Copenhagen Marathon Completed

IMG_5498What a day and what a run. I was joined by 11.000 people. I did it in 4h 8m and I felt very chuffed with myself. I had expected to drag myself through the last hour but it wasn’t that bad after all. I guess my 4 month training paid off. While most people slowed down towards the end I managed to increase my tempo and overtook many runners in the last 30 min. Although the rain started pouring down 30 min in to the run it didn’t spoil the experience. It was probably worse for the expectations. Every 10-15 min there were music and party atmosphere which kept me going. I was also cheered on by my wife, some family members and some friends who all joined in with the fun.

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who made donations. This meant a lot to me and I know it means a lot to Sarah and Pete who is in the process of making Finn’s Trust in to an official charity.

Yet again, the tinfoil man got the wrong date. Oh well, maybe next time. If you enjoyed the film I made, you might also injoy this film below. Same guy, 12 years earlier. All the best and thanks for all your support.

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Marathon Man


For a number of years I have wanted to run a marathon and now it’s finally happening. On 19 May 2013 I am running my first ever marathon in Copenhagen, not far from where I grew up.

I started training after Christmas and it’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster. I started off really well, full of hope and enthusiasm, running 4 days a week, come rain come snow.

In March I got ill. I was completely wiped out for 3 weeks. It was incredibly frustrating not to be able to continue my running schedule. I started resigning myself to that fact that it wouldn’t happen this year. I was really sad and disappointed. Then the black cloud disintegrated and I started getting my energy back.

Having put myself through a 16 week training schedule I now feel fitter than ever. I’m really excited about running the marathon and I can’t wait to get out there to prove to myself that anything is possible if I put my mind to it.

If you’d like to sponsor my run, it would mean a great deal to me and my dear friends Sarah and Pete. This website tells you all about their charity.

If you are wondering why I’m wearing foil on my head in the photo, you should watch this film which I made to encourage donations:

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L’Etape du Tour 2012 !!

A big thanks to all those who sponsored Johnny and I on this years Etape du Tour  for Finns Trust – you’ve helped us raise raised over £1,500 so far making the event very worthwhile  🙂

Back in November we made the seemingly wise decision to tackle the second Etape option, thinking that the longer route with more climbing was a very sensible choice. At the time the 201km distance and 4800m of climbing over 5 cols didn’t seem very real.  It was only when we drove the route the day before the race that reality set in. The fact that it took us almost 5 hours to drive, set the alarm bells ringing.

However on the day of the event all seemed well as almost 5,000 cyclists gathered at the start in Pau under an overcast sky.  The first 35km flew by as peletons formed on the road south to the mountains.  It wasn’t until we hit the first climb the  uncategorised Col d’Aubisque that the prevailing weather pattern for the event took shape in the form of light drizzle on the climb which changed to driving rain on the descent as speed picked up to 60 km/h!!  At least the temperature increased as each of us dropped deeper into the valley below.

The start of the race

The start of the race in Pau

The next climb starting at approx. 87 km in was the legendary Tourmalet or as it became for the rest of the weekend the ‘f*ckin Tourmalet’ 🙂 Trailed as a 19km climb, the timing mats were placed 36km from the summit….meaning nearly 2 hours of climbing up through the drizzle and cloud before hitting the top of the race at 2115m above sea level.  This was a key milestone as over 2/3 rds of the distance and climbing were behind us now and we could now entertain thoughts of finishing ahead of the dreaded ‘broom wagon’.

The last 2 climbs the Col d’Aspin and the Col de Peyresourde although reasonably painful given the overall distance covered seemed easy in comparison to the Tourmalet, and I’m sure everyone was helped by the large crowds lining the climbs shouting ‘Allez, Allez’ and extolling us to climb faster!  It was still a great feeling after 184km to reach the top of the final climb and know that it was downhill all the way to the finish line.  Even better on reaching Bagneres de Luchon and the home straight which was lined with thousands of people cheering us into the line.

So all told a great experience and we both made it to the finish line in one fairly shattered piece.  The question being will we put ourselves through it again next year?

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All behind me now

Just started and Peter is excited in the back

What a day. The weather was glorious, if too hot for some people. Jo and the kids and a few other friends and mums travelled round the course to cheer us along. It brought a smile to my face every time I passed them. At first I followed the pace of my friend Ben but after 30 minutes of going slightly faster then I was comfortable with I let him go and put on the headphones. I continued to jog along to Mark Kermode’s film reviews. I finished in 2h07m and I ran all the way. I wasn’t uncomfortable at any point and never had to stop or walk. I even ran up a steep hill towards the end, which many contestants had to walk. Only on the last 500 meter did I raise the tempo and overtook a fair few runners. I passed the line with a broad smile on my face. I wasn’t completely exhausted and felt I could have given more. Maybe I should have raised the tempo earlier on and got a better time but I was I worried about running out of steam early on and wanted to enjoy it instead of torturing myself.

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Pete Blach’s Half Marathon

Peter running againI’ve always wanted to run a marathon but haven’t got off my backside until now. A friend completed the London Marathon last year after intense training but without having run before and it got me thinking. I’m getting close to 40. Maybe I should get on with it before my joints need oiling. I’ve picked half a Marathon to start with because there’s one taking place near where I live in Folkestone. Would also be a good tester to see if my legs are up for this malarky.

If you are considering doing something similar yourself, here’s a bit about my experience so far.

I pulled my cheap trainers out in May after a friend advised me I should start training 3-4 month before. After a quick read on the internet I found a gentle beginners scheme of 3 runs a week.

Week one went well. I got to catch up on “Mark Kermode’s” film reviews downloaded on the ipod. After 2 weeks I could jog for an hour without feeling exhausted (surely it couldn’t be this easy). Then the trouble started. A pain began in my right foot after each run and lasted several days. I stopped for a week to rest and picked it up again. The pain continued. It didn’t bode well. I fell behind with my scheme to give my foot time to rest. After 2 months, the pain still hadn’t gone.

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L’Etape du Tour results are in !!!

PeteVery quick update tonight…..just arrived back from the Alps and am totally knackered  as you might expect!!    Steve and I both finished L’Etape yesterday along with 6443 of the 10,000 who started. Steve finished in an amazing time of 5:08:14 and placed 939th and I posted 5:29:14 and placed 1,636th so we’re both pretty happy having targeted 6 hours and top 15%.

The event was amazing…but details will have to wait until my brain is actually in gear…….but thanks to everyone for your support and donations and especially to Jon Wilson who hosted us in Saint Michel de Maurienne and acted as our superb Director Sportive for the weekend !!

Finally thanks to our brilliant wives Sarah and Geri who have supported Steve and I throughout the last 8 months of training and put up with our bike related antics for much longer 🙂

p.s. we are experiencing some problems with Paypal donate (they set a limit on how much you can donate into the account and we’ve already hit it)….so if you experience any problems donating please drop Sarah an email at


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Is all getting ‘Jangly Jangly’ up here in the Alpes

Steve and Pete - Etape practice, May 11Just about 12 hours to go to the Grand Depart…….and Steve and I are rather keyed up.  Drive down to Saint Michel de Maurienne went smoothly – French roads a dream.  Witnessed a spectacular electric storm from Jon’s balcony last night and were then joined for some moral support by our good friend Simon Ryley, who nipped down from Geneva.

Today we visited the competitor village, registered for the event, met up with 4 of our fellow elite atheletes and surveyed beacoup de bike porn.

The bikes have been re-assembled, the gels, bars and carb drinks weighted and measured – there is not much more to do now before the off.

A massive thankyou to all of you who have visited the site and donated so generously to the Trust – we have raised over £1500 since the site went live on Friday.

Next stop Alpe d’Huez! Weather for tomorrow is likely to be warm and sunny!

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I want my husband back!

Nice helmet!The boys are getting a lot of credit for cycling up hills but has anyone spared a thought for us poor, forgotten cyclists’ wives? It’s been a year since Steve started training to cycle the Etape for Finn’s Trust. In this time I’ve discovered…


5 things you have to endure as a cyclists wife

  1. Lots of receipts. For very expensive Rapha clothes, weird gels and a bike that’s worth more than our car – despite not coming with any wheels.
  2. Watching you stretch. Constantly, whilst watching television, whilst cooking and usually in your pants. This is not normal.
  3. Carbohydrate based meals. My skinny jeans no longer do up.
  4. Looking after your children. Again. We Mums have been forced to band together and collectively empty your wine cellar in protest.
  5. Never getting a lie in. Why do you have to go cycling at 5:45am anyway? And why doesn’t your own alarm ever wake you up? I am tired at pushing you out of bed with my feet.

There is an upside to all this, namely having a very fit husband! And more importantly raising money and awareness for Finn’s Trust, a charity very close to my heart.

I wish you well on Monday boys, Finn would be proud of the Daddys!

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Carb me up!

It has been a long hard road but we are finally here.  The Galibier and Alpe d’Huez await….I can’t wait to get to the start line and just get on with it!  I can’t think about much else to be honest.  The lack of Gooner transfer activity and consequent goading from the usual sources is hardly registered.  All spare time is spent hoovering up news on the Tour, working out how many carbs I need to eat between now and Monday morning and fretting about how hot its going to be.

The training has been building up to this week and we are ready to go.  I think I have done around 3000 miles since the start of the year, so the legs should be strong.  We’ve had a great group of lads to train with and I have enjoyed nearly every minute of it.  It’s hard to believe that in five days it will be done.  Time for a few Sunday lie-ins I think!

Steve and Finn go exploring

As I get closer to the event my mind fills with thoughts of Finn.  It’s not easy to put into words what I’m feeling – I just hope  I can make you proud mate.  God bless. Your ever-loving Stevie. x

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Etape Du Tour…….5 days to go

All the training is now complete and only rest and carb-loading remain between now and Monday July 11th at 7 a.m. when Steve and I will tackle our first Etape Du Tour on the same route as Stage 19 of this years Tour de France.

The route takes us from Modane in the South East of the French Alps, close to the Italian border, through St-Michael de Maurienne before heading up the first climb the Col du Telegraphe – 13 km of climbing.  After a brief respite spinning downhill into the ski resort of Valloire we then set our sights on the Col du Galibier a beast of a climb taking us up to 2566m!  We’re hoping to get there after about 3 hours but won’t have time to take in the amazing views as we’ll be speeding down the other side of the Galibier round fairly scary hairpin bends before the road opens out and heads down the valley towards Le Bourg d’Oisans.  This will be an opportunity to give the legs a little rest for , get into a group and take on some more carbs and drinks in preparation for the final assault up to Alpe D’Huez. Having already cycled 96km and climbed over 2000m the 21 hairpins of ‘The Alpe’ cover another 1100m so we have our work cut out to get to the top!

I can’t wait to get there as it will mean no more training!!!

Will keep you posted on progress over the next few days  – would be great to hear from you all.

Check out the route of the 2011 Etape and the climbs:[nggallery id=2].
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