Running with Rick Update from 1st January to the 31st March 2019

Runs: 29

Total Distance: 256.56km

Funds raised so far: £395.00 (39% of target)

Events Completed: 6

Injuries: 3


My calves are on fire as I struggle on in the pitch black, jagged rocks barely visible under my headlight, battered by arctic winds. I look down from the summit and see a snaked path of runners, all fighting their own individual battles, different objectives and backgrounds. ‘You can’t beat this’ I say to myself. The event is ‘Rivington Night Runner’, and it’s the beginning of my running journey.

1,000KM in 2019 is the challenge I set myself. Equivalent to running 24 marathons or running from Chorley to Oslo, Norway. The two rules I have set are ‘No treadmills’ and a minimum of 12 events throughout the year.

I have taken a plunge into a world of compression tights, gait analysis, Fartlek, timing chips, electrolytes and VO2 Max. My wife is now calling herself a ‘running widow’. But what made me take those first steps?

Approaching my mid-30s, years of sedentary work has taken its toll on my body. I knew I had to do something and agreed to book ‘Tough Mudder’ for 2019 with my colleague Steve. Having done this, I thought ‘I might as well run with this’ and complete a number of events throughout the year. I have wanted to challenge myself for a while to raise funds for local charity, Derian House Children’s Hospice and had the idea of completing a distance challenge over the year.

Having experienced a number of health issues in recent times, both physically and (perhaps more prominently), mentally, I have a genuine concern that I won’t be around to see my children growing up. Not only this, but I want to set the example that you should look after yourself and stay active. My kids look up to me and say that I am their hero.



I started the year very strongly, building up a reserve of kilometres and then I had a major setback. I have an underlying back problem and, through no fault of my own (changing my son’s nappy believe it or not!), I ended up with a herniated disk in my lower back, rendering running impossible. I was unable to run for ten days and found this extremely difficult mentally, having caught the ‘Running bug’.

During my running hiatus, I travelled to Birmingham to the ‘National Running Show’ where I had a ‘Gait Analysis’ to analyse my running style in detail and receive tips to train more effectively and improve my running technique. Due to my noticeable lean following my back injury, I effectively received the same feedback as my 90-year-old Grandma might do! Nevertheless, an interesting experience.

Gait Analysis

The remainder of the month was extremely difficult, running through the ice and snow, wondering if my back could go again at any moment. I have to keep going to stay ahead of the game. It was so cold one day my beard froze.


Blackburn Winter Warmer 10K:

At the beginning of February, I travelled to Blackburn to take part in the Blackburn Road Runners ‘Winter Warmer 10k’. A challenging route taking in the behemoth that is Buncer Lane. The conditions were really difficult, and I had to dig deep for the final 2km to get over the line. I achieved a personal best for both 10km and 5km distances and, with my daughter cheering me on having competed in the kid’s race, the elation on my face was clear for all to see.

Blackburn Winter Warmer


Throughout the remainder of February, I continued to build up my mileage and increase my pace as much as possible. With the weather still continuing to make things difficult, I knew I would be in for a challenging, event packed month of March.


March was my most pleasing month to date. I managing to complete four events, taking in varied terrain including roads, trail, streams, mud, grass, sand and gravel.

Ron Hill Accrington 10K:

The first week in March saw me take on an undulating route in Accrington with a high speed, exhilarating downhill finish for the final 2km! The feeling I experienced seeing my family cheering me on at the finish line as I achieved my sub 60-minute target was incredible. A real runner’s high. I set new personal best times for both 10k and 5k in this event.

Running with Rick

Howler Jackal Run 10K:

This event was borderline insanity. 400 metres of elevation climbing Darwen Tower from Sunnyhurst Woods in what can only be described as a blizzard. Throughout the event, I endured torrential rain, snow and hailstones with a very steep final ascent to the tower where I was literally on my hands and knees scrambling up the final section! Was it fun? You’re damn right it was! I collected my medal and formally joined the ‘Howler’ fraternity.

Howler Jackal 10K   Howler Jackal 10K

Run Wigan Festival 5k:

My part in the Wigan Running Festival was relatively low key. Although longer distances were available I opted to join my wife, Tracey in the 5k race as she was very keen to play a part in my running adventure. We both crossed the line together having enjoyed the atmosphere only Wiganers can provide. A free pie was provided at the end. Protein snacks have not yet reached this part of Lancashire!

Tiger Beetle Trail 10k:

Having caught the running ‘bug’ (see what I did there?) I decided to sign up late for the inaugural Ainsdale Sand Dunes ‘Tiger Beetle Trail’, my fourth event of the month. Due to the unseasonably hot weather and my inexperience running on sand, this was a very challenging event indeed. Having not given it much thought I realise how difficult training through the summer is going to be. Perfect for beer gardens but not for running long distances!

I am still finding sand in my shoes to this day!

Running with Rick

Running is just putting one foot in front of the other – that’s the simple bit – the hard part is choosing to go running in the first place. But once you make that choice, you can start putting distance between your old life and closing in on a new one’ – Ben Smith, 401.



Forthcoming Events

Yarrow River Bluebell 10k Trail Run

Chorley 10K / Family Race

Great Manchester Run

Blackpool Promenade 10 Miler

Freckleton Half Marathon

Penwortham Bypass 10k/ Family Race

York 10k

Fleetwood Half Marathon

Wigan 10k

Tough Mudder

Preston 10k

Manchester Half Marathon

Blackburn 10k

To help Rick get to his target of £1,000 by the end of 2019, donations can be made on his Just Giving Page