21 July – Three Dots and a Dash


On the left we have the international Morse Code on the right, one runner’s thigh. This morning started bright and early after the sound of pitter patter on the roof told us it was raining. Well it told MR JCR it was raining, at which point he scrambled out to the back garden to rescue our outdoor cushions from getting soaked. Somewhat slower in reaction times, I followed suit. Hence I was awake before the witching hour on a Saturday. Amazing, its something that’s hardly ever known to me; having drunk a restorative mug of tea (and a blissful three days of rest with no running), I thought I should aim for a longer run if the temperature was kind.

After a considerable mount of faffing I finally left the house at 7.45am. Congratulating myself on a job well done, I then got bitten by a mosquito – three times on the right leg. Now the sun is up and they are supposed to be nocturnal, what is going on? Continuing on to Mill Lane, I managed to scratch my thigh, I don’t know how that happened –  already my right leg is sporting three mozzie dots and one scratched dash – Morse Code for ‘V’ which considering I flick a vee sign at the water pumping station every time I pass, seems appropriate.

I pootle along to Lovers’ Lane, where Lord Kitchener is clearing up after Friday night’s Pink Floyd tribute concert. He is too busy to notice me and so not a word is said. I aim for the hill that kills, and delight in the glorious shade – and thank heavens the mozzies appear to have gone. It’s early, everywhere is sleepy and I take the bendy, scary road and suprisingly don’t see a pedestrian, cyclist or even a car until I reach Royston Vasey. And there she is Miss Marsupio, smiling as ever and listening to her music. Our standard greeting is a nod or a smile, however today we exchanged Ciaos, I don’t know exactly where she walks but I reckon it is more or less a 10km loop.

By now I realise that Map My Run Mechanical Voice Lady has gone awol again, and sure enough I check my phone and yes I have taken 28 minutes to run 1.1km. Then to my great surprise I manage the next km in just 2 seconds. At this point, I decide to run a specific route, so I can record the kilometres accurately. Ho hum, these technological glitches are most peculiar.

I enter the fish shop village and they are either clearing up or setting up for some event as there are a vast number of hay bales in the village square; there aren’t any visible signs/notices – maybe it’s country dancing or similar. I continue onto Bin Lane,  and I am shadowed by a car, pretty much all the way up  – which is just over a km long. Now there is a universal truism amongst runners that if you have an audience you can’t stop running, no matter how much you may want to. Whilst I desperately wanted to stop to have a drink, I didn’t want the embarrassment of stopping and the car’s occupants, thinking I wasn’t a real runner. So up Bin Lane I schlepped, with my own personal race car behind. Thank heavens it came to a stop before I hit the ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road.

On my final approach to the cafe, I overtook a fellow runner, she was wearing a very fetching natty pink combo, my face was redder than hers, she had the swooshy ponytail, caramel coloured skin, not a sweat droplet in sight, and I felt somewhat deflated. It would be nice just the once, to look like a swooshy ponytail runner, rather than the tomato on legs I actually am. Maybe another day?

Dot dash dot, dot dot dash, dash dot,    dash dot dot, dash dash dash, dash dot, dot.

Oh and a huge thank you to friends K&C who have sponsored me for my challenge, when the flesh and motivation is weak, these gestures help a lot. Thanks so much!


Night Boat To Cairo, House of Fun, One Step Beyond- Madness

Ghost Town, Gangsters, Too Much Too Young,  – The Specials

Selector, On My Radio, Too Much Pressure, – The Selector

007 Shanty Town, Israelites, – Desmond Dekker

Mirror In the Bathroom – The Beat

The Can Can – Bad Manners

One Step Beyond, Al Capone – Prince Buster

Our Lips Are Sealed- Fun Boy Three

Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds and The Dominoes

54-56 Was My Number – Toots and The Maytals

Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip

Return of Django – The Upsetters

Rudy, A Message To You – Dandy Livingstone

Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe

Start – The Jam

Uptown Top Ranking – Althea and Donna

Train To Skaville – The Ethiopians


Distance 10.39km

Time 1:15:00

Average Pace 7:13

Elevation Gain 118 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1218.13

Kms To Do 799.87 (yes, now into the 700s)

17 July – Upsetting Arthur

OMG I have to get back up that hill....
OMG I have to run back up that hill

Last night we had a thunderstorm, which thankfully reduced the temperature somewhat. Second reason for thanks was that we avoided the hailstones, which were palm sized (hand not tree) and damaged cars in one of the local towns. Shattered windscreens and dented bodywork pictures were a big feature of today’s news.

Actually a shattered head and dented bodywork sums me up too, at present. I left the house a little later than usual but the weather was kind, and GPRS still playing up. Map My Run Mechanical Voice Lady wasn’t speaking to me either and when she did she was talking nonsense again.

So a quick dash up Mill Lane, flick the vee sign, and run down Lovers’ Lane – no-one there today, so a lonely dash back  to the Hill That Kills. Again, surprisingly quiet – I saw a cyclist who was so skinny, I swear he looked like a white toothpick on a bike. The bike looked fatter than he did. He was followed by the non-fit cyclist – he of the transparent shorts – again wearing black shorts today.

Maybe his wife/husband/partner/mum/dad/friend has told him the translucent shorts aren’t a good look. Through Royston Vasey – no need for a water stop today, and on my way to War Of The Worlds Lane. I passed an oncoming very fit looking walker and he nodded to me. So far so quiet.

Next up the final stretch and I saw Hairy Biker Man with Arturo his bigger dog. As I ran past he held on tight to Arturo’s collar because he said Arturo likes chasing after runners. As I don’t like being chased by dogs/anything else I was glad he held onto him. But poor old Arturo looked very cheesed off – his dog walking escapades now ruined by a puffing, panting lady runner. I think to give him a break I should take a different route next time out, which is a bit of a shame as I like War Of The Worlds Lane even with the risk of alien abduction.

I am sorry Arthur for ruining your day. I’ll be somewhere else next time I promise.


House of Fun – Madness

Baggy Trousers – ditto

One Step Beyond – ditto

Ghost Town – The Specials

Too Much Too Young – ditto

Rat Race – ditto

Selector  – The Selector

Back To Black – ditto

Mirror In the Bathroom  – The Beat

Cant Get Used To Losing You – ditto

Lip Up Fatty, – Bad Manners

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Our Lips Are Sealed  – Fun Boy Three

Police On My Back – Eddy Grant and The Equals

Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds and The Dominoes

54-56 Was My Number – Toots and The Maytals

Monkey Man – ditto

Rudy, A Message To You – Dandy Livingstone

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

King Of Kings – Jimmy Cliff

Tom Hark – The Piranhas

Let’s Do Rock Steady – The Bodysnatchers

Free Nelson Mandela – The Starlite Singers

Start – The Jam

Monkey Man – Amy Winehouse


Distance 9.67km

Time 1:04:36

Average Pace 6:40 (lower temperatures make a heck of a difference)

Elevation Gain 89 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1207.74 (beat the 1200 marker)

Kms to do 810.26




16 July – Ska and Two Tone Playlist


In an attempt to change the feeling of my playlists, a lot of which are very New Romantic and 80’s oriented, I pleaded for some help on the C25K Forum to create a new playlist for running. We now have a (long overdue) Ska & TwoTone list on Spotify. I’ve tested it on a 4km walk and it’s a nice rhythm, so hopefully will spur me on beyond the 1200km mark.

The Playlist can be found under Retro Runners on Spotify,


Young, Gifted and Black – Bob & Marcia

Night Boat To Cairo, House of Fun, Baggy Trousers, One Step Beyond- Madness

Ghost Town, Gangsters, Too Much Too Young, Rat Race, – The Specials

Selector, On My Radio, Too Much Pressure, Back To Black, – The Selector

It Mek, 007 Shanty Town, Israelites, – Desmond Dekker

Mirror In the Bathroom, Cant Get Used To Losing You, Hands Off She’s Mine, – The Beat

Walking In The Sunshine, Lip Up Fatty, – Bad Manners

One Step Beyond, Al Capone -Prince Buster

Our Lips Are Sealed, The More I See, – Fun Boy Three

Liquidator – Harry J Allstars

Guns of Navarone – The Skatalites

Police On My Back – Eddy Grant and The Equals

Carry Go Bring Come – Justin Hinds and The Dominoes

54-56 Was My Number, Monkey Man – Toots and The Maytals

Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip

Housewive’s Choice – Derrick and Patsy

Rudy Got Married – Laurel Aitken

The Tide Is High – Blondie

Return of Django – The Upsetters

Rudy, A Message To You – Dandy Livingstone

My Boy Lollipop – Millie Small

King Of Kings – Jimmy Cliff

Red Red Wine – Tony Tribe

Tom Hark – The Piranhas

Let’s Do Rock Steady – The Bodysnatchers

Free Nelson Mandela – The Starlite Singers

Going Underground, Start – The Jam

Uptown Top Ranking – Althea and Donna

Monkey Man – Amy Winehouse

Train To Skaville – The Ethiopians

15 July – Infamy, Infamy


They’ve all got it in for me – voted one of the best comedy one-liners in film. Thus goes the Kenneth Williams’ line in Carry On Cleo, a rather random romp through the story of Antony and Cleopatra. My preparation for this morning’s run was pizza and fries – what a health machine I am  – followed by a night-time stroll through Fano, which is staging its ‘Times of  the Caesars’  festival. `Five days of fun, spectacles and bacchanalia as the publicity posters advise.

Saturday night had lots of music and dance spectacles. We managed early on to miss the children’s dance of the cinghiale (wild boar), which I have to say as a casual observer that the boar looked more like a deer, but maybe I missed something in translation. Or perhaps the boar hadn’t made its entrance at the point we passed.

We arrived late in the evening to see the spectacle and miracle of fire, a celebration of all things pyro. I could only see the sparks but there was a distinct whiff of paraffin in the air and lots of whoops at the spectacle. And another thing, the audience are active participants, so many locals wearing togas of differing colours (and hopefully non-flammable material), which we believe relate to the local quartierie – local rivals if you will. It’s not often you find yourself in a clothing minority, by not wearing full Roman regalia, I felt decidedly under-dressed.

But if you were feeling sartorially challenged like me, there were many stalls where you could buy full gladiator, or legionnaire kit, including helmets, swords and gladiator sandals. No home-made, ‘chuck a sheet over your head’ togas here.  Toga-wearing locals were doing just about everything –  from carrying polystyrene columns over their shoulders to dancing to ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ by the Blues Brothers. I’m sure the latter would be a welcome update if the Carry On franchise ever revisited its past hits.

Togas were riding bikes, mopeds and wearing trainers – it was a most surreal sight, and there’s more to come with Sunday night’s finale, a procession and a Ben Hur horse race re-enactment, around the central streets and piazza of Fano. The last Ben Hur show we saw was in London c/o of a well connected friend, who knew the director; and it didn’t go well. Doves had gone missing, the critics panned it and the show must have lost the backers a small fortune. Still it was the only time I ever heard the ancient language of Aramaic, although I can’t recall a word of it now.

Back to Caesar’s Le Marche  – a 1am bedtime wasn’t conducive to an early start, but I schlepped out and took the Royston Vasey Ridgeway through the village – it’s cooler today so no need for a water top up. Map My Run Mechanical Voice Lady is suspiciously quiet, aha that’s because GPS has gone awry. Well they didn’t have GPS in Roman times, so that makes sense. After about 3 km I realised she wasn’t going to keep me posted, as she recorded me running less than 1/2 a km in 20 minutes, also in a perfectly straight line for good measure. At the 4km mark I turned off into War Of The Worlds Lane, dappled with shade, thank goodness and made my way on, having decided to re-run previous route so I could register the kms properly.

After only two runs down there, I am already starting to recognise folk. There’s a man and his two dogs, one of whom is called Arturo. Arthur was teasing another dog, who wasn’t at liberty and was stuck behind a big gate. Arturo’s fellow dog mate is yet unknown to me, and it seems too early to be making introductions. Arturo’s owner looks like one of the Hairy Bikers, although without the beard.

Near the alien abduction landing point, a lonely plough was working in the fields and the driver passed me and put up his hand. They are very friendly here, a fellow runner came in the opposite direction, but he was really motoring whereas I was definitely in plodding mode. No verbal communication, just the runners’ nod and he was off. About 3 minutes later, the run was done – a shade over 7km again and I’m very close to the 1200km mark, which is a welcome bonus.


Map My Run failure  – it didn’t record the tracks


Distance 7.75km

Time 55:59

Average Pace 7:13

Elevation Gain 103 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1198.07

Kms To Run 819.93








14 July – Courtesy and Coffee

It’s scorchio once more and I have some running to do, in fact I have some catching up to do, as I am slightly behind target for July.

The plan was to get up early and run like yesterday to take advantage of the cooler weather. The reality – I mooched in bed and left the house a whole 2 hours later.  That was a bit stupid, so a hasty rearrangement of plans meant  I would take the Royston Vasey Ridgeway – a steep incline/descent to Royston Vasey – this cuts out about 2.5km on my ‘habit’ run via the bendy, scary road.

I made my usual water stop in the cafe and took my bottle from the wobbly fridge, the local guy reading the paper grunted as I reached behind him. Then amazingly the non-speaking cafe woman, actually spoke and to my great surprise it was to me. This is the first conversation we’ve had in 4 months of me dropping in 2/3 times a week for water. It wasn’t the most lengthy or interesting exchange, but this is a communication breakthrough. She said ‘It’s very hot today’ I replied in the affirmative. and then she said ‘That’ll be one euro’. As you can see, brief and to the point. By the end of the year I am hoping to get an ‘arrivederci’.

Carrying on towards War of The Worlds Lane, aha the cool breeze is not quite so cool two hours later and some of yesterday’s welcome shade had disappeared. But I did spy a little covered lane that may be worth exploring another time. Again a host of walkers and just one young male runner. We nodded, me more out of exhaustion, I reckon he was about 4 decades younger therefore he nodded out of coolness/respect to a wizened old lady.

I spotted in the distance a big solar panel farm – adding credence to my theory that this place is classic alien abduction territory. There’s even a power hook-up ready for the Martians should they choose to land.  Then, entering into the final, unrelentingly sunny plain pictured, I spotted the ‘Ciao’ sign. Proof positive, that the locals know something may be about to happen here, why else would you write Ciao on a road, if not to welcome aliens?

My water bottle was running dry, and so I made my way to the cafe, where I was given the cheery cappuccino – with what I think is the barista’s impression of what I look like… in truth my hair was scraped back into a Croydon facelift, I had sweat pouring down my face into my eyes and my running vest was soaked. Thank you Valentina for my pretty cappuccino, it made me smile.

Run done, not quite to target – but I did get out, which is a good thing.


Tigerfeet – Mud

Nowhere Fast, Eminem and Kehlani

The Rock Steady Crew – The Rock Steady Crew

Love In An Elevator – Aerosmith

Compression – Francesco Digilio

One Step Beyond – Prince Buster

Rest – Charlotte Gainsbourg

To Jan – Leonard Anderson

Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

Marathon – Rush

Question – The Moody Blues

Advice For The Young At Heart – Tears For Fears

There Are More Questions Than Answers – Johnny Nash

Fools Rush In – Ricky Nelson

Tread Softly – Tiny Ruins and Hamish Kilgour

The Winner – Status Quo

Gotta Keep Smiling – Scouting For Girls

Smile – Gregory Porter

Snail – The Smashing Pumpkins


Distance 7.76 km

Time 59:53 including non speaking woman conversation

Average Pace 7:42

Elevation Gain 27 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1190.32

Kms to Run 827.68


13 July – Secret Squirrel

Someone may have been abducted already
War Of The Worlds Lane – plenty of room for aliens here

Please don’t tell anyone, but I’ve taken three days off running, for a variety of reasons including:-

  • 2 day migraine – not conducive to pounding the streets
  • football not coming home – well done England on getting so far, what a shame you didn’t win
  • post football match entertainment clearing up

And I think a rest has certainly helped. Recently, one of my friends Lwas talking to Mr JCR and me about the sports we do. Mr JCR had just finished yet another mammoth cycle ride – his kilometres put mine to shame really, but she observed that for the most part Mr JCR has the camaraderie of fellow cyclists, whether with his club or friends or fellow race and/or randonnee goers and that must help with motivation. She thought my challenge was harder because it is mine and mine alone – I don’t have anyone to help me go out and do the runs. At the time, I nodded and still privately thought Mr JCR was doing the mileage and it was much harder than my challenge, but now just over half way through I am shattered and need a shadow JCR to be doing the runs for/with/instead of me. And I wonder if she is right, maybe solo running isn’t that easy. I’ve enjoyed it for the most part, but it’s getting harder each time to get out there.

I always thought too, that the summer running would be easier to do, because it’s light and warm and you don’t need to wear lots of layers. But it turns out I was completely and utterly wrong – summer running is tougher than winter running – and my motivation is taking a tumble as a consequence. My nicest, most fun run was the Beast from the East run around Regents Park in the snow. In contrast, last Monday’s run, of just 6km was one of my worst, legs like lead, no motivation, speed atrocious, hot and humid and it was just a plod. Truthfully, the only positive aspect was the fact that I actually got out.

Therefore, 3 days of rest seemed to be what the doctor would order – taking a break may just help recharge the batteries a bit. Mr JCR was up and out early and instead of lingering in my pit, I got up too. Out of the door before 7.30am, an event virtually unheard of since retirement. I took my usual loop to Mill Lane and onto Lovers’ Lane – at which point the GPRS went totally loopy and claimed I had done 5km in 3 minutes. Not being in the mood to alter it I knew the distance to a particular stopping place and thought I could re-start there and recalibrate my stats. Down Lovers’ Lane I saw our friend and neighbour R out for her morning stroll, we exchanged ciaos and I moved on. Looping around Villa Bali and back down Lovers’ Lane I also saw Lord Kitchener (for the first time this year), he gave me a more formal ‘Salve’ and salute and I continued onto the Hill That Kills. Early in the day, it is all in shade, which certainly helps keep me going and I was happily pootling onto the bendy, scary road, which was nice and quiet – another side benefit of hauling my arse out early.

In the distance I  saw a very nattily dressed old guy, he was teeny tiny really – much shorter than me, wearing running kit – with a cravat tied jauntily around his neck. Now that’s a style statement I’d never thought of… maybe it stops your neck from sweating? Next up the not so fit cyclist who I see from time to time. This is the man with the penchant for the see-through white cyclist shorts – as I saw him head on today I was thankful he was wearing his more modest black shorts. I don’t think I could have coped with a full on ‘crotch’ shot, especially after the modish cravatted runner.

Today I took a new route – the road to avoid the ‘all roads lead to Rome’ road, it’s a bit up and down and I wasn’t sure what it would be like.  This road was quite a delight – yes there are some nasty uppy bits, but it is blissfully quiet, as it is designed to be a pedestrian, dog walking and sporting route, where all vehicles have to moderate their speed. And it is here where I found fellow runners and walkers. Not hundreds but a few, all of whom put their hands up and said combinations of ciao or Salve or buongiorno. Whilst parts of the road are in full sun, there are some lovely shady bits and there seemed to be quite a pleasant breeze running down the valley, which helped in the sun. It is a bit of a short cut too, which is not so helpful, but I decided I’d run back part way to make up for my missing three days of running.

So what to call this road? There’s quite a nice open stretch, with a sign telling you about a hidden walk to rediscover lost apples and appreciate the local bio-diversity, personally I think it’s a ruse. This is classic alien abduction territory – nice open fields to land your spacecraft, a quiet country lane where you could kidnap a local and no-one would know you’d ever visited. So this has to be known as ‘War of The Worlds’ lane – I can almost hear HG Wells’s Martians screaming Uuullaaa, as they find locals to munch and if they are not to their liking, well I expect the long lost apples may sate their appetites for a while.

War Of The Worlds lane, took me to the ‘all reads lead to Rome’ road, but thankfully it’s a much shorter stretch to the coffee shop. A quick pit-stop for a coffee and brioche – a nod to the Sex and The City old ladies and I trotted back up to the War of The Worlds lane. here I saw some of the walkers had looped back and we exchanged waves and nods once more. It’s a bit warmer now and the ‘uppy’ bits were worse in the reverse direction, but nonetheless it was a pleasant change – back onto the bendy, scary road, I almost got taken out by a careering Mercedes, and so I decided to finish my run and plod-walk back home. To myself surprise, I’d managed just under 14kms. a 3 day rest hadn’t done me any harm whatsoever and maybe my running mojo is coming back. I do hope so, as it’s a long time between now and December without it.


(it was all over the place, with my tracks stuttering)

Marvin Gaye – Puth and Traynor

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes

Shake The Disease – Depeche Mode

Don’t You Want Me – Human League

(Forever) Live and Die (twice) – OMD

Notorious – Duran Duran

Every Breath You Take – Police

Go Wild In The Country – Bow Wow Wow

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Joan of Arc  (twice)- OMD

It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls

Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles

Modern Love – David Bowie

Doginabag – The Fratellis

Vienna – Ultravox

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & His Sex-O-Lettes

Sex -O -Matic Venus Freak – Macy Gray

See You – Depeche Mode

Mr Brightside – The Killers

In The City – The Jam

Tokyo Joe – Bryan Ferry

Born To Run – The Boss

Master And Servant – Depeche Mode

Tracy Jacks – Blur


Distance 13.96km

Time 1:45:35

Average Pace 7:33 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 138 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1182.56

Kms To Do 835.44







10 July – The Ups and Downs


Going Up

Kilometres Completed – still ahead of schedule

Tiredness – inevitable consequence of taking on the challenge, I think

Injury Niggles – shoulder, toe, hamstring, knees – middle aged bits falling apart

Migraines  – weekly is now the norm, hello pill-popping middle aged stay at home wife stereotype

Temperature – scorchio


Going Down

Kilometres Still To Run – a good thing

Motivation – slipping a bit in truth, it’s hard to do this when it’s hot

Alcohol Consumption – see ‘migraines’ in Going Up section

6km run, when I’d planned 9km – see ‘motivation’


Purple Rain – His Purple Highness

Everyday I Love You Less and Less – Kaiser Chiefs

Let’s Dance – David Bowie

Blasphemous Rumours – Depeche Mode

Parklife – Blur

Alison – Elvis Costello

Two Tribes – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Sign Of The Times – Harry Styles

Disco 2000 – Pulp

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw

See You – Depeche Mode

Rio – Duran Duran

Andy, You’re A Star – The Killers

Warwick Avenue – Duffy


Distance 6.84km

Time 56:54

Average Pace 8:19 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 108 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 1,168.60

Kms To Run 849.40