King of the Beach


King of the Beach – My Running Scrapbook 2018.

I’ve always wanted to write my own book about running. In 2018 I celebrated my 30th birthday, and I’ve been set a challenge of trying 30 new things in my 30th year, so the timing to do this project seemed just right!

The purpose of the book was to document a full year of running every day from 2nd September 2017 to the 1st September 2018. I hope that it will be an easy read, and hopefully inspire & motivate you to achieve your own running or fitness challenge.

Each of the chapters documents the major points of my year. I’ve also shared some quotes from some of my running heroes, friends & coaches.

2017 had been a bit of a fitness build up year for me. I hadn’t ran for most of the end of 2016 due to a lack of motivation after seeing a runner suffer a cardiac arrest at the end of a race and it really shook me up. I hadn’t seen my previous coach Keith for a long time due to other commitments and felt I needed a bit of a change. I called Jim, who I knew trained another local lad from South Shields called Luke, and wondered whether I could join in their sessions. He told me he was no longer coaching Luke, as he had decided to try another sport, and asked me about my running and what I would like to achieve. I got the impression he wasn’t interested and thought he was politely telling me that he didn’t have the time to coach me. He told me to get out for some regular runs for a couple of weeks and see how I felt. I’m quite an independent runner and I like to do my own thing, but I was so pleased when he called me back a few weeks later asking how I was doing and whether I’d be ready to start some introductory speed sessions. This was just what I needed!

We started our first session on 6th February 2017 and started meeting up twice per week with easy & steady runs on my own in between sessions. From having no real conditioning or fitness when we started I was pleased to start to see some gradual progress throughout the Summer.

Sunday 9th April – Blyth 10km North East Road Championships – 33.37 (8th place)

Saturday 6th May – Track League 5000m – 15.54 (3rd place)
Sunday 14th May – North East 5000m Champs – 15.48 (6th place)

Saturday 17th June – North East Masters Open Mile – 4.43 (1st place)

Sunday 9th July – Track League 1500m – 4.20 (1st place)
Thursday 13th July – Sunderland 5km North East Road Championships 15.30 (14th place)

Wednesday 9th August – North East Grand Prix 3000m – 8.53 (3rd place)

Just before I started my full year of running, I spent 2 weeks travelling around the Canadian Rockies. The trip was the top of my bucket list for some time and I just knew it was going to be everything I dreamed it would be. I visited Canada with my girlfriend, Emma, who had visited Canada when we first met in 2013. I remember it being something that really impressed me about her straight away, travelling on her own to such an amazing place and I was so interested to hear her stories.

I decided to take this 2 weeks as a break from running. I usually ran most days even when on holiday, but I fancied a little break from it. I’d also been warned that runners and cyclists are the most likely people to get attacked by bears in the rockies, due to startling them, so that was at the back of my mind!

We travelled to Calgary from Newcastle, visiting Emma’s Canadian relatives at their holiday home in Radium. We then travelled to Banff and Jasper National parks. The experience was incredible and everything I ever wanted in a trip. We spent quality time together, went on adventures, rode horses, swam in the lakes, drove through the rockies, hiked and seen the amazing wildlife.

After returning home I was keen to get myself back in shape after drinking too much beer and eating so much food! I really looked forward to doing my favourite activity again – Running!



Run Eat Sleep – South Shields 

I started my business around 5 years ago after finishing University with a Sports Development degree and studying for my coaching qualifications. The business was set up to provide personal coaching, running clubs and also provide local races for all ages and abilities. It has been very tough at times, but also so rewarding and I am very passionate about helping people and creating a positive community.



Day 1 – Saturday 2nd September 2017

Whenever I come back running after some time off due to a break or injury, I always try to run every day for 4 weeks. This is something my previous coach and friend Keith always recommended me to strengthen your body for the harder training to come. This was my first step to regaining my fitness and getting started for the long Winter ahead.

After the first 4 weeks of consecutive runs, I thought I’d go for another 4 weeks and see how it went. The more the months went on, the more I felt I could maybe go for 6 months, maybe for 12 months even! This is how my personal challenge started.

I was keen to try a few cross country races in the Winter as I hadn’t took part in them for a few years. They are always good training runs and they definitely toughen you up with the awful conditions and cold weather.

Cross Country Races 2017

Sunday 8th October – Druridge Bay Harrier League Cross Country – 1st place from Slow Pack (10th fastest overall)
Saturday 28th October – Sherman Cup Cross Country at Temple Park – 19th Place

Sunday 18th November – Aykley Heads Harrier League Cross Country – 4th place from Medium Pack (9th fastest overall)

Saturday 9th December – North East Cross Country Championships – (31st place. Training diary says “Shocking. Felt awful and want to forget. That’s enough of Cross Country for the year”)



The Winter Weather
My training diary notes for the winter of 2017/18 included…

“Beast of the East storm from Siberia. 40mph winds. Blizzards.”
“Steady runs most days this week. Too much snow”
“Snow very deep along the Leas. Up to my knees. Wild out there”
“Gale Force Winds. Awful”
“Crap week of weather. The worst I can remember. Went out for beers”
“Heavy Rain, sleet and strong winds – Horrendous”


Running Every Day
I was really starting to see the fitness benefits by running every day. I was feeling a lot stronger every week. I think the main benefit I started to feel was the mental strength. Whatever the weather, I would get out and run. There was never an excuse, and I just started to get into a good habit of fitting the running in.


Moving Home & Turning 30
After getting home from our Canada trip we decided to look at buying our first home together. We had an offer accepted on a house on 1st November 2017 and it took until 9th March 2018 to complete. The whole period seemed to drag on forever for all sorts of reasons, and we were just so happy to finally move into our dream home.

A week later I turned 30 years old. I’ve already forgotten the day and looked to my training diary which notes “7 miles easy with 7 min mining. Very Windy” It sounds like such an exciting day!

I decided to celebrate my birthday by going to Hanahana Japanese restaurant in Newcastle with my family. I don’t usually go to fancy restaurants and I’d usually choose an Italian, but thought this was a special occasion and I wanted to do something a bit different. At the weekend I celebrated with friends and we had a good ‘few’ pints of ale!


2018 Races

Sunday 14th January – Brass Monkey Half Marathon. 75.47 (37th place. Ran first 10km in 32.40 with the leaders as a training session and eased off for the remainder of the run)

Thursday 15th February 2018 – Armagh International 5k – 15.18 (139th position) Personal Best


Sunday 4th March 2018 – Trafford 10km (CANCELLED)
Friday 30th March 2018 – Elswick Good Friday Relays – 10.40 (4th place on Leg 1. 6th fastest overall)

Friday 27th April – Cheshire 5k English National Road Championships 15.17 (35th position) Personal Best


Saturday 5th May – Track League 1500m – 4.16 – 2nd place & Track League 5000m – 17.15 – 3rd place

Sunday 13th May – North East 5000m Championships – Didn’t run. Sore Achilles.
Sunday 20th May – Pier to Pier – 2nd place. “King of The Beach” Prize for first runner to leave South Shields beach.

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Sunday 17th June – Solway Half Marathon. 72.54. 1st place

Thursday 12th July – Sunderland 5km North East Road Championships (Didn’t run)
Sunday 8th July – Track League 1500m – 4.19 – 3rd place & Track League 5000m – 16.14 – 3rd place

Wednesday 16th August – Quayside 5km (Didn’t Run due to achilles injury)

Sunday 2nd September – Trafford 10km (Didn’t run due to achilles injury)
Sunday 9th September – Great North Run (Didn’t run due to achilles injury)


Typical Training Schedule

Monday AM 6 miles steady PM 3-4 miles easy

Tuesday AM Session with Jim 6-8 miles total. Typical Session 10-12 x 400metres with 60 seconds standing recovery PM 4 miles easy

Wednesday AM 6-8 miles steady PM 3-4 miles easy

Thursday AM 6 miles steady PM 3-4 miles jog with coaching group

Friday AM Session with Jim 6-8 miles. Typical Friday Session 6 x 1000m with 90 seconds jog recovery

Saturday AM 8 miles including South Shields parkrun. Legs usually tired after Friday.

Sunday PM 10 miles steady

Total – 55/60 Miles on average

Steady runs usually 6.00-6.40 minute mile pace. Easy runs usually 6.40-7 minute mile pace


Parkruns for 2018

I absolutely love parkrun & try to get along to one most weekends. Sometimes I like to push myself and use them as a good training run and sometimes I just like getting out for an easy run with friends. It’s such a good way to start your weekend and a great way to catch up with friends and meet new people.

Keswick parkrun – 6th place (forgot barcode)

South Shields parkrun – 16.38 1st place

Tollcross parkrun – 17.07 1st place

Riverside parkrun – 19.08 18th position

Fellfoot parkrun – 19.15 12th place

Fountains Abbey parkrun – 16.37 1st place

Rising Sun – 16.37 1st place

Hartlepool parkrun – 15.43 1st place


Weekly Mileage for 52 weeks (Monday – Sunday)

September – 214 miles
October – 253 miles
November – 284 miles
December – 240 miles
January – 257 miles
February – 227 miles
March – 235 miles
April – 247 miles
May – 243 miles
June – 231 miles
July –
August –




How far did I run?

2692.6 miles

Average of 51-52 miles per week

Average of 7.4 miles per day