Archive for February, 2016

I done a t-shirt

Posted: 27/02/2016 in Uncategorized

Well, I did the picture bit on the front. It’s the t-shirt for the upcoming Trail Outlaws Dark Skies Marathon (and a bit) around Kielder Reservoir.

The t-shirt looks like this:


Groovy, eh? The design was a collaborative effort between Trail Outlaws and the good folk of their Facebook page, including me. I sent in a pic, and they thought that was good enough to put on the front, so with a slight change to the constellation (I’m a big fan of Orion, personally), a tweak to a more human-looking runner (I’m not so good at people) and the addition of the iconic plug-hole building from Kielder (I like drawing buildings, they’re not people, but I’m bad at knowing what they’re called, just like with people) and floomp*, the job was done. The Outlaws logo of course, and the Francis Bacon quote, “In order for the light to shine so brightly, darkness must be present” is excellent, the “You’re following a Trail Outlaw” message is exactly the sort of thing to sport at your local Parkrun, and with the race sponsor’s logo and we’re away!

The actual pic, if you haven’t got micro-scoop-eyes looks like this:


So all the messing about with pens and pencils hasn’t been entirely a waste of time.

But what’s better, is that I’m actually running the Dark Skies Marathon (and a bit) as well, so I’ll get to wear a shirt with me own picture on it – how cool is that? You can tell I’m a bit excited, perhaps?

But it gets even better than that, no it does – you can be part of it too! You canĀ sponsor me to run a marathon (and a bit) with a shirt with a picture that I drew on it. I know, talk about adding value.

I’m raising money for the Dr Hadwen Trust, an organisation that finds ways to carry out medical testing that doesn’t involve testing on animals. Even if you love bacon and meatballs, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t think that’s a good thing to aim for? Anyway, I’ve set up a JustGiving page at the link below, and if you want to donate a pound, ten or five hundred, then I’d be massively grateful, as will all the mice, beagles, horses, porcupines, unicorns, squids, bears, narwhals, beetles, polar bears, kittens and puppies that are not getting their parts cut up because someone figured out a more humane way to tell whether paracetamol is any good for receding hair.

The link to JustGiving

It’s perfectly OK to click on it (hi mum!) there’s even a photo of me looking too colourful for my own good so you can tell it’s my page.

Did I mention I was on the telly? I was on the telly. Not for this, for something else, I’ll come back to that when I figure if I can upload video…

*Nothing wrong with floomp, perfectly good word that, good northern term.










That’s the fella.

It’s a while since I bought much new kit – I’ve got shoes, socks, tights, shorts, tops, wind-proof tops, waterproof tops, a hat, a torch, bags and so on, and to be honest I’m kind of used to it, so don’t feel the need to go out replacing stuff.

However, for a while now, I’ve wanted an insulated best of gilet – partly for running, but also to bolster the warmth of my not-quite-four-season jacket when I’m out and about.

I’ve hummed and hahed, and not found one that was right, but kept running across the OMM Rotor Vest. I tried on the smock (same thing but with arms) a while ago, but it had an odd cut and there seemed to be too much body and not enough arm length for me.

Saying that, I came across the vest version at the same time, and thought it looked canny. So when I found I could get one at a discount when my local running/outdoor shop was looking to reduce stock ahead of refurbishment, I parted with my pounds to find out it would work out.

The first thing to note is that the extra-long zip on the front is not an extra-long zip, it’s a split zip. The top is a fairly normal zip, the bottom is the entry to a tiny pocket, which doubles as a stuff sack. The join looks to be a thick line of stitching, and I ended up getting the XL rather than the L simply because it was a tight fit over my head on the L and I figured that line wouldn’t last long. On the XL, the zip opening was just longer enough to fit without getting taut.

I could have got away with the body fit on the L, though it was pretty snug, the XL had a bit of room to move. I can’t imagine I’ll be wearing more than a base layer below, so I don’t know I’ll need much more space.

This afternoon, I headed out for a check – it was cold, windy and I had a long sleeve base, tights and the Rotor on for. Bit of warmth and wind protection. The outer material is Point Zero, which feels silky to the touch and which is wind proof. The fill is Primaloft Gold.

The little lower zip opens providing venting if needed – pretty good for me as I get hot around the exact spot. I had it open some of the time closed other and with a it of judicious top-zip action I never overheated. The bottom of the vest has an elastic aged draw cord, which would be pretty useful in colder conditions, though I didn’t feel the need – there were a couple of times in the gusto we parts of the run where I got a blast of chilly air up the back or through the arms, but they were few and far between and I didn’t stay cold for more than a second. Overall, the Point Zero did the job and I didn’t feel the wind penetrating the material at all.

I tend to find my forearms are like radiators – they need to be kept able to breath or they just sweat the heat away, and for me the vest is a great design, and teamed with a waterproof for rain I think it would work well in anything up to a proper freeze. The Primaloft Gold gave just the right level of heat retention for a run on a chilly, gusty February afternoon.

One run in and I’m impressed, it fills a hole between a wind-proof top and a long-sleeve insulated top like my Inov-8 insulated top. Once I’ve had more of a play with it I’ll try and update this capsule review, but so far it’s a nice piece of kit.

Blaydon Race!

Posted: 06/02/2016 in Event, Running, Uncategorized

I got in!

I might have mentioned that I really like the Blaydon Race; it’s the only road race I really look forward to. It’s got its own song and everything, which is pretty cool in my book.

So, 9 June that’s where I’ll be, toeing the line with everyone else once again.

Get in! Better get out for a bit of a run…