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#75 Nice-Cannes Marathon: Part 2: The Observational Run

Two days of campaigning, running around with participants has been a great warm up to run day….and by the way, you can run marathons with zero sleep.

Article on the day:

Chasing the Rabbit

bunny dogs

I would start at 06:30 am to ensure I finished within the organisations’ end time of 2pm (officially the marathon started at 08:00 and ended at 14:00). An early start makes me feel like the rabbit on the track. Uncle would accompany me for some of it, except was continually stopped by police so had to find alternative routes.

Instructions: “Stay on the bicycle path until the lead runners have over taken you”

How much distance could I make before the lead runners caught me?

Route Map

It was expected that the lead runners would overtake at about 10km. Except my competitive nature meant I was going to push myself to see if I could make 15km. Storming along the course, I ran right past the small turn off (highlighted in the above route map).

The signs changed from 11km to a 16km mark on the bend. Maybe there was a loop back? Uncle tried to call me back, instead I went over to the check point that was in front of the 16km mark by about 50m. They were directing me towards Cannes, confused about me as I was about their location.

Uncle showed me the map…. This rabbit had to go backwards, retrace her steps and talk her way back to the turn-off point after the 11km mark (the police lady was very kind). I had lost 15-20 minutes and it would be another 20 minutes before the lead runners would run past. I got to 13km when I was caught 😦

LEad pack

C’est tant pis. Une autre temps.

nephew daughter

JJ’s nephew caught me at about 22km and JJ’s daughter at about 25km

After that so many people thanked me for the planet and for their children and grand-children….so many people motivated me on.


On the first steep hill, one man helped me pull Teera-Wates up. And after that many more would offer to help me with this burden.

Collaboration makes light work of the burden of waste.

Between 30-35 km, there were more hills. Natalie came to pull the rope as did another gentleman when she was tiring to help me along. (I did tell them everything was good but that sleepless night must have been showing on my face).

Did the Runners Bin It to keep the course safe and clean?

There were many awesome runners who diverted to put their rubbish in the bins, but there were times when there was a carpet of litter on the floor (especially sponges), one had to tread carefully to ensure you didn’t trip up.

At times the wind blew and angry howl, throwing plates of food and cups on the floor. Cups that had been dropped on the floor were sucked into mini vortexes to be tossed into the bushes or on the beach.

RUNNERS YOU CAN BIN IT! …Les coureurs mettent toujours vos déchets à la poubelle!

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The Finale

Running End

Completed in 7 hours and 27 seconds and collected medal and t-shirt without packaging + a small food bag with a bottle of water…..well I skipped the food bag and bottle.

And finally a quick look to see if participants understood what the bin colours meant….

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…and now to write a list of recommendations to the organisation and then onwards to the Singapore Marathon to ensure participants Bin It right!

Articles after the marathon:

Mentioned in the 6pm news that night.

So let’s hope I have managed to inspire a nation to focus on the burden of society’s waste…and how all stakeholders (the organisation, sponsors, and the participants) can be part of the action to reduce the environmental impact of our disposable convenience.




#75: Nice – Cannes Marathon Part 1: Stirring the Pot

If someone said to you: “Come to my country <<where you cannot speak the language)>> because you <<who is an unknown person>> can inspire the nation to be more environmentally conscious” – would you go?

I met Jean Jacques (JJ), a charismatic French adventurer, at Rovaniemi 150 in 2017. He was intrigued about Lumi, my lovely 15kg ice tyre that would was part of my gear…

JJ’s great adventure for 2019 is to drive in a Tuk-Tuk from France to Japan
To follow his great escapade see here

After the event, we kept in touch and he suggested that I should be part of the Nice Marathon as they would welcome someone encouraging more ecological actions in events. As “je parle Français tres mal” and had no confidence that my presence could create change, I made an excuse for 2017.

In May 2018, JJ encouraged me again to come over as he believed I could inspire the people and raise general awareness about waste and disposable plastic. To ensure I did not make another excuse, JJ provided the contact details of the Nice-Cannes marathon organisation’s President. I checked the organisations eco-regulations and knew they could improve

Hence I wrote to the organisation and presented two agendas:

  1. To pull a tyre and start early
  2. To help reduce waste at the event with a potential for the event to go cupless & single-use plastic free in the future

The Nice-Cannes Marathon organisers responded that I participate and observe how the event was run. Then as part of a 2-3 year plan to go cupless…..


Yes – it would be awesome for a mass event over 10,000 participants to go cupless and single-use plastic free. Of course I had to go! ….And to ensure participants supported the cause I had to be part of the expo, even if it meant learning to parlez Francais by watching YouTube videos 3 days before leaving for Nice, France. Love a challenge 😉

Before arriving to Nice articles announced my imminent arrival:
10 Oct:

29 Oct:

30 Oct:

Thank you to the Race to The Kings organisers for providing me free use of the photograph that has been used within the articles.

Wednesday: Arrived in Nice.

JJ had organised an interview with a journalist and had painted a tyre with a glossy white. However, materials were still required for the expo such as a spare tyre for participants to try out at the expo.

Finding A tyre

Finding Gage Pneu – the Pledge tyre

Thursday 1 Nov 2018: Preparation Day

  • Design Tee-ra Wates – the Nice Marathon racing tyre
    – she wanted to represent the fish in the ocean with plastic fish spiraling above
  • Design signs for the expo – JJ is way more professional and routed out a sign + created up some frames to place the signs on.

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Friday 2nd Nov 2018: Expo Day

Picked up my bib number + a back pack within a plastic bag within another plastic bag that contained samples and vouchers. Lots of exhibitors giving away “stuff”. I looked away.

The marathon organisation had provided a Sustainability Statement board to be signed. Despite Thursday being an expo day, no one had signed the board. It was time we got to work and parlez Frenchiese.

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My Frenchchessi: Excuseze-moi. Ecritez-vous le nom pour l’ecological reasons. Par que je n’aime pas plastique unique et je vois marathoniers bring their own bottle to all events + put all their waste in the bin…La Signe si vous plait. The eco-wall after a couple of hours!

With backup from the team: JJ and Uncle were speaking to everyone about reducing waste and Bring Your Own Reusable bottle / cup / hydration pack and to put their rubbish in the bin.

I could wander off and see if anyone wanted to play with Gage Pneu.

Je tire un pneu dans la marathon en Dimanche. Voulez-vous tire moi pneu?

This got me lots of strange looks. JJ again supported my bad French and explained.

Talking Tyres

The tyre represents the burden of our waste to us. Would any of you like to see how that burden is to us if we continue with our “convenience” life style?

And many said they knew me as they had read about me! Many pulled the tyre to see what it would be like to pull a tyre…

In the programme on page 19:

Friday evening, we were exhausted but happy the eco-board was now full.

Saturday 3rd Nov 2018: Expo + Press Conference

More of the same stuff – getting passer-bys to pull Gage Pneu and encouraging everyone that went by to sign the board that they do want to see change in events.


Finding space for folk to sign towards their environmental responsibility to the environment

15:30 – Another interview for a production company. I could no not speak French and found nor could I speak English!

16:30 – Press conference

Press Conference

And finally to present Gage Pneu to Pascal the president of the organisation.


Sunday is “run day”, time to head home into the mountains to sleep.

Going Home

Good Night

By the end of 2 full exhausting days, we had found many people who supported being greener, and for the organisation to take much bolder actions to reduce waste especially in the realm of disposable plastic.

Our environmental disaster where we have over 1 million animals dying mostly in the sea and some on land means this invisible oil spill (ocean plastic) needs to stop. We must switch off the disposable / single-use plastic tap at the source! At the same time, we need to look beyond an alternative convenience and grow up to take responsibility for our actions. Paper is not a substitute for plastic. Paper is from trees which are the lungs of our world! #BYOB #BYOR

As an adaptable society we can do this.

Thank you to Uncle, JJ, the marathon organisers for promoting the cause and everyone who signed supporting the cause.

We have one life to make it right! And everyone who signed the eco-board agreed that runners can and should bring their own reusable bottle / cup / water bladder to all run events with many pledging they will do so next time. #BYOR

Bon Courage Marathon Organisers! Bon Courage Marathoniens!


Pourquoi devriez-vous refuser immédiatement d’utiliser le plastique jetable / à usage unique?

Nous savons très bien pourquoi il est important pour la santé de notre planète, des animaux et des générations futures, d’éliminer le plastique jetable à usage unique de nos vies.

Le plastique est un matériau extrêmement poluant et durable. En faire un usage unique est un gaspillage et nous devons en garantir la gestion. C’est à chacun d’entre nous de veiller à jouer notre rôle pour mettre fin à l’empoisonnement de notre monde.

1. On ne peut pas garantir que votre plastique «recyclé» est réellement géré de manière responsable
Autrefois, la plupart des pays (y compris les pays développés) déversaient leurs déchets dans l’océan. Tout comme les Victoriens utilisaient la Tamise comme dépotoir. Re:

Aucun de nous ne peut garantir que les «matières recyclables» que nous mettons dans les bacs de recyclage seront gérées de manière responsable, même si vous pensez que l’emballage est «recyclable».
Les États-Unis, le Royaume-Uni, l’Australasie, l’Europe, Singapour et le Japon exportent tous du «plastique recyclé» vers des pays comme la Chine, le Vietnam, la Malaisie, l’Indonésie et la Thaïlande. Lorsque la Chine a cessé d’importer cette année, les pays développés ont envoyé des quantités encore plus importantes aux pays asiatiques qui accepteraient cette ressource potentielle. Ces lieux sont également connus pour déverser leurs déchets dans l’océan / la décharge et avoir des problèmes de gestion des déchets.

EU Trash

EU Trash

De plus, nos déchets électroniques contiennent des métaux lourds toxiques pour tous les êtres vivants.

Autrefois, le nord de l’Italie envoyait ses «matières recyclables» en Calabre pour y être traitées. Malheureusement, les entreprises chargées du traitement des déchets déversent illégalement les déchets directement dans la mer Méditerranée ou les brûlent ouvertement.



2014 – L’Italie se voit imposer une amende par l’UE pour ne pas avoir géré les déchets. Ref: pour-illégal-gaspillage-idUSKCN0JG1AJ20141202

2. Le plastique photo-dégradant produit des gaz à effet de serre
En plus des matières recyclables expédiées dans le monde entier, le plastique photo-dégradant (dans les décharges et dans l’océan) émet du méthane et de l’éthylène, deux puissants gaz à effet de serre. Le méthane et l’éthylène sont également émis par les plastiques jetables à usage unique!

3. environ 1 million d’animaux meurent chaque année de la consommation de plastique
En 2015, un article du Guardian a souligné que 90% des oiseaux avaient du plastique dans les intestins:

Au fil des années, nous avons beaucoup entendu parler des poissons et mammifères marins ingérant du plastique. Le plastique est de « la malbouffe » sans apport nutritionnel.

Et même les animaux terrestres mangent du plastique. Cerfs, vaches, chèvres…

Lorsque les coureurs ou cyclistes utilisent des chemins et des routes sur lesquels se trouvent des animaux, ils laissent quand même leurs déchets et emballages plastiques sur le sol.

Richmond Park

4. Il n’est pas étonnant que l’on retrouve du « microplastique » dans notre intestin
On sait depuis longtemps, et cela a été confirmé.
Si les baleines et les dauphins ont été découverts avec du plastique, c’est que nous empoisonnons lentement nos propres sociétés avec des perturbateurs hormonaux et des éléments toxiques.

5. Le recyclage du plastique est une progression linéaire vers la création de micro-plastiques comme le nylon, le polyester, etc., qui finissent également dans les déchets.

Nous créons donc deux problèmes: le plastique et le microplastique qui finira à la décharge s’il y est jeté.

Le cycle de vie de la bouteille

Bottle Lifecycle

Que puis-je faire pour réduire la pénétration de plastique à usage unique / jetable dans le flux de déchets?
Chaque semaine, lancez-vous un défi en plastique tel que:

Fréquenter les magasins qui offrent des produits sans emballage plastique. Recherchez les magasins Zéro Déchet dans votre région. Ceux-ci nécessiteront que vous apportiez votre propre matériel réutilisable.
Soutenir les agriculteurs / marchés locaux qui offrent souvent des produits sans emballage.
En savoir plus sur les produits que vous achetez. Vous trouverez ci-dessous des conseils sur les solutions de rechange aux produits que vous pourriez acheter:
Parfois, cela peut vous amener à découvrir de nouveaux produits exceptionnels lorsque vous décidez de ne plus soutenir les marques sous emballage plastique.
Tout comme vous utilisez un porte-monnaie pour mettre votre argent, utilisez votre propre contenant pendant votre marathon (bouteille, gobelet, poche à eau ré-utilisables).

Merci de votre geste qui garantira une meilleure vie sur notre planète.

NB: Les produits à usage unique / jetables constituent une exception dans le secteur médical, où la santé et l’hygiène sont importantes.


Le French Blog Post

Je viens de Singapour et je parle Anglais. Je dois être prêt à parler Français parce que je vais rejoindre le marathon de Nice.  J’ai donc appris de YouTube et J’utilise Google pour traduire. Oh merd! Pas le temps d’apprendre

Voici un article pour commencer



Why you should be refusing and avoiding Single-Use / Disposable Plastic Immediately

Finally all the evidence is in of why it is important for the health of our planet, animals and future generations to remove single-use disposable plastic from our lives.

Plastic is a fantastically versatile long lasting material. Making it single-use is a wasted resource and we cannot guarantee its management. It now becomes up to each of us to ensure we play our part to stop the poisoning of our world.

1. You Cannot Guarantee Your “Recycled” Plastic is actually being managed responsibly

Once upon a time, most countries (including the developed nations) used to dump their waste into the ocean. Just as the Victorians used to use the Thames River as a dumping ground. Re:

None of us can guarantee that the “recyclables” we put in the bin or recycle bins will be responsibly managed even if you believe the packaging is “recyclable”. News from the USA, UK, Australasia, Europe, Singapore, Japan have all been exporting “recycled plastic” to places like China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand. When China stopped importing earlier this year, the developed nations sent even larger quantities to the Asian countries that would accept this potential resource. These places are also known to dump waste into the ocean / landfill and have waste management issues.

Additionally our electronic waste contains heavy metals which is toxic to all animals including ourselves.

Once upon a time Northern Italy used to send their “recyclables” to Calabria to process on their behalf. Sadly the companies have been illegally dumping the waste which has been seen falling into the Mediterranean Sea or simply been openly burning the waste

2014 – Italy was fined by the EU for not managing the illegal waste Ref:

2. Photo-degrading plastic produces greenhouse gases

In addition to our recyclables being shipped all around the world, photo-degrading plastic (in landfills and in the ocean) emit methane gas and ethlyene which are 2 powerful greenhouse gases. Seems much more is emitted from single-use disposable plastics!

3. Approx. 1 million animals die each year from plastic consumption

In 2015, a Guardian article highlighted that 90% of birds had plastic in their gut:

Throughout the years, we have been reading about marine life with plastic in their gut. Plastic is junk food offering zero nutrition.

And even land based animals are eating plastic. Deer, cows, goats….

When run / cycle events have used land that have animals on, the participants have still dropped plastic litter on the land in the form of gel packets



4. Unsurprisingly micro-plastic has now been discovered in our gut

It has been known for assumed for some time, and now has been confirmed. If the Whales and Dolphins are anything to go by that have been discovered with plastic, we are slowly poisoning our own societies with hormone disruptors and toxic elements.

5. Recycling plastic is a linear progression towards creating micro-plastic shedding materials like nylon, polyester, etc which also end up in the waste

So we have now created 2 issues: micro-plastic which we are consuming and it will shed in the landfill if it is dumped there.

Bottle Lifecycle

What Can I Do to Reduce Single-Use / Disposable Plastic Further Entering the Waste Stream?

Each week set yourself a plastic challenge such as the following:

  1. Find shops that offer plastic free shopping. Search for Zero Waste shops in your area. These will require you to Bring Your Own Reusable
  2. Support farmers / local markets that often offer produce without packaging
  3. Learn about the products you purchase. See here for some tips for alternatives to products you might purchase: Sometimes this might lead you to discovering new awesome products when you decide to no longer support brands that have single-use plastic packaging
  4. Request shops (like clothes) reuse their own plastic packaging
  5. Just like carrying your own wallet, make it a habit to Bring Your Own Reusable bottle, cup, bag, cutlery as a basic
Thank you if you do take action to help all living things on our one planet.
NB: Single-use / disposable is an exception in the Medical industry where health and hygiene is important.

Always Keep Fighting

There is a famous scene in The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the Red Pill of truth or the Blue Pill to stay in the fantasy land.

When you begin to notice the “out of place” things that are wrong, you can never turn back. Litter is a great example. So many people ignore the rubbish dropped on the ground: notice the litter along your streets, in your towns, along the river banks or in the river, along the beach or in the sea. When you begin to notice, you will always notice it. You can choose to ignore it or you can pick it up and dispose of it as best as possible so it does not become a threat to our natural planet.

In 1997, Captain Charles Moore discovered a very large plastic island in the Pacific Ocean and warned societies about it. We ignored it, hoping the problem would disappear. It didn’t! It just grew into an in your face environmental disaster that still we are slow to respond.

  1. In 2008, I attended a green London and found out over 50% of London’s “recyclables” by boroughs were being shipped out to China to process. I didn’t re
  2. After the China ban in Jan 2018, the UK, USA, EU along with many other rich developed nations continued to export “recyclable” plastic & e-waste to other Asian nations like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc to process. Many in the rich countries continue to be fooled that their waste management system is superior in processing their “recyclables”. The China ban and now more recently the Malaysian ban has exposed the flaw of relying solely on “recycling” as the solution to managing our waste from convenient disposables.

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    You can read this article here:

  3. The truth about recycling plastic is, it is a linear progression towards the development of micro-plastic shedding materials such as nylon, polyester, and the other synthetic fabric.
  4. From the invisible oil spill (plastic ocean), millions of animals (mainly marine life and birds) a year are dying from plastic ingestion.

And as we continue to ignore the environmental disaster, unsurprisingly we at the top of the food chain have micro-plastic in us.


To read more about this see here:

The experts claim that this will affect our autoimmune systems and aid the transmission of toxins and harmful bugs or viruses. Whales and dolphins have been dying from plastic ingestion.

Whale Plastic Bag

Finally advocates (presumably plastic manufacturers) have been saying this is a distraction from climate change. It should be noted that photo-degradation of plastic, particularly single-use plastic is contributing to the global warming / climate change


BBC Article:

It is interesting that we can immediately respond to the “Y2K” potential disaster or a visible oil spill. But the plastic environmental disaster???

So which pill will you continue to take? The red pill or the blue pill. We are all stewards for this world.

Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”


Numbers 35:33 “You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”

The corporates and governments do need to take action, but we can also take action and be part of the solution. Refuse disposable / single use plastic and take on the plastic / zero waste challenge to reduce the disposable waste you produce. Here are some tips to what you can do:

If you want to share what you have done to reduce your disposable plastic waste then leave a message for me on Twitter: @TyreLady or Facebook:


Zero Waste Office

As part of learning about how the 3Rs can be implemented in companies, have now helped a some companies begin their journey to zero waste as well as been involved with sustainability teams with Corporates.

Since China banned the import of various recyclables, there have been damming reports around the world at how Recycling really needs to be a small part of the conservation on resources instead of the major role it currently takes in many economies and we all need to be part of Reduce Reduce Reduce.

If you have time, this is a great post that summarises up to date what have also been finding with our recycling economy:

china ban

Thus, would like to share with you what I’ve learned so far about helping companies become zero waste, so that others can begin to progress and reduce waste at their own company.

The first is to gather a team from different areas and take a bird’s eye view with an audit & current behaviour so there is a baseline. For example:

1. Quantify water and energy usage

Quantify and cost how much water and energy is used per month and what are the current systems in place.  e.g.

a) Facilities using it (these can often be broken down further such as for water – toilets / taps / kitchen). e.g. In many hotels, the tap water has been seen to be left on to speed up washing of food products or for washing up; In companies toilets have large 5 litre cisterns which is all used to flush the toilet.

b) What type of bulbs are being used?

c) Are machines left on after work hours?

2. Define the specific Office waste that is being generated.

Quantify and cost the quick used office stuff costs / month. e.g.

a) Stationery
b) Office cleaning stuff such as bottles / tins from cleaning chemicals
c) Bags for bins
d) And other stationary items deemed necessary such as Pens, Staples, post it notes

You can find out a lot of these quickly from admin.

3) Quantify the general waste that is going into the bins e.g.

It’s easy to gather a quick review by opening the bags that are going out each day + ask the cleaners how many bags of general waste is generated. e.g. that are typically seen:

a) Food waste
b) Tea bags / coffee grounds
c) Coffee cups
d) Crisp packets
e) Take away containers
f) Paper waste

Next Step

Get your team engaged to discuss how to reduce the items you have identified.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

1. To reduce water and energy

a) there are technologies in place such as using LEDs (one company found they saved the company thousands when they switched to LEDs); look at leasing light bulbs (Philips offer a solution); computers can be automatically shut down after a time period of non-usage (group policies); lights can automatically shut down after a certain time.

b) make people responsible for doing tasks such as switching off the lights before they leave the office ; shut down their computers at the end of the day or before the weekend. People do need reminding.

c) toilets / sinks there are devices to reduce water consumption or again make people more mindful

2. To reduce specific office waste

a) Can your office go paperless? This will reduce the need for most stationery

b) Finance will still be receiving and might have to deal with paper so instead of staples, consider paper clips; Instead of pens, consider pencils; Use paper scraps for scribbling ideas or use wipe boards

c) In meetings consider electronic white boards instead of flip charts

d) There are now shops that supply cleaning products and you refill your own bottles. Do note suppliers will find this a hard area for corporates if they are trying to maintain an ISO standard. Perhaps the ISO standard needs to change to be more sustainable!

3. To reduce general waste

This is probably the hardest area as there are people who like convenience even if it is hurting the environment and our resources. If going green is inconvenient or a chore, there are many people who would prefer to look the other way or blame the government or supermarkets or some thing else for not having to change. You can present the facts and look at ways to make it easier for everyone to come on board.

a) Consider a food waste bin and if your food waste is significant, consider a biodigester / dehydrator.  These come in all different sizes. Food waste can be composted and can be used in a garden or perhaps create a company garden.

b) Watch out for tea bags as the bags themselves have typically been made from nylon fibres (plastic). Source tea bags that have compostable bags or use loose tea and supply decanters. Popping up around the world are places where you can bring your own containers to purchase the office food supplies! If you are ordering vast quantities request the company supply the items in reusable containers that can be returned to them.

c) Encourage the company to BYOR (Bring Your Own Reusable) bottle / thermal mug (which can be used for any liquid) / cutlery / plates / bags and identify places that accept BYOR. You might find creating pledges or departmental competition for how many less bags / less weight of rubbish are generated by the end of the week with a team treat to help.

d) Consider in your team weekly meeting to bring up one sustainability item twice a month that can be tackled. You can then begin to understand people’s concerns.

Hope this post has helped with suggestions to get you started and please do add a comment with what has worked for you to change behaviour in the office environment.


Marathons #73 and #74: Plym Trail Marathon

Plym Trail Marathon.JPG

Tyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Tarmac path that goes along the Plym Trail cycle path. This is a small friendly event and options for a 1/2 marathon or full marathon distances.
Sustainability: The RDs have said the events will be cupless next year 🙂
Start Time: 09:30
Weather: @18 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 3-3.5 miles stocked with jelly babies + gels + crisps + peanuts + water to refill
At the End: Medal + small goody bag with food, water

After a restless night car camping and waiting to take off, we were greeted by a couple of wild horses in the village. Had not expected the FirstAndLastRunning’s website pictures would be real! It is real and something to ease off the urgh of sleep deprivation + prowling pervs.

Davey pulled up and greeted us with an early morning welcome sending out more mega-watts of positive energy to the world.

Both Davey and Lesley are 100 marathon clubbers , so they know how to ensure all runners needs are satisfied.

Whilst in the “waiting lounge” (the Village Hall) captain Davey announced that next year the FirstAndLastRunning events will be cupless! Hooray was the response from participants who were there and was pleasantly surprised no one quipped about it.

Time for me to get on the run way and control tower Davey directing that everything was clear for take off. With a final description of the flight path, was soon taking off from Clearbrook Village, up past that dodgy car park, cruising along a high path for a couple of hundred metres. We then flew back past the village, and onwards down towards Plymouth for 6 miles to a turn around point at the end of a path and the entrance to a furniture making factory on one side and a railway track that a steam train uses on the other side. The flight path then returns back up to Clearbrook village and is repeated along this 6 mile track. It is in Dartmoor, so you can expect to view beautiful scenery at a good altitude above flat ground.

Here is a tour with Free-us Blod for part of that route.

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Despite the small numbers, still met folk from a previous marathon and a fellow Fetchie. Other memories of this run was the man who put his hands on his hips and asked with indignation “what do you think you are doing?”, the lady who exclaimed “goodness gracious me…what?” My response “Sorry lah, am foreign. Please be forgiving me.”

Thought I would only be doing day 1 due to a lack of training beforehand, but Uncle persuaded me to do day 2 as it had taken us 6 hours to reach Clearbrook and as he says we should make the most of it. I just needed to be able to move my legs.

The route was pretty clear of runners’ trash. Of course did my duty as last runner and picked up trash – 6 gel tabs and 2 gel packets picked up for an estimated 60 runners.

At the end, there was a final education time to a group of cyclists to teach them about disposable plastic and why thinking zero waste really is the way forward. Loved the line by a Nigerian guy

“Why are you pulling the tyre with a plastic bucket? Is it a metaphor to show us that we are going backwards with disposable plastic?”

Day 1 landed in 7:43:51.

Marathon Recovery tip: If you find you’re stiff when you get up, this might be due to dehydration. Ensure you drink lots of water (for me at least 2 litres) after the marathon and more the day after. It’ll ensure you can get off your seat!

Day 1 Night

Airplane seats suck when they are on a slant. Just seem to constantly slide down and the legs / body can never be comfortable. Yes – we stuck to car camping that night and again pretended we were in business class. We were joined by a fellow runner who simply pulled up and went to sleep. Think I might have had perhaps half an hour of sleep at 6am. Oh well I’ve trained for zero sleep running.

Day 2: 

This morning, water poured from the skies, thoroughly soaking the ground and continued to pour down for hours after. Today’s animal greetings were from a bunch of sheep that had gathered round the cars. The awesome Davey gave another energised send off. Despite the lack of sleep, zero breakfast, and a miserable day, one could only smile being in the country.

It was wet but warm with waterproofs on. Puddles had formed and in parts water was streaming on the ground which tends to slow down the tyre. Free-us Blod happily scooped up the water. But it was just great to be in the open, breathing clean air and fantastic to be active than sitting on my butt for days programming on “trivial” important company stuff to improve their processes.

Day 2’s route is the same as Day 1.

It would only be after about 3-4 hours when the rain eased off and besides the hard core runners out there, saw very few people unlike day 1 when the sunshine and warm day had lots of bystanders out and about.

As the last runner back, again did my duty to spot & pick up any runners’ litter. Perhaps due to the wet day, I did not see any gel tabs or gel packets this time on the return journey to the village. Great job runners!

Overall really enjoyed this run despite the lack of sleep. It’s always fun to see the same runners multiple times as well as to have the space to enjoy the views.

Day 2 landed in 7:40:00, 3 minutes faster than the previous day!

Thank you to:

  • Davey and Lesley for letting me participate in this event. I enjoyed the route despite the ups and downs
  • Uncle for marshaling the turn around point and Richard for the mid-point.
  • To all the other runners for their encouragement

Also thank you Davey for pledging to go cupless next year, and to reduce the single-use packaging.

Some final animals whilst crossing Dartmoor


Preamble to Marathons #73 to #74 – Creep Alert


Looking Down at Clearbrook Village and Dartmoor

At times, am not the most organised person and tried to find accommodation close to the Plym Trail Marathon. There was no room at any inn, and was repeatedly told “it’s bank holiday weekend”. Easy decision – camp out – which have done before. There was a car park at the top of Clearbrook Village that had a scenic view of Dartmoor and a gorgeous full moon was floating in the clear sky, lighting up Dartmoor. It was really spectacular and reminded me of Arrowhead 135. Being in a remote location on the edge of wilderness is always magically. I was to be slapped out of Alice in Wonderland mode.


With a Full Moon on a clear night, this car park has a spectacular view

There were 3 other cars in the car park. One car had moved to be closer to another car and then the other car left. I went out to survey the area for a good camping spot. The other car re-parked closer to where we were parked. Thinking it might be another runner, I went to speak to driver in the car. He was a white male in the driving seat, maybe in his early 20s, alone. From here on, I refer to him as “Perv”.

Me: “Hi – you camping here to run tomorrow?”

Perv: “Oh is there a run?”

Me:  “Yeah.”

Perv: “Are you camping”

Me: “Yeah – thought we’d camp here in this awesome place. You camping too?”

Perv: “No. Am going to be in my car. Out here for the night.”

Me: Confused – “It is a perfect night to watch the moon…”

Perv: “Yes it is”

My spidey senses were tingling and I returned to the car slightly unnerved by the tone of his voice and told Uncle (aka Mr RF) who was in the driving seat. Uncle asked me for my thoughts and I brushed them aside wanting to believe the best. I put warmer clothes on as there was a chill in the air, which made me think about nature’s call. I got out of the car again and this time so did the Perv, who walked in the same direction I was going. He was just a couple of metres ahead of me and turned round to ask “Are you camping?”

Me: “Oh yes” I responded a little confused.

Perv continued to walk towards the bushes and I u-turned to return to the car. As I began to tell Uncle my concerns, the man also returned to his car. At this point we noted that cars were coming into the car park, pausing for a moment where we were and then leaving.

As we were parked right in front of the view of the full moon, I asked Uncle to move the car to the right hand side. Perv also relocated his car next to ours.

Me to Uncle: “Nature is calling, but I need you to watch me as I head for that bush and watch that guy because I think he will get out of his car as well.”

As I headed towards the bushes, the man also got out of his car and walked this time towards my track in my direction. Uncle jumped out of the car and demanded “Where are you going?”. The man was caught off guard and fumbled over his words. Perhaps he thought we were 2 females in the car and thought I was the second female when I had put on warmer clothes. Although I was now hidden behind the bush, I could only hear Uncle’s voice. Perv seemed to mumble.

Uncle asserted again “What is in your hand?”

Perv mumbled something and then returned to his car and drove away. Uncle later on told me he went to look at the man’s licence plate, and the man quickly drove off away from the car park. Who knows what would have happened if Uncle had not intervened.

Feeling unsettled, we decided to relocate ourselves in the village parked up next to the village hall and car camped with the doors locked…..urgh…..was just like being in an airline seat. We told ourselves it was like being in the Premium option, but all the same. Somehow had to rest for the marathon the next day……

I later heard that the car park is a popular “dogging” site (new slang term for me)

Dogging Definition

Gratitude: There are nasty sex predators in this world and have encountered them whilst growing up in this world from molesters, potential rapists and stalkers. This incident reminded me of all of them from 8 years old until now… I needed to let those memories pass on by so that I could rest. Tomorrow was a new day.

Am thankful to my mother who made me learn a martial art when I was 11 years old. Am thankful to the police I have spoken to in the past who taught me to be observant in all surroundings. Am thankful to Uncle for confronting the man. Am thankful to God for always keeping me safe.

Next post: Plym Trail Marathon



#72 – Ladybower Trail Marathon: The Gamble

Title with cards

Tyre: Freeus-Blod
Event Type:
 Multi-terrain marathon that goes along around the Ladybower reservoir with parts that can be quite exposed to the sun. This is a small friendly event with a couple of hundred doing 1/2 marathon or full marathon distances.
Sustainability: It is a cupless event in a beautiful area around a part of the peak district so BYOB.
Start Time: 09:30
Weather: @25-28 degs C by mid-day
During: Checkpoints every 5 miles stocked with fruit, jelly babies + gels + water + isotonic to refill
At the End: Medal + t-shirt + water

The Gamble

When oi was a wee lass, me mother taught us how to play card games & then as a family used to play contract bridge. I used to play with my father & at times we’d take a gamble on contracts. My father likes to recall the time when we played together in the Pesta Sukan bridge competition in Singapore against one of the top Singaporean pairs. We somehow found ourselves in a risky 7NT contract and got lucky. This event reminded me of that game. With a relatively good hand, I started the bidding conservatively with 1NT (One No Trump playing Standard American). David (RD) responded positively and helped make the cards “look nice”. So I booked the accommodation, organised how to get to the destination, the calf was feeling great…..and parked ourselves in a safe 3NT contract. But as things go, sometimes the opposition will interfere to snatch a contract away.

A key family member (affectionately known as “Pa”) passed on to his “next journey” on the Wednesday on the week of the event. His funeral was scheduled on the Tuesday after the weekend of the marthon… New Zealand. From the UK, this would be a 30 hour journey and Kenny Rogers has started to sing a song.

I counted my cards and contemplated my next actions. This marathon was on the Saturday, in the Peak District, about 3-4 hours away from Heathrow. A 30 hour journey plus the time travel would see me 2 days into the future. The latest I could leave would be the Saturday evening of the event, for a Monday evening arrival.

…and Kenny sings: “If you’re gonna play the game, girl
You gotta learn to play it right”….

Ahh the choices:

A. Let the opposition steal the contract: that is let the organiser know that I cannot attend and focus on organising myself to leave with plenty of time or,

B. Check for Aces: that is see if the RD would allow an early marathon start, book an evening flight  for the Saturday evening and then the rest would be up to me + a bit of luck.

Organiser checked, flight checked…..though a top card was questionable, the calculation was possible if everything aligned correctly. I put myself in 7NT (the best contract possible with the highest amount of points to collect).

Yes a flight was booked for 9:30pm on Saturday evening, RD kindly gave me the green light to start the event two hours early at 07:30am. It would be down to me to play the cards well.

Here’s the algorithm:

Completion times at the last 2 events were Sundown 7 hours 58 minutes one month ago and Glorious Gargrave 8 hours 7 minutes one week ago. David was allowing me a special 07:30am start.

Airport at 7:30pm latest = 4 hour journey time to airport + 30 minutes shower/change + 20 minutes faff after the marathon + x unknown time to complete marathon.

Thus x = 7 hours 30 minutes worst case roughly knocking off at least half an hour from the last 2 events.

Of course Freeus-Blod would be coming along – am still trying to complete 100 marathons / ultras with a tyre! Just needed to focus on the event instead of stopping to yabber to passer-bys, and reach 13.5 miles at least by 11:00am.

And Kenny sings…..”You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them”…

The course is in the Peak District….nice undulations and somewhere along, there is a steep hill to climb to admire the views.


Route is undulating with a hill to climb at about mile 14-15

At 07:30am RD flagged me off.

At about 10:00am the cards were unfolding nicely and the 10 mile check point had been reached. The volunteers were lovely and encouraging. By 10:30am a tall runner loped along, his t-shirt thoroughly soaked. He was the lead runner and had overtaken me at what I thought was about 11.5 miles.

…and the song continues – “Know when to walk away, know when to run”

I needed to push on… that’s what Salt N Pepa tell me…

Coming round at the bottom of the lake, a couple of cyclists held a gate open for me to pass through, and stopped me to ask what Freeus-Blod was doing. We chatted for a couple of minutes, they gave me some money for EarthWatch, we talked some more, took some photos and then I hurried on (thank you to the man and woman cyclist) towards a road, which was a 2 mile entrance towards the Lady Bower car park where I had registered earlier on.

Another lady stopped me to have a chat. Had a quick conversation to find out she was walking to a pub to meet her daughter to later cheer her son who was in the event. Of course she asked for a ride….Freeus was in no mood to entertain the thought. Time was ticking on and the tricks were being taken, but it didn’t seem enough. Arrowhead 135 had shown me how the mind can distort time and distance, so the confidence was a little low.

Back to Kenny…
“You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done”

Mind Torture

Having not reviewed the route prior to the event, had thought this was a double loop, hence the mid-point (13 miles) should be from whence we started. The clock struck 11am, the sun was beating down and the mind told me “how about adding another 15 minutes more?”. 15 minutes went by and the mind told me “it would be sensible to quit when you get to the next check point to ensure time to get to the airport”.

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser

By 11:35am a check point appeared diverting us away from heading onwards to the “Start” point. Am ready to throw in the towel except the marshal tells me “It is mile 14 and you’re doing really well”. Am confused but a voice in my head dares me to continue reminding me the RD had earlier told me that at mile 15 there is a steep hill to the edge….and at this check point there is a steep hill! A triple check with everyone and the head said “get on that hill”.

Freeus jumped on me shoulder, for a ride. In fact she stayed on for most of that section as she clung on to so many rocks and roots sticking out of the ground. There are some glorious panoramic views of the Peaks at the top but there is no time to take pretty pictures.

As we leave that section and returned to a couple of miles into the route of the first lap, another group of runners stopped to have a chat, estimating that we are at mile 17 at 12:15pm

I wanted to believe the possibility, but didn’t want to disappoint myself, so the demon voice told me “you’re a foolish idiot, Uncle will be mad at you and it’s probably only mile 16 you need to quit”.

Ahh yes Queen…..

Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two

…and then Pa popped into my head cheerily smiling, telling me “You nutter but you’ll do good. Go for it.”

The point about a bridge contract is you create a plan of play at the start and adapt as the cards unveil themselves.

Another cyclist stopped to have a chat. He and family were heading to the lakes for a swim. With the clear blue sky and strong sun, that sounded a dream. But “allons-y”, I had to go and the cyclist pressed a 5 pound note in my hand for my cause (EarthWatch).  A feeling of guilt rushed over me for moving on so quickly but I couldn’t let Pa down.

Some distance on, a runner is limping and stretching at the side of the road. I stopped to check he is okay and if he needed any water. This is his first marathon and he is now at the furthest distance, thinking it is mile 18-19. I get him going for a short while, but the ticking clock in my head urged me to keep moving. We get to the next check point at mile 20. Yummy melon and oranges were being served up – perfect for the hot day but no time to chat.

I assumed the next check point would be at mile 23. Again the demon brain told me “You’re so selfish jeopardising family for your own selfish ego….”. Yes I am imperfect and embrace my imperfections.

There aren’t many cards left and with the heat bearing down, am starting to believe have played the wrong card. My mind reflects on Arrowhead135 when the space, time and distance were all out of sync…. my demon brain tells me “You’ll never make it. You probably have 3 more miles and you won’t make it to the airport”. It is nearly 14:30 and having to cover 3 more miles would mean about another hour.

As another runner passes, I panickingly ask “Do you know how many more miles it is to the end?”

Runner: “About one!”

We turned a corner to a downhill slope all the way to the end.

The finish line is crossed in 7:07. Made it back home to have a shower and caught flight. Contract completed.

Many thank yous to Dave and Amanda (RDs) for your very kind generosity. Always to the volunteers to where very encouraging all the way and to the various cyclists who kindly pressed money into my hand £14.30 to EarthWatch.

Well stocked check points, loved the reusing of bottles to make up isotonic and appreciated the fruit offerings. Way better than jelly babies.

Would definitely recommend this marathon event.

Next write up: Plym Trail Marathon