Running with Rick – Part Four

At the start of the year Rick Ashton who has been working at True Bearing Chartered Financial Planners for four years, decided her wanted to supercharge his life and his fitness. Rick decided to do this by taking on a challenge, to run a total of 1,000km in 2019.  To help achieve this goal Rick will complete a number of running events throughout 2019. He is also aiming to raise £1,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice while completing his challenge.

Why Derian House Children’s Hospice?

Derian House Children’s Hospice provides palliative, specialist respite, and end of life care for children and young adults throughout the North West.  They are currently supporting more than 350 families who have a child with a life-threatening illness, and a further 245 who are receiving bereavement support. This year, the charity needs to raise £3.85m to continue to meet the needs of these children and their families in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Derian House is the chosen charity for True Bearing, and all employees get involved in raising money for them, and some employees including Rick recently visited their premises. During this partnership with the charity, Rick has become aware of the wonderful work they do for some very poorly children and their families.

Rick said “I have two children of my own and can’t imagine the heartache of having a child with a serious illness” This charity feels very close to his heart.”

The Challenge

By 31st December 2019, Rick must have passed the 1,000km mark. This will be recorded by Strava and verified independently by All runs must be competed outdoors, and there is a strict no treadmill rule. Read Rick’s latest blog below to see where he running has taken him from June to October 2019.

Running with Rick Blog by Rick Ashton June – October 2019

June and July

Having suffered with a foot injury following the Freckleton Half Marathon which had me out of action for a somewhat damaging 6 weeks, I finally returned to training in July. This has been a very difficult process mentally as I fell further and further behind in terms of the distance challenge. Having said this, injuries are part and parcel of the running experience!


York 10k

My first event since Freckleton was the extremely well run York 10K. The weather was hot and there was little shade around this very scenic route, taking in such sights as the York Minster and Clifford’s Tower. York is my favourite UK getaway and it was quite emotional running past the Minster with the streets absolutely packed with people cheering you on!

This was a very enjoyable event and one I plan to do again in 2020 with my wife reluctantly in tow!

Running with Rick

Howler Summer Half Marathon

Summer?!? As per tradition with Howler events the weather was absolutely atrocious for this one, with torrential rain and fog throughout every step of this gruelling 15 Mile trail run (Howler add VAT to their Half Marathons!). As if it wasn’t difficult enough already with the 733m elevation gain and tricky river crossings! (Were they rivers or paths?).

The signage and marshalling was poor and I got lost twice on the route so it took every ounce of determination I could muster to get this one done. I crossed the finish line after 4 Hrs 33 minutes, battered and bruised an missing a contact lens, with only St Johns Ambulance there to welcome me. Welcome me they did with a standing ovation and my medal. Cut off? What cut off??

Running with Rick


Wigan 10K

I went into this one carry yet another foot injury so approached it rather apprehensively. One thing you can guarantee about Wigan is that the people get out and line the streets to support you. This is a growing event for the Joining Jack charity and it really pulls the locals together. I managed to pull myself together and cross the line in just over an hour.

To celebrate? A Pie of course!

Tough Mudder Full

Time to come clean. I did NOT want to do this. Strangely enough, this was the first even I booked back in September 2018 and was the pre cursor to my 2019 challenge for Derian House. At the time I accompanied my colleague Steve and I took little persuading to take the plunge and book onto the 2019 event. However, by the time the event came round I hadn’t stepped into the gym once to work on my upper body strength!

For the unaccustomed, Tough Mudder is a military style obstacle course taking place in the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire involving no less than 25 obstacles over 10 miles. With obstacle names such as Block Ness Monster, Augustus Gloop, Everest, Entrapment, Black Widow & Leap of Faith. I cannot stress how far out of my comfort zone this was.

Despite feeling grossly underprepared I decided the day before the event to jump in and see what happens. It’s the things that you don’t do that you end up regretting isn’t it?

I am so glad I attempted (And completed!) this event. The camaraderie between participants was epic and it was a real group effort to get through some of the more difficult obstacles. I managed to complete 19 out of the 25 obstacles which I was thrilled with. I could barely walk the day after and was still removing mud and sand for days afterwards.

I’ve only gone and booked on for 2020 and this time it’s as part of team True Bearing!


Manchester Half Marathon

As my last big event of 2019, I was massively looking forwards to this one. Having had a further gait analysis and purchased new trainers in an attempt to avoid the regular injuries I have been getting, my training programme going into this one went just as well as I could have hoped.

This was a very flat route and as such I had in mind a time of sub 2 hrs 15 minutes, which would have beaten my previous best by 9 minutes. A realistic target or so I thought! I was more or less on pace until around 10 miles when I had a wobble. I started to feel unwell so decided to slow down and have a breather. After this I simply couldn’t get back up to speed and ended up crossing a rain soaked finish line in 2hrs 23. Still a personal best but a missed opportunity to really prove to myself what I am capable of.

Never mind. There’s always next time right?

City of Preston 10K & Family Run

Having cancelled the original event due to safety concerns, the organisers put on a very popular event with an amended, undulating route (The word hilly would have been more appropriate in my opinion!).

A few of my esteemed colleagues from True Bearing joined to support me on this run and it felt great to be a part of a team. It has been a lonely challenge at times and it was great to have some with me (In addition to my long suffering family of course!)

Everyone had a fantastic time and I finished off proceedings completing the family run with my Daughter, Ella before the heavens opened!

Poppy Run 5K

In the words of my near namesake Richard Ashcroft, why does it always rain on me? This short 5K event took place in Heaton Park and my Daughter Ella joined me having trained very enthusiastically over the preceding weeks. After a two minutes silence for the fallen we completed a fun, if unexpectedly hilly route through the park involving both paths and trail in quite frankly appalling conditions. Needed a warm drink after this one!

Halloween 5K

Myself and my Daughter, Ella made the trip out to Heron’s Reach, Blackpool in order to complete this fun run in full Halloween fancy dress. Never before have I run in a full Orc ‘Morphsuit’ whilst ghosts and ghouls jumped out in front of you throughout the wooded sections!

Was really good to do an event like this for fun rather than worrying about your completion time and it really brought a smile to my face!

Through the Villages Race

The Through the Villages race is now in its 30th year and saw 400 runners converge on the start line outside of the Dressers Arms, Wheelton to tackle an extremely challenging 8.5 mile route through Brinscall, Withnell and Abbey Village. In contrast to the Halloween event, I felt like the only non-club runner here and nobody was treating this as any form of ‘fun run’.

I felt the pressure and gave it my all, tackling 250 metres of unforgiving elevation to cross the finish line in a not too shabby 1hr 27. I was never going to trouble the club runners but given my lack of experience at the start of the year I would never have thought I could finish in anything but last place!

An excellent race through my childhood village of Brinscall and one for my 2020 list for sure!

‘If you’re going to face a real challenge, it has to be a real challenge. You can’t accomplish anything without the possibility of failure’ – Lazarus Lake.

You can follow Rick’s progress or make a donation by clicking the following links


Runs: 79

Total Distance: 819.37KM (82%)

Funds Raised so Far: £832.00 (83%)

Events Completed: 21

Forthcoming Events

Mental Elf 5K

Longridge 7 Christmas Pudding Run

Night Howler Half Marathon