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Putting the ‘Eeek!’ in Peakrunners – By Caroline French


Caroline French runs for and represents the Accelerate ‘Community’.  As part of Team Accelerate, she not only blogs, but also attends events, group runs and sessions in the Accelerate store.  She’s about to focus on completion of an event supported by Accelerate, the Peakrunnrs Ladybower Trail Marathon.  This is part one of what we hope will be a series, recording her progress, with an eventual race report for good measure.












Eeek, so I’ve entered the Scott supported Peakrunners Ladybower Trail Marathon – 30 June.

Train, race, recover ….repeat. Simple?

Ha ha, if only!

The old cliché is so true: just when you think everything is going great, bam!

In April 2017, all was great.  ‘Had a brilliant time at the Lightning 12 hour run, covering 30 miles and loved it.

In May it was the Hathersage Hurtle: 20 miles smashed and a breeze!  I chatted the whole way round and we (running partner and myself) finished 6th and 7th female.

Finishing the Hathersage Hurtle

“This girl’s on fire”….

Shortly followed by stress fracture in left tibia. Noooooo.

This actually meant rest.  Actual rest: it got exciting when I could run again after 6 weeks of not doing anything.  Hard going, but great being back.


After only 2 weeks of being back ‘on it’, my foot decided to strike the door frame in my bedroom at high speed.  Crunch.  Knew instantly it was broken.  Pain like you wouldn’t believe.

Gutted doesn’t even some it up.

It hasn’t been plain sailing since then either.  Had issues with my back and conflicting advice, but incredibly happy to say I’m running!


This kind of stuff makes you focus on building strength and really appreciating being able to run.

I’m setting different goals and my training plan is very focused and I’m disciplined.  In training and in diet.

I’ve entered a few shorter distance events, in May (Stanage Stumble – 12 miler being one of them) and building up to the Ladybower Trail Marathon at the end of June.

Race Start – Ladybower Trail Marathon 2017


So, what’s the training plan look like?  Probably a little different than it would have last year.  New goals!  This is a major distance milestone for me.  It isn’t about winning and it isn’t about surviving.  My goal is to finish, finish strong and enjoy it.  11 weeks to go, it’s:

  • building those long runs, slowly increasing the distance
  • drills – one session a  week, building technique and muscle memory
  • strength training: short sessions but looking at body weight exercises focusing on functional strength (stolen from @teamaccelerate @Laura and @Stu)
  • yoga & pilates
  • Rest (one day a week will have no running or strength.  Maybe a gentle mooch, but nothing more)

To sustain all of this, what I put in my body has to be good, to get the results and keep myself strong.  I’m vegan and have a crazy busy job, and although I eat a varied and healthy diet, I’m not afraid to say I supplement my diet and do make sure I take protein after training sessions.  I’m new to it, but the Mountain Fuel shakes are ace.  Love ’em for recovery and a protein hit.

Peakrunners are also supported by Mountain Fuel.

(Drumroll) I’ve quit alcohol too.  Now I’ve said that, it gives me extra motivation.  It might not be forever, but I’m giving it a whirl.


Do you know what, I’m feeling great.  New goals, new challenges: bring it on!

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Just a little Horse


Big Running Weekend.  Sunday AM.  Accelerate Red Route, led by ATR (Accelerate Trail Runners)’s Jon Osborne and attended by, among others one Angus McKendrick from Silva.

Angus on the right in the red

Mid run – and Angus sides up to me with a delicate tone.  “You’ve got a very distinctive running style Chris”, is what he starts with….

So far, so flattered.  As I’m expecting him to comment upon my natural upright posture, fast feet, high cadence..

My feet are always a blur, partly thanks to my shorter than average legs doing three steps to everyone else’s two.

But he continues..

“I’ll tell you what it reminds me of – – – – now, please don’t take offence until I’ve explained myself…”

Go on…

“My Girlfriend and I went to Iceland recently”.

“We took in a stand up act entitled ‘How to become Icelandic in 60minutes'”.

“He describes the ICELANDIC HORSE and its unique gait”

I’m now gripped, so far not offended in the slightest, as I’ve been to Iceland, love it, completed 2 successive Laugavegur Iceland Ultras, finishing 1st Brit and PBing by over an hour in 2009…

But it’s about to land….

“These short horses, more like Ponies, have a style where they move their feet very quickly and appear to be covering ground very smoothly.  Their rider appears to be gliding along, with the Horse/Pony wheeling away like crazy underneath”

“And they call this extra movement pattern, unique to this breed in Icelend, the ‘Tolt’.

“You Tolt”



Still not offended…

1st Brit – Laugavegur Ultra 2009

Perhaps I ought to be, but it did almost sound as if I’d been complimented on my running style…

At least I think so.

Regardless – I have of course mentioned this conversation to others.  Checked out the existence of such a creature, which until Mr. McKendrick piped up, despite having spent multiple trips in Iceland, I’d never heard of.  And it is of course true.  It exists.  And I do (it seems) indeed ‘Tolt’.

Icelandic Horse

Watch this space 2018….

Hashtag Tolt.

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A weight lifted


I’ve been a little ‘chunky’ for the last few months (like a year).

I wondered how I was ever going to shift the weight…

Then I turned up to Marshall at the Hope Winter Fell Race, ready by arrangement to stand on the top of Win Hill in the freezing cold for upto 2 hrs.

Last year had been a blizzard, so I went prepared.  Mole skin tights, long sleeved base and midlayers.  Thick warm thermal jacket with hood.  GoreTex ski gloves.  Thick ‘Thinsulate’ fleece lined hat….

My Girlfriend Max had even made me a flask of homehade soup to keep me cosey on the hill.

I was primed, with my 12 Litre day pack on and deep cushioned midsoles in the form of Saucony KoaTR.  Not as grippy as they ought to be, but definitley room for thick warm socks, over thick warm socks and an inch of shoe between me and the cold ground/ground water.

Smart thinking.

On arrival – Race Organiser Colin Papworth asked me “can you run sweeper?”


“Yes” I heard myself saying….

So ran the entire course, wrapped up like Christmas, carrying the ****ing flask of soup, flapping about in the mud and ice, on my flat (but comfy) trail shoes.

Result….  a crazy start to a week which invloved a further 8 runs, with 4 of them in frozen snow, decked out in full winter gear, including spikes.

Weight loss – sorted.  Follow that with another big week, ending with Big Running Weekend, wherein I completed 15 miles of group run on the Sunday.

I’ve moved down a belt hole.

Eat less – move more, but without the eating less.  BONUS!

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Raidlight Responsive 10L vest: First Impression


There has been a long wait to try this vest.  It’s been on my radar for quite some time.

I tested it when it was a prototype back in 2016.

I liked it then.

And I love it now.

Stretch fit.  Adjustable via the micro adjust buckles and with pockets for anything you care to stuff inside them.

Mega useful.  Really mega useful.

Best of all,  it  S – T – R – E – T – C – H – E – S

I’ve run in it a few times.  Between 3 and 20 miles, it never occurs to me that I’ve a pack on.  You wear it.  You don’t carry it.

It takes the regular items I use on a daily basis.  It looks like it’s the same size as my regular vest.  But my regular vest is 3 Litres.  This is 10.

And when suddenly, I need to carry a full change of work clothes and empty lunch box and spare run kit…..  it fits!

It fits and sits very neatly around my torso.  Offers a choice of stretch pockets for bottles (2 x 600ml soft flasks with extended bite valves included).  It features a whistle, obviously.

Looks good.  Feels good.  I do not wish to return the test vest I’m using.

So far so good.

Watch the Magazine page for the full review any time now.  Or just purchase one here !

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Top 5 things I don’t want to miss out on at the Big Running Weekend!


Mikk Murray – Team Accelerate

Mikk Murray is a member of Team Accelerate

A qualified Run Leader – he attends WoodRun on Thursdays, and has led groups at Accelerate Trail Runners on Tuesday evenings.

Here he offers his thoughts on what makes Big Running Weekend such an exciting prospect…

OK!  The Big Running Weekend starts tomorrow (9th March) and I’ve been sat looking at the timetable trying to make a plan. There’s a lot to do in those 3 days so I thought I’d share my top 5 things not to miss out on!

First up is the Inov-8 talk on Friday evening with Ben Mounsey, a Yorkshireman who is well known on the fell and mountain running scene across Britain and overseas. I’m very much looking forward to hearing Ben’s stories of racing and training plus joining him for the guided run afterwards!

2 – Hill technique session with Colin Papworth. Saturday 2:30pm. This session is all about improving your ability to run uphill. Living in Sheffield, I think this workshop is a must for all runners! Can be followed up with the downhill running workshop by Stu on Sunday..

3 – Inov8 talk with Damian Hall, ultra runner. Saturday 7pm. Damian has represented GB, finished 1st Vet in the UTMB and just last month won the multi day Ice-Ultra! He’s described his talk as “A midlife-crisis, a toilet and the power sob: what running long distances has taught me about life, the universe and everything”. Sounds good to me!

4 – Silva navigation Workshop 1:30pm Sunday. Angus from Silva will take you through the key areas of navigation like different maps, scales and using a compass. Great for beginners or anyone wanting to simply brush up on their nav skills. Angus is also setting up a navigation course in the woods for people to have a go on!

5 – Womens Running Talk. 3pm Sunday. Wow! This is definitely not to be missed! There’s going to be Jen Scotney, Laura Inglis, Margo Duncan and Debbie Smith talking about their achievements and how they got there. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing about Jen Scotney’s Spine Challenger experience this January in which she came 3rd. It was only 108 miles..!!

I’m now even wondering how I’m going to fuel myself for it all! The answer to that is easy though.. The Woodland Coffee Stop always has a good choice of food and drinks, but more importantly great cakes! There’s also the Sunshine Pizza oven, a wood fired pop up that provides fantastic pizza, including a vegan one which of course I’m a fan of!

I have to admit it was really tough picking out 5 things to do over the Big Running Weekend as there is so much choice. There are led runs to go on in between the talks and workshops. The WoodRun sessions are fantastic for improving technique, form and stability and the Saucony hill sprint challenge looks like it will be lots of fun. Type 2 fun possibly! Oh and I should probably plug my own contribution to the weekend! A Q&A session with fellow Team Accelerate runner Alex Hinchliffe about being vegan runners and what we eat during training and racing. Alex is finding his feet in the short fell races with 2 wins this year already and I’m more of a long day in the hills type of guy..

I’ll also be around all weekend as the roving reporter, adding videos and photos to social media so come and say hi, pose for a photo and tell me how you’re getting on!
You can find all the info at along with facebook events, instagram and twitter. See you there!


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