Pay Weekend Purchase: January 2018

I go through a lot of running kit. In fact, I own far more technical clothing than I do actual clothes. My wardrobe is a brightly coloured collection of fast-wicking, anti-chafing, hi-vis outfits which is constantly growing. At our weekly ‘Runbetweeners’ running group, Kenny and I are often asked for advice on kit and so we decided that each month, on payday, we would list an item which we have found useful (or just fun!) with a brief description of why it is a valued part of our running arsenal! So here we go!

This month I have mostly been wearing…

Ronhill Infinity Blizzard Tights

Men's Infinity Blizzard TightBrand: Ronhill                                                                                Price: £70                                                                                     Rating: 4.5/5

I have owned dozens of pairs of running tights over the last decade but I can honestly say that these are the warmest that I have ever owned. They have a ‘brushed inner fabric’ and are made of a ‘heavier weight Roubaix’, according to the Ronhill website – which, to put it simply, makes them very cosy. This makes them great for slower paced, easy runs but I wouldn’t wear them for faster training sessions or races as I fear they would get a little too warm. With the majority of my running being done at an easier pace however, this makes them a fantastic addition to the wardrobe – particularly at this time of year in Scotland!

Whilst the colour options are restricted to simply ‘black’, and there is next to no reflective element to the tights, this isn’t really a concern as I tend to wear an impossible to miss Hi-Vis Jacket when out in the darker hours. The neutral colour also means that they can be paired up with almost any running top (if you’re particularly fashion conscious when pounding the pavements!).

One slight issue which I have found with my tights is that the legs are quite long and I am fairly vertically challenged. These are one of a few pairs of Ronhill tights which do not come in an XS option – which is a bit annoying. They still do the job, but I do find that they gather around the knees a little bit – which doesn’t really bother me but might be a concern for others.

All in all, these have been fantastic in the recent icy temperatures and I have definitely got my money’s worth out of them. They are undeniably placed at the pricier end of the market but I feel they have been worth the expense as they are noticeably warmer than other pairs which I own and they seem to be hard-wearing – I’ve worn them loads over the winter and they’ve been through the wash plenty of times without any sign of wear. I’d highly recommend these to anyone looking for a pair of winter running tights to get them through the cold, slower paced runs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Runbetweeners do the SubRun!

A little guest post from Runbetweener wife, Vicki…

Instagram is a great tool for runners; I love scrolling through my feed, finding new places to run, race inspiration (oh I really fancy an ultra) and fancy new kit from smaller brands. So when I came across someone’s post about a ‘subrun’ in Glasgow I was intrigued. Now, the ‘subcrawl’ has been popular among students and non-students alike for years. The idea being that you travel on the subway in Glasgow and get off at each stop to have a drink in the nearest pub: a rather messy night and not the healthiest affair! The subrun however sees like-minded runners running between each of the 15 subway stops, covering a total of around 10 miles and seeing the sights of the City Centre and West End. Sounded fun to me and I knew another group of runners who would love it too. I suggested it to my fellow Runbetweeners and, thankfully, a large group agreed. I was planning on including it in my marathon training plan as it’s always nicer to run with others. A date was set, a route planned and at 10.30 on the 14th January we met at the St Enoch centre.

There were 22 of us starting the run in total, with some hardy marathon runners doing some miles before and some runners only completing part of the route. That’s what I love about the Runbetweeners group, it’s so inclusive, no matter what stage on your running journey you are at. We set off once everyone was accounted for, going for an anti-clockwise route, getting the city centre out of the way before it started to get busy. Running up Buchanan Street just before the shops opened certainly was strange, but nice and quiet without the usual weekend hustle and bustle. We soon hit our first stop at Buchanan station and took the obligatory group selfie. I was told a photo had to be taken at every stop. That was the subrun rules.

Miles passed by and it was nice to have a 1 min stop at every station; It broke up the run a bit and each stop allowed the group to stay together, with the faster runners waiting each time. Soon we were in the West End and as people started to wake up, the streets were getting busier. Luckily, most people found our big group of brightly coloured lycra amusing and made way for us as we ambled past. We ran down Byres Road towards Kelvinhall station and then to Partick for a quick wee stop before the longest and most exciting part of the run.

It was 2.5 miles between Partick and Govan stations and the route took us through the Clyde Tunnel. Most of our group had never run through the Clyde Tunnel before and it was definitely a novelty. To get through you have to buzz the control room and someone lets you in, closing the gate behind you. A bit spooky but completely safe and well lit. As can be imagined, the first part of the tunnel is a great, gentle downhill to get us going. The tunnel was full of cheers and laughs with everyone enjoying this strange experience. It did however get a bit quieter as we reached the middle – what goes down must come up!

We got out the other side and started to make our way to Govan station after a quick selfie to show we had survived the tunnel. On route we passed the Glasgow Front Runners who were completing the subrun in the opposite direction. A charge of “attack!” was heard from Anne at the front of our group however it was all laughs and high 5s as we ran past each other. The subrun has become a bit of a trend this month in the running community in Glasgow with several running clubs and groups taking part which is wonderful to see.

Sadly, Govan is where I left the subrun. A niggle in my injury left me limping a bit, so I bid farewell to the group and set of on the actual subway to meet them at the end while they completed the final 4 miles. A few others dropped off over the next 4 miles too, some completing longer runs and running home, and a few didn’t have 10 miles in their training plans yet. The final group met back at the St Enoch for a coffee to discuss what a good day was had. We have all agreed we must do it again later in the year and I maybe have another idea for a group Sunday long run up my sleeve. Might start taking over from Jack soon…

The Runbetweeners Review 2017

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Wow that was faster than a quick spin around parkrun – 2017, over in a flash. Another good year for both of us both on and off the road with pbs, great races, running abroad and new friends made. So before we start setting out goals at the beginning of a new year it’s that Oscar-esque moment that races up and down the land have been waiting for: the now annual Runbetweeners pick of the best races around in 2017.

 

Prior to the glittery prizes being handed out (there are none before anyone contacts us) we both agree that this years major highlight has been the real establishment of The Runbetweeners running group in the south side of Glasgow – to such an extent that we’ve now both been ‘spotted’ on at least two occasions. In true Ant and Dec fashion though it’s clear some of you are still not sure which one’s The Boy and which one is Kenny. The best ‘spot’ was definitely as we cheered on the Stirling Marathon and two runners after a few double takes gave us a shout of ‘it’s definitely them. It’s The Runbetweeners. The most handsome runners in the south side of Glasgow’. We might have added the ‘most handsome’ bit in case the shouter is reading this 🙂

 

Anyway back to the group, we are delighted that our numbers continue to grow and many of our members are taking on new and exciting personal challenges. We have had great times together with monthly trips to taste some of the best cakes the central belt has to offer, often with a sideshow of a parkrun or charity 5k.

 

Unbelievably, we were shortlisted for JogScotland Group of the Year towards the end of 2017. We had a great night at the Scottish Athletics Awards with an impressive 30 members in attendance and although we did not win the main prize it was a huge honour to even be considered and to rub shoulders with the great and the good including Callum Hawkins, Laura Muir and Sammi Kinghorn.

 

This blog though is about the races we most enjoyed in 2017 and ones we’d encourage you to look out for in 2018. Hope you enjoy and let us know if you agree or have your own favourites.

 

10. Sheffield Hallam parkrun

JA: I returned to Sheffield Hallam parkrun at the start of 2017 and was chuffed to be lining up alongside the incredible Jess Ennis! The run was a fun and fast one and the atmosphere was fantastic. It was also nice to have a chat with Paul Sinton-Hewitt himself at the end of the run and to discuss the experiences that I have had as part of the team at Rouken Glen Junior parkrun

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/running-with-an-olympic-legend/

 

9.  The Jimmy Irvine

KT: A great run for both of us. I loved the undulating, lapped course around Bellahouston Park. This one makes the Top 10 for me as I am convinced it’s one of my best ever race performances. A day when I felt good, ran hard and secured a massive pb.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/the-jimmy-irvine-10k/

 

8. Tom Scott 10 Miler

KT: This was my first shot at the 10 mile distance and another cracking day when everything just seemed to click. I felt strong throughout and was able to reel in a number of runners on the small inclines in the second half of the route. This was a key race in my build up to London and showed I was coming out of winter training in good shape for the new season. A real confidence builder.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/tom-scott-road-race-10-miler/

 

7. Cowal Hill Race

KT: This is a proper race. A real traditional no-frills event. Cheap to enter with a small field of runners it is a tough uphill slog followed by a sprint to the finish. With beers and food on tap and free entry to The Cowal Games at the end this one has everything you would want. I love going back to Dunoon to catch up with the guys in the Hill Runners and was pleased to finish so high up the field.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/cowal-hill-race/

 

6. Moira’s Run

JA/KT: This was a great day out with The Runbetweeners and a brilliantly appropriate race for our club. The sun always shines on Moira’s run with the race itself taking second place to the wonderfully happy atmosphere that engulfs the park. Great to see so many familiar faces and a brilliant effort by all of The Runbetweeners on a very tough course.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/moiras-run-5k/

 

5. Bellahouston Harriers Time Trial

JA: The Harriers Time Trials this year were all fantastic and the July event was a particular favourite of mine this year. The cheap entry cost, enthusiastic turnout and fantastic post-run soup always make this a good experience but this event was also my first time at dipping below 10minutes which had been a big barrier on the horizon for a while. Loved it!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/bellahouston-harriers-2m-time-trial/

 

4. Run Mhor Half Marathon

KT: I loved the scenery, the climbs and the race with this one being a battle to hold on to position from the start for me. With the right amount of road, trail and challenge this suited me to a tea. I was pleased to run so quickly on a very tough course following a reasonable break after the London Marathon. The food and drink at the end didn’t interest me in the slightest or have any bearing on my decision to rank this one so highly 🙂

JA: As Kenny has mentioned, the stunning location of this run made it a fantastic experience and the climb at the end, whilst horrific during the running, led to a particularly incredible view. Also, any race that ends with a free pint and a fish and chips van is going to be good with me!

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/run-mhor-2017-a-top-ten-route/

 

3. The Kyles 10 Miles

KT: Another race that seems to be blessed with guaranteed sunshine. This has become a must do event for our calendar for the last few years. I was again pleased with my run and a big course pb. Pleased to see so many familiar faces making the journey and hopefully more will make the trip this year.

JA: This was our third trip to the event and we have had a hat-trick of glorious weather. This was a big PB for the both of us and it was great to sit out in the sun after the race and enjoy a beer and a burger with a group of good pals.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/kyles-10-miles-round-3/

 

2. The Coigach Half Marathon

KT: About as perfect an event as I could imagine making the 5 hour journey totally worth it. Incredible scenery, fantastic hospitality, a challenging route and brilliant post-race catering. If The Boy had made the journey this would definitely have been our race of the year. As it is it’s ranked as our highest place race in Scotland for 2017.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/coigach-half-marathon/

 

1. London Marathon / Berlin Marathon

KT: I’ve never felt so comfortable in any race and knew I was on for a big pb at London this year. This is just a special race. The emotion, the support, the sights and the noise are overwhelming at times. I focused on enjoying the experience this time around after learning harsh lessons and having my butt kicked in previous marathons and managed a near 20 minute pb with plenty left in the tank for my next visit to the big smoke.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/tips-for-first-time-marathoners-the-london-marathon-2017/

 

JA: The entire build up to this event was a fantastic experience and I loved having good mates (and a wife!) to prepare with in the weeks prior to the event. The weekend away was awesome and the race went perfectly to plan. Vicki and I both ran nice PBs and it was great to celebrate the run with our pals afterwards in Berlin.

https://therunbetweeners.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/a-very-late-summary-of-my-final-preparations-for-the-berlin-marathon/

 

 

Festive Running!

I’ve always loved Christmas. Falling asleep on the sofa in a cheap paper hat with a belly full of food and a familiar film in front of me whilst surrounded by family and friends has always been a highlight. In recent years however, I have discovered another thing which Christmas manages to do better than any other time of year. Running. Don’t get me wrong, I love a run any day of the year (and Strava has just informed me that last year I ran on most of them!) but Christmas running beats the lot of them and this year was particularly enjoyable – with a large portion of the credit going to parkrun…

In the spirit of giving, Vicki and I kicked off our running festivities by volunteering at Duthie Park Junior parkrun. Having been a member of the core team at Rouken Glen junior parkrun for the last year or so, I was intrigued to experience this relatively new event in Aberdeen. I was hoping to get a long run in so set the alarm for 7 and made my way to Duthie Park via the River Dee and Aberdeen Beach. Having enjoyed several years as a member of the Aberdeen University Boat Club, the run along the river was particularly enjoyable as I was able to reminisce of the icy mornings spent rowing up and down the river (often with a horrific hangover) and the eventful (!) socials held in the boathouse on the riverbank! I met Vicki at the park and we grabbed our Hi-Viz vests from the enthusiastic team of Teletubbies (At this point I realised I had forgotten my ‘festive fancy dress). Vicki’s younger cousin was making his parkrun debut at this event and it was great to see the enjoyment that the kids were getting from the event – it definitely gave the festive spirit a kick start!

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Christmas day was our turn to run and so we made our way to Hazelhead parkrun. This was a new parkrun for me and I was intrigued by the unusual profile of the route – 2.5km of climbing before turning around and enjoying a 2.5km downhill section through the woods. Vicki and I arrived nice and early but it became clear as we made our way to the start that Vicki’s injury was not going to play ball and so she decided it would be best to sit this one out. The atmosphere at the event was fantastic and the turnout was impressive. It was great to bump into Kyle Greig – an old friend from Uni – who has gone on to achieve some phenomenal things with his running since the days of our Tuesday night Social Run to the pub! I had a quick catch up with Kyle and then the Run Director led us all in a parkrun themed sing-a-long before starting the run. I enjoyed taking this one easy and took in the scenery as we made our way through the woodland. I would love to come back and have a shot at running this one fast as the long downhill second half would almost certainly lead to a nice negative split! After the run it was time to head home to make a start on food and presents – perfect!

After a couple of days running through the fields of Aberdeenshire it was time to fly to London and enjoy my second ‘new’ parkrun of the week. On New Year’s Eve I awoke early to make my way to Roundshaw Downs parkrun. I decided to make this part of my long run for the week and so enjoyed an easy 5.5M jog to and from the event to take my distance for the day up to 14M. The run itself was great and consisted of a couple of flat, muddy laps around the downs. The event was a fairly small one but as always the atmosphere was fantastic and I had a nice chat with the Run Director at the end.

New Year’s Day arrived and it was time for another parkrun! This time I was heading to Bushy park – the home of parkrun – with a big chunk of the family. We made our way to join the 1000 odd runners at the event and enjoyed the buzz that can only be generated by such a large event. This was my second trip to Bushy parkrun and I loved it just as much as I did the first time around. The route is nice and flat and the scenery is fantastic. Once again, I was surprised by the proximity of the deer and stags that graze in the park and enjoyed taking my foot off the gas to appreciate the view. After the run it was great to hear that the rest of the family had loved it too and we enjoyed our coffees in the park before heading home for another day of eating and napping on the sofa.

So there we have it! One week with four very different (free!) running events all over the festive period! I could have been greedy and gone for the Hogmanay double but maybe I’ll save that for next year…