1 week to go…


100 miles…all at once ? taking the spirit of Forest Gump a bit far !

Kit checked today, food prepped, head torch tweaked, lycra ironed and socks out the freezer. Its  the final countdown. Im more nervous about this than the Amazon Jungle Marathon (which Ive done twice (double hard bastard me)). Its 100 miles. Not a marathan, not on a straight road, but 100 miles of undulating coastal terrain. Dont get me wrong, I cant wait to see the sunrise Saturday morning having been running for approx 9-10 hours, admittedly probably hallucinating a bit but come rain or shine, itll be amazing. Who starts a race at 7pm on Friday night  ??? Whats the worst that can happen ? More concerned about running through Newquay on a Saturday night, maybe stop off for a quick half in town ??

Trainings done, final preparation and food check and most of all, dont forget to download the Hope Relay app. Because kids, in addition to raising money for Walking with the Wounded, every mile I run, Samsung donate £1 to charity through the app. Simple, easy and a good way – try it !



A recent lecture by ultra athlete, adventurer and physiologist Mark Hines was a treat. Hadnt seen Mark since my pre-Jungle physiology testing in 2009 so it was great to get tips, tricks and advice on training and running in extreme conditions. However it did put me into a bit of a panic about the next race.

The Ultra Trail South West. The enormity of it all suddenly dawned on me with a mighty whoomph as I realised looking around the room at Marathon des Sables veterans, Everest racers, fellow Junglers Jim Binks and Jamie Kellett, people were fit. Fitter than me. Training definitely needs to move up a notch.

 The added panic and confusion was amplified by a call from Channel 4 who were keen to talk to me about a documentary on ‘Midlife Adventurers’. The initial concern from them was I was too young for the programme. At a sprightly 38 years old and having gone through significant change in the last few years both personally, professionally and health – my story didn’t really seem that engaging to delve deeper into. However they do still seem a bit keen so lets see what happens. Not sure I want the nation to see me training in lycra or bursting into tears about life changing moments. NQOC my darlings.

Anyhoo back to the race fear and having spoken also to fellow athlete Ed Vincent from the Amazon 2009, who is also competing in the UTSW along with Mark Hines and the S4C ultra queen of endurance Lowri Morgan. Ed had been reading about 100 mile races and that in reality, the actual halfway mark is 80 miles, not 50 which some people would assume. This is for a number of reasons, the key one is – its frickin tough and your body and brain shuts down. Sounds like fun. Training up a notch and more info to follow.

3 weeks to go ! Suck it up kids. Train Harder.

Training and Sponsorship

As the training builds up, the need for sponsorship increases at www.justgiving.com/iamtombird100miler.

Running across the Norfolk beaches provides a welcome change from ‘ol London town. The clear air, the blue skies, the lapping of the waves. Pure running poetry.


With 7 weeks until the London Marthon, I am on track for a sub 330. However as with all these things, the right training, nutrition and planning – it can all go wrong.

More nightime running required during the week on Hampstead Heath (occasionally bumping into Ricky Gevais on the trails (running also)). This week will involve some speed sessions, leg weights to improve these little chicken legs and ensure the right diet continues.

A few 20 milers planned over the next few weeks to get the stamina back where it should be.

Training in Costa Rica

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a morning run around the sun drenched beaches of Costa Rica. Having shaken off severe man-flu and suspected malaria I have got back in the training seat in preparation for the big 100 in June. The coastal paths, the hilltops with amazing views. Makes London a distant memory. New Years may cause a slight blip in the training regime but just being here is heaven!

The UKs Toughest Footrace – Ultra Trail South West 100 mile race

Having been trying to shake of the flu, new job, moving flat its started to take its toll on my running. I.e. nothing for 2 weeks !

So what better race to train for than the UTSW 100 miler, the UK’s Toughest Footrace.

The Endurancelife Ultra Trail South West exists for three reasons; firstly, to be amongst the most challenging, non stop, off road, point to point trail races in the world. Secondly, to promote the South West Coast Path to a wider global audience and finally, to inspire more people to spend more time in beautiful natural surroundings and to make challenge, adventure and the preservation of wild open spaces an integral part of their every day lives.
The UTSW is a celebration of mans ability to endure, it stands testament to the human beings innate sense of adventure, and his supreme ability to employ mind over matter. The UTSW is intentionally designed to be an exceptionally difficult yet richly rewarding personal challenge that can only be achieved with committed preparation, and extraordinary determination.
Lets get those trainers on an start running !

Day 7 – the final stage and home

As the final runners rose in full spirits, yet hobbling around, it was another early start as we watched them get ready as the sun rose over the river. An amazing setting for the final stage. A few kit checks, feet checks and the runners were off. The rest of us hobbling around inspecting each others wounded legs and all relieved we were still in one piece. It was on the sweat bus to the finish, the pleasant fish smelling beach front with a beautiful view of a massive tanker. as the medics set up shop, the finish line was set up (after a few attempts), Katie and I headed to the river edge and found a table to sit and order some well earned fish and chips and some beer, it was 9am after all…

As the first runners came in we cheered from the side lines, finished our breakfast and limped to greet them at the finish line restaurant. Everyone was in high spirits at the end of an amazing week. It was all over. Bags returned, back on the sweat bus and to Hotel Bagdad, also known as Hotel Paradiso…a dip in the pool to ease the feet and some make up and hair gel to prepare for the prize giving party.

A shakey bus ride to the beautiful setting looking at the sunset across the Amazon with all our new friends. A few miffed words from some at the events misgivings but after a few beers and some hearty grub, Shirley returned to present the prizes. As Dan Dillon picked up his 1st place, he grabbed the mic and said a few eloquent Glaswegian words. In a nutshell, he backed up the race, it is what it is, a tough race in an amazing location and if it wasnt for Shirley, none of us would be there. That said and done, everyone was on their way, some onward to a local bar, some of us to bed for the 3am rise to get home !

As the tired and weary, some of which hadnt been to bed, got back on the bus to the airport, everyone was ready to go home. With a long journey ahead of us and some ankle swelling to come, everyone was exhausted yet all seemed happy.

On returning to the UK and the facebook frenzy that has followed with new friends, photos of the event, you cant really explain the ‘jungle comedown’. It was such a magical, mystical, obliteration of the mind and body that you miss it,  strangely.

As a new career is planned, a new race is searched I can only thank my fellow runners and medics for their support throughout the week – and to my Katie who came with me to support through heaven and hell. Without her, I wouldnt even have got to the start line.

Until next time, obrigada !