Grand Union Canal Race 2016



20160527_161813

I had been looking in 2015 to step up to a 100 miler after previously having done the 70 mile Saffron Trail but was unable to find anything that fitted in with work. By coincidence I saw a tweet that said it was the last day for GUCR applications, quickly checked the diary and put in my application. This is a ballot race so I just had to sit back and await the draw. When the draw came around in December I had a chronic chest infection, had time off work, could barely function and then had an email to say I was successful on getting a place in GUCR! flat on my back and having been away from running for a number of weeks I was going to have a real task to get my fitness back.
I needed a plan.

In the new year I slowly got myself going again. I had some marathons lined up and would like to have done a 40 or 50 mile event but there was nothing that fitted with my time off. I ran Cambridge Boundary marathon, 3h 55m 51s, Brighton marathon, 3h 51m 27s and the Flitch Way marathon, 3h 51s 19s. I first met Lee Kelly at Cambridge boundary marathon and overheard him talking about GUCR and met Mike Abel at Flitch Way after recognising his name from the GUCR start list. apart from those runs I was doing regular weekly runs and had a long run out of 40 miles which went well. I was self sufficient over that run and covered it in 7 hours averaging 10m 30s miles which I was really pleased with.

So, time passes, the training has been done and the race looms on the horizon. The race pack had arrived in the post and some loose plans of timings and nutrition had been put in place. A small shopping list of items was drawn up,anti chafe cream, zinc oxide tape and sun-cream among other things. The week before the race and my wife and our family’s lives changed for the worse as my father in law passed away. Final race prep plans went out of the window as I went about consoling my wife and helping her and my mother in law where as much as I could. I have to give huge thanks and endless love to my wife for being so understanding about race weekend so close to her Dad’s passing.

I had booked myself a night at Jurys Inn literally 2 minutes from the start on Gas Street. I got a train from Audley End via Cambridge to Birmingham on the Friday 27th and was in town by 13.30pm, found the hotel and checked in. I then had a walk around to get my bearings.

20160527_161813

I made my way to registration, caught up with a few familiar faces and then went to dinner, later catching up with Mike Abel for a drink before bedtime.

Race day.

I hadn’t slept that well, more to do with an unnecessary worry that the alarm wouldn’t go off and i’d miss the start! I was up at 4am, for myself this was to make sure breakfast had plenty of time to go down before setting off. 3 sachets of porridge, banana and an energy drink and I was all set, I just needed to stop pacing up and down the room thinking about what may lay ahead. For during the run I had various foods with me. My drinks were made up of either Tailwind or Skratch Labs hydration powders, I had Soreen oat bars, crisps and a concoction of oats, rapeseed oil, waxy maize starch and electrolyte powder to see me through along with what was made available at checkpoints.

20160528_054021

I made my way down to the start, handed my bags in and said a few hellos. The weather forecast from the midlands down to London had looked good for the 2 days but the heavens had opened. That was the first initial pain to deal with as I had to make a choice to go with or without my jacket on. I chose to go with it which was probably wise as it kept me a touch warmer. 6am and we were seen away from the start, some 120 people had begun what was to be an epic journey, some multi time event runners and complete newbies like myself. The initial few miles were straight forward and I was running with or near to Mike Abel for quite a while. The pace was high but it was to be expected while fresh and trying to settle into a good rhythm. the path slowly wound it’s way out of Birmingham towards Bordesley, South Yardley and the first checkpoint at Catherine De Barnes. Being fresh and carrying enough drink and snacks to see me through to checkpoint 3 I didn’t really stop, just long enough to grab a couple of snacks and a drink and continued on my way. I was away from CP1 at about 07.45am (times will be approximate as I haven’t seen the check in, out sheets). Heading on to CP2 at Hatton locks I wasn’t feeling as comfortable as I hoped I would and stopped at the checkpoint for a breather. The weather was a little humid and now the sun was up it was going to be warm, I put the jacket away. Heading onto Warwick and Royal Leamington Spa I had settled into a far steadier pace, everything was feeling good, my nutrition choice and hydration was working out and I was making good time. It was early enough that I was mindful enough to look around and admire some of the great countryside we have, some truly beautiful views about. The brain isn’t to clear on the times but I still certainly had a good few hours in hand at CP3. My water and snacks had lasted me as expected, topped up, thank everyone for their help and continued on. I’m not exactly sure from memory but it was around this point I spent some time with Ian Shelley who was great company. I was now truly in ultra running territory heading on toward 40 miles. I had written notes from the maps supplied and so far everything was straight forward. I was moving on to Braunston and the first of the tunnel sections. I kept expecting the wheels to fall off and be hit with a huge struggle early on but fortunately things were working out…for now. After the tunnel section and heading on towards 50+ miles I saw someone in jeans running towards me…my mate Tony! He had driven from his home town in Haverhill, Suffolk all the way out to somewhere near Weedon just to see how I was getting on.2016-05-30 17.38.18

Things were still comfortable and there was a lot of cat and mouse running with other runners back and forward. My average speed was around 4.6mph still inside the 3.3mph average needed to complete the run. I headed on to Blisworth Tunnel. As a training run I had travelled to Wolverton a few days after Brighton marathon and ran from Wolverton, up and over Blisworth Tunnel and back so was familiar with the approaching ten miles.20160420_112219

The legs were starting to hurt now and the climb up from the towpath onto the main road was quite a long up hill section and walked to save energy. I was with a German runner, Tommo, we were matching each others pace.It was good to have someone to take the mind off the aches and also be able to encourage each other to keep the pace up. At checkpoint 4 I had got my headtorch ready as I didn’t expect to get to CP5 before it was dark.

20160420_094513

reaching Navigation Inn 70 miles, it was around 22.40pm, things were still going ok, there was time in hand and although my calves were tight I had no cramping issues. Also since the early days of my running, having gait analysis and changing my footwear I have been very fortunate not to get blisters when running even in marathons and previous ultras…so far so good. having had some soup, bread, coffee, cookies and sweets (it’s true what they say, we’re just an eating club with a running disorder) it was time to crack on. The second half awaited and I was heading into a running distance unknown, new territory. heading on passed Wolverton, Milton Keynes was the next point on the journey.20160420_140506

On the far side of Milton Keynes Tommo was still with me it was now early hours of the morning in a place I didn’t know and we heard shouting. Shouting and whistling got louder and looking back there were a few men shouting abuse and coming after us. Bloody good motivation to get a shift on I can tell you! Arriving at CP6 I saw Naomi Newton Fisher who I have seen at races before, not taking much note of where I was and my senses numbed by the cold night I asked if we were near Hemel Hempstead….wrong question! we were miles away. I put an extra layer on and layed into the food on offer. Naomi commented that I was still moving well, the feet were good having been up for over 24 hrs tiredness was the one thing starting to affect me and the self motivation was hard. Some time after leaving CP6 my feet started to hurt, I had strapped them from the start but my feet had got wet on an earlier section that was unavoidably wet and muddy and the slog through the night was now taking it’s toll. Things were kind of bearable but tiredness was making it difficult to stay motivated and the mental game of ultra running had really begun. How far could I push myself.

I had started my Garmin from around 50 mile mark to keep an eye on distance and average speed, it was reading 4.3mph still well above that minimum 3.3mph average needed to complete. That 100 mile barrier lay ahead. The pace had started to suffer as the feet were quite painful, I could feel I had blisters and they would need attention at the next checkpoint. At CP7 it must have been around 10am or 10.30am as I remember still having that couple of hours or so in hand and that chance was still there to finish. Tommo decided to leave the checkpoint before me with his German friend. I took the time out to put more strapping on my feet and to change my socks. Sausage roll and beans, 2 cups of tea and more biscuits andit was time to move on. The following 20 miles to CP8 was the worst part of the entire race for me. 20 miles on any given day would usually be done in around 3 hours, on Sunday it was about 8. I was so dead tired on my feet that occasionally at a lock with a good patch of grass i’d lay down and get a 10 minute snooze to try and freshen up. It did help but obviously cost me time. The weather had warmed up and it was a really nice day with plenty of people out and about on the canal with a few curious as to what we were up to. The sleep deprivation coupled with the blistered feet was taking it’s toll and it was sheer bloody mindedness, stubbornness and a refuse-al to quit keeping me moving along.  The more soul destroying part was how long the miles took to pass I was moving forward but felt as if I wasn’t getting anywhere. Pass Berkhampstead, Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley, Rickmansworth, mile after tedious mile. That voice was there,”you could stop, have a hot shower, chill out with a curry and a beer”. I was tempted.

Every step was searing pain, the feet were blistered. I couldn’t see me getting to CP8. The close time for CP8 was 19.00. I kept clock watching and as long as I was inside the cut off time I would keep moving. I was having huge rollercoaster ups and downs of energy and emotion. One minute I was enthused to shuffle on other moments I could hardly move and considered quitting. I wasn’t concentrating on my notes properly and had to keep re-reading where I thought was and hoping every lock that came into view was the next checkpoint. But finally in the low evening sunlight I could see CP8 ahead, got there and struggled over the lock gate and crashed in a chair. 18.15. 45 minutes in hand. Not wanting to waste time I had some tea, scrambled egg and sausage and was on my way. 18.30. 30 minutes in hand. I left CP8 refreshed even if still in discomfort and got shuffling again within half hour I was feeling bad again. This really was it. At the next bridge 183 I was going to call in and quit. The next 45 minutes was a mental argument, “you’ve had a good crack, give it up”, “F**k that, get your arse in gear”, “you can’t do it, what’s the point?”, “have faith, you’ll freshen up, the legs will come back”. Agonising.

At bridge 183 there wasn’t an access road. Shit. The next bridge was about a mile further on. OK, walk to that bridge and quit. I carried on and just felt a rise in mood. I felt ok. Check the watch. If I could get to the checkpoint by 23.30 at the latest i’d give myself the slimmest of chances and hoped adrenaline and realisation I was almost there would carry me. I crossed bridge 188 and around mile 125 a fella on a barge asked what I was doing, I had it on the notes as being 4 miles to Bulls Bridge but he was trying to tell me it was 6. Fuck!! I hoped he was wrong otherwise I knew I wouldn’t make CP9. A huge panic and adrenaline rush and I belted off (my daughter had been tracking me and told me my pace shot up to 7mph)  I must of kept it up for a couple of miles tops. 22.50. About 3 miles to the checkpoint. OK, 1 hour 10 minutes to cut off, 3 miles to go, if I wanted to get there by 23.30 I had 40 minutes. OK, think again, 20 minute miles, get there at 23.50, in and out and see what I’ve got left. I got down to Bulls Bridge and I was absolutely dead on my feet. 23.25, the surge in pace had bought me the time but ruined my energy. It’s a bad place to be when you give your self a verbal talking to, you feel positive in your head but the body has completely stopped responding. 35 minutes to CP9, still time, just move, you’ll freshen up, the legs will come back and you can push on again. It wasn’t happening. Pigeon step after pigeon step, the feet were ruined and my head couldn’t deal with the pain. 23.50. I could see a high vis vest and torchlight ahead, I was now close to CP9, I still couldn’t move. No adrenaline, no surge of energy, virtually immobile. I was met by someone who’s name I didn’t catch through tiredness. CP9 23.57. 3 minutes to eat, drink and sort my feet out. I couldn’t do it. Timed out 00.00, CP9 133 miles. 12 miles from the finish. Just another 30 to 45 minutes and I would of continued, another hour and I may of finished inside the cut off time of 03.00am. My GUCR was over, I didn’t even have the energy to be emotional about it. I had taken myself to a distance I had never been to before, i’d had an amazing weekend amongst the greatest people and proven to myself I am capable of pushing through some severe endurance and worthy of standing on the start line of an ultra.2016-05-06 11.02.41

I was shuttled to the finish line to collect my bags, shared a cab with Mark Gibson who was dropped off at his hotel and made my way to Liverpool Street to get a night bus to Stansted Airport to then get a cab home. I had an hour to kill so went to the 24 hour cafe to re fuel.20160530_015834

I had to smile to myself when crossing the road to get the bus. The lights changed, I shuffled on my way over. The lights were fitted with a count down timer, 6, 5…I was barely half way across the road before the lights changed again! beaten by a cut off time twice in one night! feet

A bit of recovery time and i’ll be looking at races again.There is the possibility of a race on July 2nd but it will dependant on the feet. Thanks must go out to all of the volunteers, helpers, organisers, Keith, Dick and anyone else I crossed paths with whose name I don’t know.

And yes, I would love to have another go!

 

Advertisements

West Highland Way – Re Visited

 Last year I took myself away to Scotland to run 35 miles of the West Highland Way from Bridge Of Orchy to Fort William. After writing up my blog post on how things went and speaking to friends at the running club my friend and fellow club member Tim Mcmahon said he would be interested in covering the route as well. So the organising of 35 mile re run was put into action.

west highland way copy

 We set out on the over night sleeper service from London Euston to Scotland and arrived at Bridge of Orchy at 08.15am. The weather was fantastic and a big improvement on last years overcast and rainy day. I had been briefing Tim on the route and what to expect but just as I had found last year the run is a shock to the system from the start having to climb up through a pine forest for the first 1.5 miles before coming up to the Inveroran hotel and a surfaced road to run on. With the weather being warm we were sweating right from the start and tried to keep an even and slow pace. The road way then leads onto the old military road way and on towards the Kingshouse hotel on the A68.

parliamentary roads

20140516_100910Yours Truly, Baz Taylor

Heading down toward the Kingshouse hotel the wind had picked up quite a lot but was still very warm, we were only about 1.5 miles from the infamous devils staircase!

20140516_102553

20140516_100806Tim Mcmahon

I knew we were going to have to hike the devils staircase as initially I had tried to run it last year and found it impossible and led to me cramping badly on the following decent

staircase

Given how steep the staircase is we managed to get to the top within about 30 minutes and the legs were feeling pretty good. We started a slow run down and headed on to Kinlochleven. We were now 17 miles in and things were going well, no cramps, energy was good and averaging around 11 minute miles. Given the steep terrain and the climb having us down to around 2 miles an hour I was more than happy with that. The path down was really hard on the ankles and very steep in spots so it took a lot of strength from the legs to avoid falling over. I found a pigeon step run heel striking was an effective way of being able to run downhill but retaining control at the same time. The scenery was breath taking and the miles were ticking by and we soon came down to Kinlochleven. The time was 12.40pm which had us around 20 minutes ahead of last years time. Again as per last year we went into the village shop and topped up on water before continuing on. There is a short steep climb out of Kinlochleven back up to a military road so again we walked this as it was too steep to possibly run.

kin

 Once up on to the road it levels out so is far easier to get running on. Now 22 miles in I was tiring quite badly and made sure to keep eating and drinking to keep the energy up. After traversing along the mountainside for around another 6/7 miles we came upon a point of the trail where there is a couple of different route possibilities. Last year I had gone left and followed a tarmacked road back into Fort William, this year we decided to go right and follow the off road trail instead. In hindsight this may have been a mistake as it was extremely tough, very steep in places and very energy sapping. I was beginning to suffer quite badly feeing sick and dizzy, trying to keep on top of things I soon used up my remaining water. If you attempt this do not underestimate how much water you need. Over the entire distance I had only carried and consumed 2 litres of water, I could easily have drunk 4 litres!! The route climbs up and enters a very dense pine forest which was amazing and straight out of a Hollywood movie, very dramatic and heavily scented with the Scots pine. I kept moving through phases of sickness followed by feeling ok and energetic enough again to run more, quickly followed by more nausea. Now around 33 miles in we used the gravity of the downhill parts to help get back into a slow running rhythm. We only a matter of a couple of miles from reaching our designated 35 mile target, the same distance I had run last year, I could quite easily have laid down, not moved and just stayed there out in the open. It was a real help having Tim along this year as He was able to keep encouraging me. We soon came across the long awaited signpost pointing to the campsite that marked our 35 miles. The weather was turning, rain had been forecast but for later in the evening, it had arrived early. It was really starting to blow a gale and the clouds were closing in, we twisted around the final descent and could see the campsite through the trees. Out into the open and we reached our 35 mile target in 8 hours and 20 minutes, this was 41 minutes quicker over the distance than last year but the alternative route we took at the end was far, far harder. We dropped into the campsite shop and refuelled and after 10 minutes I started to feel a little better. Tim had faired really well but admitted he had found sections very tough and was shattered. Another great running experience, but for now I think I’ll return to some shorter distances no doubt before misplacing my marbles again and tackling another ludicrous distance.

VMLM 2014 Expo and Registration

A great start to the journey! The first train we boarded from home ended up being terminated so we had to make a change before finally heading to Stratford and then on to Custom House for the Excel marathon registration. The opening time was 10am so we had plenty of time departing home at 07.35am but I was expecting there to be large amounts of people and some queuing to do so I wanted to get there in good time. I took my 8 year old son along to experience the day and he was hoping to spot a celebrity or two! It was his first time on the DLR service which was an experience in itself for him, driverless trains weaving through the city buildings, great fun for him. Excel is dead easy to find, it is on the doorstep of Custom House station and you virtually walk straight into Excel once getting off the train.

20140411_131932

 We got to the queue about 09.50am..it opens at 10.00am and only had about 100 people ahead of us. Once the doors opened and people flooded in the numbers soon swelled and there were thousands of people streaming into the Excel. The first port of call was to loo for my relevant number station to pick up my race pack.

20140411_100256

Number 24813..went and collected my pack and listened to some instructions and then we could head on to the chip collection point.

20140411_100303

It didn’t take long to get the chip and then we headed on in to the expo. We tried to be methodical going up and down aisles but there was so much going on and so many people trying to get your attention and talk to you we had plenty of turns off our intended path. In all it didn’t really matter as we probably ended up doing about 4 loops of all the stalls anyway. Adidas had a huge wall that could be signed so my son and I wrote a few messages up on the wall for people.

20140411_101723 20140411_101905

One message was for all the Saffron Striders at the club and the other was for the people on http://www.therunningbug.co.uk . As i was raising money for Macmillan cancer we went over to their stall and had a chat they also had a wall which I signed against my pre printed slot on the wall.

20140411_112703

Being absolutely bombarded with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to try out i was careful not to blow my money straight away. I had some purchases in mind but didn’t want to get caught by all sorts of things I hadn’t intended to. Having worn out socks i bought some new Balega socks which look and feel great but i’m not sure if to wear them for the marathon just yet. I had also wanted to buy some Brooks ASR shoes. Brooks had sent me a camera to document my runs in the build up to the marathon and in return for handing it in they were giving a £20 discount on shoes and a free bag of pasta. Typical! of all the possible shoe models they didn’t bring the ASR to the expo because it isn’t the most popular shoe. What to do..I was offered an alternative shoe but with no medial post…no thanks…what about if we email you a 20% discount code so you can still buy the shoes..yes please. And the bag of pasta? as we don’t have the shoes, no problem! Samples were available at the majority of gel and snack bar stalls and I think me and my son tried 75% of them, some far tastier than others. I ended up buying some powerbar gels and electrolyte tabs I haven’t tried before so we’ll see what they are like at some point. Fullers London Pride beer is one of the sponsors of the event so we stopped by to speak to them..and have some samples, “sorry son, dad only here”. Next on the list was Vita Coco coconut water stand where again my son was happy to dive in and try all the flavours available and settled on a purchase of mango and pineapple..good choice! I have had trouble with the soleus muscle on my left leg and have been having treatment for some time but one thing i wanted to try was Kinesiology tape. We found the KT tape stand and asked them some questions on what it was made from, how to apply it and why I shouldn’t go away and buy a cheaper brand. I had some applied to my problem area and was told it would be good to keep on for the marathon. I could feel the effect of it pulling and lifting the skin which is what is supposed to help alleviate pressure of any muscular pulls or strains. Feeling happy I bought a roll which I will use along side treatment.

 After about 3 hours of wading through charity leaflet handouts and international marathon invites we decided we had seen and purchased everything we wanted and had covered all the bases on who we wanted to see and speak to we decided to move on to the final section where we could buy some lunch and listen to various speakers. On our way I bumped into a friend and stopped and chatted about our preparations where he told me we had not long missed Wilson Kipsang…gutted, one person on my list I wanted to listen to. We moved on and bought noodles for lunch and sat down to an informative but less interesting talk on final instructions. Looking through the timetable we would have to wait a good three hours to listen to a celebrity speaker and closer 4 to hear Priscah Jeptoo..a bit too long to wait with a couple of hours travel home and trying to keep an 8 year old interested. Nevermind! we had a great time at Excel, the only problem is I am in the rear most pen 9..the 3.5 hour pacer is in pen 3. Being conservative with my application time of 4 hours has given me a little catching up to do..i’ll stick to my pace and i’m fairly sure I will catch up to them in the second half. That’s the plan anyway!

Salomon Crossmax Guidance

20131011_103321   I am a moderate to severe overpronator so when looking for a trail shoe I had it in mind to look for a shoe that offered support. It isn’t that common to find a trail shoe with support as most people will tell you because trails are so uneven and the foot is always moving about there isn’t much point in having the support. I would rather have the support and run blister and injury free. My UK men’s size 9 weighed in at 380 grams which is quite heavy for a shoe but it is worth it for the protection they offer and is hardly noticeable running on trails. If I was running on roads for any distance greater than about 3 miles then I am sure they would slow you down and become uncomfortable. I have quite a wide foot and buy an E width when buying road shoes. These weren’t tight or uncomfortable so i would say they are either a D or possibly an E width although this wasn’t stated when purchased. Salomon describe the elements that make the Crossmax as follows: Stretch Air Mesh Lace Pocket Protective Toe Cap SensiFit QuickLace Friction Free Lace Eyelet SensiFlex Textile Non Marking Contagrip OS Tendon Contagrip HA Contagrip LT Molded EVA Dual Density EVA Light Weight Muscle Compressed EVA Transition Link Carriage Construction EVA Shaped Footbed Ortholite Out of the box the shoe was a good red and black design. To the feel it was very solid a really stiff when trying to flex. My initial worry from this was they were going to be real bricks on the feet and take some getting used to. Trying them on they were amazingly comfortable with the Ortholite providing a snug and comfy fit. Walking around in them they did feel a little stiff with the main amount of flex being in the toe box area. They certainly held the foot very firm and gave the feeling of protectiveness and support that is required from a trail shoe. Taking them out onto my local trails they were great to run in and the stiffness wasn’t even noticed. The Contagrip outsole was superb in the mud and prevented the slipping that road shoes usually had. The lugs are a combination of rubbers to suit differing surfaces so they handle every thing from tarmac to gravel and sloppy mud. Having run on the road in them i wouldn’t want to do very much at a time as the minimal sole cushioning means you really feel the foot strikes. My road sections when on a trail haven’t been more than 3 miles at a time and that is about as much as I would want to do as  could see lower leg or shin trouble coming on doing long distances on the road. The quick lace system is good but I found I was over tightening them to start with and had to find a balance between tight enough to stop any heel slip but not too tight to cause discomfort. It may be my foot shape but the top eyelet on the inside was rubbing my foot and making it sore. This may toughen up in time and is something I will keep an eye on or I will have to resort to plasters in that area when I run. When my feet got wet the Crossmax drained really quickly, was comfortable to continue running in and seemed to dry a little from the heat off my feet. The toe cap was also great offering protection from scuffing tree roots and clipping the odd stone. I used the Crossmax to run my first ultra the Stort 30 organised by http://www.challenge-running.co.uk/stort30/. They were fantastic through the entire 30 miles, I had no blisters at the end and only a couple of hot spots. Although I had wet feet they drained really quickly which helped reduce the likelihood of blisters. I will being using these shoes all through the winter on trails and hope to run more ultras in them in the future. Apart from the issue with the eyelet, which may only be personal to me,I had no problem with them at all and would recommend these shoes to anyone.Salomon do these shoes in a standard non guidance form so you do need to check when shopping that it is or isn’t the guidance version.

Running On A Budget

bargain

 

 

Money has been stretched for most people in recent times so i thought i would write a post on what budget gear is currently available. I’m not one for buying really expensive clothing if i can find something far cheaper that does the job perfectly well then that’s good enough for me. I haven’t included running footwear because of so many variables like pronation, supination and width. I have searched out socks, shorts, t-shirts, long sleeve tops and also added a few accessories. I hope this is of some use to people and saves you some time trawling around the internet.

SOCKS

Nike Elite Running Quarter Sock Unisex – £5.00  http://www.achillesheel.co.uk/nike-elite-running-quarter-socks

Mizuno Women’s Ronin – $6.88  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpage-MZWRS.html

Karrimor Duo Sock – £3.00  http://www.sportsdirect.com/karrimor-duo-run-socks-1-pack-415044

Adidas T Sock – £2.99  http://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ADI4605/adidas-t-run-ankle-running-socks/

I have used the Karrimor and Nike socks with no trouble at all and the wear and durability is great. I have started using socks like the Nike elite more when racing as they have good elastication through the whole sock and help support the foot more than the average sock.

fastgood

SHORTS

Asics Boxer Short – £5.00  http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/clothing/shorts/asics-boxer-short.html

La Gear L LK – £2.49  http://www.sportsdirect.com/la-gear-i-lk-short-ld20-572050?colcode=57205025

New Balance World Class – $9.88  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpageMRA-NBMWCS.html

Nike 4 Inch Women’s – £5.00  http://www.achillesheel.co.uk/nike-4-inch-short-womens-black-baltic-blue

Lonsdale 2 Stripe – £5.00  http://www.sportsdirect.com/lonsdale-2-stripe-woven-shorts-mens-435000?colcode=43500092

I use the Lonsdale shorts mainly because they have zipped pockets which can be handy at some races when i want to keep my train ticket or door key on me while i run.

budget

T-SHIRTS

Asics Womens Eikoku Top – £7.00  http://www.achillesheel.co.uk/asics-eikoku-ss-top-womens-ss09

Karrimor Short Sleeve Men’s – £3.99  http://www.sportsdirect.com/karrimor-short-sleeve-run-t-shirt-mens-451131

New Balance Lady Short Sleeve – £6.99  http://www.sportsshoes.com/product/NEW689527/new-balance-lady-short-sleeve-t~shirt/

Asics Ready Set T – $9.88  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpageMRA-AMRSET.html

Craft Active Run – £4.00  http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/clothing/t-shirts/craft-active-run-t-shirt.html

When i started running i went and bought 2 or 3 cheap technical t-shirts but as most people will find as you enter races you will start to get a t-shirt as part of your entry. These seem to be getting better all the time and i have a good collection of technical t-shirts from races.

LONG SLEEVE TOPS

Brooks Women’s Equilibrium Nightlife LS – £12.00  http://www.achillesheel.co.uk/brooks-equilibrium-ls-top-nightlife-womens-aw09

Men’s Asics Favorite – $24.88  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpageMRA-AMFVLS2.html

Karrimor Women’s LS – £4.99  http://www.sportsdirect.com/karrimor-long-sleeve-running-top-ladies-456032

Asics Eikoku LS – £7.99  http://www.sportsshoes.com/product/ASI2095/asics-eikoku-3-long-sleeve-running-top/

Ronhill Vizion – £10.00  http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/clothing/long-sleeved-tops/ronhill-vizion-l-s-crew-11818.html

sale

ACCESSORIES

Nike Shoe Wallet – £2.50  http://www.achillesheel.co.uk/nike-shoe-wallet-grey

Asics Arm Warmers – $8.95  http://www.runningwarehouse.com/descpage-AARMW10.html

Lonsdale Headband – £1.99  http://www.sportsdirect.com/lonsdale-headband-mens-770009

Hilly Reflective Armband – £2.99  http://www.sportsshoes.com/product/HIL67/hilly-reflective-running-armband/

Adidas Team GB Cap – 3.00  http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/accessories/adidas-team-gb-cap-ss12-7795.html

There are loads of bargains to be had out there and you can easily go cheaper than some of the items i have listed. If you do go cheaper you will begin to compromise on quality with t-shirts tending to be cotton rather than technical polyester. With regards to shoes if you know what type you need going for last seasons model can be a cheaper way of getting the footwear you need. With regard to the t-shirts remember that you can start to build a collection by looking at races that offer a technical t-shirt as part of the entry. If anyone knows of some great money saving websites please feel free to comment and let people know, thanks.

Happy running all!, Baz.