Wednesday, March 9, 2011

[19] Destination Running - UK Edition

In June, I am planning a trip to the UK shortly after work lets out. After a little inspiration from lululemon and Running Times, I elected to modify my initial travel goals. Out of curiosity, I ran a search for races in the UK, specifically near London. I have friends from my time in Japan living in various locations throughout the British Isles, so this would be a fantastic way to keep fit while on vacation. When I was home over Christmas, it was a 'Train-cation', but this would be a 'destination race-cation'! Being a subscriber to Runner's World, I opted to sign up for access to the Runner's World UK website as I am certain they are the most accurate and informative running website across the pond.
After school lets out in June, I am anticipating jetting across the Atlantic around the 15th (provide everything falls into place), and returning home on the 30th. Surprisingly, running will be taking a back seat on this trip as I want to spend time with my friends and explore the cities! This is why I'm electing to select shorter distance races for the time being. Extra kilometers (gotta use the metric system in EU) will certainly be logged as I lose myself in the cities and subways. Accommodation is my primary concern, but I am very tempted to try Couch Surfing so as to save money during my travels. If I am lucky, maybe someone will be willing to put me up for the night here and there. 
Tackling 4 races in four countries two weeks? Can I earn my Union Jack?

{England: 'Yank'in' Their Chains}
Yeah, so I've been to EuroLand twice and I've never been to England. I have also never attempted a trail race, so I would like to try the Marston Forest 5K (in Marston Moretaine, Bedford; Cost: £10.00) on Friday, June 17th. An evening race (7:30PM) through the English forest? It's very Robin Hood meets Red Riding Hood. Perhaps, I could run with my own little red hood... Hmm... The event site is about an hour and change from London, so staying over would be helpful as I have yet to research public transport.

{Scotland: Annie Grab Your Kilt} 
As the crux of the races listed on RW:UK are for England (or clashed with travel dates), I contacted Jog Scotty, the mascot for Jog Scotland, asking if Yanks could gate crash their races. I received a positive response, so now I am just waiting for the run schedule to be posted. There aren't any events listed which I can participate at this time, but hopefully one will crop up soon. It was indicated that some 5Ks will be added soon. Ideally, I would like to travel up to Edinburgh between London and Dublin.

{Ireland: Kiss My Blarney}
On Sunday, June 26th, I want to run the 5 Mile Race at the Enniscorthy Strawberry Festival (about an hour south of Dublin, Ireland; Cost: €19.50). There is a 15K Walk and the Half-Marathon on the same day with varied starting times, but if I plan on actually enjoying my time on the Emerald Isle after the race, I don't think either is a particularly good idea. Depending on when the Scotland race falls, I may be able to leave for Wales after the race, or I may have to go back to Dublin for a little more Paddywhacking.

{Wales: Whatta About Us?!}
I am having difficulty finding Welsh races, so I am debating on cutting Wales from the schedule. If I could manage it, I'd like to drop by en route back to London prior to departure. If I cannot find a race, maybe I can just stop by ran run somewhere near Swansea. There is a ferry from Rosslare, Ireland (35 minutes south of Enniscorthy) to Pembroke, Wales (near Swansea; two hours by rail), so that is one option. The train haul back to London would be 5 hours, but I am sure I could sleep during that time.
I was very, very tempted to sign up for the The Midsummer Munro, but I found the branding of it as "Britain's Hardest Half" ridiculously daunting. Reading the thread discussion at Runner's World UK, I find it frightening as "the male equivalent of child birth", so again... not too stoked about this idea. If I plan on enjoying my vacation, I would like my legs to still be attached and functional by the time I get on the plane to fly home. Maybe one I tackle some more trail races, I may have the confidence to attempt something like this.


  1. This post kinda reminds me of documentary series of when Eddie Izzard ran all over the UK for charity (but not quite as insane). The series is on YouTube. I believe it's called "Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man."

  2. You my dear, are plain crazy ;) I love it!

  3. Sounds fun! The weather should be awesome in June!

    I took the Fishguard/Rosslare ferry between Wales and Ireland. Rosslare is a long train ride away from Dublin so make sure you plan on that. The ferry is overnight, so you'll make up some time there.

    My favorite chain of hostels is based in the UK, St. Christopher's Inns( I always stay at one when I can. They are clean and very reasonably priced, the staff is friendly and there's almost always a bar called Belushi's on the first floor.

    Good luck! I can't wait to hear all about it!!

  4. I'm excited to hear that you're heading back to my ancestral grounds. :)

    It sounds like an excellent trip, and I hope everything comes together beautifully.

  5. @Kim, I'll definitely check it out! I <3 Eddie Izzard quite muchly. I was thinking about doing a half-marathon, but I chickened out. I'm going to save that craziness for later in the summer.

    @Megs, says the girl who confessed to falling in love with running after running her first half. ;) Insanity loves company.

    @Susie, I will check out the site later this weekend. The race in Enniscorthy is between Dublin & Rosslare, so I am hoping to find a couch to surf on the night before and then hop the ferry from Rosslare to Wales. Hopefully, it will work out.

    @Rusty, I haven't taken an extended vacation that wasn't to Florida in years, so I figured it was about time. Which country claims your ancestry?