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Friday, 30 March 2012

Getting to know the Greensand Way

Its about time we shared with you what we have learnt about the Greensand Way so far.

G is for Gloves.

They are everywhere. Never in pairs. They can be found in trees, on the paths and sometimes on turnstiles. We have no idea whether they grow in the local area or are left as offerings to the Greensand Way God by ramblers. 

Gloves litter the Greensand Way

R is for a special Rambler 

Geoffrey Hollis conceived the route in 1982 which was extended to include the Kent section in 1989. He is effectively the father of the Greensand Way.

The full route of the Greensand Way

E is for Elevation

The total combined  climb for the Greensand way is over 11,000ft and includes the highest point in the South East at Leith Hill Tower.

Claire in Leith Hill Tower on the Greensand Way enjoying a Jaffa Cake

The elevation of the Greensand Way

We have a working rule for the Greensand Way paths when we are unsure which path to take ' if unsure its always uphill' This has proven true in almost every case.

Claire on a steep uphill on the Greensand Way between Dorking and Reigate.

E is for Ewhurst Windmill

There are at least 2 windmills on the Greensand way. We havent explored the Kent section yet so there may be more. Ewhurst windmill marks the midway point for us as we run across the Leith Hill, Holmbury Hill, Pitch Hill stretch of the Greensand way known locally (and slightly tongue in cheek) as 'Little Switzerland'

Dave meets the Ewhurst Windmill on the Greensand Way

N is for 'Nothing at Alls'

We love compression running gear. It has a lot of 'science' about muscle fatigue and blood flow and blah blah blah..... we dont care. We love that it holds you in.....makes you look more 'buff' and stops your muscles and legs and bum from going 'wob wob wob' in a dub step style. The problem with compression clothing is the constant nagging doubt that they have ripped or something because you just feel like you are wearing 'nothing at all'.
Ned Flanders wearing 'nothing at all'

S is for Sandstone

A very specific Sandstone called Greensand makes up the ridge which passes through Kent and Surrey after whch the Greensand Way is named. It is made up from Glauconite, a mineral which gives it its green colour and crumbly texture. Its slightly less edible that 'Pork Dust'.

Greensand Ridge near Hambledon on the Greensand Way

A is for Alternative Training to running the Greensand Way

You dont have to just run to train for the Greensand Way. Having got our free membership with Charterhouse Gym (for the next 3 weeks) weve been mixing up our training by attending some classes and doing some swimming. Its been ace! We are also going hashing next week in Portsmouth with Dave and Dan (blog to follow). As I write this Im still aching from my circuit training last night.

Claire and Lee getting a beasting at Circuit Training at Charterhouse Gym astroturf

N is for nutrition

We've had some real heroes and villains on the Greensand Way from an energy and food perspective. We love eating jelly babies and Sainsburys fruit jellies. we also like cheese doritos as they travel well and are salty. Catastrophic failures include pork scratchings ( cause of the pork dust incident) and lead weights which are both heavy and inedible and the cause of my first reh on our first ever Greensand Way training run to Gibbet Hill.

Jelly Babies - Little fruity joy on the Greensand Way

D is for donations

Dont forget why we are running the Greensand Way . You can donate here

W is for Walky Pills

We use stretching, compression clothing, special straps, shoe inserts .......but sometimes after running an ultra marathon only one thing helps...

The Chemical Structure of Pills that allow you to run the Greensand Way without any pain

sweet sweet walky pills.  Named because they allow you to walk again.

A is for Animals

Horses that try to kill you, Cows that watch you run by and Peacocks that show off. Not to mention all the noisy noctural creatures that kept us awake on our overnight camping.....and Sheep......lots of Sheep.

Cows on Vann Hill overlooking the Greensand Way

Sheep on the Greensand Way near South Nutfield

Y is for Yawning .

Not because we are bored. Far from it. But because we will be tired. Very tired, when we run the full 108 miles in one weekend soon.

Claire having a 'little yawn' at the Hellrunner event (where the idea of the Greensand Way run came together)

So there you have it. You now know as much as we do about the Greensand Way. Those of you who are very very clever will note that our list of topics spells out GREENSAND WAY.

 Arent we clever ?

Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Sport Relief Sunday

On Sunday 25th March 2012, three friends turned up at Charterhouse Club, Godalming on a bright sunny morning, ready to rock some high-viz wear, and wave radios around: we marshalled Godalming's first EVER Sport Relief Mile!
Dr G acing the art of Smaistcoat - you get the idea.

Lee and Cla Smigh-Vizing. Oh yes.
If you are unfamiliar with the Sport Relief mile - how is that possible?! - it's an event run across the UK simultaneously at hundreds of places, where people pay to enter this run and are sponsored by their friends, relatives, coworkers etc to complete a distance of 1, 3 or 6 miles.

Charterhouse Club organised and ran Godalming's first ever Sport Relief Mile and it went BRILLIANTLY!
Over 600 people ran during the day and raised loads of dosh while having, quite frankly, a fantastic time.

Lee was helping on the water station AKA The Charterhouse Arms (pictured below with his two bar-stewards joining in the pre-6 mile run warm-up as run by Liz)

Hup two three four.
 I was in charge of the corner where people either went round again to complete another lap, or carried on to the finish line. That was ace fun. I lost count of people's laps, but that didn't matter.

I also did jumping.

 We watched with huge interest as the 6 mile and 3 mile run took place - some people chose to walk to whole 6 miles, some took their pace at a slow and steady jog, and there was a massive mix of ages who completed this long circuit. Everyone had a great big grin on their face too. The winner (it wasn't a race, but he was the winner) completed the approximately 6 mile circuit in around 35 minutes!!!! Imagine doing that with 10kgs on your back... We've got standards to live up to now.
The Godalming Sport Relief Mile "It's not a race but you're the winner" winner. 

We took the opportunity to prepare for the 400 runners doing the 1-mile race by making the Water Station super-efficiently packed with water....

Does your local do THIS?

Then came the 1 mile run. We saw....

A not-so-Little Chef

...the 118 family...

...and a family of robots!.. 

 Look at the blue skies! Look at how happy everyone is! It was a brilliant day, and everyone did fantastically well. It was so exciting to be at the corner where everyone came round and spied the finish line - we saw some very impressive sprint finishes, especially from the youngsters.
All in all, a great morning, superbly organised by Josie at Charterhouse Club. To top it all off, as volunteers we were offered free 3 week memberships at Charterhouse Club - just the thing we need to mix up our training a bit - we've already started running on the track and having a swim, and next week holds many exercise classes too...

AND I got chauffeur-driven by Jason on a John Deere. Luxury.

So that was our morning. Using radios, feeling important in high-vis, and watching other people exhaust themselves running. Fun, right?!


I didn't want to run anywhere in the afternoon. I wanted to curl up in the sun and have a lovely snoozy nap. Unfortunately, when Greensand Way training calls, it can't be ignored...

We'd decided to run Merry Harriers -> Gibbett Hill and back; a distance purported to be 7 miles each way by the maps, but we have measured consistently as being somewhat closer to 18 miles in total...

Lee utilises slopes to his height advantage at the Merry Harriers nr Greensand Way
As in times before, we came across a freshly laid sawdust hash trail. A-ha, we say! Pistoffen, the elusive secret hashing club have been here! They seem to have almost the same level of obsession with the Greensand Way as we do, as we regularly stumble upon their woody markers.

Is this Pistoffen's way of telling us they want to run the Greensand Way with us?
We took a while to warm up into the run - a mixture of standing about in the sunshine and using our enthusiasm to encourage the Sport Reliefers had sapped our energy somewhat. The weather was just incredible though. Lee took some brilliant photos, and it made a well-known route new and fresh again to see all the blossom and new flowers springing up everywhere.

Blossom on the Greensand Way

Thursley Church must be one of the most photographed churches on the Greensand Way - It's got a great situation, lovely wall, a sundial and a Greensand Way sign pointing right at it. Ideal.

Thursley Church in springtime - Greensand Way
 We passed under the A3 - that's about 5 miles from the pub. Another two warm but lovely miles followed, punctuated by the realisation that I'd forgotten my job of reminding the team to eat. Unfortunately we only had Haribo, which turned out to be disgusting - cementing our belief that Sainsbury's own brand Fruit Jellies are the bestest sweeties ever. Anyway...

The 2 mile ascent to the top of Gibbet Hill was just as neg as the last time, which was just as neg as the time before... It's a horrible hill, just flat enough to be able to attack it but long enough to really start dragging you down mentally. Each time a summit appears to be reached, the path heads downhill briefly for a few metres. Combine that with 3/4 mile of sandy path covered in large unwieldy unfriendly rocks, preventing any kind of stride or confident foot placement...... it's a nightmare and I had a proper strop about it!

The only way I can see that becoming more doable is to practice running up and down Gibbet Hill for hours on end - if anyone fancies joining me?!

Anyway. After almost tears, nearly a punchup and a threat of a flounce home, we arrived at Gibbet Hill, and the view became all completely worth it. We absorbed what felt like the world's comfiest bench - and just SAT DOWN for a bit.

2XU Catalogue pose #121 - smeggings.
Lee decided to have a little sleepy.

Do not wake the sleeping runner - Gibbet Hill, Greensand Way
Having sat, snapped, eaten some chocolate and laughed at every walker's identical reaction to reaching the summit ("Oh thank **** for that!"),  the trundle home started.

When you're tired it's important to keep laughing and keep your brain interested. Otherwise you go a bit mental and start doing things like, oh I don't know...putting your face through tree holes.

 ...or believing you are a mammal-whisperer...

Why the long face? 
Having originally expected to have to run all the way back to Lee's gaff, when Dr G offered her sparkling steed as a pickup from the Merry Harriers, the words "ooh gosh yes please" were texted with haste. Because some days, 20+ miles is just too many...

We covered about 18 miles in about 4 hours with a few little rests and a big sit-down in the middle. Our pace is improving!

The end.
In summary; it was summery. We may have run 18 miles each (in fact, we bloody did!) but that paled into insignificance compared to the miles and smiles completed and produced, and money raised by the 600+ runners for Sport Relief in Godalming on 25th March. So well done to all of you :)

The sweet view of the last field to run through - Hambledon, Greensand Way.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Please Remove this - The First 55 miles of shockingly bad photos on the Greensand Way

So. if you've read the previous blog about our Greensand Way Dictionary youll understand what we mean by a 'Please remove this' pic.

Now that we have run all of the Surrey stretch of the Greensand Way we thought we would celebrate with our top ten countdown of the worst pics you never got to see.....

....until now!

Please forward this blog to as many people as you can. With enough views these 10 images will be the top ten image results for those searching for the greensand way.

10.  The ' Tyra Banks Head to Toe Pose'

Claire Head to Toe posing on the Greensand Way near Hindhead

9.  The 'Looks like you've got a coke problem' shot

Lee getting hash named Little Pecker in Hambledon on the Greensand Way

8. The ' Two big to fit through the turnstile' Pose

Claire stuck in a Turnstile on the Greensand Way near Brook

7. The 'Greensand Way Isnt Always and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ' Scenic Shot.

The scenic insides of a type 22 Pill box on the Greensand Wat Near the Dolphin Pub

6. The 'Dont get caught playing with yourself ' Pose

Dave 'adjusting himself' on the Greensand Way near Leith Hill

5. The ' That thing in the background looks like its sticking out of your head' Pose

Lee Smignposting (smiling with your signpost) on the Greensand Way near Hydons Ball

4. The 'Necking 2 Pints of Sports Drink'  Snapshot

Claire enjoying a Pint in the Merry Harriers on the Greensand Way

3. The 'Like your wearing nothing at all Catalogue ' pose

2. the ' Nigel Barker missing limb ' pose

Lee posing in South Nutfield on the Greensand Way

So there you have the 9 worst photos in order of terribleness.

Those of a nervous disposition look away now.

Those brave enough may continue and scroll down to the worst pic taken so far.

Its not too late to look away

1. The 'You look like your 84 year old grandad ' pose

Lee after running 45 miles in 2 days on the Greensand Way, weighing about 5 stone, having hit the wall, and with no idea how he will manage the last 10 miles 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Hash , In The Bum, More Toilet Pics and Noobie Pete

Monday nights are either Ukejam or Hashing. Thats the law. This week it was a Hash week with the Guildford Hash House Harriers

Scrum Muffin, Me (Little Pecker) and Loose Article jumped in Genevieve (my car) and headed out to meet in Sheepleas car park in West Horsley for 7.30pm. This Hash trail was set by 'In the Bum' . Named because his surname is Payne.


Hashing with the Guildford Hash House Harriers in West Horsley on the Jubilee Trail

We started off the hash with a new visitor to the group called Pete. Scrum Muffin and I were running with our full weighted Greensand Way Rucksacks so the run was quite hard.

I was determined to be a front running bastard this week so quickly ran ahead to join the 'On On' calls from the front. I happily ran at the front calling the rest of the group on as I noticed each new marker. .........

I called 'On On ' as I saw white bird poo I thought was flour.....

I called 'On On' every time I saw crushed chalk stones on the paths that I thought was flour  .....

I led a group of runners totally the wrong way.

But I did it VERY enthusiastically.

I often wonder if the Hash runs we are going to do are going to be worth blogging about, but as usual we had only been running through the woods for about ten minutes (following flour this time) when we came across a toilet in the woods that we took the opportunity to get another photo of us like the now famous 'Dorking Bog Shot'

West Horsley Scrum Muffin  Bog Shot

Pete was very keen and learnt about following the flour trails, that the flour circles mean you have to run out all the paths to find which is the right one, and what all the shouts of 'on on' and 'checking' and 'are you?' refer to.

Which Way ?

Smortching - Smiling with your torch . Lee with Noobie Pete

 Taking photos in the dark when running along isnt easy. The auto focus goes all over the place but we managed to get a pic of me and Pete 'Smorching' smiling with our torches. Even if I look totally manic in the photo.

Scrum Muffin and I manage to talk relentlessly while waiting at check points to find out which path is the right one. What this means is that when a runner finally finds the right route and shouts ' on on ' from a large distance away we always miss the call....and carry on talking. Luckily Popeye was 'checkin chicken' ( checking the back of the hash group for stragglers)  and bullied us onwards ( there was debate at the end that he may have laid more of the trail than In the Bum by the end of the run)

Like many Greensand Way runs we got the photo opportunity with viewpoint markers (although not a lot to see in the distance on a starry cold night)........

........and the end of the hash was marked by the On In sign and in the circle in the Car Park Scrum Muffin and I had to drink 'Down Downs' for sinning (this time I think it was for running with rucksacks and talking too much). There was the admission of a serious tumbling tosser and someone even left their trainers in the car park and drove off to the pub without them.

More Proof I am Tall at the King William IV pub in West Horsley

The pub afterwards was the nearby King William IV. I liked it very much as it had low ceilings and doors and made me feel normal height.

It was whilst talking to Pete in the Pub that we came to realise we share a few friends. We were even more amazed when he said he couldnt come running next week as he was going to a thing called 'Ukejam'

The Hash House Harriers are always keen to have new people join. Even if, Like Scrum Muffin and Little Pecker, they can only come every other week due to Ukulele commitments. Hashing is a real highlight for me and a very fun and social way to do exercise with likeminded people who share our 'sports drink' philosophy.

Oh.....and dont forget our page!

On On !

Little Pecker

Beer In the Bum