The Hebden 2018

The Hebden is an LDWA event for runners and walkers organised by Alan Greenwood and Carole engel and comes in two flavours 15 or 22 miles.It is a real start of season treat up in the Calder valley and this year was my third year running .

First and foremost ,this isn’t a race .It is a laid back event that the organisers kindly let us runners take part in. I had half a mind on whether to write this blog as its getting more and more popular every year (and i still want my place next year).

The drive over to the dark side of the hills,was eventful .The snow had come down overnight and the country lanes had become ‘interesting’. the thought of turning round and get back in bed entered my head 317 times.

After arriving and parking up ,registration as always was a straightforward affair,give a kind gent my name and he gave me a numbered chip to hang around my neck like a shit Mr T.

Then it was time for breaky ,one thing the Hebden is famous for is the food,prior to the race there is as much toast and tea/coffee you can handle. On course there are loads of checkpoints serving cake and sandwiches and at the finish pie and peas followed by crumble and custard!

After shoving a piece of toast down my face,meeting up with clubmates and friends for the pre run chit chat it was off to the start for the off.

Now the reason i love this event is because it’s tough! if you are looking for a flat road event you may be in for a shock. The hebden is off-road and if it’s not uphill ,its quad crushing downhills!


The route


I set off a little further back than i would’ve liked due to chatting and not hearing the start, which actually turned out to be a good thing as i did not get caught up in the racing and setting off too fast as i sometimes do.

I had already planned to run around as last year with my teammate Fiona and bend her ear regarding all things ultra ( She is an ultra running machine and you can read her exploits HERE).

We set off at an easy-ish pace with me chewing her ear off (she tells me she doesn’t mind but trust me there is only so much of my voice people can take).

We play it nice and steady all round this year as i said earlier the snow had come down so this year we had three terrain choices,snow,ice or mud glorious mud.

Fun in the snow.


Now this is my third year running this course,second year with Fi so you would think we would be dab hands now right? wrong! we got lost again a few times along the way ,once in a place we got lost at in 2016 and that we had been saying for half an hour previous that we definitely knew the route this year…..

Checkpoints on this event are unreal ,cakes sandwiches,tiffin although i’m not sure what a beef dripping sandwich is (crazy Yorkshire folk,i stuck to cake).

The climb from mile ten takes you up to near Stoodley pike and it’s certainly my least favourite part every year,it goes on FOREVER! Usually Stoodley pike sits there all smug on top of its perch ,judging me and my shuffle that i try to convince myself is running, not this year though,this year the fog is down and a sneak past without being spotted,which is a shame as we totally ran all of that climb this year as well!


Just after this climb is my fave section of the race,a lovely descent through some woodland ,this year however its that muddy i end up on my arse more than once.

At the base of this descent is the checkpoint where you either turn left for the 15 or right for the 22,i begged to do the shorter course but it wasn’t to be.One more slab of lovely tiffin and i was on my way once more.

This final section is where we became ‘misplaced’ a few times , I felt a little guilty as a chap was following us who for some bizarre reason thought WE knew where we was going ! i may of told him it was our third year at the event but still….

Finally back on track and almost home we realised we wouldn’t hit our time goal ,but given the weather,getting lost,falling on my arse and having a good old chin wag it was a good old day at the office.

Back at the start/finish i inhaled my pie and crumble plus a lovely cup of coffee.Im fairly certain i put weight ON during this event!

So 22 miles ,almost 5000ft of climb and an all you can eat buffet at different checkpoints on the way round,how much you cry? £50? £60?

Nope the princely sum of £15 but if you want in be quick,it sells out FAST! entries are usually on SI entries late on in the year so keep your eyes peeled. If you do enter however,save me some Tiffin!


Marathon training tips

For most runners Spring marathons are less than three months away……….

Exciting isn’t it?

It is around this time that people start to panic and maranoia kicks in. Here are a few tips to hopefully keep you on the right track.


Make a plan

Or get one. A simple internet search will find loads and loads of plans,some free,some paid and all promising to help you be a better runner (most are bollocks). Pick one that’s right for YOU , not just for this week but for every week up to race day, it’s no good starting a plan that has you running six days a week when you can really only commit to four. I favour 16 week plans as you will more than likely pick up a niggle or get the lurgy that is going around work……..which leads me to my next tip.

Don’t chase missed sessions!

We have all been there ,you have had a cold,had to stay late at work or just had a bout of cantbearseditis (its real google it!). You can’t chase the past, if you have missed a week just carry on as normal with your plan, if its been a couple of weeks or a serious illness it may be wise to reassess your plan/goal. One of the reasons i prefer a 16 week buildup is when the inevitable happens i have time to regroup and rebuild.

Set a time goal.

This is important, the amount of times i have heard ‘i just want to get round’ or ‘i want to run four or four and a half hours’. If you don’t have a goal finish time how do you know what pace to set off ? Marathons are a difficult beast to tame and if you set off too fast you will melt into a puddle of despair and misery by mile twenty . ( I’ve been there done it and got the T-shirt). A good place to start is double your half marathon time and add ten minutes to get your marathon pace.

Nothing new on race day

Kit,shoes and nutrition should all be sorted well before the day. We all like shiny new gear but brand new kit can sometimes mean disaster, if you have ever chaffed your nether regions because of new shorts you will know what i mean. I like to do a dress rehearsal two weeks out as that’s normally last long run day. Everything i’m going to wear for the race gets tested to check its not too tight/loose and that i feel comfy, if you don’t want to carry gels on race day google what the event are using and buy a few to see how they sit on your stomach if different from your usual brand.

Enjoy the experience

Last but not least enjoy the day. Embrace the pain, it will hurt, a lot ,you will question your sanity and you will at some point want to kick the heavy breather in front of you right up the arse! But when you see that finish everything will fade away and you will feel on top of the world! Not many people are brave/daft enough to run the marathon so enjoy the smugness but be prepared when you get back to work to be asked ‘was your marathon as long as London?’