Five days, two races, one tyre

These were two races that I knew weren’t going to be the most competitive I’ve done but both were great fun and brought about challenges in different ways.

The first challenge was more self imposed than anything. The Mo Run is an event that takes place every November at several different venues all over the UK to raise awareness and funds for the Movember charity. We are lucky enough to have one just up the road from Northampton in near by Milton Keynes.

There are 5k and 10k race options. I had opted for the shorter 5k because my original plan was to run pushing my baby son in his buggy but as the day drew closer the temperatures dropped. With it being by far the coldest week of the winter so far I decided against that idea. I have no problem putting myself through all sorts of pain and suffering in the name of racing but I only like to get others involved if they are willing. Step (or roll) forwards Tarquin the Tyre!

I’d not ran with Tarquin since my world record half marathon ( so thought I’d bring him out for a sharpener.


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I looked at the results from previous years and realised I had a chance of making the top few even with an extra 8kg of cumbersome rubber draped over my shoulder.

As the race started one runner sped off and several others tried to follow. Within the first half a mile I moved my way through the field from around 10th place up to 2nd and by the one mile mark I had caught up with the leader.

The early fast pace began to decrease but I was happy to sit in at the point. We had been caught by one other runner but were well clear of anyone else. As we entered the final mile I stepped up the pace and managed to create a gap pretty quickly. I was feeling comfortable and my lead we extending with every stride. As I turned a corner to enter into the final couple of hundred meters where all the spectators were gathered there were a few surprised faces to see a man carrying a tyre leading the way.


I crossed the finish line in first place in a time of 19.22. This was 9 seconds faster than my only other 5k outing with the tyre and my first win with Tarquin.


Four days later I left Tarquin at home and headed to Market Harborough for the first ever Tunnel Vision Night Run. This was a 5 mile race ran in complete darkness with only your head torch to guide you along the Brampton Valley Way which is a path that runner along an old railway bed.

What made this race even more unique was that the out and back route twice passed through the 422 metres long Oxendon tunnel with for this occasion only had been lite up.

As we got underway two runners stared fast. I gradually caught them and immediately passed one but the other was holding the pace well (or so I thought). Unsurprisingly the darkness was leading to the speed being rather deceptive. My Garmin watch informed me than after a first mile of 5.47 (still only my PB half marathon pace) we had dropped to 6.20 with was slower than my PB marathon pace. I wasn’t concerned with the time for this race though, I knew no PB’s were going to be set in an event of this nature so I was happy to be running at the front and contesting for the top honours.


I sat in until the half way turning point where we were given a pretty cool flashing moustache shaped ring. As we headed back space was significantly reduced as the chasers headed forwards us. I didn’t fancy taking my chance of overtaking once we reached runners bunched together so moved into the lead.

I knew I needed to make this move a decisive one. The pace had slowed from mile 2 to the turn so I had plenty left to give. I managed to pull out a couple of sub 5.40 miles but with all the lights and noise from those running towards me it was very hard to sense if I’d pulled away or not.

With just under a mile to go I’d crossed paths with all the back markers and was alone for the first time. That was until I noticed a flickering light behind me. A couple of glimpses over my shoulder I could see the second placed runner wasn’t giving this race up without a fight.


I was confident I had opened up a big enough gap and that turned out to be correct as I came home 18 seconds clear to win my second race in 5 days.