fancy dress

Post-marathon comedown has been doing all sorts of crazy things to my mind. My body has felt fine since the 26.2 miles – not an ache or a pain to be had – but my head has “gone west”. I’m still processing, and trying to get over, the sensory intensity of London Marathon. Fortunately, I know the perfect antidote to all that noise and all those people – a trail run in the sunshine with my friends.

The Hot Cross Run is a 6.2mile trail run in North Yorkshire. Starting at a village pub you get a set of instructions and off you go into the fields. I went with my Kirkstall Harrier friends Laura and Kimberley and we had a very enjoyable day out, complete with bunny ears!










I left the other two to navigate while I bimbled along behind, taking in the sights and stopping for a few pictures. The sun was shining and the views were absolutely stunning. It was the most joyful run I have had for a while. We weren’t concerned about trying to run fast – our only plan was to enjoy ourselves.

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The end came around far too quickly, and we took a slight wrong turn and cut the final corner – genuine mistake! Back at the pub there were hot cross buns and lots of chats in the sun.

If Yorkshire is God’s own county then God is definitely a runner. We were blessed with perfect weather, not to mention the stunning countryside and, of course, great company. I can safely say it did me the world of good – the solar power recharged my batteries and the peace and quiet reset my head.

It was a really fun race and the organisers are also doing a series of evening self-navigate trail runs so I will be signing up for those without a doubt!



As it is my birthday today I am having a weekend of celebration, mostly involving running.

I called on my friends to join me at parkrun in Woodhouse Moor yesterday dressed in all the neon they could muster, and they did not disappoint.









There were a few PBs and a lot of blurred neon around the course. Then afterwards it was back to mine for cake.

My good friend Helen bought me a Costco cake for my present. They are massive and the yummiest sponge cakes in the world.

We made a good go of scoffing it all but there is still plenty left so I’ll be living on cake for a few days yet.

Big thanks to all my Kirkstall Harrier, other running and non-running friends for joining in my celebration and bringing me some fantastic cards and gifts. I am very blessed to have you.

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This week at Kirkstall Harriers we hosted our annual Christmas Lights Run. We invite our running club neighbours Horsforth Harriers, get dressed up and go for a run around Leeds city centre to marvel at the festive-ness. And afterwards we scoff a lot of food at our HQ.

As much as I love any opportunity to wear fancy dress I have to admit my outfit was a little tame. By which I mean I didn’t really dress “as” anything – I just draped Christmas decs around myself.

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We were expecting a decent turnout – it was a great evening for running – but to get more than 120 runners was fantastic! This is what such a gathering of festive fancy dress runners looks like.

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We ran 6.75 miles in just over 1:12 according to my watch, which isn’t bad going for a weekday evening. And, good runners that we are, we made sure not a single crumb remained of the buffet.

That was my weekend!

On Saturday I went to Cross Flatts parkrun for the first time. I am competing in the Leeds Race Series and points can be gained at each of our four parkruns in Leeds over certain weeks. Cross Flatts Park is a great venue, and it has a much smaller field of runners than our other parkruns, which means it is easier to get a good start and go straight into your pace.

I wasn’t too sure about the course or its PB potential so I just headed out at what felt good and took it from there. Because there weren’t as many runners there were far fewer opportunities for chatting along the way, but that was fine – I had one headphone in and I just thought about my feet.

The route was pleasant and there is only a small incline with a few steps in the middle. I’ll be back at the end of the month for my last PB attempt of 2013.

cf parkrun 1








On Sunday I marshalled at the Leeds Christmas 10k. I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it, but as I have done so much recently I decided I would go along to help out. The fact that fancy dress and being loud was a job requirement also helped my decision.

I rocked up to the John Charles Stadium where the race started and finished and found a lovely bunch of people all there to ensure the race went smoothly. We assembled in the announcer’s box at the top of the stand, where we had plenty of goodies to keep us going.

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My marshal point was about half way round the circuit in the woods, of which the runners did three laps before returning to finish at the stadium. The lead runners got to me in under 10 minutes, and after that there was a constant stream of them for over an hour.

I greeted them looking like this, and making a lot of noise.

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I channeled my inner Morris dancer and pinned bells to my legs, then I had a pom-pom in one hand and a tambourine in the other. Add in my purple Santa hat, hi-vis vest and jumping around and shouting rather manically I must have been quite a shock as they came along the path towards me the first time. By the third lap I fear some runners may have been going slightly deaf! But hopefully they also appreciated my efforts to help keep them going. Several people commented that they were glad of my energy and enthusiasm, especially as I was just at the bottom of a short hill. I ran up the hill quite a few times with some of the runners. Oh, and I saw several Father Christmases, all of whom promised to bring me kittens!

I finished my shift very tired but having had a wonderful time. The lovely organisers even gave us a race tee for helping out.












I can highly recommend this race – either to run or to marshal. It is a challenging course, but there are mince pies at the finish so you have to earn them! Big thanks to the organisers for their hard work in creating a great event, and also well done to my fellow Kirkstall Harriers who took part.

I’ve been too busy racing to post over the weekend, and I’ll write about those races properly soon, but here is a brief post on some spooky runs to celebrate Halloween.

On Wednesday for club training many Harriers dressed up in some very creative costumes, not all of which were conducive to running. I went as a zombie prisoner, complete with chains and glow sticks.

Zombie makeup Zombie prisoner










KH Halloween run








And on Halloween night I took part in the Chevin Chiller race on Otley Chevin. It was pitch black (and not to mention cold and wet) so we had to wear a lot of neon, hi vis and head torches. It was a good chance to try out the Alpkit head torch that I won in a Tribesports Twitter competition recently. And another excuse to dress up.












I’m please to report that I survived and that the Manta head torch worked amazingly. I thought it would be really difficult to run on tricky terrain with limited vision but the light was good and gave me confidence to run without worrying about tripping over things. It also stayed put very well and didn’t bounce around or become heavy or annoying.

So that was Halloween, and now the days really are shorter and darker. Not to mention colder! I’ve dug out my winter running kit and have the hat and gloves at the ready.