Sunday 12 December 2010

Number 6 complete, 2hrs 2minutes on a hilly route around the Calvia area of Majorca.

Weather in Majorca is a lot better than the UK, but no one told me that the course would be so hilly. A lot of ups and downs, but some fantastic views on the way also. Started and Finished just outside Palma Nova, with half the run along the coast before turning inland for the final hills and run to the finish.

This was the first run with an organised group (running crazy), so it was nice to have a cold beer waiting at the end. Not sure about the 5:30 alarm call this morning for breakfast though.

The big race in a months time, 250 miles north of the arctic circle in Norway, hopefully the training over the last few weeks will help.

With those that have pledged, I have now exceeded the original 10k target, but that doesn't mean those who are still thinking of sponsoring should change their mind, every penny counts for Willow Burn, so the more the better.

Have a great Christmas, next update in 2011..

Start of Race 6, Calvia

Sunrise over the Med. Race number 6 Calvia Majorca

Very early start today (5:30am GMT). Race starts in an hour looks like a great day, have packed the sunglasses.

Saturday 27 November 2010

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the Benidorm Half Marathon. No 5 completed over the halfway point.

Moist is not a word that could be used to describe the weather in Benidorm for the half marathon. After 2 days of lovely weather a few hours before the race the heavens opened and remained open throughout the race.

The route was 2 1/2 laps of a course along the sea front. Didn't see a lot as with a 6pm start it was dark as well as damp.

At the end I was absolutely soaked to the skin (I have had dryer baths!) But still managed a respectable 2hrs 2minutes.

Had my support crew with me, thanks to Victoria, Mark and Marie who drank and cheered and drank some more. It was also nice to see fellow Blackhill Bounder, Bryan also running. 2 great high five moments as we passed each other at 6km and again around 16km.

Now sitting in a Tapa's bar in Denia having a very large beer and some traditional Spanish cuisine.

Next race Majorca in 2 weeks time. I may have dried out by then.

A wet Saturday in Benidorm.

The start is just over an hours time and Benidorm is wet and rainy. Only concern is the pavements and walkways are extremely slippy and guess what the majority of the race takes place on them.

Next update after the race.

No snow in Spain for Benidorm Half Marathon

6 hours until I take to the streets of Benidorm for the 5th Half Marathon, the half way mark.

After a 3 hour delay on Thursday evening, we made it out of Newcastle shortly before a Thomson's flight over shot the runway and closed the airport.

Weather was lovely on Friday, t-shirts and sun glasses. A little chillier today, but far better than the snow back home.

Nice to have the support team with me (Victoria, Mark and Marie), although I am not sure night-clubbing on Thursday night, Friday morning is the best preparation. I have not been into a nightclub for years, so what possessed us to go to one until 3:30am I have no idea.

Off now for a pasta lunch then drive down to Benidorm.

Thanks for the sponsorship and messages of support.

Friday 29 October 2010

10 mile training run in the Lakes and passed the magical 621 mile mark this year. That is over 1000km ran in 2010

Ran round the South side of Esthwaite Lake to Hawkshead then climbed over Claiffe Heights and back down to Far Sawrey.

Lovely way to reach the 621 milestone. 1000 kilometres ran an still 2 months left.

It has took me 110 hours or just over 4.5 days of running to do it.

Benidorm in 2 weeks.

Will update again then.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Final made page 3 (well page 3 in the Northern Echo that is)

Running man article appeared in the Northern Echo this week (see link below)


Sunday 17 October 2010

Run 4, Amsterdam, complete and in a pretty fantastic time if I say so myself.

Today started early with an alarm just after 4am, 6am flight to Amsterdam, in Schipol 7am UK time. A little early since I didn't cross the start line until around 2pm today.

This time did allow the temperature to lift, as it was only 2 degrees when we landed. It was still chilly for the race, but a less freezing 10 degrees.

The race was flat as expected and I had a really good run. It winds through the streets of Amsterdam before going through the main park and finishes in stile with half a lap of the Olympic Stadium.

I realised after about 10 miles that I could possibly break the 2 hour mark, and gave everything I had to do it. The usual sprint (ish) finish didn't happen as my legs had nothing left to give, but I did it, I broke the 2 hour mark. 1 hour 58 minutes, almost 5 minutes faster than my previous personal best.

I have to admit to being over the moon at the time, when I started this challenge I hoped to break the 2 hour barrier, but in the back of my mind I knew it was going to be a tough call. To put it in perspective I have knocked almost 15 minutes of my previous record, that is more than a minute for every mile.

A very happy bunny is sitting in Schipol airport having a few celebratory beers before the late flight back to Manchester.

Thanks again for all of the support, I have now raised around £9000, which is amazing, keep it coming.


Reward for today's effort, but is it rude to drink an odd number?

Answer: definitely not

1:58:40 yes ONE HOUR FIFTY EIGHT MINUTES FORTY SECONDS. Almost 5 minutes off PB. I love Amsterdam.

Absolutely chuffed with best ever run. More details later, I need a pint, in fact I deserve a pint.

Oops should say Race Number 4. Typo in all the excitement?

Start of Amsterdam - Race Runner 4

All set at the start of the Amsterdam race. Weather much improved from the early morning frost. Less than 3 hours until a large cold Amstel.....

A frosty morning in Amsterdam

Alarm went off at 4:10 this morning, not normal on a Sunday morning. Arrived in Amsterdam at 7am now making my way to the half marathon on the very efficient Dutch Metro system.

More reports later before and after the race.

Sunday 3 October 2010

What do you wear for a half marathon in the arctic circle?

This is the big dilemma, it is 3 months away, but having to put some thought in.

I have had to discount running spikes as there is no opportunity to train in them, or "run" them in. So after much thought the choice has been made. I have gone with a gortex cross country running shoe, which will keep my feet dry and give a little extra grip.

With all the bad weather, managed to see how good they are. 6 mile very hilly cross country run on very slippery tracks. Certainly took the newness of the shoes, but never slipped once.

Now just have to get the rest of the outfit sort, think a hat maybe in order.

Amsterdam 2 weeks and counting

Monday 20 September 2010

Who needs Hello Magazine! I have made it to Truck and Driver

Forget the latest on Posh and Becks, there is a (very small) article in the October issue of "Truck and Driver Magazine" - 100% for Drivers.

What next? The world is my oyster, I may even make the weekly free paper if I keep going!!

Sunday 19 September 2010

No. 3 Great North Run Complete on a wet day in Newcastle

Not the quickest run, but with a poor number allocation, it was a very congested race. 2hour 9minutes, so still my best GNR time. Really difficult to overtake or get into a running rhythm.

As always a great atmosphere in the biggest Half Marathon in the world. Makes you proud of the North East

Thanks everyone for the support and the donations so far, over £6000 raised already.

Next race Amsterdam in 4 weeks

No. 3 Start of the Bupa GNR

A damp day in Newcastle, about to start the Great North Run. Biggest Half Marathon in the world with 54000 runners. Great Atmosphere, Great place, Great people

Sunday 5 September 2010

No.2 - Glasgow Half Marathon Complete and a new PB

Finished the Glasgow Half Marathon in 2hrs 3minutes 19 seconds (by my watch). That is the quickest I have ever ran and a full 12 minutes faster than the last race. If I keep improving at this rate I will break the world record in Prague next April (very unlikely).

Nice race with a few hills and some of the nicest and not so nice parts of Glasgow. No major drama,s this time.

I have now broke £5000 in the fundraising which is amazing, thanks for all the support.

Next race is a "home" fixture at the Great North Run in 2 weeks

Thanks again, Nigel

Start of Glasgow Half Marathon

All ready to go!!

Saturday 4 September 2010

Glasgow Half Marathon Eve

In Glasgow for tomorrows Glasgow Half Marathon - number 2 of 10.

Weather forecast not great for running as it is forecast to be a hot day. Plenty of water needed.

Off for some pasta to prepare, next update after the race..

Thanks for everyone who has sponsored me, I have now raised over £5000 for Willow Burn, absolutely amazing

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Personnel Best in the Blyth 10k

Last big run before Glasgow and ran a personnel best of 55:19 in the Blyth Harriers 10k. Back felt good and held up well. I was put off a little by the woman runner who seemed to be acting a famous scene from When Harry Met Sally for the last 2 miles!! A few days rest now and the off north on Saturday.

Thanks again for everyone's support.

Saturday 28 August 2010

Back in the UK and Training Going Well


Back to the UK and managed a 10.5 mile training running this morning. I also ran everyday while in Spain. Back holding up well and felling not too bad. Also reached 2 milestones today; I have ran over 100 miles in the month of August (1st time ever) and have broke the 500 mile barrier for running this year. Role on Glasgow next weekend

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Training back on track

Back training this week after last weeks back problems. 3 runs in 3 days, all in the Spanish Heat, all seems to be holding up well

Thanks for all the emails. Will try to reply to all as quickly as I can.

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Amazing Response

Thanks to everyone for your amazing support and sponsorship. Over 3k raised in 5 days. Wow.

Monday 9 August 2010

Isle of Man Time

Just checked by time, and even with my Broken Back, I was only 6 seconds slower than my last 1/2 Marathon. There maybe is hope for me yet?

Sunday 8 August 2010

Isle of Man Completed 1 down 9 to go.

One of the toughest and most painful things I have ever done, but got to the end.

It was not due to lack of training, I have clocked up over 400 miles this year already. It was not the toughness of the course, there were hills, but compared to the Blackhill Bounders runs on a Tuesday night around Consett, it was flat. Best described as an undulating course. It was also not down to the weather, nice sea breeze, dry and slightly overcast, almost perfect running weather

In short it was down to my broken body, or more specifically my back. I injured it on 15th December 1991 getting out of a truck, well actually cracking 2 ribs on the steering wheel, cracking my shoulder blade and hurting my back on the passenger seat, before getting thrown onto the road through the windscreen as the truck gracefully rolled into a ditch. I have long since learned to manage it and through regular visits to Stephen Henderson at the Osteopath Centre on the Team Valley it hasn't been an issue for as long as I can remember.

So Saturday morning I wake up in pain, I have no clue why, normally it is caused by straining it lifting something, but this time it just decided to catch me by surprise. (Victoria thinks it is because I haven't had a drink for 5 days!). I got through the journey to the Isle of Man with plenty of pain killers and to be honest this morning I had pain, but it wasn't to bad.

So 9:30 we start and within half a mile I was in bother. When my back goes the muscles around my spine go into spasm to compensate, and my spine develops a convincing question mark shape! It was also starting to go very wrong. In the first 2 miles I had to briefly stop twice as the muscles spasms extended to my left leg, then it really hit me, fortunately next to a very nicely manicured lawn which when my left leg stopped working I gracefully fell onto, much to the shock of other runners. These 3 occasions proved to be the only times I stopped running for the entire race.

I kept running/jogging with the odd stumble due to left leg ignoring the simple run instruction issued by my brain. At 4 miles the pain killers kicked in and I managed to keep a steady pace with only the odd stumble through to the end.

My official time was 2:14:01 which isn't brilliant but it is a time. There was almost a tear of relief at the end. Tomorrow will be spent getting my back repositioned in the correct place.

They say no pain no gain. Hopefully my pain will be Willow Burns gain. I could have given up but that would have been a failure at the first hurdle. I have got a couple of contingency races up my sleeve in case of flight cancellation or injury, but I certainly wasn't going to use my joker so early.

4 weeks now to recover before Glasgow!!!

Half Marathon No1

Checked into at Ramsey for the Isle of Man Half Marathon. Back not too bad today, but hotel room above a nightclub that closed at 3:30 this morning so a little tired.

Had a good blast on the TT course from Douglas to Ramsey to wake me up.

Next update after the race. Thanks for all the messages of support and more importantly the pledges for Willow Burn. Keep them both coming.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Isle of Man Eve

Carbing up in an Italian on Liverpool docks. Ferry tonight then first race 09:30 tomorrow. Only one small hitch, I hope Mr pro lapsed disc drops back in over night. Could be a long half marathon. Good timing for back to go!!

Friday 6 August 2010

Thursday 5 August 2010

Thanks to everyone for the Amazing Support

Absolutely amazing response to the launch of the Running Man Challenge. I have received over 100 emails this afternoon, which is why I am still replying to them at 11pm. Thank you to everyone who sent their support and pretty much universally questioned my sanity. Also a massive thanks to those who have donated already and to those who have promised to in the future.

I am absolutely overwhelmed by the reaction and it certainly makes all those training runs around the hills of Consett seem worthwhile and motivated me even further.

A special thanks to the amazing friends who sponsored me £100 per race (yes per race). I have to say at first I thought they had miss read the information, I then thought they must be banking on me not making it long enough to collect, but then I realised they have just been unbelievably generous. An extra big thanks to you both - you know who you are.

Finally to Mike, thanks for the IT help today, and no I will not be running any of the races in the yellow lycra outfit as modelled by Arnie in the 1987 film - The Running Man. It simply isn't going to happen..

The Big Running Challenge

The big challenge starts on Sunday in the Isle of Man. Follow the progress and support at
Nigel Cook
Elddis Transport (Consett) Limited

Monday 2 August 2010

Welcome to My Big Running Challenge

Welcome to the RunningMan blog.

Please read through the other pages on to learn about my big running challenge. I will keep the blog updated with my progress as the races take place.

You can also follow me on Twitter (nigelcook68), Linkedin and Facebook (The Running Man).

Most importantly you can support Willow Burn either via or if you prefer to send a cheque make it payable to Willow Burn and send it to Nigel Cook c/o Elddis Transport (Consett) Limited, Delves Lane, Consett, Co. Durham, DH8 7LH.

Thanks to Louise at White Rose Media for putting together the website at very short notice.

Thanks for visiting, please visit as often as you can, and donate as much as you can afford