Yay! Bookshops re-opening

With the next stage of relaxing the Covid lockdown (in England) most bookshops will be re-opening to customers on Monday 12 April. One thing this does mean is that if you haven’t had a chance to have a look at our photographic book ‘Fell and mountain running: through the eye of a lens’ then you can if you visit one of these four brilliant shops:

Bookends (Keswick and Carlisle), Sam Read Bookseller (Grasmere), Fred Holdsworth (Ambleside) and Pete Bland Sports (Kendal).

Do take a look at the book if you get a chance. I am sure you will be delighted with the range and quality of Pete Hartley’s mountain photography. The book can be bought in any of those shops, and can be ordered online from them all, or direct from this link (which has more details of the book itself, plus a review of it from Athletics Weekly).

You can, of course, also get any of my other four fell running books at any of those shops, and also many other good bookshops.

Sub 7 Sub 8 Triathlon Project

In February 2020 it was announced that there was a project being setup to beat the existing Ironman (triathlon) records for both men and women. Not just beat them but smash through the 7 hour barrier for men and the 8 hour barrier for women. The first impression is that it is mirroring the Nike Sub-2 and Ineoes 1-59 projects setup recently to see if someone could beat the 2-hour barrier for running the marathon distance.

There is not much information available yet, but it seems to be setup to be a double header of male and female one-on-ones. Alistair Bownlee versus Kristian Blummenfelt, and Nicola Spirig versus Lucy Charles-Barclay. It is set to be held in Spring 2022 at a venue to be announced. One thing strongly in its favour is the gender equality, apparently the same incentives for either sex, something that I believe is the norm in that sport (unlike mainstream athletics). Whatever happens it will not be recognised as a new Ironman record, due to the artificial nature of the event. It will be interesting to see how much technological advantage can be gained in each of the three triathlon disciplines (swim, bike and run) as there is a lot of time to carve off in each case.

Some basic data: the distances are swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run a marathon. The existing records are: Jan Frodeno (GER), 2017, 7 hrs 35 mins 39 secs and Chrissie Wellington (GBR), 2011, 8 hours 18 mins 13 secs. From that you will see that the men have to ‘lose’ over 35 minutes and the women a lesser amount of 19 minutes. The following table gives (an estimate, as data is difficult to find) the fastest splits done by different individuals within standard Ironman events, and a theoretical total time as if those times all came in the same event.

The data suggests that the women’s task might be an easier one. But where will that time be gained, in which disciplines and by what methods? There could be thicker, more buoyant wetsuits, pacing by kayak in the swim (would that help?). Drafting behind a phalanx of bikes (like a Tour de France peloton), or even using pace vehicles for the bike section. Laser pacing, with shielding pacers for the run. Specialists in each event in each pacing team. Women using men as pacers? Then there are shoe and bike innovations. What do you think?

A worry that I have is that there will changes that will adversely affect traditional triathlon events. This has certainly been the case in running since the 2 hour barrier was broken. The shoe developments that initiative prompted have seen a sea change in athletics, with carbon plates and thicker soles being added by most shoe manufacturers. It has produced a rush of unprecedented times both on the road and track. It seems you now have to wear these new (very expensive) shoes to be able to compete, which actually produces an un-level playing field. Might a similar situation happen in triathlon?

As a result of shoes developed for sub-2, in 2020 World Athletics announced major changes to its rules on footwear.

The new regulations imposed an immediate ban on any shoe with a sole thicker than 40mm, as well as on shoes that contained more than one plate. In a bid to ensure shoes worn by some athletes didn’t offer an unfair advantage, the rules also stated that any shoe used in competition must have been available for purchase on the retail market for a period of four months. This move effectively banned the use of prototypes in competition.

There is a parallel in some aspects between the sub 7 sub 8 project and the Hour Record in cycling. In that challenge the idea is to cover as much ground as possible in 60 minutes. These days it takes place on an indoor track, which pretty much removes weather and terrain from the equation, predicting/controlling both of which factors both sub-2 and sub7sub8 aim(ed) for. It seems that the Hour Challenge was something that came into cyclists sights towards the very end of their careers at the top of their sport. That was the case for Bradley Wiggins, who took the record in 2015, before retiring in 2016, and writing a book about The Hour (cover to left).

Although Alistair Brownlee plans to compete in the Tokyo Olympics if possible, there is a thought in my mind that this high profile triathlon challenge might be his swansong. As far as I can see his last competition was in Sept 2020 in the Helvellyn Triathlon, which ends with a 9 mile fell race up Hellvellyn (yes, I know he has been a noted fell runner when he chosen to race on the fells) – which is hardly ITU-level competition [he won]. You could argue that Nicola Spirig is in the autumn of her career too, but that is not the case for either Blummenfelt or Charles-Barclay, so it is a weak argument.

Conclusion: is it a good thing, and will I watch it when it happens? At the moment I see it as a cleverly pitched publicity move by the sponsor. Looking at the times I would say there is a strong chance of the woman’s sub-8 happening, but really think the men’s sub-7 is asking too much (but am happy to be proved wrong). I am skeptical now, but know full well that I will be sucked in and will probably set aside time to sit and watch the whole thing unfurl. That is certainly what happened with the Ineos 1-59 effort of Eliud Kipchoge and his team.

Afterthought: As I recall, in the Nike sub-2 effort there were three athletes all shooting for the time, and two of them couldn’t hack the required pace and dropped out at various stages. I wonder if all 4 triathletes will be fit enough to ‘chase the pace’ or whether one or more of them will drop off it and drop out, although the pacing of the three disciplines isn’t a simple numerical factor, and it won’t be really possible to second guess the outcome until well into the marathon running stage. We will see.

Project website: https://www.sub7sub8.com/

Fell running books

Where can you get hold of my books?
The latest one, Fell and Mountain Running: through the eye of a lens has until recently only been available from the authors. But now it is available from four independent sources, as detailed below.
(Click for book link):
Bookends (Keswick)
Sam Read’s Bookshop (Grasmere)
Fred Holdsworth’s Bookshop (Ambleside)
Pete Bland Sports (Kendal)

All my other four books are all available too, and may be found at any of those outlets listed above, plus many more good shops and online services. Just a reminder about each book and what they are about.

All or nothing at all: the life of Billy Bland – is the life story of Billy Bland, fellrunner extrordinaire and holder of many records including that of the Bob Graham Round until it was broken by the foreword author of this book, Kilian Jornet. It is also the story of Borrowdale in the English Lake District, describing its people, their character and their lifestyle, into which fellrunning is unmistakably woven. Filled with stories of competition and rich in northern humour, All or Nothing At All is testimony to the life spent in the fells by one of their greatest champions, Billy Bland.

A recent review: Fantastic read for anybody remotely interested in running. This book brings you totally inside the world of fell running and the great people that compete to win.

Running Hard: the story of a rivalry – For one brilliant season in 1983 the sport of fell running was dominated by the two huge talents of John Wild and Kenny Stuart. Wild was an incomer to the sport from road running and track. Stuart was born to the fells, but an outcast because of his move from amateur to professional and back again. Together they destroyed the record book, only determining who was top by a few seconds in the last race of the season. Running Hard is the story of that season, and an inside, intimate look at the two men.

A recent review: A riveting read that takes you inside the world of Fell Running’s royalty.

The Round: in Bob Graham’s footstepsThe Round is not only a history of the Bob Graham Round, but also an exploration of the what, why and how of this classic fell endurance challenge. After covering the genesis of the BGR in detail, it documents its development from a more-or-less idle challenge to its present status as a rite of passage for endurance runners. Interspersed with this detail of the round are extensive profiles of many of the event s most significant individuals: innovators, record setters, recorders and supporters. Some links to resources for potential BGR completers are included.
A recent review: The story of the iconic Bob Graham Round. Excellent history of the BGR and fell running in general.

It’s a hill, get over it – is a detailed history of the sport of fell running. It also tells the stories of some of the great exponents of the sport through the ages. Many of them achieved greatness whilst still working full time in traditional jobs, a million miles away from the professionalism of other branches of athletics nowadays. The book covers the early days of the sport, right through to it going global with World Championships. Along the way it profiles influential athletes such as Fred Reeves, Bill Teasdale, Kenny Stuart, Joss Naylor, and Billy and Gavin Bland. It gives background to the athletes including their upbringing, introduction to the sport, training, working life, records and achievements.
A recent review: I would recommend this to all who are Interested in any form of running, but if you are a fell runner and haven’t read it, get it bought!

Blog 2020: most visited pages and most downloaded content

It seems a good time to review this blog from the weird year that was 2020. As it happens, I did the normal number of blog posts over the year, almost three per month.Two other stats: referals came from Facebook at a 5:1 ratio over Twitter (which surprised me, except that Twitter is one account, whereas I can post notifications in a number of FB Groups). Visitor’s came from 75 different countries, with USA and Ireland being distant second and third places behind the UK.

MOST VISITED PAGES

The third most visited page on the blog was actually one from March 2019. It was on some of the shenanigans from the professional fell racing scene, and included an interview I did with Pete Bland. I guess people had searched it out when he sadly passed away towards the end of 2020. It can be accessed here:

The second most visit page was one from January 2020, where I did a little gentle analysis of the completions from the previous year on the Bob Graham Round. It shows the continuing interest in the BGR since Kilian Jornet set the new record in 2018. The post can be accessed here:

The most visited page was from October 2020, and again was BGR connected. It was some analysis of the splits from George Foster’s round (the third fastest ever) against those of Billy Bland, which made fascinating reading (well I thought so!). It can be accessed here:

MOST DOWNLOADED CONTENT

The most downloaded content was an article I co-wrote with Steve Birkinshaw for the Fellrunner way back in 2018. It was a case study of four athletes who had suffered CFS in varying degrees of seriousness, and how they came back from it, or didn’t. It can be accessed here [PDF file].

The second most popular content on the blog was a profile of fell runner and top marathoner Dave Cannon, again an article I wrote for Fellrunner, way back in 2017 (so no idea why that was so popular, but it was downloaded over 250 times). It can be accessed here [PDF file].

The third most downloaded piece was an article I wrote for Compass Sport magazine on Kim Collison’s Winter BGR record, which was published in early 2020. It can be accessed here [PDF file].

NB: Most of my writing can be accessed through the links on the CV page on this blog: https://itsahill.wordpress.com/curriculum-vitae/.

Self-publishing. It ain’t been easy

My fifth book is co-authored, but unlike the other four is self-published, and is just out. I thought I would record what the latter part of the process of self-publishing has been like, as it was certainly interesting, and not perhaps what I was expecting. Covid-19 and Brexit both hindered things quite a bit.

It all started in November 2019, so has taken just over a year from idea to fruition. The book is a hardback celebrating the great fell and mountain photographer, Pete Hartley. The first ten months were all about (co-author) Denise Park sorting through some 60,000 photographic images and working with me to make a suitable selection of 400 or so to go in the book. This took countless hours of work, and many discussions about inclusions/exclusions. Having pulled together the necessary contextualising text and done a dummy layout in Word, we had the material ready to hand over to a graphic designer to produce the camera-ready artwork. On 29 October I posted the text file, and all the folders of original hi-res images into a Dropbox, and in effect handed-off the project for a while to a professional.

Before that we had already investigated and selected a printer. This was important to get right as the images needed quality paper and printing to show them off to best advantage. Fortunately, we were recommended to contact (and get a quote from) Latitude Press, in the Lake District. Having seen samples and had a warm welcome we agreed the quote with them. It gave me an extra good feeling that they were based in the Lakes, and had printed two excellent recent books about the area. Having said that the actual print works recommended by them was in the EU, but were likely to be able to turn the work around within an agreed 4-5 week window. [For those interested in the finer details of the book, I am happy to discuss if you want to contact me for further info on our particular print specifications. Below are details of the print company.]

Back with the layout phase, we were fortunate that our chosen graphic designer was also a fell runner and very sympathetic to, and in tune with, what we were looking for in the look and feel of the book. Again it is pleasing that Britas Design are based in the Lakes, just outside Keswick. The deal was that if we could get the camera-ready PDF files to the printer by 6 Nov we could have a 17 Dec delivery for the final copies of the books. A tough ask.

At this point (31 Oct) we decided on a process for accepting pre-orders of the book. Denise also researched post and packing options. We found a supplier of cardboard wraps and inner bubble wraps, which with postage were going to add £5 to the cost of delivering books to folk. We agreed a payment to a photographer for reproducing two of their photos of Pete, and quietly waited for progress/info on the layout.

We decided that we would advertise the book on 7th Nov which would have been Pete’s birthday, offering pre-orders. We had decided to deal with the payments for, and the despatching of, pre-orders ourselves – which added quite a burden, which mostly fell on Denise. We started sounding out publications for a mention, including Fellrunner and Trail Running magazines, and flooded every social media channel we could access with info on the book, and how to order. Meanwhile, we had missed the print deadline, but had received the first few pages from the designer.

By 16 Nov only a third of pages were done, so we agreed a new deadline of 29 Nov, which Latitude fortunately were happy to go with. This still allowed a new delivery date of 21 Dec, which was getting tight, but amazing to hear. We supplied them some pages to do a test print, to ensure we were happy with the result.

Even on 23 Nov we were STILL making small corrections to the text as we proof-read the pages as they came through to us. On 26 Nov we agreed the final proof copy, and the next day it was received in the Czech Republic at the print works. We were contacted by Latitude on 1 Dec that somewhere in the process of making the final PDFs an error had occurred in the cover layout and in the internal cut marks positioning. As they were unable to ‘rip’ the files to the press, they couldn’t proceed with our printing. We were already passed our deadline so this needed to be rectified as a matter of urgency or we would completely miss our newly allocated printing slot. Anxious emails and phone calls between Denise, the designer and Latitude Press ensued over the next 24 hours until Denise received an email at 13-31 on 2 Dec saying they had finally managed to ‘rip’ the files and now needed final approval to go to print that afternoon. This hiccup even more confirmed our wisdom of hiring a professional for the layout rather than trying to do it ourselves (which we did consider at one point). Now the fun started.

On 5 Dec we were informed that it would be two pallet loads, which would be delivered to Denise’s business address, in a small road in Clitheroe. A week later the news reported port delays, but we avoided the worst of these. Then the books were held in customs on 17 Dec. The packaging was all labelled and ‘postaged’ in readiness. TIP: buy your Royal Mail postage online,as it is slightly cheaper and lessens issues at PO itself.

We were then informed that the books would be delivered on a 40-tonne ‘international’ articulated wagon which didn’t have a tail lift, so the wagon sides would be raised and a forklift truck would lift the palettes off the wagon. This wasn’t the original plan! The international freight company then contacted Denise to say they had Googled her business address and were concerned that the wagon would not make it down the small road of Denise’s business address. A quick decision was made to have them delivered to her home address instead – but as Denise drove home to meet the wagon, unannounced roadworks had been set up outside her house with the road being closed to traffic. Another rapid decision had to be made – and it was decided to divert yet again to a delivery company based in Manchester where the books could be unloaded and reloaded onto a smaller English wagon.

Eventually, on 21 Dec, two palettes weighing one and a quarter tonnes of books were unloaded onto the road outside Denise’s business address, and Denise and her secretary embarked on carrying 94 boxes of books inside the clinic before the inclement weather could also add it’s toll. We had a distribution company booked (Despatch Bay) to deliver them in bulk into the Post Office system, and they did a marvellous job in that people started receiving them on 22 Dec. The designer, printers, delivery company had all worked wonders to get a good number of the books in people’s hands prior to Christmas. Thanks to you all.

We were thrilled to receive our books today. Thank-you for getting them here so speedily. Wow – what a tribute to Pete – really impressive. Makes you smile and admire, and yet feel sad and nostalgic at the same time. Well done.

A real trip down memory lane, it is excellent, exceeded my expectations. Please accept my thanks on a great book and pass on my thanks to everyone involved in its production.

A lot of hard work, but we are really pleased with the result – and so it seems are purchasers. Even after all the issues noted here, we both decided that we would consider self-publishing again.

To order this beautiful 200-page hardback book, please send an email to: dp@deniseparkphysio.co.uk to be sent order details. Further details on the book webpage and on another blog by me.

Athletics Weekly’s review of ‘Fell and Mountain Running’

If you want to know more about ‘Fell and Mountain Running: through the eye of a lens’, Athletics Weekly has published a full review which will give you a feel for the content. It is reproduced in full below.

To order this beautiful 200-page hardback book, please email dp@deniseparkphysio.co.uk to be sent further details.

BGR Completions – 2020 update

Bob Wightman has just released the figures for Bob Graham Round (BGR) registrations, completions, male/female split, direction of travel, etc. for 2020, which make interesting reading, and that I have commented on before. [https://forum.fellrunner.org.uk/showthread.php?24761-BGR-2019-summary&p=657211#post657211]

I have updated my spreadsheet, and the graphs of several aspects of the data, which are illustrated below with a couple of comments on each.

This first graph shows the data just for completions since 1971. The black line is the actual numbers completing, which was at its highest ever level in 2019, although not surprisingly it was another downturn in 2020. The red line is the trend line which is obviously up (after recovering from the Foot and Mouth blip of 2001) and the blue is the moving mean, also trending upwards.

More recently figures for registrations and completions have been published, allowing analysis of completion percentages. The graph above is of the last 9 years, showing upward trends in registrations and completions (these figures are for males and females combined), but interestingly NOT an increasing percentage actually completing. It invariably hovers either side of 50%. The next two graphs look at the male/female data.

The men’s data pretty much follows the pattern of the total data (there are still many more men than women involved). 2020 shows a dip in all three data sets for the year, after all going up in 2019. The completion rate of 51.32% for men is the third highest since I have been looking at this (the highest was 54.95% in 2019). The male completions, at 78, is the third highest it has ever been in one year.

The women’s completions (red) were the equal lowest in this 9 year period, but that is mostly because the registrations was the second lowest in this period. The percentage lines (green) are at the top of this graph as the numbers are higher than either the registrations or completions, and had previously shown an upward trend, but this year’s percentage of 37.5% completions bring that trend line down. Admittedly from a small sample size.

My original analysis was in an earlier blog [BGR completion rate is 42%], with a follow-up on women’s completions [Women’s completions at BGR]. Both were based on data up to and including 2018.

The Fellrunner has in depth review of ‘All or Nothing at All’

A great in depth review of ‘All or Nothing at All: the life of Billy Bland’ has just appeared in the latest Fellrunner magazine. The reviewer concluded that, “it is a fascinating book and also an important book that may over time become recognised as a classic book, not just about the life of a great, and possibly the greatest, fell runner, but that life as lived in the Borrowdale valley”. I’ll take that.

Do have a look at the full 2-page review, which is probably best read by clicking individually on the three scanned images below.

……………………………………………………………………………..

All four of my books can be bought online (at a discount) at Bookshop.

What did you do this lockdown summer?

At 8:30am on the 4th October, waved off by her 3-year-old daughter, Lynne Cox stepped out of her front door and ran a marathon in the pouring rain on her own, finishing around 5 hours later. Why? Looking at how some athletes coped with the lockdown summer may give us an insight.

When the government imposed the national lockdown on 23 March 2020, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, athletes were initially allowed one period of exercise a day. That was fine for a while but soon people were needing challenges – both for motivation and satisfaction. My athletic club (Barnet & District AC) started a weekly series of virtual time trials. These varied from popular training routes, 1-mile timed efforts, or a self-measured 5km, and even one that stipulated that you had to achieve as much height gain as possible in 30 minutes running. These all satisfied a small core of club athletes.

Soon bigger initiatives were started. One of the best was the Virtual National Road Relay Championships. It was setup by James McCrae, with the hope that it would encourage some keen competition for runners. It ran from Saturday April 4 to Wednesday April 8. Athletes were to run a 5km leg in their local area, measured by their GPS watch. This was uploaded to the central results platform, which updated over the five days, allowing athletes and team managers to compare performances. The event strictly enforced a ‘run solo’ rule, as well as discouraging athletes from running in busy areas, to comply with the government restrictions in place.

My club publicised it internally and we had 14 men and 13 women entered by the closing date. Over 8,000 athletes entered altogether. The individual times recorded by our runners are not especially relevant here, more pertinent being how they reacted to it. Two random comments were that “it brought us together as a team”, and that it “gave me the impetus to continue with my training”.

Alex Lepretre (of Highgate Harriers) gave a longer reflection when I spoke to him soon after the event. (photo: Brian Graves)

One of the most obvious differences about a virtual 5k is that there’s not one standardised course, so the first question for me was where to run it. North London (especially the Highgate area) isn’t blessed with the flattest of terrain so options were limited. I opted for Regent’s Park. One loop of the Outer Circle is 2.75m so it would be just over one lap. It was a bit of an odd feeling walking up to the (virtual) start line as even though no one else who was about would have known I was there for a race, I still felt a bit of pressure knowing my time would be going up online for everyone to see and compare against. I think the nerves took their toll a bit as I went out a bit quick, clocking a 2:45 first km and 4:28 first mile, and from there it was just a matter of holding on. I quite enjoyed the format of the competition and with the race being held over a few days, team positions changed throughout the course of the event, and it certainly added to the excitement. I’m definitely looking forward to when races resume again and you can race side-by-side with your friends and then grab a beer with them afterwards, either in celebration or commiseration.

As an observer (online), I enjoyed the build-up, the banter, watching people recce routes (via Strava), and the times as they gradually popped up on the results page. This obviously met a lot of people’s needs at the time.

By August some races were being organised again, as the new restrictions allowed. One of the most successful ones was the NoblePro MK 5km PB Special, held on the byways of Milton Keynes. Karen Murphy, a leading Vet with Barnet and District AC, ran in both the events on 21 August and 27 September. She recently reflected on the experience. (photo: Brian Graves)

On the start line we were like a bunch of kids. There was a huge adrenaline rush, and I am thinking to myself ‘I really want to be here, racing’. I had been measuring myself against my Garmin, but there are always doubts about exact distances. So, I had a target time in mind, based on achieving a virtual sub-19 5km. I was happy with the results. Overall, there was a complete buzz about the event, which was brilliantly organised. I even got to see a friend coming in and was able to cheer them on.

Co-organiser of the events, Elliot Hind (Milton Keynes AC), worked countless hours within a team (Mick Bromilow, Paul Mizon and himself) to put on those events and give fellow club athletes the chance to race. There were 28 waves of 12 similar ability runners to push each other to fast times, which worked brilliantly and feedback was overwhelmingly positive, resulting in them running the second one a month later.

Elliott adds:

It was such a joy to see friends old and new for the first time in months and all doing what we love. As well as so many great friends, it was incredible to be able to attract fields of top-class athletes with the stars of the show Australian Olympians Ryan and Gen Gregson winning our A races during our second event. What an absolute pleasure!

In September Barnet and District AC started a monthly Safe and Simple Time Trial Series. It was cross country, but not as we know it. Forty-five club members competed in waves of half a dozen over a 7.6km course in Trent Park, with 16 running a shorter course option as well. Will Morris was in the fastest wave at the first event and commented:

I was very motivated as it was a great measure of improvement versus myself and others each month. Like a lot of people I was relatively unfit at the start of the winter due to lack of training in lockdown. Having said that, it wasn’t the same though. I love cross country for the team element as you are usually racing for something more than just yourself.

Race organiser Pete Ellis comments:

By using a reverse handicap, with staggered groups of runners of similar ability, we can ‘race’ whilst maintaining social distancing on a familiar course, meaning organisation and marking out of the course is kept to a minimum. Numbers are pre-allocated for the race series so after our first race we have been able to race at the push of a button.

This may well be an idea that other clubs could use.

On 4 October thousands ran the virtual London Marathon, including Barnet’s Lynne Cox, whom we met at the top of this article. Looking for competition, she  was booked to do an obstacle course race called Nuclear Rush on Saturday 3 October, so thought that Virtual London the following day could be a focus for that weekend if Rush was cancelled for Covid reasons.  However, as the weekend drew closer, it became clear to those close to her (even if she didn’t necessarily admit it herself) that she actually wanted to do both races, if she possibly could! Rush went ahead (8 miles of obstacles and a lot of mud, on what turned out to be the wettest day for UK-wide rainfall since records began in 1891) and she had tremendous fun doing it. 

Lynne takes up the story.

On the morning of the marathon I woke up with legs that felt tired but not broken, so decided to at least give the marathon a try.  I pinned the London Marathon number to my rucksack, donned my rain jacket and headed out early into more pouring rain.  My feet were drenched within a mile, and when I was running through calf-deep flooding at 2.5 miles I seriously began to question my decision!  Having the number pinned to my back meant that I got a lot of support, both from other runners also clearly out doing Virtual London and from other runners, walkers, cyclists and even people in cars.  I’d planned my route to include a pit-stop at the home of my best friend, which I reached at 16.5 miles.  After being plied with fluids and chocolate I reluctantly set out again to run the final section.  The last few miles were really hard, and not having the support of the London crowd made them even harder!  However, once I finished (in 5 hours and 9 minutes, including the 15-minute stop), I felt a massive sense of satisfaction for running a marathon, on my own, in horrendous conditions.  Not necessarily an experience I’d hurry to repeat, but something I’m genuinely proud of myself for.

I know that Alex, Karen, Will and Lynne had managed in their own way to keep a good level of training up through the difficulties that lockdown presented, but that they all needed something extra – that intangible feeling of competition and also the satisfaction of pushing themselves through that competition. But I also know that we should all be grateful for the work and time that folk that James, Elliot and Pete put in to enable us to challenge ourselves in running events in these difficult times.

Photo book in tribute to Pete Hartley: some background

Pete wanted to publish this book before he passed away, but his cancer was far more advanced than he ever wanted to accept. It has been my wish to do it for him at some stage, but had I not had a chance meeting with Steve in November 2019, followed by the announcement of lockdown in March, I’m sure it wouldn’t have happened for quite some time. Denise Park

The meeting was because I was looking for a couple of photos for my fourth book (‘All or Nothing at All: the life of Billy Bland’). I travelled up to Clitheroe and looked through part of Pete’s huge archive of photos, finding a couple that fit the bill, which Denise was happy for me to include. Just talking casually afterwards Denise mentioned Pete’s book idea. Somehow we came away from our first ever meeting having agreed to collaborate on the book.

Steve agreed to select the images for the book, but before Steve received his ‘digital selection’, I searched though approximately 60,000 images which were on a variety of hard drives, cd’s, memory sticks, slides, negatives, computers and boxes of printed images! Whilst Pete had them all catalogued in his head – I’m sure you will appreciate the enormity of the task.

We soon agreed on some chapter headings and Denise started sending files over by Dropbox in the New Year. To cut a long story short, Covid-19 changed everyone’s situation and we both had a bit of time to work on it. I pitched the idea to a couple of publishers, but neither were interested, thinking it ‘not a seller’. So, we decided to self-publish, and tried a couple of printers for quotes. The second were excellent, and very helpful. They are based in The Lakes, and have the print job set to run in the EU, giving a slightly better lead time.

A couple of quotes from the back cover

As I was making decisions about which photos to include I was also writing some contexualising text, and tweaking the captions (mostly from Pete’s file data). I was also working up a rough layout plan to see how many pages it would be for print quote purposes. Having finalised the content and draft layout with Denise, and having had someone proof-read the draft, it is now being laid out professionally by a graphic designer who is also in The Lakes.

We have set up a system for taking pre-orders, as there is a strong possibility of it not being delivered from the printers prior to Christmas. This will allow people to still be able to gift the book.

Once pre-ordered, digital gift vouchers will be made available so you can still give that ideal Christmas present.

The book is hardback, full colour and 200 pages. It is available to pre-order for £25 by emailing your details to: dp@deniseparkphysio.co.uk