must’ve been tired from the sprint.) I know that using the tracker isn’t essential, it still keeps an accurate time and I normally map out my run on http://www.taketothestreets.com so I know what distance I’m doing, but I like looking at the stats.

I thought that it might be the wifi on my phone interfering with the GPS, so tried yesterdays run with wifi switched off. Still messed up. I now think that it might be because I was listening to music through my phone at the same time, so tomorrow I’ll use my iPod instead of phone and see if that helps any.

Hope so!