With Longleat moving from the 6th Feb to the 20th Jan it meant I had to double up in the last weekend of January. But double the races means double the fun right!? Well this weekend it definitely did and fortunately not double the pain!
After helping at the Maverick event in Salisbury last year I had a free entry to use and what better place to use it than in the New Forest. 20km of forest paths lay ahead for my longest event of the challenge so far. Luckily Maverick races are sponsored by Adidas Terrex and they offer ‘Trial & Test’ trainers which was much appreciated because aforementioned trail trainers are seriously on their last legs! Accompanied by Kate, who’d promised conversation for the whole 2 hours, and Sarah, who had politely laughed and told me I’m too slow to run with her (maybe not exactly how it was put….), we were blessed with a glorious sunny fresh morning. Roundhill campsite (will need to remember for future summer adventures) was getting busy and with 600 runner split over a 6km, 12km & 20km routes it was sure made for a buzzing race HQ.
As seems to be a theme in all the events so far, we tend to go out faster than talked about. But why not get carried away, not as if I have to save myself for other events…. I thought id lost Kate at the first boggy section, but a few screechy moments later she was back by my side where she remained for a whole 1.55hr. I considered employing the tactic recommended by one of the Drs at work to run a bit faster to puff her out but she actually has some good chat, good enough for a YouTube appearance!
Throughout the project I feel the tight Scotsman will appear more and more as I go. This weeks money saving tactic was pick up a few ‘spare’ gels at the feed stop to fuel your next few races, well if they do offer such good Precision Hydration, they will pay the price! We managed to complete the long route in 1.55hrs with both of use fading a little by the end. But what better way to be greeted than with a Days (alcohol free beer), Jimmy’s Ice coffee and a Barebells Protein bar. Few photos later and a trip home via McDonalds (remember kids post race nutrition is what separates the pros from the amateurs.) and 1st event of the weekend was complete.
5 down….. 47 to go!
- Event Difficulty 3/5 Glorious off road half marathon with some undulations
- Event Goodies 5/5 Free event due to helping out volunteering (Maverick Races are great for this). Topped last week; Beer, Coffee, Protein bar, Medal, Head band and free trial of trainers!
- Company 4.5/5 Would have been an easy 5/5 if it was just Kate and her chat and pilfering skills! But Sarah dropped us from the off (so i’ve drop 0.5)….but at least she had pre warned us!
- Eye Candy 4/5 Beautiful trails with some local wildlife on show and plenty of Canicross on the go which always makes for a happy Paddy!
- Event Scran 2/5 The goodies were awesome but no bacon roll and ques for the coffee was long. Luckily Maccas in Salisbury hooked me up!
No rest for the wicked so on to Longleat 10km with a load of my Salisbury Tri Club mates. Longleat being a local safari park I was hoping to see some “Lions & Tigers & Bears Oh my” and I was not disappointed!
Everyone had talked about the course being hilly I was pretty excited to see how the legs felt after yesterdays 20km. Again the formality of discussing rough ‘race’ pace and then throwing it straight out the window as soon as they say go, seems to be a trend appearing here! 900 odd people rocked up to do this event which made for a great opportunity for a club coffee morning afterwards, only the matter of 10kms in the way!
2 x 1km hills and another cheeky ‘mountain’ half way through definitely made for, in my opinion, a very enjoyable 10km. The thought of homemade marmite & cheese swirls and oat & raisin cookies was getting me through, oh and the irrational fear of an escaped lion! 10km done and dusted it was time for a squad photo in front of the house (is it weird that I always wonder how much it is to heat those bad boys!?) and then onto the good part. With 1 forgotten cafetiere and 1 smashed, we may not have provided the quickest refreshments but we kept the complainers at bay with copious amounts of cake!
What a great way to end a double header and finish the month on a massive high.
6 down…..48 to go.
- Event Difficulty 2.5/5 3 x decent hills in 10km is always tasty but the distance was nice.
- Event Goodies 1/5 A nice medal but some weird sparkling ‘kambucha’ nonsense at the end didn’t cut it! Also paid for the t-shirt which ain’t up to much so no more paying extra for t-shirts!
- Company 5/5 10+ club members and Nigel chauffeured me there, kept me company all the way round (bit faster than hoped!) and was our barista extraordinaire!
- Eye Candy 3/5 What a house and epic grounds, 2 loops of a mighty hill taking you past a Pub was just cruel though!
- Event Scran 5/5 But I would say that as I made some cakes and the teas and coffees for the crew!
- 63km or 5hrs 22mins ‘Raced’
- 430km or 33hrs ‘Trained’
- £2286 or 19% of £12,000 raised for YST.
- 31 running buddies
Welcome to event 4, thanks for coming back to read more or welcome & where have you been! Challenge Events Romsey 5miler was the scene of crime this weekend and what an event it was. Romsey only being a 30 minute drive from Salisbury it was easy to persuade a few Salisbury Tri Club mates to join me. Rhys and myself were joined by the infamous 3 Musketeers (Chris, Geordie & Phil) with Louise and Karen trying to stay away from us for obvious reasons!!
Broadlands Estate is famous for hosting the first three days of the honeymoon of Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Phillip in 1947 (bet you didn’t realise this blog would be a history lesson too eh!?). But too be honest we were all running too fast to appreciate the old gaff!
After a long run yesterday I didn’t know how the old pins would feel but surprisingly they were up for a bit of a nudge. With around 700+ runners (I was runner 775 and I saw No.1, so I’m guessing how many there were) its hard not to get carried away. 5 Miles is a nice distance that I’ve never ran as an event before so was a bit into the unknown. Two small 1 mile loops into a 2 mile out and back to finish off was not too taxing of a mental repetitive battle. Was flat as a pancake and reasonably good surface throughout so no real excuses allowed. Once again the t-shirts were out in force and was great to have friends representing my challenge. Chief photographer (Jess) is improving on her skills and at least she’ll get a lot of practice over the coming months! We all finished within 5 minutes of each other so wee photo opp before the highlight of the day!
One of the reasons I wanted to run this event was due to the fact they had a 2km kids race straight after. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to help out and watch the kids put on a show. Some solid race tactics on show……Go hard from the gun and just see if they can hold on. Let me tell you, not many managed to hold on! The smiles on the faces receiving their medals and photos at the end was the perfect end to another great event. This challenge is all about getting kids more active so this was the Cherry on top of a mighty fine cake!!
Double header next week due to event changing dates but a Maverick Trail race on the Saturday and a safari run at Longleat on the Sunday all adds up to a banging weekend!
4 down…..48 to go!
- Event Difficulty 2/5 Glorious flat 5miler being towed along by all the other runners!
- Event Goodies 5/5 Free event due to helping out volunteering (Challenging events are great for this). Best hall yet; Medal, Hi-Vis long sleeve t, alcohol free beer and banana!
- Company 4/5 Would have been an easy 5/5 but Chris and Rhys both beat me so that gets them marked down!
- Eye Candy 2/5 Great setting for a nice, would like to be the Gardner of that house though!
- Event Scran 2/5 Tasty Mocha to warm cockles but no Bacon Roll so significant marks dropped there!!
This week saw me head to Itchen Valley Country Park a place I’d not been in about 3 years and definitely felt GoApe would have been a more relaxed affair than what we had in store. Itchen Valley Parkrun is a reasonably new event with this being only their 28th edition, 28 being my lucky number surely has to mean something down the line!
Not satisfied with a parkrun alone I felt the need to cycle to Itchen to get the training in (cause Celtman ain’t gonna train for itself!). Quick change in the cramped toilet cubicle, life of luxury, and was ready to go. This week I had great company in Nancy, Doug (who people have been forcing me to try and meet for years!) & Farrell Barrel, who rudely declined to wear a Project52 T but proudly wore her Jo’s cervical cancer charity vest, as she’s training for a trek in Jordan, so I let her off.
The start was in the middle of a field with the instruction ‘ the wider you go, the more likely you are to get 5k’, I clearly didn’t do wide enough! Doug and I set off chatting away, he appeared a lot more comfortable than I did. However there was role reversal coming his way on the 2nd half, clearly 40km of cycling hadn’t warmed me up properly! I’m not a Parkrun veteran so when I say its the best course I’ve ever done, you’ll just have to accept that having only 6 others to compare to, I still think its going to be hard to beat. Plenty of twists and turns and mud galore and even the agonising ‘you’re almost finished’ Marshall at least 1km from the finish was enough to make it an epic event! 25mins I wouldn’t have spent any other way!
With a quick photo and packing up of the bike in Farrell Barrells car – you didn’t think I was gonna cycle back did you!? We headed to the cafe for a well earned bacon roll and a coffee…..Bacon rolls seen to be a common theme on these blogs, maybe I should do Project52 Bacon roll edition (last weeks definitely winning so far!). Home time.
3 down……49 to go!
- Event Difficulty 1.5/5 Distance would be a 1 but the mud definitely added an extra 0.5
- Event Goodies 1/5 Free event always gonna get a point!
- Company 5/5 Nancy ‘Chief baggage handler and coffee provider’, Doug kindly providing the conversation….for the first 3kms, and letting me take the win! & Farrell being chauffeur extraordinaire, making this trio tough to beat on the company scale!
- Eye Candy 2/5 Would have scored more but making you run past all the cool Zip lines and not incorporating one into the run was just cruel. Also with all the mud, I spent most of my time looking at my feet!
- Event Scran 2/5 Woodlands Cafe provided warmth but reckon the bacon may have been sitting out a while! And coffee from a auto machine, listen to me sound like a coffee snob!
Event 2 saw Tom (said faster runner!) and I take on UK Running Events “Resolution Run” a 15km Trail race in Staunton Country Park, Havant. In not seeing Tom for quite a few months the hour + journey flew by. The pre-race conversation went as follows:
Tom: How hard are we going tomorrow?
Me: Very easy….but fast enough to beat you. Nah seriously, very steady. No heros in week 2!
Tom: I’ll see how I feel
Let me tell you, it wasn’t steady for me!!
With my trail trainers having seen better days I was really hoping for nice trail paths, so the reassuring words of the race director about changing the route to avoid the mud was greatly appreciated! We had glorious sunshine the whole 15km and the atmosphere was very pleasant. The trainers held up, few close calls on some very muddy bits but that just added a bit of spice to the fun. We definitely didn’t start off steady, 4.20 first 1km definitely had me puffing. But why not ignore the watch and the thudding in my chest and just press on, probably not the best mentality for all my events but I’m sure the odd one won’t hurt!
15kms through mud, puddles, and hills later I pipped Tom at the line (or he kindly let me go, you decide!) and Event 2 was complete. Few snaps to celebrate, and then straight to the food van for a bacon roll. Great finish to a very enjoyable Sunday funday run. Part of the fun with the challenge will be using my early events as training for the bigger ones to follow.
- Event Difficulty 2/5 It definitely felt a 3/5 but my legs tell a different story today so I’ll keep it a 2 and see how it compares to the next 50!
- Event Goodies 4/5 Socks, Buff and a medal oh and not to forget the 50% NHS discount on entry!!
- Company 4/5 Tom paid for bacon rolls and let me take the WIN, but knocked 1 off for pushing me hard!!
- Eye Candy 3/5 Nice pond and fire tracks through woodlands to admire but to be honest I spent most my time look at my custom events t-shirt that Tom was modelling!
- Event Scran 2/5 Bacon roll was a solid 3/5 but the coffee, cool wee landrover with proper coffee machine, hugely disappointed!
2 down…..50 to go
Project52 officially started on New Year’s day down at Figgate Park for Portobello Parkrun. Surrounded by 300+ others, 6 of which were friends donning the project t-shirts, we embarked on 5km around the park. It was a balmy 14deg so a very pleasant start to the challenge and great fun to do it with other friends and family supporting (even my mum and dad were volunteering!).
The most special part of the event was that 3 friends were doing their 1st parkrun, 2 were returning to running after a long layoff and my brother even got up and ran 5km while he was away on his holidays to support me virtually! After not completing a parkrun in a long time it was great to be back and got me excited for completing at least 11 different ones throughout the challenge. I also hope to get involved in some of my local Junior park runs and encourage more children into physical activity.
The fundraising page has really started to build over the past week which is amazing to see and I’m excited to see the final figure I can raise for a great cause, Youth Sport Trust. If you want to read more about why YST then check out my previous blog.
Next week sees me taking on UK Running events “Resolution run” which is a 15km trail race in Staunton Country Park. It’ll be great to get my weekly long run in as part on an event and help keep the miles ticking over. Aim to take it nice and steady with Tom and enjoy the adventure.
- Event Difficulty 1/5 Close to a 2/5 but only due to the amount of food I consumed the night before!!
- Event Goodies 1/5 Free event (cheap Scotsman alert)
- Company 4/5 only knocked off a mark as Taittie (who’d travelled all the way from Canada for the event 😜 had to isolate)
- Eye Candy 2/5 Tidy wee park, mates babies and K9s brought the score up.
- Event Scran 0/5 Note to self…..take own snacks to Parkruns!!
1 down…..51 to go.
With the start of Project 52 on the horizon I thought I would introduce myself, Patrick Traylor, and talk about my challenge and my chosen charity. Project 52 challenge is about raising money for Youth Sport Trust in their mission to provide sport and physical activity opportunities to all children. Youth Sport Trust is a charity I have known of for a few years mainly due to their School Games events. The last couple of years have been very unusual and kids have suffered as much as adults if not more, imagine not being able to hang out with your mates every day! Unfortunately, with the numerous lockdowns, structured sport has been decimated, and children’s health has suffered due to this. I wanted to raise money for a great charity that would help children return and regain their passion for sport and physical activity.
The main reasons I chose YST was due to their resources, inclusivity, and research. They provided lots of resources over the past year to not only help schools with home schooling but also to help with the return of the kids back to school and return to activity. They run great programmes for all ages, Healthy movers to Healthy lifestyle champions. All backgrounds, Girls active/Boys move to Inclusion 2024. And finally, the research they do makes sure the money they receive goes to where it is most needed and will have the best benefit for the children and young adults.
So, starting on the 1st January 2022, I will take on 52 events in 52 weeks, from parkruns to ultramarathons, sprint triathlons to adventure tris and many other various endurance challenges. Throughout 2020 it was a bit like going through the motions, so this year I want to make the most of every weekend and really appreciate the opportunities that sport provides. By doing this challenge I hope to inspire others to take on their own physical challenges and potentially be a role model to their families and encourage even more people into sport and physical activity.
Everyone needs a challenge every so often so why not join me at any or many of my events in the coming year! You can see my race diary here @project52 | Linktree with races being added regularly as we go. Follow me on Instagram @paddysproject52 where I will keep you updated on the challenge. Hope you have Happy New Year and have a great 2022 and please drop a few pennies in the Project 52 fundraiser pot!
You can donate and find out more here.