Final run 2011

  • Saturday, December 31, 2011
  • 0
 Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
The final run of 2011 takes place through the mud and tree's and appropriately in the dark. I run with Jerry as he goes for a personal milestone and I'm pleased to do so, I think we under estimate the importance of friendship as we go through our lives. I always get a lot of pleasure from my runs with Jerry, we are perfect foils for each other, he likes to talk and I am a better listener. He talks running philosophy and this and the camaraderie make me feel better about what I had seen as a disappointing running year. The miles go by quickly and smoothly, he invites me in to his house for a cup of tea, I should have said yes but instead ran on up the hill and home.

Shoe stable

 My running shoe stable is complete with todays arrival of my Newton MV2 shoes. My Five Finger Bikila's will remain my shoe of choice but I was happy with the maiden performance of the Newtons on a long and muddy trail run. So, top, clockwise, the Newtons, Bikila's, Inov-8 Mudroc's and aquashoes! A good variety of shoe for all conditions.

Conversation is stillborn

  • Monday, December 19, 2011
  • 0
Every moment of one's existence one is growing
into more or
into less.
(Norman Mailer)

Conversation is stillborn and I have nothing of interest to say so I leave my home and I run beneath the scrolling clouds into the beautiful light. I know there will never be another day like this and I want to absorb myself into it. I run recklessly and without thought other than that I run for the joy of my surroundings. Amazingly for December I am still running in shorts and sockless in my Five Fingers, I charge through deep and slippery puddles not so much running as skidding. Today I don't care, only this moment in time exists and has any importance, I thrust myself chest first towards and away from myself, the mundane transformed by my movement through the tree's.

Newton MV2 shoes

  • Saturday, December 17, 2011
  • 1

I am a winner.
Thanks to the great folks at Ten-Point who ran a competition to win a pair of Newton MV2 minimalist shoes for drawing my name out of the hat - the first time I've ever won anything. Ten-Point are a specialist triathlon shop who sold me a pair of toe socks with high wool content a year ago when I needed something that was warm and would help keep my feet dry in Five Fingers. My new Newton shoes will add a nice bit of balance to my running shoe stable as a winter running shoe. They will go well with my waterproof Sealskinz socks which I was given when I subscribed to Trailrunning magazine 3 months ago, all in all I am now nicely set up for winter.

Parrots and bulls. Odd shaped balls.

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2011
  • 0
We are nine. At nine we cross the threshold, ghost busters on a mission.
Getting there we bob and weave and laugh, a line of Cyclops across fields and paths. We brave the bull in the field and sharply contour along barbed wire fences. Our first objective reached we stand beneath it's sagging beams. We drink a brew named Odd Shaped Balls pulled by an odd shaped barmaid. In another room her companion with a tangled beard and a tangled soul hides his eyes under a cap and stares at a fuzzy black and white TV mounted on a crate. There is a parrot in the inglenook. It may know where the bodies are buried but it doesn't say. As we leave I stare up at the limp flag of St George above me before we are swallowed up in the dark night. Once again we traverse the Downs in darkness, my feet bonded to the earth and my spirit to the heavens. I love running like this and I am pleased that Liz has joined us, she is our first lady, wry, dry and faintly Northern.
We are nine. At 10:30pm we reach our second objective, the end. We cross the threshold thirsty. This pub is warm and bright. I drink Fosters.

  • Friday, October 28, 2011
  • 0
I'm really looking forward to this...

Night run - A saucerful of secrets
29 October · 20:00 - 23:00

Public Car Park
Filston Lane
Shoreham, United Kingdom

Created by:
Jeremy Smallwood

More info
As you will know if you run these events then you do so entirely at your own risk as we will be running on woodland trails, rutted paths in the countryside away from roads and street lights IN THE DARK. You will need some sort of torch, preferably a headtorch, a mobile phone and a requirement of a person we can contact if you are hurt.

There has been a ground swell of interest from runners who are very interested in the Night Run series but not quite ready to do the full distance therefore I propose to meet people further into the run so that they can join the full distance group to complete about 5 miles

The full route will be approximately 10 miles long with a "checkpoint" at the halfway point where you will be able to partake in some Kentish Ale or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice at your own cost

Club runners can you see if you can get this added to you Club newletters, forums and of course invite anyone that you think may be interested. BTW I have tried to organise this around Grand Prix events and recovery from races

If you are a "5 miler" please accept the event and contact me via FB private message so that I can get a guage of the numbers involved

holding the sun between my fingers

  • Monday, October 24, 2011
  • 0
I am focused on what I am after
The key to the next open chapter
Cause I found a way to steal the sun from the sky
Long live that day that I decided to fly from the inside

 Early Sunday I run holding the sun between my fingertips. I run with Jerry and Liz, we are in the process of reaffirming our love of the North Downs and the beauty of creation, we worship with our feet, our conversation and our own aboriginal thoughts. We climb a long steep hill, ahead Jerry turns and tells us not to look up to where we are going but to look back at where we have come from. This strikes me as a profound metaphor. Last week I was on the fo'c'sle of a tall ship straining to see ahead into the thick fog, we were sailing blind. This is how my life often seems. I think that sometimes it is right to look back at the monuments that we build throughout life to point us onwards, looking back enables us to see ahead, it is right to pause and take in the view. At least this is what I believe and hope and if we find some faithful companions to journey with us then even better.
When we return to the car I drink cold chocolate milk.


Slipping into Cherbourg harbour early on a bright Thursday morning I notice the low hill in the near distance. I am immediately intrigued by it, what would it be like to run up, is there a way up, would I get a chance to find out? We spend a pleasant day wandering around this charming town before returning to the Lord Nelson at five. We are told that we have an hour before meeting at a restaurant for dinner. I seize the opportunity to run setting off down the cobbled quay in search of the hill. I run in a large circle around the harbour and then climb and climb. I even find a short section of trail. Sadly halfway up I am stopped dead by a security fence, I return to the ship having got in a quick four miles. I am happy, I have run in France and I have just enough time for a quick shower. We eat as a crew at La Marina and it is excellent then it's back to my bunk for a few hours before my 4am harbour watch. Life is good.

Nick Cave says it better...

  • Thursday, September 01, 2011
  • 0
Amateurs, dilettantes, hacks, cowboys, clones
The streets groan with little Caesars, Napoleons and cunts
With their building blocks and their tiny plastic phones
Counting on their fingers, with crumbs down their fronts
(Nick Cave)
I run the streets with cracked pavements and wheezing, stinking buses crammed with dreamers dreaming. I run past the man with his birds nest beard and the wife with the flat eyes of a dead fish. I see tribal tattooed lager louts and girls in heels and fuck me skirts and tumble weed kids and squatting dogs and rundown pubs with sky sports one, I run down charmless alleyways and dodge and swerve and leap...this is the urban dream baby and I'm living it

Monday? Tuesday?

  • Wednesday, August 31, 2011
  • 1
On Monday I think it is Tuesday so I put out my garbage for Wednesday and go off for a club run. I arrive and realise I am 24 hours early. I decide not to wait and drive home. Because it is Monday and I've returned home I run 2.4 miles with my six year old son at 9:45 pace. We discuss fatal collisions and trail running etiquette. He wants to know why I am left handed and he is not. He remembers to land on the balls of his feet but doesn't offer to bring in the garbage.
On Tuesday I remember it is Tuesday and I get a text inviting me to run eight miles offroad as a guest with our rival/ sister club. I accept, we meet and greet and we run across the land and through darkening woods at a pace that exhilarates me. I've had the blues for the last few weeks and even running has been a chore but this night I feel it all drop off me, as a run it is as close to perfect as you can get and I feel euphoric and recharged.

Path 164

  • Monday, August 22, 2011
  • 2
It's a pretty picture in a 37 hectare park but it is misleading. To get there I run along busy roads, through housing estates and endless industrial parks. I run down fenced urban footpaths with exotic names like path 164. I dodge windblown litter and swerving kids on BMX bikes. I eventually reach the meadow but pause only for the briefest of moments, my achilles is aching and I'm not sure of the best route home. I resort to my satnav to guide me out of the maze of streets and end up crossing a busy 6 lane roundabout. Not my greatest run and I limp the last two miles. I will be back.

damp running

  • Friday, August 19, 2011
  • 0
Damp running/ High vis and waterproofs/ Five fingers/ Jerry/ Missed turning/ Floundering around in wet undergrowth/ Like Carry On movie/ re orientated/ familiar old route/ Gloomy/ Headtorch/ Roots/ Good conversation (is Jerry an axe murderer?) = good pace/ Great run/ 8 miles/ Tired/ Happy/ Shower/ Book/ Bed.

Fruit, fibre and survival

  • Sunday, August 14, 2011
  • 1
Sunday. North Downs, Kent. Another morning spent freedom running. I go out with Jerry, Liz the thunder runner and Michael the gazelle. We freewheel down grassy hillsides like children, we discuss the beauty of the French language and colonic irrigation. All around us are the classic motifs of summer, knee high crops, cows, sheep, horses and knats, above us the clouds are streaked with blue. Liz and I discuss survivalist running - there are plenty of blueberries and plums to be plucked and eaten. We could live off the land we argue. I don't partake though, to much fibre while running could spell disaster. I share out my fruit pastilles instead and Jerry delivers an impassioned and informative lecture about flood defenses before leading us up a 1:14 gradient hill, where I am forced to run/ walk/ shuffle my way to the summit. A wonderful way to start Sunday with fantastic people, the only downside is a niggling achilles that I felt the whole way, I hope this is not going to become a problem. Driving home I almost but not quite obliterate a peleton of cyclists.


  • Saturday, August 13, 2011
  • 0

I go on holiday, a weeks camping in Lincolnshire. I've been here before and I've had some good runs both on the beach and along the paths. This time days go by and I don't run. I can't work it out, I am as empty as a clear morning, the hungry black dog inside me that demands that I run is silent, I have nada motivation. Then on the penultimate day something stirs as I sit lizard like outside my tent. I recognise the voice and change into running gear and off I go. I run down to the village of Alford and then along the path to Rigsby. I run through pristine wheat fields somnolent under a windless sun before retracing my steps along the disused railway line toward Well before doglegging my way across ploughed fields and country roads, it's good to run after a hiatus and I return to camp satisfied.

Zimbabwe cricket

  • Wednesday, August 10, 2011
  • 0
A rare, non running post to celebrate Zimbabwe's triumphant return to test cricket, this image says it all.

Night run in search of ghosts (isog)

  • Wednesday, August 03, 2011
  • 0

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright 

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
(Dylan Thomas)

We don't rage against the dying of the light but gentle into the dark in a steadfast and yeoman like manner, we run resolute, the dying light lying across our shoulders like a golden yoke and burnishing the green fields around us. We are in search of ghosts and history and nightfall. We find none of the former but hear the stories of hanged highwaymen on the gallows outside William the Bastards pub and weeping Spanish smugglers. History is
easier to find in Kent, we learnt that Knockholt is the highest village in Kent, about the Norman knight called Vital who lived in the Shoreham valley and is shown in the Bayeaux tapestry and how Shoreham was the most bombed village in WW ll. We are a good mix of runners from two clubs. I know most of them and I am one of two minimalist runners, the other being Andy. Night suddenly comes outside Eynsford taking me by surprise, we fumble for torches and continue. We stop in a friendly pub, The Crown after 10 miles to rehydrate and engage with the locals. Recommended. It's hard to get going afterward, my muscles cold and stiff as we climb upwards in the dark en route back to Knockholt. I graft it out picking up fragments of conversation and good humour from disembodied runners in the dark. It is another fantastic evening begun in the sun and ended in the pitch black of a new moon, 15 miles according to my GPS of downland running. Thanks to the Union flag clad Jerry for his usual meticulous organisation.

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2011
  • 0
Self portrait on six

Sometimes you don't feel like running. I shrug off the apathy like a tramps blanket and run. I smash through the first three miles and attack two decent climbs with a ferocity that surprises me. I think this is how it must feel for the elites, I am fast (for me) and strong. I soar. After 3.5 miles I have to stop, the sole of my Vibrams has been pierced by a thin shard of metal, I pluck it out and hope it is not the tip of a needle. Resuming my pace is easier but my run still sublime. When I get home I stretch out and lie on the upstairs landing and meditate. My meditation leads me to the garden where I rehydrate with a glass of sweet white wine. Love running.

Lavender fields forever

  • Sunday, July 24, 2011
  • 0

It's Sunday and that arch schemer Jerry has facebooked about the possibility of a Downland run to look at the lavender fields. I'm not turned on by lavender but I do love running in North Kent. It is a beautiful morning that demands a run under clear blue Kent skies. He collects me early, we pick up Sabina and drive to Shoreham. In the car Sabina and I are regaled with wild tales of mysterious military establishments, secret military junctions on the M25 and weeping Spanish ghosts. We run along the river taking in the tranquil beauty of the area, climb a 40 degree hill, sprint through a rifle range and cross a golf course. I attempt to crush Sabina in a gate but fail. We smell lavender and see it in the distance. It does look lovely, a bright purple bruise against the hillside, Lavender is slowly replacing the more traditional hop crop, the purpleness being more lucrative.  We reach Eynsford and run past Lullingstone, looping back to Shoreham. We are shown a torturous and confusing "shortcut" to Sabina's house on the car journey home.

monsoon running

On Thursday Jerry phones me from his central London office. " I'm looking out my window and it's a monsoon out there, fancy a wet, muddy trail run?" I answer in the affirmative and we set a time and rendezvous. In the 'burbs it hasn't yet started raining but thanks to Jerry I know that the mother of all downpours is on it's way. I briefly consider whether to run in cross country studs but keep the faith with Vibrams and my awesome minimalist running form. I dress in my bright yellow waterproof jacket, the one with the double taped seams and set off. We meet and we run. And we run. And we run. We wait for rain, stopping from time to time to cast hopeful glances skyward but none comes. I perform a rain dance. No rain. We create our own micro climates in our jackets, after nearly ten miles we are drenched with sweat, when we stop puddles form at our feet. Funny place London.

I have a decent working knowledge of physiology and bio mechanics

  • Thursday, July 14, 2011
  • 0
I have a decent working knowledge of physiology and bio mechanics yet still don't always understand how the body works. I am in a particularly fine phase in my running life at the moment, I'm fit and fluid. Tuesday evening is the weekly club run and I set off feeling good, I run strong at the front of the pack and I'm comfortable there. I even feel that I'm pulling the group along at one point. However after five miles I start to tighten up, I can feel it in my lower back and hips. After seven miles I leave the group run and cut for home. I sleep light and restless that night waking several times, my legs sore and stiff.
Why is this? I have run further recently and in hotter times of the day and had no adverse reaction. From time to time I seem to get this and it does seem to relate to my lower back.
On the plus side, since I switched from conventional shoes to minimalist shoes my recovery is swift, by lunchtime on Wednesday my legs are fine. Three years ago I would have been sidelined for days.

We had the awesome Tim Prendergast at school this morning

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2011
  • 0

We had the awesome Tim Prendergast at school this morning. This was Tims second visit - I think we have adopted him as our own and hope that he wins the Paralympic 1500 gold in London 2012. It's great to meet such a decent, likeable and humble guy who always finds time to talk to everyone. I've added the Sport England bio of Tim below.

Tim Prendergast

‘Make your dreams more than a vision’.


Paralympian - runner

Favourite quote

‘Make your dreams more than a vision’.


I have been into sport from a young age. At eight years of age I started losing 95% of my vision and sports like cricket and football became difficult. I discovered that running was a sport I could still participate in and despite finishing last in my first competitive race I picked myself up, trained hard and progressed in my running career to the point of representing my home country, New Zealand at three Paralympic Games.

Who is your role model?

Roger Banister - the first man to break four minutes for the mile.

Who was your biggest influence?

My parents when I was young always drove me to training races and would come and watch me at the big events. My training partner Ben Ruthe who is a huge inspiration and motivating influence. My coach who has been my coach for 16 years and all the inspirational athletes I have met throughout my career.

What is your proudest moment?

Winning Gold at the Athens Paralympic Games. The Gold in Athens came after a rough first race in the 1500 metres. I was so satisfied to bounce back and win the Gold after that disappointment. Proudest moment ever!!

What is your tip for young people wanting to take part in sport?

Enjoy your sport first and foremost.

What is your favourite food?


What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

Once of the best pieces of advice I have been given was someone once told me that ‘limits are in the mind of those that set them’. I take this on board with my training and racing and know that I can strive to be the best and if I don’t achieve my dream I know I haven’t put barriers up to prevent this from happening, rather I have given it everything.

Competitive results

  • Team captain at Beijing Paralympics 2008.
  • Gold/Silver World Blind Games 2007.
  • IPC World Athletics Champs 2 Silvers 2006.
  • IPC World Indoor Champs Gold 2006.
  • Athens Paralympics Gold 2004.
  • Sydney Paralympics 2 Silvers 2000.

with a large bottle of cold ale

  • Sunday, July 03, 2011
  • 0
Today my body is in love with running. My mind, so often full of clear swirling thoughts and word pictures is chaotic and scrambled. Today nothing suggests but my run is still superb. I am so relaxed and energised that I want to run forever. I clamber over railway bridges and run along the trails in the bright mid morning sun, I run through four different woods and finish with one bastard hill. Afterwards I sit shirtless in the sun with a large bottle of cold ale. There was nothing profound about my run today apart from the purity and simplicity of the act itself - and that is profundity enough.

No pictures of any hippies though!

  • Sunday, June 19, 2011
  • 0
a selection of photo's from this mornings run on the North downs - no pictures of any hippies though!

 rob near Chevening
wheat field en route to shoreham

 high above shoreham


through knat clouds and silver motes

  • Saturday, June 18, 2011
  • 0
 three miles
 six miles
eight miles

i run in a haze of thoughts, through knat clouds and silver motes suspended in golden shafts. my body, spirit and creation are in harmony, i am loose and relaxed and running smoothly and fast. why can't it always be like this? my feet have a mind of their own today and i am happy to let them fall where they want. even the wind is compliant, it seems to be my companion today, invisible and swift and i match it stride for stride. like God's spirit it is with me, ahead of me and surrounding me, manifest in the music of rustling leaves.
like most of my runs i am happy when i reach home and stop, i am peacewashed and still.

Our nettle stung legs steady and sure as a pulse

  • Monday, June 06, 2011
  • 0
Daughter of Elysium,
Touched with fire, to the portal,
Of thy radiant shrine, we come.
Your sweet magic frees all others,
Held in Custom's rigid rings.
All men on earth become brothers,
In the haven of your wings.
we run through poppy flecked Elysian fields following the course of the ancient Roman road to the top of the North Downs. startled deer startle us and pheasants flee our shotgun free hands. we are drunk on the sky and vibrato wind, our nettle stung legs steady and sure as a pulse. I love running with Jerry, i trust him, conversation is interesting, confessional and free, his route planning educational and unique. some of the trails we run are basically unused, broken and rough, some are animal trails with knee high grass and a profusion of wildflower and weed. on days like this i feel as if we own the earth.

Road id

  • Saturday, June 04, 2011
  • 0
one of my colleagues had a heavy fall in the woods while running resulting in shattered bone. Fortunately she was with another runner but it did get me thinking. Sometimes i run off road alone and although i always carry my phone with my emergency details stored in it i decided that extra identification that was immediately visible might be a good idea. i now have an id bracelet containing my next of kin details as well as my blood type (rare) and medical history. it's just extra peace of mind - even our good running buddies don't always know the important details about us!

reptilian and kamikaze

  • Monday, May 30, 2011
  • 0

in the end it is a reptilian run but that's not a bad thing. the woods are cool and dark like a brothers grimm fairy tale, punctuated by sharp psychedelic flashes of birdsong. the earth beneath me is iron hard and cracked like primeval skin, big scabs of ground pulling apart like bear traps. i start slow and lethargic but warm to my task, the roar and flow of hot blood oiling and driving me. my vibrams are sure and true over the uneven ground and my pace picks up nicely. i run fast down the kamikaze wash, a steep rut cut into the earth filled with round marble like stones and roots like the bleached ribs of a dead whale. full of the running drug i lie awake into the early hours alone with my thoughts and the warm tingle of bramble cuts on my shins.

Stephen Muzhingi

  • Saturday, May 28, 2011
  • 0
I'm hoping to see Stephen Muzhingi draped in the Zimbabwean flag again tomorrow, can he win the Comrades Marathon three times in a row? I think he can.

Body fuel

  • Sunday, May 08, 2011
  • 1
Body fuel 
My deluxe fruit salad
Pears, apples, grapes, blueberries, strawberries.

Thanks to the royal wedding I have the tangled woods to myself.

  • Saturday, April 30, 2011
  • 0
Thanks to the royal wedding I have the tangled woods to myself.

The trails are russet, ochre and mossy. these are the tones that sing to me with most joy and I am aware of their song. despite this it is not a happy run. my legs are stiff and tight and i run with the gait of a clockwork man. i cannot flow or dance, a rare disconnect between the music of creation and my body. instead the ground jars through me, takes form as anxiety and begins to reside in my neck and shoulders. stiff becomes stiffer. at mile seven i reach a crossroad, the gravel lane that will lead me arterially straight home. i decide to cross over and feel something break inside me, there is a narcotic release of energy and my legs respond, i am still stiff and a little resentful but it becomes easier, I push out another four miles before returning home. Once there I eat victoria sponge cake. Perhaps a lot of what holds us back is in the mind.

lazy sunday afternoon

  • Monday, April 25, 2011
  • 0
Lazy sunday afternoon, I've got no mind to worry, close my eyes and
Drift away, Close my eyes and drift away.
(small faces)

i drift through the woods, eddying between the tree's and the dapples. my mind is opaque as the light and cloudless sky. i am agreeable, greeting ramblers in their carnival coloured shirts and wide brimmed hats, the women are daringly barelegged in shorts, the men, resolute with stout sticks and corduroy. they have idiot dogs with idiot smiles. these moments are ordained. they cannot be hurried or ignored and they cannot be contrived. they are rare recreation runs, slow, mellow and mellowing. i am on no ones clock or dime out here, i am my own. i ignore the gravitational pull of home when the orbit of my route delivers me close, i swing away for a few more miles carried by the tide of my singing blood and the compass of my heart.

running is death and resurrection

  • Monday, April 18, 2011
  • 0
i wanted to walk up the sunbaked hill but the dog walker coming the other way forbade it. my chest is tight and raspy after a week of flu like symptoms. i run past her and her dog, retching like a binge drinker and hope that somehow i'm doing myself good and that i will expel some of the crappy virus from my system by running hard. after four miles i run over a palm cross lying in the middle of the trail, it is incongruous and out of place and although i run past it i feel it tug me back. it is the voice in the wilderness and it can't be ignored. i pick it up and tuck it under my shirt. i can feel it against my body all the way home. it is the week before easter. running is death and resurrection too.

  • Wednesday, April 06, 2011
  • 0
tonight i ran with the foxes, a few smoggy stars and a fingernail moon. i found some hills and treated them with contempt, my footsteps echoing of the canyon sides of  houses. it was good to feel the warm air moving around me and know that the worst of winter is behind. summer lies ahead, my mojo already lighter.

woodsmoke congeals in the cold air

  • Wednesday, February 23, 2011
  • 0
on some clear days a peace settles upon the land at sunset and you feel as if you are running with and merged with something profound. sounds carry on the still air, birdsong, distant voices and resonant feet. in the valleys woodsmoke congeals in the cold air and horses wear blankets. i run west again, down the sharp drop to the pond and past the field. at the bottom i turn back on myself and head east along the stream. tonight my body is a minimalist runners dream, my feet are so light they seem to just kiss the earth and i am refreshed by the musical pitch of water flowing over rocks. at these moments running is not just a dance, it is poetry too and as i run my mind is empty, clear and meditative.