Marshaling at Northampton Running Festival

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Today I worked at the Northampton Running Festival in exchange for a free entry at the Shires & Spires 35m ultra in June.

Northampton Running Festival race startThe Running Festival consisted of a 10k, half marathon or full marathon in short laps around the lake.  Three laps for a 10k, six for a half and twelve for the full marathon.  Each lap you ran you were given a coloured hair scrunchie so that you could easily keep track of how many laps you were on.  I’ve never run a lap race before and to be honest had been put off them in the past, but the feedback we received from runners was great and I’m now of the mindset that I would prefer counting to 12 than I would 26.2!  Lovely seeing your support every couple of miles as well I would imagine.

With the hot weather we’ve been having lately there have been a lot of flies out around the lake, but the weather today was forecast as rain all day.  Luckily, we got the best of both worlds – no hot sun and no real rain – so no midges and no soggy spectators either!

My first job was on the registration desk and this was got busy very quickly!  I vaguely remember hearing that we had had an extra 70 people sign up on the day at one point.  My main task was to hand out packs for pre-registered 10k runners but I jumped onto the half marathon pile when Laura got busy and passed race t-shirts out as quickly as possible!

After this I got to play with all of the shiny awards for winners on the prize table.

Northampton Running Festival trophies


Probably the closest I’ll get to any of these beauties.  Boo hoo…One day…!  :P

Then I moved over to the drinks table where my fingers got progressively more and more purple as the cold wind blew over the spilled water on my hands!  As runners went past us for their next lap we had two people each side of the track handing out water/energy drinks/jelly babies/gels and 9bars.  I filled water, moved water to front of table, cleared up discarded cups, repeat!

As I’ve mentioned before I love being able to support runners at races and feel like I’m giving something back by cheering runners on.  This was a great spot, and with it being a multi-lap course we got to know several of the runners’ quirks over the next five hours.

A gesture that really touched me though was from Carol-Ann, a member of the 100 marathon club.  I’ve seen her several times before – chatting to her for quite a while at the Milton Keynes marathon last year, and then passing her at Shires & Spires last Summer.  She is quickly heading up to the 300 marathon mark at the moment!  I love hearing from runners in the 100 Marathon Club and we had quite a few in Northampton today!

She sped through the finish on her final lap to ask us how many more laps ‘David’, the youngish runner behind her had to go.  He thought he was on his last lap, although his Garmin was telling him he was only at 22 miles.  Carol-Ann thought he had probably miscounted but he was getting very frustrated that he would have to go round yet again, having spent the last twenty minutes believing he was on his last lap.  We confirmed that he did indeed have another lap still to go, and despite having just finished the last lap of her own marathon Carol-Ann quickly grabbed a bottle of water, removed her chip and number and encouraged the remaining crowd to cheer the guy through, then went on to run the final lap with him so that he didn’t give up on his goal.   Such a small gesture, but one which I know was appreciated immensely by David and his family.

We had been giving out spot prizes of Easter eggs throughout the races, and these two each received an Easter Egg.

Northampton Running Festival Easter eggs

The last lady through the marathon was over six hours and it was nearly 5pm by the time I left Delapre.  I was ready for a calzone tea when I got home!

Sausage and beef calzone


This time I put beef, sausage, leek and mushrooms inside.  Yum!

Dessert was a nibble on my Easter egg from Dan.  I picked him up a Guinness egg yesterday, and he got me a ChokABlok berries egg.  I love white chocolate and berries, so this was the perfect dessert!

ChokABlok Easter egg

What small gestures have touched you or have you seen make a difference to somebody this year?
How many Easter eggs will you be munching this week?!  Did you have a more traditional Easter dinner?


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Double the babies, double the gift!


Today I headed to Stoke for my friend Amy’s baby shower.  It was a lovely sunny day and Amy’s younger sister had done a fantastic job with pink and blue decorations.  She didn’t choose both because Amy doesn’t know what sex the baby is, but because she is having twins.  One of each!

Amy baby shower giftInitially I planned on making something for the babies, but I’ve just not had time over the past few months so in the end bought two little hedgehog toys, some squirting duck bath toys, fun animal pacifiers and a handprint set in each colour.  I did pop Amy and husband’s wedding invitation into the basket as well, although I know they are unable to make our day.  Amy’s husband is usher at another wedding on the same day and Amy would be unable to drive the four hours to our venue with two small fortnight old babies!

Baby shower confettiMost of the people at the Baby Shower I had only met before at either Amy’s hen last year or her wedding.  I always wonder how many people I’ve met at events like this – thinking at the time I’ll probably never see them again, forgetting the other events that follow the hendo!

Amy's baby shower

I’ve been getting lots of little snippets of information about my hen do this weekend.  But I don’t know how much of it is true and how much has been made up to make me feel uneasy!  At one point I was asked if I’d had my scuba outfit dry-cleaned recently?!  It’s now just four weeks until my hendo as I was reminded by one of my bridesmaids, Vicki when Dan and I met up with her and her boyfriend last night.

Vicki and I at the dogs

Dan and I at the dogs

And just sixteen weeks until our wedding.  Putting it into weeks now rather than months has made it seem so much closer!

Tomorrow I’m marshaling at the Northampton Running Festival for Go Beyond in return for a free entry to Shires & Spires 35 on 1st June so it will be a busy day for me!  I hope the weather stays nice.  Initially I’d planned on running home after I was done for the day along with a few other runners, but think I’ll give my legs a bit of a rest and trial them over a shorter long run distance where I can cut it short if need be.

If you’re married, did you know anything about your hendo before the day?





Family gardening and panic buying fence panels


The last few days have gone by in a blur as I’ve tried my best to catch up with blogs, housework, actual work and life in general!

I’m happy to say that my legs have held up fantastically since the marathon on Sunday and I ran an easy 4miles on Tuesday night, a slightly tougher 5 miles Wednesday evening and then made it back to running club last night for 6.6 miles of tempo work.  I’m going to take a rest day today but I’m looking forward to capitalising on some speed for the shorter Summer race series over the coming weeks.  I’ve still got a post in the works about my afterthoughts of London Marathon – hopefully coming this weekend.

On Wednesday my parents and brother (Mark) drove up to help Dan and I get our house ‘sale ready’ and we had a full on day of hard graft to get things into tip top shape.  Dan and I have already purchased our new house, and the estate agent is coming over in the next week to take photos of our current house to add to the market.  In an ideal world we will sell our house just as our new house is ready to move in to so that we do not have to live on a building site whilst work is being done!

My Dad and brother started early on using the electric saw to make all of our wood, wood burner sized to fit into the wood shed.  I’ve been gradually working my way through it with a hand saw since we moved in but it’s so much quicker using electric!

Electric saw wood

Dan launched himself out of the top floor windows to clean the gutter and windowsills before getting stuck into painting the walls inside.

Dan cleaning the gutterI painted the porch door which had ended up being one of those jobs we had never gotten round to after moving in three years ago.  Finally I have a respectable door when people come round!

Porch doorThen Mum and I got to work in the garden itself – deweeding, clearing rubbish and chopping back hedges.  Mark and Dan joined us later on as well.

Mark in the gardenDan in the gardenWe were all ready for some ham salad rolls and cake at lunchtime!

Me munching a roll

Mark having lunch

Pixie parents at lunchI think my parents look like pixies here.  Dad always puts on a silly face when he knows a photo is being taken of him!

Dad and I chopped and bagged up all of the old hedge I’ve been clipping back over the past few months.  I’d left it all in a pile under the washing line but it needed to get taken down to the dump out of the way.  There were so many woodlice under the pile though!  I didn’t mind the woodlice, but when the spiders came out I found another job!


Here’s our completed garden after nine hours hard graft…!

Finished gardenMuch better than when we started…almost makes me wish we weren’t leaving now.  :(  The freshly painted inside looks so much better too.  House = complete!  Although when it was really windy earlier in the year we had two fence panels down in at the back of the garden.  We tried to get new ones everywhere, but all stores seem to be out of stock.  Apparently there’s a mad rush on getting gardens tidied up at the moment.  Some people are paying as much as £80 a panel where stock is in!  (They’re normally about £20.)

Have you ever panic bought items before?
Been out in the garden/park much in the lovely weather we’ve been having?


10 things you probably don’t know about me


To break things up from the constant marathon talk lately here are a few lesser known facts about me.  I will be back with a London marathon reflections post later in the week once I’ve had a chance to a) finish watching the TV coverage and b) recover!  Although I did pop out for an easy four miler last night and my legs felt great.  Thank you so much for everyone’s support, well wishes and congratulations though.  They were so much appreciated on race day!  I’m still catching up with comments.  :)

OK, so ten random facts about me…

1. I often forget I have a tattoo.

When I finished uni, both I and one of my friends, Tom got a tattoo to commemorate our three years at Staffordshire.  I got the Claddagh Ring tattooed onto my right hip, which is a Scottish ring symbolising friendship, love and loyalty, which for me summed up my uni years.  I always end up forgetting about it though.

Claddagh ring tattoo

2. I signed my name off with initials for at least a week after passing my degree!

When I first got my degree I was working as a Riding Instructor for the Summer.  Each time we taught a new rider we had to sign a form to agree their capability level in case a different instructor taught them the next time.  Following the date we received our certificates I signed my name off as Mary Moore BSc Hons for the rest of the week!

Keele graduation

3. My ‘nickname’ at uni was Shackles.

A guy I saw for a while told his friends about me when they were drunk and they kept forgetting my name.  Frustrated, he blurted out “Like the people that sing Shackles – Mary Mary!”  So Shackles stuck!

4. When I was younger every single Christmas I used to wish for 20/20 vision.

I really didn’t want to have to wear glasses anymore.  I only had to wear glasses for board work at school but hated it and started wearing contacts at age 16.

Me in glasses

5. I once lost a pet snake whilst house-sitting.

I was so excited about feeding the snake in the middle of the week that I parked myself in front of the cage waiting for it to launch onto the dead mouse I put in.  After quite a long while nothing had happened and then my friend turned up outside with a takeaway for us both.  I went downstairs completely forgetting about the snake until several hours later when I went upstairs to discover he had slid away and both him and mouse were missing.  The following day I recruited everyone I knew to hunt the snake down but with no luck.  I didn’t house-sit for that family again.

6. I always cross the fingers on my left hand when walking underneath road signs.

It’s something I picked up from a very superstitious friend.  Unfortunately I do it without even thinking now!

7. I once fell face first into an old man’s lap on a bus.

Much to the amusement of the old man and his wife!  I was sat on backwards facing seats on a bus in Norwich heading out shopping with friends.  I had double crossed my legs and wasn’t paying much attention to the journey when the bus driver picked up speed pulling away from some traffic lights.  I couldn’t uncross my legs in time and fell face first into the man who was sitting directly infront of Me’s lap.  Because my legs were now twisted underneath me I was writhing around trying to get them uncrossed so that I could get up and my friend ended up pushing me off into the aisle to escape the situation.  A story that is still frequently repeated 15 years later!

8. I broke my arm on holiday when I was 7 on a disco hopper.

At the time the craze was to jump up and down on your disco hopper whilst using a skipping rope.  I had been pretty good up until this point!

9. I was always in detention at school.

Like, ALL THE TIME!  For no homework, for chewing in class, for arriving late…  I wasn’t a nasty child, just pretty lazy!

10. I hate having to be places at a certain time.

At weekends I’m all about doing things as I get to them, with no time restrictions in place!

Any random facts about you you’re willing to share?