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Monday, 31 December 2012

No more km's left to run!

In the beginning....

Sometime back in December 2011 I remember thinking to myself if I should run 1000km or not. I had two worries which were; Will I have the time and will anyone sponsor me?

I then thought about the reasons I had for taking on 1000km. I wanted to run them simply because I know how hard it is to come to terms with cancer, for an entire family, and how hard it is when someone dies. These are things that happen day to day for people across the world. So I thought if I could just raise some awareness, and a little bit of money at the same time, that would be a very good thing.
At the end of my first run

The circuits.....

Getting motor racing circuits involved was something I was willing to try and achieve. I would like to thank my husband for  helping me email and enquire around the circuits. When I was unable to run Spa he who contacted Circuit Zolder, who at the very last minute welcomed us to run the track.

I was so pleased to discover that a lot of circuits were willing to help me out and let me run on their tracks.  I would like to thank the following people for their help in this;
Pat Blakenly at Thruxton Motor Circuit, Pascal & Yves at Circuit Zolder, Anne Mich & Suzzane Schmitz at Rad um Run at Nurburgring, Kate Wingfield at Goodwood, Carol Watts at Silverstone, Sarah Thomson at Rockingham Speedway and Jen Darby at Donnington Park.

You are all fantastic people, representing really beautiful circuits. To run on ground where racing legends have been meant so much to me, and my Grandfather would really have marvelled at this.  
The Nurburgring

The hard parts....

All of Challenge 1000 was hard however some particularly difficult moments were; mild hypothermia at Goodwood - thanks to a sudden drop in temperature, running in the heat in Portugal and nearly fainting at the end of each run there, those hills round the Nurburgring and the knee and toe pain. I think my knees are pretty damaged, hopefully they will have time to mend now that they can rest a bit more! 

Getting the word out to the national audience.....

It was great to have articles written about Challenge 1000 by local and national sources. These include The Bucks Free Press/South Bucks Star, Cookham Crier, The Link Magazine, Lacey Green Windmill, Runners World and MSN Online

Thank you to all of the above for your support. 

Also a big thank you to my Twitter buddies for RTing my tweets about Challenge 1000, and for their kind sponsorship. I would like to thank Tom Ingram and Jack Goff for helping me to spread the word to their many followers also. Best of luck to you both next year in all your racing ventures :-)

How did it end??? 

Challenge 1000 ended with a 10km run on a dark winters night on Sunday 23rd December. I ran round my local area, which is Cressex in High Wycombe. It was certainly no motor racing circuit, scenic beach or amazing countryside.....but for the final km's it was lovely to finish them back at my front door. 

There were no tears or fact this feeling is only just happening for me now. All these once in a lifetime experiences have come out of pure hard work and I am so proud of the support I have received.  

The result......

£839 at minimum, seeming as people can still sponsor me up until March 2013, will be split 50:50 between Child Bereavement UK and Cancer Research UK.  During the time I have been running Child Bereavement UK and Cancer Research UK have seen many positive developments and have helped and supported even more people.  

Thank you to all of my sponsors - you have been amazing. 

The final plea......Please help me to reach £1000!!!! 

If generosity comes into your New Years Resolution if you could help Challenge 1000 reach £1000 so each charity can be awarded £500 I would be most grateful. 

Sponsor me via 

Remember to share the link to my blog with your Facebook friends and your Twitter followers.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Halloween 5 Nite run....I hear drumming in the woods......

Last night at 8pm I took part in the Halloween 5 Nite run held at the Wokingham Waterside Centre on the Thames Valley Park near to Reading. For those that live in the area I would recommend it for next year!
I would like to thank in advance to this blog the race director, Cliff Hilton, for his mention about Challenge 1000 over the PA system and a big thank you to all the runners for the clap and cheer for me!!
Last night for Halloween in the South East we had windy and rainy conditions. I was so pleased to see this did not dampen the spirits of any of the runners, the marshals or the race organisers.
Lining up by the river, with the swans waiting and being directed back into the water by marshals was pretty spooky.

I liked the creativity of the decoration of the race HQ too. This race is really in the spirit of Halloween and I felt like a child again. Out in the wind and rain, with scary music playing and people around me all dressed up. And of course well done to all those who carved the magnificent pumpkins, they were brilliant!

The race itself was ideal for Halloween with the track marked by glow sticks and marshals. Also while running around in the woods there was a group of people drumming and making spooky noises, and you could hear yourself running closer and closer to it. It was very dramatic and gave a real boost to the run.
For all the drummers who were stood in the woods in the cold and the wet, hats off to you. Thank you very much. From what I could hear other runners around me were commenting on the drumming, they really liked it too! I also really liked the ghosts in the trees. I couldn't stop to take a it was pretty damn wet and I wanted to get back to the lovely pumpkin soup waiting for runners back at HQ!
I finished the race feeling incredibly childish, wet, muddy, worn out and on a high. Thank you to Cliff for checking I had made it. That I certainly did. I really enjoyed the warm pumpkin soup. I was so cold and it warmed me up straight away.
It was nice to stand with all the other finishers eating soup and cheering the other runners coming in. Seeing the long trail of headlamps arriving from the distance was rather surreal!
All in all this race was great fun. I would love to come back next year for another run in the dark!
I am about 940km through my 1000km challenge now. So Challenge 1000 is nearly over. However people can of course still sponsor me, and it would mean so much to me if you could.
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Trick or Treat?!

On Wednesday 31st October I will kindly be a guest at the Halloween 5 nite run at Water Meadow, Thames Valley Park in Reading. I am looking forward to it!

It’s a 5km course in the dark, dressing up is allowed so I may add a few little Halloween themed items to my running gear. I also have to wear a head torch so I can see where I am going, which is wise as over the past few weeks I have been rather clumsy.

On a run last week I manage to badly hurt my right knee by whacking it on a gate and then later on in the run I fell over, landing on my left knee and also getting a cut from a flint on my palm. I have to say the bruising on my knees left me limping for quite a few days after.
I am about 900km through the 1000km now, so I am approaching the final stages of Challenge 1000.
I have had a good think about where I have run, and used the very handy world of Google mapping to create a Challenge 1000 map of each location that I have run across the UK and Europe for Challenge 1000 so far.

You can tell I live in the South East as a lot of my runs are based around that area. However I have made efforts to branch out to other areas of the country, and over the next few months I am going to attempt to do a little more branching out.
The season is changing, the leaves are becoming bare and the temperature is dropping. It is definitely pretty windy at the moment too....and rainy. Although I have managed not to get soaked. I think the wettest run I did this year was at Rockingham in the summer!  It is time however to get in some lovely autumn runs and hopefully take some pretty photos.
If you have suggestions of any locations or runs you have done that look particularly beautiful In Autumn please tweet me VictoriaKYoung  or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post J

Thank you!!!


Monday, 3 September 2012

Running 24.4km of the Nurburgring

Friday 31st August
Along with the other runners I reported to the participant centre at the Nurburgring. The centre was warm, compared to the cold and wet outside, and had a brilliant atmosphere. It was full of eager and enthusiastic cyclists and runners. The event also involves a cycle race around the Nurburgring for any keen cyclists. Find out about Rad um Ring here.
Rad und Run!
It was easy to find where to sign in, and collect your runner bib and timing chip. Everyone was really helpful and friendly. We found out there were coupons on our runners bibs that we could tear off  for various freebies. One was for a goody bag, in an official Nurburgring run event green drawstring bag with lots of nice runners treats inside. The other coupons were for free pasta for dinner that evening, and a free bottle of Erdinger beer for that evening, as well as a coupon for an alcohol free Erdinger for the next day after finishing the run.

After the pasta and beer it was time to head back to the tent, to snuggle tightly in my sleeping bag and go to sleep.

Saturday 1st September We woke up at 6.15am. It was very cold and misty. Breakfast consisted of golden syrup flavoured porridge and about 1/2 a litre of orange squash. We headed to the ring for about 8am. There were around 1100 runners set to run the 24.4km route of the Green Hell. About 80% of them were men, with women dotted in between.

The atmosphere was exciting. Here I was, at 8.45am on a Saturday morning in September, ready to run round this world famous place. This was the place where in 1976, Niki Lauda was badly burnt when he crashed in his Ferrari, and was saved by four other heroic drivers. This was a special place that had seen many things. What a privilege to run on it.

Nice and early at the start!
A few kms in and the sun is breaking through the mist!
The first 10km of the run includes some steady inclines, and also some rather steep downhill sections. So apart from your knees taking the impact of the downhill, it's ok.

Yet, from about 11km to 16km you then have to complete hills that go as steep as a 16% incline. It's hard, it's tough but abour 3/4 of the way up the hilly part you get the reward of running Karrusel!
 After the hills I am still smiling!

After the highlight of Karrusel, you do unfortunatley hit some pretty steep twists and turns, 2 pretty major ones. One around 21-22km and one at 23km. Plus looking at a straight that seems to go on forever, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Along the way on this run there were many water statons with water, pepsi, sparkling water, sparkling apple, biscuits, banana, cereal bars etc. The drink and food stations were fully stocked if you happened to be wanting a feast. Which I have to say I didnt fancy. I have been training on having very little when I run long distances, so all I had for the whole run was a mouthful of water, 1/3 of a banana and a bite of a cereal bar.
The straight that just keeps going and going and going.....
It is lovely when you do a righter at the end of the straight and you can see the finish line and all the cheering people. To be rewarded with my medal at the end was just fantastic.

This was the best run I have ever done  and I know it would have made my Grampy smile to know I was doing it.

Cheers!!! The beer is alcohol free by the way but was really really good!

A proud moment!

The GPS map of the run :-)

It turned out I came 82nd out of 201 female runners, and I was the fastest woman representing Great Britain (even though there was just one other fellow female I wont brag too much about it). I finished the run in 2hrs and 28mins. It was 2hrs 28mins of my life that was truly amazing for many reasons, boosted by the money all my lovely sponsors have helped me to raise and the passion I have for two amazing causes.

Yes, it is an effort to run 24.4km's (15.25 miles). But I think of all the effort the two charities I am raising money for put in to the work that they do and my 'feat' seem very small. If you havent yet, you can read all about what Child Bereavement UK and Cancer Research UK and their amazing work in my previous blog.

Furthermore, The Child Bereavement Charity is now Child Bereavement UK. Yes, this is a charity that is growing, and you can support it by sponsoring me. Go on, be a part of it!!!

I want to say a BIG thank you to my husband, Andrew (below), who has supported me and looked after me this year. Without him, this would not have happened. I have run 810km so far. But the year is not over, I still have 190km to go.

Your support for Challenge 1000 would be amazing, you can sponsor me by visiting my Virgin Money Giving page.
Thank you to my wonderful husband

Also a final note on to the end of this blog. On the 28th August I became an Auntie to my beautiful niece, Libby, who I finally met on the Sunday after the big run. She is incredibly cute!  
The Libster!!!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The BIG one: Reflections before the Nurburgring

This is a very special blog as I am going to talk about the charities I am raising money for in depth, before I embark on my toughest run for Challenge 1000.
This Saturday 1st September I will take part in a 24.4km run around the Nurburgring. I will experience some very painfully steep and long hills throughout this run.

Running is as much about mental strength as it is physical. The mental strength comes from what causes you to run, what fuels the desire to keep your feet pounding despite the sweat and pain.

I have two forms of fuel; two amazing charities!!! So this blog will focus on what these charities do, and their importance, and most importantly why you should sponsor me to raise money for them!

The Child Bereavement Charity is a national charity that has a big impact on people’s lives every day.

Supporting families and educating professionals both when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.

In the UK, when a baby or child dies, or a child is bereaved, many of those affected are unable to access good quality support which meets their individual needs.

The money you sponsor me for Challenge 1000 goes towards;

£10 pays for a call by a parent grieving the death of their child into the Support and Information Line. A trained professional will listen to them in confidence.

£25 pays for a parent whose child has died to meet with other parents to share their experience, learn from others and talk in a safe environment.

£40 pays for a face to face support session for a young person who is grieving the death of someone important to them to help them to start rebuilding their life.

£300 pays for a child to go through a series of groups where they meet other children who are also grieving the death of someone close to them, so that they don’t feel so alone.

This support is much needed and makes a huge difference to children, young people and families.

Perhaps your journey into supporting the charity has started just by sponsoring me :-)

(Also, if you like running, or want to start, you can continue your journey into supporting the charity by entering Run to the Beat on 28th October 2012. This is a Half Marathon, starting and finishing at the O2 Arena, London, with live music acts en-route!)

Cancer can affect anyone of any age, of any gender, of any ethnicity. Cancer causes 1 in 4 deaths every year.

Cancer Research UK provides patient information, funding and research and campaigns to fight cancer.

The money I raise for them will go to achieving their goals. Which, amongst their many are; reducing risk, earlier diagnosis, cancer information, better treatments and improved survival.

Today more than 300,000 people are newly diagnosed with cancer each year. The overall cancer death rate continues to fall. Breast cancer survival rates continue to improve. Lung cancer incidence rates in men have dropped by 10 per cent since the year 2000 alone.  Bowel cancer survival rates have doubled since the 1970s.

To keep up improvements Cancer Research UK are developing new research institutes and have five flagship institutes across the UK.  In 2007 the new Cambridge Research Institute opened. The institute is home to almost 200 scientists working to understand the fundamental biology of cancer and convert their discoveries into new treatments.

In 2008, the Cancer Research UK MRC Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology opened in Oxford, heralding a new era of research into ways to improve radiotherapy for people with cancer.

Their various campaigns are vital, such as ‘The answer is plain’ to help protect children from tobacco marketing by putting all cigarettes in standardised, unbranded packs.

I believe that research and education are all vital in beating cancer. Support and information for those living with cancer as and when they need it is vital.

Cancer cannot be fought if it is ignored. I believe everyone should pay attention and hopefully start to talk about it more.

This charity is within my legacy to raise money for. So for my Grampy Fred, the money I raise for this charity is very much dedicated to you.

So on Friday I am off to Germany to run the green hell....I will report back!

On Saturday I will be appearing at the top of one of these many uphill sections....looking worse for wear I would think....

Thank you to all my supporters and donors so far. I am aiming to raise £1000 so please keep the donations coming. Thank you! 

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Running in the Algarve, Portugal

I have just returned from two weeks holiday in the Algarve in Portugal.

Some people asked me "You aren't taking your running kit are you? Please tell me you're not?!"
To which I replied "Yes, Yes I am." I really couldn't afford to have a break and not keep racking up the km's for Challenge 1000. Plus the 24.4km hilly hell Nurburgring run is looming....

Early start!

Anyone fancy an orange?  
I used Portugal as an opportunity to mend my pretty broken knee and to do lots of swimming, as well as a few runs to keep my fitness levels up.

I was fortunate enough to be able to decrease my mileage a little over those few weeks, giving my knee a chance to mend. I am very happy to say my knee is now fit and well, many thanks to pool sessions!

Pool Therapy!
I did 4 runs over the two weeks I was in Portugal, totalling 26.19km altogether. The heat was intense even though I was up at 6.30am in the morning to do my runs.

The area we stayed in was pretty hilly too which didn't make things easy. Also what didn't make it easy was the fact that every single domestic dog would give chase as you ran past it. We quickly learnt that we had to turn and chase the dogs back. Funnily enough the stray dogs would just stride past in a 'Bom Dias!Good day!' manner.  

Here are the sat nav maps of the loop runs I did. It was a good experience running in another country, amongst some gorgeous scenery.

On returning from Portugal I have now run 754km. Hopefully by September I will be up to 800km and I will then be in the last stages of Challenge 1000.

For the next few weeks I will be in training for the Nurburgring run so I feel my running shoes will be spending even more time on my feet than they already are!

Please sponsor me for Challenge 1000 and help me raise money for the Child Bereavement Charity and Cancer Research UK.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Just a little update!

There are just 37 days until my Nurburgring run and Challenge 1000 has been appearing in national and local news!! My local magazine 'The Link' included my feature in their July edition. A big thank you goes to them. I also had a nice surprise the other day when I saw that MSN Cars kindly included a feature on my challenge which you can read here
The Link magazine feature
At the moment I am focusing on keeping running and also keeping injuries at bay. I started to have problems with my right knee a few months ago. The pain happens after 8km each time I run which is frustrating, and also after I have run it hurts all through the night! So I have been using painkillers and have recently invested in a hot and a cold compress.  The warm one helps to soothe it on my very few 'days off' and the cold compress works fantastically after a long run!
Cold compress....bliss....

Yet despite the knee pain Challenge 1000 will continue!!! Earlier in the year I did a From Windsor with Love post and I am due to do the same 24.4km run this weekend. This distance matches exactly what I will run at the Nurburgring, the only difference is there are no gigantic hills.  However I did my Windsor run in February only 2 months into Challenge 1000 so I will be interested to see how this run feels on my body 7 months in.

Speaking of hills I have been fitting in quite a few long runs including major inclines, most of these occurring on a week night due to my ever busy schedule. This was me just before a 19km week night run. can come back and put your feet up and slob out after you have run!!

I have been fitting in some extreme inclines on my longer runs in preparation. If anyone knows of Winter Hill in Cookham you will understand how steep it is, and I have been running there lots!

I am off to Portugal on the 3rd August for 2 weeks, and my running kit will be coming with me. There will be a few early mornings as the heat in Portugal is immense and I don't fancy running in middle of the day heat out there. I have never run in Portugal and I am looking forward to it. There are certainly some good hills around the villa we are staying in, however running up a steep hill and then being able to jump into a nice pool is going to be awesome!
In the sand on Rhossili Bay, Wales....I must do this again in Portugal!

Again, a huge thank you to all those who have sponsored me. Please do let others know about what I am doing and spread the word, just in case they are feeling generous and want to give a little something :-)