International Marathons

March 1, 2018

I love a holiday and I love running. So pairing up the 2 always seems like a good idea to me. Most of the time I’ll allow Laura to pick a destination and I’ll find a race, but other times I have found races in places that I know she would like to visit in order to get my international running fix.

Whilst I am aware there are hundreds of marathons that take place every week across the world here are my personal favourites so far.

Disneyworld Marathon weekend – the Goofy Challenge.

Most people would be surprised by this race ranking in any serious runners list, but as a parent (and a lover of all things Disney) this ticked all the boxes for us. A great vacation and a well organised race with plenty of distractions to keep you entertained for 26.2 miles. I paired this marathon with a half marathon the day before (known as the Goofy Challenge) and Emily even got to take part in the diaper race at the age of 8 months. It’s definitely not a PB course as a number of the runners were out for a good time. If you are looking for a fun, less serious race then this is the one for you. Or you take on the Dopey Challenge which takes on the 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon over the 4 day weekend.

New York City Marathon
FullSizeRender-1 As someone who has ambitions to complete the major marathons (London, Berlin, NY, Chicago, Boston & Tokyo) New York was always going to be on my list of to do races. I had entered the international ballot for years and I was offered a place in the 2014 race. I deferred this place due to family commitments, and finally got to race it in October 2015. This is a true major which meant massive crowds, large runner numbers and impeccable organisation. The route takes you through all of the NY City boroughs and I saw more in the 26.2 miles than I did in the 5 days I’d previously spent in New York. A relatively flat course, with the toughest bits being the slight inclines onto the bridges, so this is a race with PB potential.

Dublin City Marathon 

I’ve chosen this as a good race as it’s my Marathon PB. A


fter years of chasing the 4 hour marathon in London I booked this race with a friend. Dublin is a beautiful city and again, very flat. Sparse, but animated crowds motivated me more than the constant noise i’d heard in London.


Not sure what next – any ideas :D



Silicon Valley Runner

February 25, 2018


As I sit in Sunny California I felt the need to update this site. My last blog detailed a bit about my new venture

How is CA and the Running Website linked I hear you ask. Simple really. I’m living out a dream that’s been motivating me for the past 5-10 years of my life. Silicon Valley is the tech place to be and I am here with the team being mentored by the world renowned incubator Y Combinator.

Working all hours that I physically can has meant that I actually haven’t done too much sport – a bit ironic really, as I am building a site and community focused on running, cycling and triathlons. The few times I’ve been out I’ve checked out the running and cycling routes around Atherton, Redwood City and Mountain View and it’s safe to say the hills are a little bigger than those in Woodford. But the weather more than makes up for the hilly nature of this part of the world. I’ve also had a few short swims in the outdoor pool and a very cold experience swimming from the Dolphin Club pontoon out into San Francisco Bay.

I’ve been missing my routine of Parkrun on a Saturday morning, so when Laura brought the girls out for a few weeks to visit I took the opportunity to borrow a running ‘stroller’ and take Emily out for a bit of parkrun tourism (more to follow on that later).

As always I promise I’ll keep you updated, now back to work!


Time for something new…Let’sDoThis!

May 30, 2017

Firstly, to my long lost followers, no doubt upset that I haven’t made a post in many many years, I’m back! WOOOOHOOO.16649235_1871022439842350_1525004990964634077_n-1

A few months ago now I  left MoneySavingExpert after 10 years to setup a new website and AMAZINGLY it relates to all things endurance and running! 2016 saw the launch of the sports and endurance market place. On this site we help you on your journey to pick your next 5k through to Marathons, sprint distance triathlons through to IM.


Our official launch will be on the 16th July at the Let’s Do This Chavenage Sportive and Trail run. I hope some of you can join me and the team at the event!


Looking forward to bumping into you all again.



Oh Dear…Lets do this again

April 15, 2015

fat-runnerAs I write this post I find it unbelievable it’s almost a year since the last marathon I ran! I am not doing a spring marathon, the first in 7 years, this feels kinda weird and my stomach and body is aware of this! In October I posted about getting training again, this seemed short lived and I just couldn’t get the motivation to get out side and train. Since then I have found out I’m to be a father and training has been pushed back even more!

I registered to run the Reading Half, which I dragged my sorry ass around in a slow time for me and since then I have dusted off the cobwebs on my trainers and am trying to restore some ability in my body…Long gone are the sub 1:40 half marathon days but I figure that I got to that before so it’s certainly possible to get there again if I can just get beyond 4 miles at 8:30 pace (my current pace)!

I am going to be running the New York Marathon this year so I believe my training for that needs to start kinda now! I’m also registered to do the Virgin London Tri, which will be fun – hopefully I can get my 5k run time down to make it a nice little proper intro to triathlons!

I want to try use this again to motivate me through my training so hopefully you will see more updates more regularly.  For all those running London in two weeks time – good luck, whilst I haven’t missed the long training runs, I feel like not having that weird feeling in my stomach on that Sunday morning is going to be really odd for me :)


Till next time

Review: Denon AH-150

November 19, 2014


I have some new earphones to play with!!

As a techie having to read the instructions is something I try to avoid, unfortunately with the Denon’s it certainly required the instructions to set them up but luckily they were short and to the point!

Earphones configured and ready I used the earphones during a short 4mile training run. I had it hooked up to my iPhone with my Spotify playlist.

Once I was running the sound quality was fab, every so often it seemed to cut out for second or so but nothing that was really a problem. This was the first bluetooth pair of earphones I have ever used and being wire free was actually really nice. If I had a pound for every time I have become tangled up whilst setting up myself with my current earbuds I would be a wealthy man!

I answered a call on the earphones whilst out, again sound quality was good and my wife said that it was better than my usual pair as the microphone rubs with my kit giving a loud background noise. Didn’t try making an outbound call – it did connect to SIRI so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Couple of gripes I had whilst out:

  • they seemed to gradually work loose from my ears, there may have been other buds to use but the default set didn’t quite fit. I wonder whether they are perhaps just a little heavy and even a tighter bud would still have issues.
  • I also couldn’t adjust the volume – I’m not sure if this was just because I was using Spotify rather than native music.
  • the button press to change tracks felt a little clumsy, it required a little bit too much pressure I felt for something pressed to your ear!

I haven’t run a test for a long duration of time, as an endurance runner I suspect my iPhone battery would run out first because of the bluetooth but I would like to try that at some point soon.

The box also talks about a training app to use alongside the earphones. I didn’t get to install that yet but will check it out in the coming weeks.




Let’s do this! Training Time

October 18, 2014

Time to dust of the cobwebs on this blog. Training starts again and this time it’s not just focused on running!

As I look down at my stomach I feel all that I spent so long trying to get rid of when I took up running is reappearing. The jeans are getting tighter and I know now it’s time to start putting together a plan back to fitness.

I know I’m not the sort of person that can train without a target – I would lack motivation and I know after a few months I would be back to normal.

When I started running my goal was the marathon, and the years following was trying to better my times. This saw me to the start line of 9 marathons and countless half marathons. My best time was a reasonable 3:42 marathon and 1:32 half. Neither of those are times to be sniggered at and both of them right now seem miles away as I struggle to maintain a 9min/mi pace for more than 3 miles and just getting kit on feels like a chore! I have run every route I can think of locally both backwards and forwards but that is no real excuse! Time to lace up the shoes and get back out there. I want to set my goal of getting back to a sub 1:45 half marathon by March with the intention of being able to comfortable hang  onto an 8 min MI again for a long distance.(13+ miles)

On top of this during the winter months im going to hit the pool. Building up my stamina and speed with the intention of reducing my mile swim time down. My coaching with Ray at Swim Canary Wharf has started again and if you are up early enough during the week you can see me (and Tom Daley, seriously) doing laps in the stunning olympic pool!

Wait a minute what about the bike?  Well during the winter I’m going to dust off the turbo and try smash out a few evening sessions and also get at least one spin session under my belt each week. Getting my body just used to being on the bike again.

So where does that leave me? Other than without any time!? I guess you could say my training might resemble someone thinking about triathlon…and you would be right. Watch this space to reveal more!



Sony W273 Waterproof MP3 Player – POOR for swimming

July 22, 2014

I wrote this post last year and thought I had published it. It was only when I was out looking for a new set of earphones I went to look and realised it was saved to draft!

I don’t often do reviews because that’s not what this site is for but occasionally I buy a product or get something to play with that I think oooh yes that would work (one of those are a pair of vibrams, blog to follow shortly). These earphones I went and bought before a holiday as thought they would be a great way to get me into the 50m pool with some Audiofuel coaching alongside.

I can’t say exactly why I ended up choosing these earphones over any of the others, they looked cool were available across the road from work and ultimately seemed to get reasonable reviews amongst a collection of negatives across the market. Also surely the might that is Sony should be better at building MP3 players than a clothes company like Speedo or some of the other competition out there. How wrong was I!

Loaded up with mp3′s I headed to the pool armed with my earphones. I’m sure I looked a bit of a *insert appropriate insult here* amongst all the others doing doggy paddle but I didn’t care. Press play, bit fiddly but you know what I could live with that it was what happened at 51meters that was a problem. I turned round at the end of the lap and pushed off at the wall at which point the ear popped out. No problem I figured I would just put it back in and adjust it at the other end, a pain but understandable. However, when I put the ear back in the sound was all muffled I could barely hear anything. I swam to the end and played with the volume – nothing. Put the earphones on the side and gave in with them for the day. I’d try next time.

The next day I put the phones back on, the volume restored. I comically decided I would push off gentler to save the phones and allow me to do the session. However a few laps later the same started to happen. It wasn’t long before I couldn’t hear anything again. Rubbish.

This time I went to my trusty friend google and looked up the model number. Buried under lots of PR seemed to be similar reviews and comments. It appears that water can get trapped in the earphone causing a muting effect and block between ear and music. The solution to fix the problem – jiggle the earphones about. Wow. If only I’d read that before buying them – not sure I wanted to add a jiggle earphones segment every hundred meters to my swim sessions!

To be totally fair to Sony ( not sure why as these earphones were sold to swim in and I wonder whether anyone actually did swim in them other than the sort of swimming you see many do which is headsup breast type) I think these may work reasonable well for running. The fact there are no cables to worry about means it is clutter free, I didn’t try then though for this as I’m perfectly happy with spotify and my yurbuds! I don’t really own too many MP3s any more!

Luckily I had a receipt and these went back straight away on my return. Poor product. Swimmers be warned. Any suggestions out there?


Runners, Cheaters and the 2014 Virgin London Marathon in numbers

April 14, 2014

Note – I have updated the post to remove photographs and subsequently comments. This is a personal blog in which I share my normally fairly boring running journey. Obviously this year someone has picked up this blog and it has gone a little bit mental. I have no intention of harassing or naming and shaming anyone hence why I am amending this post

VLM_2014_LogoEvery year after the marathon the geek in me wants to look up and get some more information about how people have performed on the day. This research project also allows me to find people who have made some “spectacular” negative splits.

This year it seems we only have a couple of suspicious people…as of yet some of these people don’t have photo’s! This chap managed a 50 minute half marathon! IMPRESSIVE!!! Someone should really let them know that a world record was broken on the course!!pic1

Oh dear…what happened in your first half marathon 2:07 seems very slow for someone that can pull out a 1:01 half marathon negative split. Next year when you return back, because with a second half like that you really should, you MUST work on your first half pacing…pic2

It’s not just one…this person managed a 1:30 half after a 2:40 half – most odd, I can only assume they are much happier in the mid day sun and needed a bit of warming up! :)
Wear those medals with pride…*

Some interesting facts about yesterday:

  • 941 negative splits (1,296 in 2013)
  • 4 runners with PERFECT pacing (EXACTLY the same first half and second half)
  • Biggest positive split: 224minutes. 01:39:55 first half, completion time 07:04:44.(This is not meant as a bad thing, merely interesting – having suffered something similar a few years back ago I just found it interesting!!)
  • Starters who didn’t finish: 191 (this figure seems very low so may need reviewing!)

* or take pride in the fact you know how to jump over a barrier on the Highway skipping 8 miles…

Obligatory London Marathon Post

April 1, 2014


I know I leave this blog alone for months upon months but to be fair this time until January I hadn’t really run at all since my last post on Vibrams in May last year.

It has been a tough year for me. My father, my initial inspiration and motivation for running my first (and subsequently second as I didn’t beat his time) passed away suddenly from a heart attack. After this I couldn’t bring myself to either running with my own company or running full stop. My trainers went in the cupboard.

In July I setup a charity site in his name and to date we have raised over £4k for the British Heart Foundation through cycling and other charity events – if you wish to donate please go .

One morning late in January whilst sat stuffing my face in Pret, I had an email from Perry, a friend of my dad that said he would be running the marathon in my dads name and also another similar message from another gym friend who was doing the same but at Brighton the week before London. This was the spark I needed. I would try get a place to run London myself. At the time I ignored the fact that 7 months of no running may have set me back a bit. I got a place (a little bit too quickly if I’m truthful).

Ok time to strap on the laces and go for a run. How difficult could it be? I should be able to go straight out and comfortably run 13miles – a staple distance if mine a few years ago. Transpires in a complete role reversal most of my runs in the past where my head gave up before my body, this time my body gave up first leaving my head unsure why it wasn’t possible. I can’t remember how far I traveled on that first run but I remember it being more of a run walk and my Garmin informed me it was slow.

I trundled on with the training ramping up the distance but two consecutive weekends I choked. I really wasn’t enjoying these long runs in the slightest. The problem was I only had about 6 weeks to go and really felt behind where I should have been. This is where my wife came in and she helped draw a physical schedule on the wall. She was my spark and motivation and created something I couldn’t (and she wouldn’t let me) ignore. From this point I have hit a number more long runs to bring it upto a couple of 16+ ers and a couple of 18+.

Throughout my entire training in the back of my mind has been the reason I’m doing it this year and I have even been on the radio to explain why…

My running isn’t fast, I have no intention of beating personal bests here I’m doing this for one reason only. To take the medal at the end and show it to dad. As this one is for him. X

The view from the other side…

May 1, 2013

556406159128a38512be4375247420516b686267ea367a8c6fa32d85297fd9f4c44ea99a…by Laura Lock (Neil’s wife)

I am not sure if this post will ever see the light of day on Neil’s running blog. It doesn’t detail miles completed, or times of splits. It does not contain references to nasty looking feet or a recomendation for a new piece of kit. It does however talk about grit and determination and immense pride.

My husband is a runner. Which makes me a running widow! In the months leading up to a marathon our Sundays are usually filled with trips to random places at very early times of the morning for a race or don’t start until lunchtime once the ‘long run’ is out of the way. I am not a runner myself (yet!), so why do I let hubby’s hobby take over our weekends? The answer is simple. I enjoy it as much as he does. I meet new people. People just like me who spectate or people like Neil who run. The community is amazing and I have a lot of very close friends who we have met from running circles over the years.

Last week Neil ran in his 8th Marathon in 4 years. He started back in 2009 and has now lined up 5 times in London and 3 times abroad. His running has taken us to the south of England and this summer up to the North for the GNR. We have been to Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Venice and to San Francisco (during the San Fran half marathon we got engaged!). I get to go to nice places on hoilday because Neil wants to run – I definatly am not complaining!