#99 Done – Approaching the final run…


Well, I havnt had the chance to blog much in the last month, but it has been as eventful as much of the rest of the year, including:

  1. Trip to A&E,
  2. Another exciting Ultra Relay,
  3. Half Marathon PB, by 10 minutes
  4. Debut as a guide run for a registered blind runner across a 26km route.

After finding some consistency and hitting my sub 40min 10k goal in the Paisely 10k I continued to find form and a day after running the ‘Hanglider vs Man’ 10k race I was surprised to hit another pb with 38:24 at the Cumbernaud 10k. Whilst much of the year had its ups and downs, now I was running strong, feeling great, and every run somehow got better and better. Two weeks later I found myself lining up for The Great Scottish run half marathon.

The atmosphere was amazing and Isatou was there to cheer me on up St Vincent St Hill, and again at 11km, to feed me much needed banana (I still need to learn how to fuel properly!). Approaching the home straight, turning in from the squinty bridge, I heard another running buddy, Gary, cheer my name from the side line and it gave my a giant push and I pounded home in a time of 1hr 23mins,  a whooping 10 minutes quicker than Aloa Half Marathon earlier in the year. I had only just hit a sub 40 min 10k, and a couple of weeks later I was running 21k at that same pace. Delightful! I gues like many things, you plug and plug away and it desnt feel like you are making much progress and then something clicks and it all comes together and for a moment in time you are flying on cloud nine and all that hard work sails you through the foggy mist of pain, and a new rising sun shines light on a beautiful new day. something like that. Exhillerating!


A couple of weeks later I travelled for the Manchester Half marathon. I tried to replicate the runs leading up to The Great scottish run but I struggled, my legs were sluggish, my body heavy and then my suspected collapsed run from my Gambia runs returned, and I found everyday breathing difficult. More worryingly, it playd on my mind all through the week, and I considered not running.

At the start line, I had two options, you may have been there yourself…

  1. Take it easy. Guarantee a finish. Enjoy the crowds. Save it for anther day.
  2. Go for it. Push it. See what you can do. Risk not finishing. Take it on anyway!

My brain didnt decide, but my legs did. I ran the first 10k in another pb of 37:59, but I did have to slow up in the back 10. I just didnt have the legs. I finished respectfully a minute slower than GSR in 1h 24, and had the pleasure of two great old school buddies Liam & Stevo.


HoWEVER… on the finishing line I suffered a masive chest/lung cramp that put the shivers up me.  This nw didnt feel safe.

The next day I decided to check out my lung with the doc. Strangely, I found the doc measuring my calf muscles, and learnt 2 strange things…..

  1.  Most lung clots start in the calf muscles. Where 1 is larger than the other.
  2. I have one calf larger than the other!

Hold on…. before you get out the measuring tape and the doctors telephone number, apparently its quite normal

However, all things assessed I was sent straight to A&E with a suspected lung clot. Well,  a lung scan, CAT scan, xray, blood tests and 5 hours later I leanrt a few other things:

  1. I dont have a lung clot.
  2. I am a healthy person and thats something I am truly grateful for. All “D-Dimers”? shwed no antinflamatry (despite running a Half the previus day!). Being in a hospital under any capacity, amoung other suffering patients has a way to remind you!
  3. I must be suffering from some awkward muscle tear, but no other advice to help me.

Well I jumped back on the horse and a week later I was running “3 big bloody hills”, leg 3 of the Jedburgh Ultra Relay, with an amazing bunch of friends that I can thank the MegaMeterRun for.


Two weeks later I had the privilage of running the prestigous Southside 6, and the honour of running it as a guide for a registered blind runner Jay ‘Cruz’ Semple.

To say guide running is a challenge, on a 26km street & park course with endless road crossings, curb crossings, park trail runs, roundabout crossings, winding forest paths, busy roads and multiple sets of stairs, might be an understatement. But what an honour. Could you imagine doing it blind? I


A few other great runs with MRF and #99 blessed with Isatou’s first ever 10k, means that the long and winding road is almost at an end.

Run 10k #100 planned for Sunday 27th November, 9:30am start at Glasgow Green (McLennan Arch), with a city centre finish. Why not join us? https://www.facebook.com/events/554317728107373/

So close to the £5,000 target, can you help us get there?


Thanks for reading, and being a part of this incredible journey!

Not wanting it to end…

Paul 🙂


#80 Hanglider vs Runner 10k Race

As I approach 10k run number #99 this week, I am able to share footage from run #80 and the hanglider vs runner 10k race… Hope you enjoy…

Not long to go… run #100 planned for Sunday 27th November 9:30am Glasgow Green (McLennan arch), along the river, around the transport museum and back for a city centre finish at the Red Bridge, why not come along and join the run?

Outta Earith 10k Race – Hang glider vs Runner from Not Really LTD Productions on Vimeo.

Paul 🙂

Running For Dear Life… Sponsorship Doubled!


In August, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), my employer, wrote an article in their Q3 magazine ‘Outside In’, on my running in the MegaMeter 100 x 10k challenge in the context of my relationship with the Gambia… Running for Dear Life. It marked close to 3 years into my role with the company, and I could not have opened up and shared such a personal story at the beggining, so it felt like a personal milestone.

I have consisntely said that the 100 x 10km running is the easy part, relative to the fundraising which is much harder. In the past I have rode the fundraising wave with amazing support from freinds and family, but I often regreted not being able to move it beyond this to something greater, to have even more of an impact onthe ground in The Gambia.

Throughoout the year I have enjoyed the running. I have loved the running. Getting back into fitness, fighting the sofa deamon, pushing myself,  feeling the satisfactioon of self improvement, striking PBs and achieving goals. It has been great. I set a 2,000 fundraising target that I soon increased to 2,500 when I realised all that needed to be achieved with the community gardens we are looking to support. However, I never really knew where the fundraising was going, who was reading the blogs, or where it may or may not venture.

The fantastic news is that the RBS article has helped boost fundraising considerably. Firstly a few donatioons came into justgiving, and then a kind like-minded soul reached out with a desire to help. Tapping into their network they have been able to fundraise offline totalling a stagging sum cloose too 2,500, doubling my fundraising overnight.

When I first received the news I froze on the spot, and could barely move. In a time when it feels like the world arouond us is close to imploding, the genersity of people never fails to amaze me. Now is a great time to focus more on the community work, and the amazing benefits that I know can be achieved.

Read a cpy of the RBS Outside In Aug 2016

For all those that have suppoorted me on my journey, a big grateful thankyou!

Im 86 x 10km’s done, 14 left to run.

This Sunday is the Manchester Half Marathon… wish me luck!

Paul 🙂

RAW: An Ultra Relay’s Guilty Pleasure


On Saturday 17th September, scrambling together a team on the 12th hr, I took on a slightly different challenge…. Not just a 10k, not an individual race, not yet insane enough to take on a full Ultra BUT the ‘River Ayr Way Ultra Relay Race’ – covering leg 2 (14 miles / 23km) of a 3 man team.

My 100 x 10k challenge had enjoyed some variety and this was something a little bit different, to take on an event and run as a team getting a little closer to understand what an infamous long distance ‘Ultra’ is all about. So team ‘Purple Monkey Dishwashers’ (last minute thing, what can I  say?) – including Stuart Ainslie (108), and Stuart Lampard (109) and myself (107), joined a few pals and familiar faces Alex  (99), Marc (6) who were taking on the full gruelling 40Mile run along the meandering River from Glenbuck to Ayr.

To understand the beast of this 40Mile! run, see how much of a chunk it takes out of the country…


Preparing for a Relay

Approximately 110 runners lined up at Glenbuck. Stuart Ainslie was up first for team purple monkey dishwashers. Watching from the side and not the starting line itself was a strange feeling. It helped build the excitement. Part of me just wanted to run!


Thankfully Stuart Lampard was a local so we hopped in his car and headed down route stopping off at a few points along the way to cheer the runners through. Nerves started to build. I wanted to get started, although being in a team added a little pressure. The pack started fast. It was inspiring to see the pace considering the distance that lay ahead – 40 Miles! So was spotting the runners appear from across the horizon, approaching you through the meadows and over the hills, and then continue and disappear off as tiny specs against the stunning landscape. It helped to appreciate the full spectre and the mass amount of country side that the race actually covered.

Finally we drove to the village of Sorn and waited with a marshal and a few spectators. At the end of leg one a couple of individual runners were still ahead of the relay teams. This was fast!

Time to Race…

Our man Stuart A. had done a great job on the first 17 miles chipping away and keeping good pace. We tagged, signalling my entry into the race. The 1st relay team were all track-suited up in their running club gear and were up in 3rd place un-catchable in their speed, but I still had 25ish people ahead to close down on. Unsurprising, after all the anticipation to start, I headed off faster than I would have planned. Over the Sorn bridge and uphill into the forest. My biggest fear was getting lost. This is not a 10k road race littered with marshals, red&white tape and traffic cones. Almost instantly I started doubting my route. I filled my lungs with exhilaration and pegged it down hill and found the river, hopeful that out in this loneliness I might have the fresh legs to catch up on some folk and follow their lead. Only a few hundred meters in and I was already calling out to a dog walker “Did they run this way?” . Thankfully I got the nod and an all pleasing “Aye”.

A scenic winding path along the river allowed me to relax and get into a good pace. I was running sub 4min km’s, there was no way I could keep this up, but chasing the pack gave me energy and I felt alive! It reminded me of a 2012 reputation I built in china for catching the ‘hares’ in some randomly wild hash-harrier races out in the middle of China’s nowhere. I loved this kind of running!

After a short while I caught a couple of runners, who were just preparing to climb a stairway to heaven. It didn’t seem to end. At least I was on the right track. I had the fresh legs to overtake and plough forward, but again found myself on a long stretch of loneliness wondering was I heading in the right direction? It was, however, peaceful, tranquil, and stunningly beautiful with running water by your side, crossing bridges, rounding big oak trees, and undulating along forestry pathways.


A Ultra Relays Guilty Pleasure….

At a point I popped out into the open and felt the warm sun. I started to take a long road towards a possible farmhouse. Something caught the corner of my eye and I saw two runners dashing off back into the forest, heading in a different direction.  I had missed my turning, that was lucky could have been worse. I headed back and followed route and soon caught them. I hoped they were part of the race?

Everyone I passed I found myself apologising profusely “Well done, keep going! I’m just a relay runner, your doing great!”. I felt pretty bad, it must be a mind-basher to see runners whizzing past you after all that slog!.

Crossing through the village of Catrine, Stuart L was kindly there to cheer me through, and I past the village square with a few other marshals. Seeing people was a delight. Heading back into the forest I passed another couple of runners and saluted their efforts. I crossed the river  again hitting a steep climb that ran high above the river. It seemed to twist, turn and undulate forever and my sub 4min km’s had quickly turned to 4:30min plus. My legs were feeling heavy. But I continued to  dig deep and pass runners, and apologise genuinely whilst also getting a guilty buzz from catching ground and moving forward. How many could I catch? I ran so fast down one hill that I couldn’t stop and had to improvise and hurdle the fence at the bottom. I ran so fast up to one cattle gate that I couldn’t stop and came off with a dead arm from shouldering the gate post.

The forest running, meadow ploughing, hill hopping, bridge skipping, route questioning, continued for some time. I wish I had more photos, it was glorious. At one point I popped over the brow of a small hill and BOOOOM there was a glorious all-powerful aqua duct running across my path ahead of me. My time slowed again when we hit farmers fields and narrow aisles that were deep in mud, before I popped out back onto tarmac and found myself a nice little sub 4min km.

A Johnny Brownlee Finish….

With a greater focus on 10k’s I hadn’t run or raced much around this distance, and to be fair I was running a very different race to the others, but for two thirds of the run I felt like I was flying. Having overtaken about 15-20 runners (albeit having all done a further 17 miles than me), I was happy with my performance.

Having mistakenly missed an opportunity to re-fuel at one of food/water stations, I hit a small ‘wall’ on the final km and my energy was depleted.  A stich kicked in and a thigh tightened painfully. I dug deep but I was really running on empty. I need to try running with Gels. Inexperienced started to show. Then as the river disappeared away from me I was back to thinking I had taken the wrong route and it was not just my body but my mind that was giving up on me too! I rounded a small corner and was delighted to see Stuart L the tag point, and even better a food point! I tagged Stuart in, wobbling on my feet like Johnny Brownlee and spent the next 5 minutes scoffing everything I could (Protein bars, strawberries, haribo, water melon). I have never eaten so many white chocolate mice in all my life, but they went down a treat!


So, What did I learn?

Much earlier in the year I ran 25km and was almost sick. I swore to  stick to 10k’s. However I have managed a half marathon 21km distance once a month as part of the #MMRun, and I am starting to enjoy them. I have two 1/2 marathon races coming up – The Great Scottish Run (Oct 2) and Manchester Half (Oct 16)… lets see how I get on!

As for Ultra’s, having seen what the runners put themselves through and after my own johnny brownlee finish I said I was glad to have done the relay because I know now to avoid the full thing. Typically two days after I was thinking, ‘um maybe I’ll give it a go’….

  • RAW Ultra – is a quality run and superb event; well organised, well marked, well stocked for food and drink and a really supportive community atmosphere.

To my two purple monkey dishwashers, and everyone that helped make this story… Thanks deeply for such a superb experience!

Keep on moving, keep on trying something new!

P 🙂

#MMRun #MillionMeters

MegaMeter Run (100 x 10ks in 2016) – Raising money for improved income, health and nutrition in rural Gambia: www.justgiving.com/megameterrun









Being Clear on Goals: Achieving sub 40!

RL Paisley web Slider 1000x400px DM 08 03 16

At the start of the year I had two clear goals:

  1. Raise £2,000 for projects in the Gambia, continuing to help improve income, health and nutrition.
  2. Run 100 10kms throughout the year, and get back into fitness and enjoying sport

(The very good news is the fundraising has taken some positive turns this week, but I’ll save that for a future blog…)

Too Many Sub Goals

The more I planned the 100x10k MegaMeter Challenge, the more I thought about some personal sub goals I would like to achieve along the way. Some of those I pencilled in my early blog, and some lay more quieter and deeper in my subconscious but drove me with just as much passion (e.g. getting out of the house with something I could enjoy all year round and dodging the winter blues – 5 years overseas had left me struggling with UK winters!).

Those stretching goals I pencilled in my blog gave me something to think about. They included a sub 40 minute 10km as well as a sub 80min 20k or 85min Half Marathon, and a sub 3hr:10 marathon (with sub 3 hrs being the ultimate dream).

Not long into my 100 x 10km challenge I realised a few things. I had conflicting goals.

Improving a 10km time is difficult when all you ever run is 10ks. It kind of goes against immediate logic. You would think the more you run of them, the better you should become. Truth is, breaking the goal up and training on different elements would be more effective. I could have benefited from more short runs, let my legs recover and worked on improving my pace, but whenever I hit 3k I thought “Well I’m almost a third of the way through, I might as well continue and tick off a 10k”. For the first few months, when I ran a 10k I was not planned enough to run varying paces to work on different elements and build up different strengths. Instead I ran ‘fairly’ flat out and neither broke great ground, nor held back for future runs. Nor did I work on upper body strength, core fitness, or any other strength outside of the running. So I was on track to achieve my 100, but was I improving time?


Find Your Goals and Focus 

I’m not saying all of those early goals were impossible together, but with 100 other commitments outside of running I soon realised I had to prioritise and work out which goals mattered the most. And then Focus!

I questioned myself. I knew I could do press-ups, and sit-ups, and squats and hill training, and sprint training and really give a few more of those goals a push. Was I being lazy? But deep down that was never what my goal was about, it wasn’t what drove me, or what made me happy. What drove me was the running. Hitting the streets regularly, with variety, in a bunch of different locations, with a bunch of different people making friends and enjoying the pure natural joy of sticking to runs that I was comfortable with and made me smile.

So a third of the way into the year I ditched the Marathon ideas, and signed up for one the following year in 2017 – that helped remove that distraction and focus on the goals in hand. It was one of my better moves.

As a trade off, I have however managed to stick to running a Half Marathon distance, once a month (that’s 8 to date), and I havn’t focused on times and they have been a pure enjoyment.

So when Paisley 10k road race came along this month I was happy. I had survived a few mojo less moments, a swollen foot and a collapsed lung. I had run in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Isle of Arran, Loch Lomond, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Belfast, Southend, Dunstable, Woburn centre parcs, South France, and Lamin and Basse in The Gambia. I had ran with a bunch of communities and made a heap of cool like minded pals who, like me, just love running. But almost 8 months had passed and one thing was still missing….. the sub 40 minute run.

This Megameter run was a 10k challenge, so my 10k time goal was one that needed to be achieved. There was no making excuses for this one. Pressure on.

I hammered out a few 10ks in short succession but nothing close enough to 40. August came around pretty quickly and before I realised it I was in centre parcs. I only manged 1 run over the 4 days and ran flat out but a single hill almost killed me. Still couldn’t get close enough to 40! The week before the Paisley race I didn’t get a chance to run, stretch the legs, or think about my diet. I was just far too busy. The morning of the run I didn’t get to stretch or run a few km to warm up properly.

But one thing was in my favour, I hadn’t had a chance to  over think it. When the time finally came I opened my stride, forgot so much about training, or single km goals, or the Garmin watch on my wrist and what the data was or was not telling me and simply enjoyed a spectacular run and I was back again to being focused, but being happy.

I ran a good race, stuck well to a game plan without thinking too much about it and to my surprise I had crossed the line in 38:57, comfortably under 40 and a new PB!


As always I think there’s a few lessons for life. Sometimes you have to slow down to go faster.

Be clear about your goals. The ones that really motivate you, and then relax and focus, but most importantly enjoy!

Paul 🙂

p.s. sub 37?

#65 Tribute: Happy 60th Birthdays!

Happy 60th Birthday Run Glasgow

This year celebrates my parents 60th Birthdays, and with family spread out across the globe we took the opportunity to celebrate in August with a family trip to Centre Parcs.


There is no way that I can ever show the gratitude and love I have for my parents for the people that they are, the loving parents they have always been, and the positive support and influence they have been in my life.  However, ahead of the family shindig I thought it only fitting to dedicate a 10km race in my parents honour.

Isatou supported me, and ran and marked the spine of the route. There was a classic moment of turning a couple’s heads when I called out “I am just going to do a P”. Despite having to fit it into a busy schedule and doing it on a Friday night with some pretty odd looks whilst running up and down city centre streets , it was a good laugh and orienteering offered something a little bit different.

Talking of different… I got my first go on a Segway, and I would like to think I was pretty good on the offroad track, until I managed a wee crash and broke it 😦 I think I’ll stick to running!


Sometimes in life I guess we struggle to say a proper thank you to our loved ones, and we settle for ways we only know how. Right now, I know running, so to my awesome parents…


Happy 60th and Thank You!

xx-xx -xx





Running, Fundraising & Startups…


Drink Baotic SuperFruit Drink_2

Part of my efforts to make 2016 my year of running is all about Health and Nutrition. I was keen after at least 3 years of very little to no exercise, having stopped playing football, to get back into it and re-find a level of personal fitness and health. Having raised money for health and nutrition in rural Gambia since 2008, I also saw a fitting opportunity to set myself a stretching challenge to fundraise for a vitally important new project. This would help set up another female co-operative vegetable garden that will improve income, health and nutrition in the local community. To date, along with a heap of support from family and friends, we have raised £1,700 this year and close to £9,700 since 2008.

A huge thank you and a massive well done!

In addition to my personal running and fundraising, Isatou and I have launched a start-up healthy drinks company Drink Baotic (FB: www.facebook.com/drainkbaotic). As an opportunity to build on her studies for an International Business degree, Isatou pitched at Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator (backed by RBS and Sir Tom Hunter) and was successfully accepted into their chicklet start-up program from February.

Perhaps I will blog more about the drink another time, and how it has been Isatou and I’s motivational dream since 2008. But for now I can tell you, Drink Baotic is high in Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Fibre, Potassium, Calcium and Iron. For me it is a perfect recovery drink. One that will keep me fuller for longer and is also Diary Free and Gluten Free, meaning I can get my preferred intake of important nutrition and stay healthy in the process.

Having had a soft launch at the local farmers markets (West end: Partick Square, and Southside: Queens Park) the business is going from strength to strength, soon to be in a few local stores.

IMG-20160611-WA0002 IMG-20160612-WA0016

Running 100 x 10km is the easy part… Putting yourself out there and Fundraising is a far more difficult challenge. Having lived and breathed community life in The Gambia I know how important a little ‘seed money’ can be, and what a huge difference it can make. There have been many times since 2008 that it has been painful to repeatedly beg friends and family for sponsorship (despite their incredible and unnerving efforts to always support!), and my major regret and failing is not finding more sustainable ways to fund work such as social/private business, larger scale grants (UN, Worldbank etc), but I deeply hope that @DrinkBaotic will be able to fund future community health & nutrition development work in The Gambia, and perhaps even at home. Depending on how we are able to scale the business, a minimum of 10% will go towards future community projects, and all of this provides much more motivation to keep on working, and for now to keep on running!


If you havn’t yet seen it, there is a great video of the Gambia & Virtual Funrun, with some personal messages and thank you’s from the female co-operatives in the Gambia:


There is still plenty of time for any further donations, support, or suggestions on how to help reach our £2,500 target:


The whole journey has been a pleasure. Having completed #66 of the planned 100 x 10km runs, it has been a busy year but also a very beautiful one. The three areas of running, fundraising and startup have been a perfect way to align to a vision of health and nutrition and to impart further discipline on my own lifestyle, learn an incredible amount myself, and help others on that beautiful journey also.

I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, but thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

Passionate for Health & Nutrition,

Paul 🙂