Monday, 9 November 2015

Fell Foot Park Night Run

Late afternoon on Saturday we headed over to the National Trust's Fell Foot Park to take part in their first ever night run. It had been an especially wet day and poor Andy and Sam got a soaking at parkrun (William nabbed an undercover volunteer position so we stayed dry!). Luckily by the time we arrived at Fell Foot the rain had stopped but there were still plenty of mud and puddles!

We met up with a friend and her son, registered and waited by the cafe for the other runners and for it to get dark as well! Sam was enjoying throwing leaves and stones into Lake Windermere and William was enjoying running about. Slowly over the next hour the light faded and we started getting our head torches on, pinning numbers and snapping our glow sticks! We also joined together 2 sets of Aldi running lights and strapped them round the boys' middles so we could see them better in the dark.

I liked this photo, which was posted into the Fell Foot Night Run event page on Facebook. You can just see Andy holding Sam upside down and then William in the centre with his running lights! 

There were two runs on that evening, the 7k Adventurer and the 3k Explorer. Due to their age the boys weren't allowed to do the longer run and obviously would need supervision so we all ran the Explorer run. Andy ran with Sam and I ran with William. After the pre-run briefing the Adventurer group set off and then shortly after we set off too!

We soon found out just how wet the ground was as we splashed through some very big puddles. I had to laugh when I heard William (age 6) say 'this is my worst nightmare' as he isn't fond of mud or getting his feet wet but he soon got over it and was running really well. Sam did an amazing job. He'd already had a brilliant parkrun in the morning (and was only 20 seconds off a PB) and he kept up a really good pace for this as well, averaging 7.30 minutes/km. He loves nothing better than running through mud and water so managed to get well ahead of William.

It was all over in less than half an hour. Sam came in 25th out of 38 and finished in 24.22 and William came in 31st finishing in 25.45. We all received a glow in the dark National Trust medal and a re-usable goody bag with a wrist band and water bottle.

It was well worth coming out on a damp night in November, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would definitely do this again next year.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Zombie Run!

Our original plan for the weekend had been to run Glow in the Park on Friday and then (having stayed at Heaton Park overnight) run Heaton parkrun on the Saturday morning. William however spotted Mad Bull Event's Zombie Run in my Facebook news feed. After a bit of a chat and realising it was only half an hour away from Heaton Park in the direction of home we signed up! An excellently themed run for Halloween!

We got to Horwich for 9am and collected our running numbers amid some very gory individuals with knives and axes through their heads! Quite a few of the other runners were also dressed up in costumes too. This was the first time this run has taken place we were told so there was a nice select number of runners taking part from William's age upwards. We headed to the start line just before 10am and got ready to run! Sam was going to run with Andy and I had William.

We set off down the lane, leaping over puddles and muddy patches. We were just going through a section of houses when a 'vampire zombie' jumped out at us! William was definitely startled, although he swears he wasn't! We carried on and found ourselves headed on a trail uphill. And then uphill a bit more. And just as we thought we couldn't get any higher, we turned onto a road and went uphill again! We were on the way to the spooky woods where we were sure to meet up with some more undead!

The zombies were really enjoying jumping out at runners in the woods I think and had found some good hiding places. William thought it was brilliant when he had to try and run round them. We'd gotten ahead of Andy and Sam at this point and I found myself wondering how Sam was finding them. Andy told me later that he stopped briefly to get a better look at them and gave them a grin!

William flew through the woods and when we started to descend we were careful not to fall over on the wet leaves and steps. We eventually came back out onto a lane again and had a bit of a jump when a zombie we had 'escaped' from earlier made another appearance over a stone wall!

Shortly after, Andy and Sam caught us up. This was mainly a combination of William slowing right down to try and avoid the mud and Sam speeding up and running straight through the mud with delight! We were on the home stretch back along the lane we came down originally when we got snapped by the very nice Mark Lysycia. I LOVE this family photo.

Photo taken by Mark Lysycia

We made a dash for the finish and got cheered in by the other participants which was lovely. We all got a medal and there were sweets for the boys and a bottle of wine for Andy and myself!

There was a really good atmosphere to this run. It was a challenging 5k but the trail element and the zombies made it a huge amount of fun. I loved the fact we were able to do it as a family too as most 5k runs are for older children or adults. I hope we'll be able to come and do this one again next year.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Glow in the Park - Heaton Park

We had a double whammy of a running weekend! We ran Glow in the Park on Friday night and then the Zombie Run on Saturday morning (will write about this in another post!).

I signed us up for Glow in the Park back in May as soon as entries had opened as I thought the boys would get a real kick out of this, especially Sam as he'd be in sensory heaven with seeing all the fantastic lights outdoors. We even booked a family room at the Premier Inn across the road from Heaton Park so we wouldn't have to drive back late at night.

It should have taken us 1.5 hours to get to Heaton Park but to our great dismay when we went to get onto the M6 the traffic was at a stand still! We made a quick decision to try moving further south on the A6 instead, which was also terrible and it took us almost 3 hours to get to the motorway at Lancaster. I was panicking a bit at this point as the run was due to start at 7.45/8pm and it was already nearing 6pm! Luckily for us the traffic was flowing again on the motorway and we arrived at the hotel just before 7pm. A very quick change and walk over into the park and we arrived in time to join the registration queue where we picked up our numbers and neon headbands!

I met up briefly with a lovely lady whom I've known on facebook for years but had never met face to face with! We're hoping we can meet up again at a slightly quieter run sometime! The music was playing, the lights were flashing and we headed out onto the course with our headtorches and glow sticks!

The first 'tunnel' we came to seemed to spit out a kind of greeny slime at you from the sides. A quick dash through that one! The next tunnel was filled with UV lights and we stopped for a photo here.

We jogged on for a bit after that until we reached a section where a fan was shooting out foam. We spent a minute or two here and then had to pull Sam away as I'm pretty sure he could have spent all day playing in the bubbles.

We went through a little section where fire was shooting up at the sides every few seconds then headed toward the last tunnel, lit up by colourful stripes!

The course was two laps so we got to go round it all again after that before heading to the finish. No medal for this run but we got our headbands as souvenirs and a little pack of granola at the finish. The boys absolutely loved Glow in the Park and I'm pretty sure would have done another lap given half the chance!

We headed back to our family room at the Premier Inn after that and tried to get two exciteable boys to sleep. It was an interesting night but everyone managed a bit of sleep at least which was good as we had our next run in the morning.  

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Beat the Reaper 10k and 1k Fun Run

Andy enjoyed Beat the Reaper so much last year that it was an easy decision to sign up again. It was made even more tempting by the addition of a children's 1k fun run this time so we signed both boys up too. So we drove the 2 hours once more to Croxteth Country Park where the race, organised by Pool Runnings, was held. We headed straight for the hall and collected Andy's running number. A rather ominous looking reaper was hanging about the registration desk, probably checking out which souls he'd like to scare on the course. I didn't even realise that William had even noticed him until I saw this photo posted after the run! The look on his face is brilliant (although I'm not sure it bodes well for our upcoming Zombie Run on Halloween)!

Photo taken by Anna Watkin

We headed over to the children's playground and let the boys play here and on the exercise equipment until it was time to head over to the start line.

The thing I like about this race as a spectator is that it's 2 laps and there are several places to view the runners from. So once we'd waved Andy off we dashed over near the playground again and spotted him shortly after, then dashed to another point to spot him again.

Then at 5km we were able to do it again. Or at least that was the idea. We went over to stand near the water station to watch Andy come round at the halfway point and after putting his costume on, William managed to get himself involved with handing out water to the runners! 'We need to go to see Daddy at the finish' I said. 'I'm a little too busy' was his reply! I gave him a few more minutes then managed to get him over to the finish line.

Andy's chip time was a fantastic 54.36, a whole 5 seconds faster than last year's time. He received a really cool medal and a bright orange technical shirt for his efforts.

After Andy finished we went round to the cafe and got ready for the fun run whilst having a coffee and hot chocolate. Sam's devil costume went on and so did the boys' running numbers. We then headed over to the start again to wait for the last of the 10k runners to come through and the start of the fun run. I think the boys were getting a bit excited!

Andy ran with Sam and William ran independently. I headed down the path a little way to get some photos of the boys coming through. I could hear the DJ getting the kids all excited, jogging on the spot etc. Then came the reapers, who really hammed it up for them. There was a bit of pantomime booing from the kids and the reapers told them they'd never beat them to the finish as they skulked away down the start line. There were huge smiles on the kids faces as they set off.

I did the same as I did for Andy's first km, once both boys had gone past I ran over to watch them come round the building. William did fantastic and I was worried I'd have to abandon seeing Sam come round so that I could get to the finish in time for William but the worry was for nothing as soon after Sam came speeding round the corner with Andy.

After cheering him past I ran over to the finish line in time for William coming through, followed shortly by Sam. William loved seeing a reaper fall to the floor just short of the finish, pretending that a child had tripped him up. These guys were really fantastic.

The boys received the same medal as Andy with an alternate fun run ribbon and a sweetie bag so were extremely happy. Once again, the trip all the way to Liverpool was well worth it for a fantastic morning of running. I am sure we will be back again next year!