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Golden Joggers 2011



The boys have been preparing since September for this race (Jim will assure you he started in January!). Training has been a mixture of running (tempo, hills, sprints and a specific focus on long runs of 15+ miles at the weekend) mixed with gym strength work and other forms of cardio like rowing and biking.

Researching and evaluating kit is also a very important part of the preparation process! Understanding what you need and how much it weighs is critical. It's not easy. Go light and make life easier, but risk getting cold and hungry. Or take the comfort option knowing the heavier load will keep you out in the 40 degree desert heat for longer. Never underestimate the importance of kit.

This page is designed to give you the latest updates from the boys:

Rob's Updates

jump to Ben's updates  
jump to Jim's updates 
3 Sep 2010 - Desert Camp

Ben and I spent the weekend on the coast just west of Cardiff. MdS veterans Rory and Jen of UltraRace put on a weekend to inform and advise the runners of the 2011 race. Ben and I eagerly sucked it all up and then spent Sunday morning completing 20 laps of a 1k circuit up and down Europe's largest sand dune finishing equal second. Neither of us have really started training in earnest, but this has been a good wakeup call. Lots to do, training plans, kit research and testing, food and calorie plans, fundraising … the list goes on.

29 Nov 2010 - Kingston University Sports Science Department

Had a great session at Kingston University with Dr Chris Easton who tortured me on a treadmill to calculate my maximum HR and VO2 Max.

Some interesting results and definitely good data to assist with training.

5 Dec 2010 - Injury scare

Weekends usually consist of long run training and I complete short runs and strength work during the week. This weekend was no exception with 12 miles on Saturday and 17 on Sunday. In general things have been going quite well, or at least should I say I am training more than I have ever done before for this kind of challenge.

However, Sunday was not so good. My left knee has started to become quite painful after getting to about the 13 mile mark - time to seek help.
22 Dec 2010 - Specialist Appointment

Saw the physician today at Wimbledon Clinics, a specialist centre for sports injuries. He seems to think I have generated a condition called Illiotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS). The ITB is the muscle that runs from your butt to your knee. He thinks the distances I have covered in training, coupled with my running gait (bow legs!), causes the muscle to rub on the lateral femoral epicondyle which is the boney protrusion on the outside of your knee.

He's booked me an MRI scan to rule out anything more sinister and an appointment with a Sports Podiatrist to check out my gait.
31 Dec 2010 - MRI Scan

Back to Wimbledon clinics for an MRI. Sat on a chair with my leg stuck in a long hole within a strange electronic machine called an extremity scanner. The strange noises of the machine were tempered by classical music being pumped into the room. First peace and quiet I've had in ages and I proceeded to fall asleep for 30mins! The photo is misleading, the nurse was nowhere to be seen.

1 Jan 2011 - Boxhill Knacker Cracker

Whilst most of the country were suffering hangovers, Ben and I met up on Boxhill in Surrey to compete in the UK's hardest 10k. It's a favourite of mine, having done it for the last four years. And it's a race with a twist - fancy dress is 'de rigour'. Ben and I planned to don what has become the Golden Joggers team kit - the morph suit, but a last minute hitch meant I had to don a token Fr Christmas hat - not so impressive. It takes the runners up Boxhill four times from different directions , so is good training for dunes within the MdS.

As I stretched my quads on the start line, Ben suggested that I was taking the race too seriously - which is obviously frowned upon. But as the gun went off for the start of the race, he galloped off down the hill like a racehorse in the lead pack. All in all a tough race. I came in 15th position in 00:52:40 cutting four minutes off my course PB - did someone say I was taking this too seriously?!
4 Jan 2011 - Sports Podiatrist

"A man with bow legs like yours who runs these kind of distances are prone to shin splints and ITB issues". Wasn't expecting him to be quite so frank! Anyway, the pain seems to have subsided, so we agreed probably don't need to do anything at the moment.

5 Jan 2011 - Follow-up appointment

MRI shows a healthy knee in terms of cartilage and the rest of the main infrastructure (my own medical term). The physician confirms I have ITBFS suggesting I vary the terrain I run on, continue stretching religiously, and come back if it flares up again. Good that it we have identified the problem and it seems to have gone away, bad that its there and could return.

11 Jan 2011 - Run to work

Haven't managed to run much in the last week. Felt guilty last night, so ran the 22 miles into work today. Cobham - Esher - Kingston - Wandsworth - Fulham - Chelsea - Millbank - Strand, not particularly picturesque and looked a right plonker with my front loading drinking bottles, but managed the distance carrying 9kg in 02:58:00 so pretty happy with that.

15 Jan 2011 - New Toy!

My new Garmin GPS arrived in the week. Took it for a spin around Boxhill. It tells me everything, heart rate, distance speed etc. Geeky stuff gives me stats that I have no idea what to do with. A massive case of 'all the gear'.

Completed 2 knacker cracker courses, which is just under a half marathon with a massive 1km of ascent and descent with 7kgs of kit in 2hrs - bring it on!

23 Jan 2011 - 45 mile ultra

Met Ben on Saturday evening after he had completed 45miles from Northampton to Tring along the Grand Union Canal - he'd cruised it and held back knowing he was going back to do the same in the other direction on the Sunday - 90 miles across 2 days - nutter. I on the other hand had opted for the one day and I have to admit feeling a fraud as I realised that a large number of the runners on the start line on Sunday had completed the previous day.


None the started under the pretence that I just wanted to finish the distance to give me the confidence I can finish the longest day in the desert. That was until I hit checkpoint 2 at 17 miles and the marshall told me, to my utter astonishment that I was in 3rd place and only 10 minutes behind the leader. No longer was the mission to complete - this was now a race. Soon after the second checkpoint I realised that my knee was starting to hurt again. It became incredibly painful whenever I tried to start running again after stopping at the remaining checkpoints or stopping to check the map. The ITBFS was back. None-the-less I continued to pursue the leaders for the remaining 30miles, but was unable to close them down, finishing in 3rd place in 7hrs11minutes, 11 minutes behind 2nd place and 25 behind the winner. Getting a trophy was great, but the return of the injury is concerning.

Massive shout to Ben who completed the Sunday in another solid performance to complete 90miles in 2 days - no mean feat. Since then I have been consistently reminded that "real men run both days"! Thanks to Jen and Rory at UltraRace who organised the run and have proven fantastic MdS advisors to both Ben and I.

24 Jan 2011 - Stairs; the ultrarunners nemesis

Tired and stiff. Never has anyone looked quite so stupid descending 22 steps. Lets hope the lifts work at work!

10 March 2011 - WileyX brand ambassador!

Proudly announcing my first endorsement deal! I will be wearing WileyX advanced eyewear during the race to help protect my eyes from the intense sunlight and keep out the sand should a storm kick up. Check them out.

11 March 2011 - Mileage takes a hit


The knee injury has put a major halt to all my mileage training. I have therefore had to concentrate on low-impact training that will not stress the knee. Unfortunately this has meant my cardio fitness has taken a dive and I hope that the knee will hold out past the first couple of days.


Ben's Updates

22 Jan 2011 - UltraRace – 90 mile race
It is fair to say that I've been putting it in over the last few months, and that training has been quite intense - numerous long runs, early morning gym sessions and some tasty hill reps. However, due to the laissez faire approach of Price, and with the annoyingly more natural fitness of Old Man Bruce, I have felt it necessary to put the hours in so that I am not left behind in the desert.

In an endeavour to tick a huge 'physical and mental' box, I recently completed the Ultra 45/90. A 2 day event, 45 miles each way, running from Northampton to Tring along the Grand Union Canal, and then back again. If you're a canal boat enthusiast then this is the event for you. Completing day one was a good result in itself, though knowing that you had to do it all again was a lot to get the head around. During Day One, I sporadically received motivating calls from Bruce offering words of encouragement... why was he not running you ask?... because he was at the Fireman Sam show.


The start of Day Two was epic: legs felt rubbish, the delights of Northampton awaiting 45 miles away and the sprightly bow-legged Bruce ready and raring. He literally dropped me like a hot potato after half a mile, and didn't look back, not even a goodbye... what a team player. I then spent the rest of the day literally wondering how/when I was going to finish, and just what is the attraction with canal boat holidays. A huge low point was fishing in my bag to pull out my ipod... surely some Bon Jovi could help me home... only to find that the banana I'd been carrying had burst open and typically wedged itself in the headphone socket and all over the screen.

Anyway, 90 odd miles completed in a cumulative time of about 17.5 hours. A lot also learnt about eating and hydration, and that the reality of running 50 miles in the desert with sun and sand will probably be a lot harder.

22 Feb 2011 - The Golden Joggers First Win!
In this running world it is unlikely that I am ever going to win anything. My preference for the odd Guinness and lack of Kenyan ancestry have put paid to that. That aside, and to my utter surprise, you can appreciate my amazement on recently discovering that having entered a competition whilst purchasing some new trainers that I had indeed won! It is fair to say that Jen was more delighted with the prize than I was. Having toiled, sweated and run countless miles over the last few months, the prospect of putting my feet up after MdS is a great prospect.

My prize though is a trip for 2 to run the Amsterdam marathon in October! Great. Another bloody marathon, and a trip to the diamond capital (amongst other things!) of Europe! Jen is amazingly supportive and tolerant of this whole debacle, though factoring in a 2 carat diamond on top of everything else wasn't something I'd thought of. This is costing me a fortune! Whose stupid idea was it!?!

22 Feb 2011 - London Ultra
Since the epic canal run, training has had its ups and downs. A slight knee twinge resulted in some lower than intended mileage runs so not to aggravate whatever the cause was.

This aside I was pleased to polish off the 50k (31 miles) London Ultra in 4hr 53. My legs have never ached so much after, though now I can be more considerate and know how Rob feels with his bow legs.

With a few weeks to go, I've started panic buying kit too. Thankfully with the Golden Joggers kit geek (Rob) having done PhD level research, decision making is quite straight forward.

6 Mar 2011 - Grantham Ultra

Thankfully my last big training run is complete. Another back to back run, and another bloody canal - 29.3 miles from Cotgrave (somewhere near Nottingham), to Grantham, and then back again the following day. This was my first real workout carrying kit, so got a good feel of what to expect...........yep, I run a lot slower carrying 7.5kg on my bag, and I ache in more places.


Pretty pleased, and completed the cumulative 58 mile distance in 10 hours. Aside from food and hydration, I also worked on my ipod strategy. Unlike Rob, Kenny G doesn't really do it for me.....with 6 miles to go tapping into a bit of Linkin Park, Faithless and Fatboy Slim it was amazing how (or so it seemed), quickly I reached the finish.

Event over, I worked out that I have run over 150 miles of canal in the last 7 weeks. How dull does that sound?


Jim's Updates

21 Jan 2011 - Dubai Marathon

As the official "Weakest Link" in the Tonsley Golden Joggers I have left it late to start proper training, a shortcoming I blame entirely on the birth of my son Thomas.

First decent training run at the Dubai Marathon on 21 Jan. 4hrs 27 with the 11kg I am planning to start the MDS with - not spectacular but hopefully a pace that could be kept up on the flatter stretches in the desert. I am also a long way behind Bruce and Cuttle in the buying stash stakes.

The only advice I have to offer the other two thus far is on the one element I have purchased - some sunglasses... they're very good and keep the sun out of my eyes! Good enough for your NASA standard test comparisons Brucey?!
15 February 2011 - Top Tips from Pricey’s Maldives Training Camp
Back from my desert training camp - I can pass on the following Hot Top Tips:

- Rum Punches are best served as a lunchtime beverage when their refreshing qualities can be best appreciated in the heat of the day without requiring an immediate afternoon snooze on completion. They are a wasted cocktail as a sundowner when a cold beer is by far the better option.


- Snorkeling is a very tiring activity. On one occasion I had to actually swim AGAINST a current which quite frankly was more exercise than I was expecting. Snorkeling should only be undertaken either with the current or after a period of build up training.

- The Maldives is a very hot at this time of year, resulting in high sand temperatures. Should any walking be required then flip flops will prevent bad sand burn injuries, however my best advice (which I followed religiously) for enjoying a desert training camp on these beautiful islands is to lie motionless in the sun for as long as possible and to avoid moving anywhere.

My thorough preparation continues!

4 Mar 2011 - The M&Ms Tests

click to watch

Test 1

click to watch

Test 2

Rob heard M&Ms might be a good source of fuel for the race and asked me to test them out in the heat to see if they would withstand the rigours of the desert...

< Click on the images to watch the video reports.

2 Mar 2011 - Visualisation Training

Under pressure from Rob and Ben to put more work in I went for a run today in order to find some sand to train on. I found some immediately on the side of the road - it kept getting in my shoes though which was incredibly annoying, so I came home.

I continued my preparation however by carrying out some visualisation training whilst relaxing on my favourite chair, which I thought would be just as useful as I'm told mental preparation is half the battle in the MDS. I'm mentally telling myself that there won't be much sand in the Sahara. Let's hope it works.

4 Mar 2011 - Jebel Hafeet Time Trial

First time trial on the raidlight stash, up and down Jebel Hafeet.

Happy with back and front pack in the heat. Front bottles with tubes did my head in though. Bog standard bottles for me I think.