Quirky Races and Mo Running Partnership

COMPETITION TIME!

On October 10th we were very pleased to announce a partnership with Mo Running via our Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/Quirkyraces/). To celebrate this we launched a competition to give away two free entries to any Mo Run from the 17 difference venues around the UK throughout November.

MoRun is about raising awareness and funds for the Movember Foundation tackling men’s health & stopping men dying too young.

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From close to 100 competition entries we randomly selected ten people and challenged them to think up a quirky way in which they would run Mo Run should they win.

We had some great ideas come in almost all involving fancy dress including pyjamas with teddy bears, ladies dressed as the 118 men, and some outstanding unicorn costumes but one idea stood out.

So our competition winner is….. Nick Pettit and his running partner Chris Rollins who will be running the Milton Keynes Mo Run 5k on November 20th three legged while carrying a tyre!

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This evening we caught up with our lucky winners to find out how they came up with the idea and watch them in action as they had their first practice of the unorthodox aproach to a race.

Nick said “We were messaging each other to come up with an idea, I came up with the 3 legged bit and Chris said about taking Tarquin the tyre, our running group’s mascot, round with us so we decided to combine the two”.

On finding out they had won Chris said “What have you got me in to Nick”.

 

Quirky Races will be at Mo Run in MK to follow the action on the day so be sure to check that out, it should make for some interesting viewing to say the least.

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There’s no such thing as a boring race

I totally understand that pounding the streets isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I get why people find road running boring and agree that the repetitiveness of your weekly parkrun can become tedious but like most things in life, you get out what you put in and any given situation is what you choose to make it.

Rather than just going through the motions, not really enjoying a single second of your flat, unscenic, multi lap road race as you plod to the finish line to take a selfie for Facebook pretending you had a great time while smiling with your medal, why not think outside the box and make it more fun, more challenging or both?

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I’ve chosen a whole host of different ways to spice up races in the past few years, each one different in its own way, all of which have made things a whole lot more interesting and given me an extra challenge while increasing my enjoyment factor. One of the simplest yet most effective ways of doing this is to carry something.

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I guess the thing I’m known for most is running while carrying a car tyre and this past weekend marked one year since I set the world record for the fastest half marathon carrying a car tyre when I ran 1:35:58 at the Great Birmingham Run. I introduced Tarquin (yes the tyre has a name) to my running group for the very reason I’m writing this article and several of our members have now done various different races with it. I personally have carried it round some obstacle course races, at parkrun and I even managed to win the Milton Keynes Mo Run 5k with it.

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As well as a tyre I’ve also raced carrying a sandbag of 20 KG and 30 KG. This really does provide an extra challenge but on the occasions I’ve done it it’s been because I’ve been accompanying people who are slower than me so it’s meant I’ve been able to run with them and still get a good workout from it myself.

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To install increased teamwork my running group (Parklands Tough Running) have also made up two wooden sleepers complete with four handles that we’ve carried together around several races. This has set about a new challenge which has brought us even closer together, made us stronger and significantly upped camaraderie.

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Another simple yet affective way of upping the amusement levels is fancy dress. Depending on how elaborate you go with your costumes will depend on how much tougher the challenge becomes. My outfits have mostly been quite lightweight but it always adds an element of happiness for what might otherwise be a standard run.

I find the best thing about racing in fancy dress is the reactions you get from your fellow competitors and the crowd. It’s something you can feed off to improve your performance. I’ve raced in a morph suit, as Spiderman, Santa, a Dalmatian and a snowman. I also unsuccessfully attempted to beat the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a postman, which also involved carrying 10 lbs of weight in my postbag.

But my favourite way of all to increase the challenge and improve the fun in a race is to run while pushing my children in their buggy. It is an inspired way to get your kids involved in your sport at the earliest possible opportunity and the perfect way to share your passion with your little ones installing a family vibe into what could otherwise be a lonely and uninteresting journey. Seeing the smiles on their faces makes you realise why you do what you do and gives a reminder of just how great running can be.

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It’s also possible to get some good speed up while pushing a pram if you’re on the right course. I’ve managed a sub 19 minute 5k in the past on my way to victory in a Virgin Action fun run. I must admit I do enjoy overtaking runners as they look to one side in disbelief as I fly passed with my son or daughter. It does seem to give them some extra fight though as they dig in to hold on for as long as they can which is always a good thing.

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So the next time you think a race looks boring or you fancy giving yourself a bit of an extra challenge consider your options. Think the quirky way.

Obelisk Beer Mile

Running and Drinking- What’s not to love?

Beer mile racing seems to have become quite popular in the last few months with several events billing themselves as ‘World Championships’ from America to the UK. The Obelisk Beer Mile wasn’t claiming any such titles. This event was all about having fun, bringing together some local running communities and combining two things people enjoy doing but doing them in an entirely different way to normal.

The rules were simple. Drink one beer (or larger) before every quarter mile lap equalling a total of 4 beers and one mile of running. Sounds easy right? Well I can tell you it most certainly isn’t!

Arriving at the Obelisk Centre in Northampton on Friday evening I was thoroughly looking forwards to what would be my first experience at such an event. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done plenty of running and plenty of drinking in my time, just not at the same time.

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This was a low key race open to anyone but as it was organised by members of the Northampton Road Runners and Parklands Jog and Run that’s where most of the participants came from. There was a lovely, friendly atmosphere and anticipation grew as the jugs of alcohol were brought from the bar to the tables set up at the start area. There was a choice of Worthington’s bitter or Carling larger which was then poured into plastic half pint glasses ready from consumption.

As we were asked to gather at the start line just before 7pm everyone seemed excited yet apprehensive not knowing how they would fair mixing two favourite past times.

It was explained that the full glass of drink had to be downed and put upside down over the participants head to show it was empty all within a 10 meter zone before running could commence. If this wasn’t adhered to an extra lap forfeit was in place, the same punishment that came for being sick (nice!)

It was then time to begin. But unlike most races there was no running talking place as the starter shouted to word ‘go’. First a beer needed to be drank. I went with Carling and managed to get it down fairly quickly. Not a fast as some though who had already gained a good 20 meters on me.

I used my running speed to good affect and managed to take the lead by the half way point of the first lap. Burping every few steps I made it back to the ‘fuel station’ first. After only a few gulps of my second drink others arrived but I got away still in the lead.

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I realised that drinking while out of breath I significantly harder than normal so my tactic on this lap was to push hard then easy off at the final turn with around 100 meters to go. It was a strategy that extended my lead but didn’t make the drinking any easier. In fact this third lager was going down considerably slower. I still set off on the penultimate lap with a lead but it had been cut somewhat.

My legs were going well but my stomach was now acting like a washing machine in full flow. As I arrived to tackle the final beverage I knew I wasn’t going to be a pleasant one. I was half way through when I was joined by the next runner. His company was only brief however as he drown his beer in one and flew off in the lead. I forced the last few sips down and gave chase.

At around the same place I’d taken the lead on the first lap I’d cut the deficit to a meter. This time though my tummy was wondering why on earth I was running rather than laying down and not throwing up was now a genuine concern.

Neither of us fancied a sprint finish and we were almost certain it would result in an unpleasant mess so we agreed to run through the line together. As we did so the larger than expected crowd cheered us in and we stopped the clock at a surprisingly faster than expected 7 minutes 35 seconds. We were rewarded with an awesome (joint) winners medal and a really original race memento in the form of a pint glass with the event’s logo on. Every runner and volunteer got one of these.

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We applauded in all the other finishers who like us ran through the line with a mixture of happiness of finishing such a fun race and uneasiness of holding down the drink.

The woman’s race went right down to the wire with two ladies, Liz and our Judgement Day- The Unknown reviewer Natasha (https://quirkyraces.com/2016/09/16/judgement-day-the-unknown-2016/) who has been teetotal for the last 15 years. They were both at the final drinks stop together with Nat heading out first. Liz, the faster runner of the two, was really struggling to get her final beer down and by the time she had Nat had build up what looked like an uncatchable lead. This didn’t turn out to be the case though as Liz just edged ahead on the final straight winning by the shortest of margins.

Everyone seemed to have a really enjoyable time and the best news of the night was still to come at the presentation when it was announced that there would be a Christmas version of the Beer Mile taking place on the afternoon of Sunday 4th December at the same venue. Quirky Races might just have a bit more to do with that event so keep an eye out on our website and Facebook page (https://m.facebook.com/Quirkyraces/) for that one.

Here’s a video of the action unfolding.