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How Far Can You Go?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 27 May 2011

Chris, an ultra-running-machine friend of mine just sent this video to
help with post-marathon inspiration.

Next week we're going to head out and run 16 miles of trail.

So the next adventures in running begin.

Hugo and Pete from SAS came up to our Cardigan HQ to build a plan about us (that includes you) helping with their annual fund raising raffle.

howies are giving away the headline prize and we will be asking you our whole database to sell tickets to help hit their target of £20,000.  Last year they raise £12,000, so we have a mountain to climb this time.

As well as howies kit, there will also be hand made wooden boards,

These are some reasons to get involved;

90p in every pound raised goes to fighting their causes.

They directly lobby industry with solutions to the problems they are causing.

Their support comes from many other users of the coast. Walkers, runners, body boarders, kite surfers, sun bathers, swimmers and dog walkers.

They are working as hard to prevent marine pollution, climate change and litter as much as sewage.

They are have a network of reps all over the UK who give their time to campaign, raise money and awareness and get hand on help to beach clean.

So when the time comes all we ask of  you is to sell a few raffle tickets to your friends and send the cash to SAS and we will give you regular updates on where we are, Blue Peter style.

And if you can spread the word over your social network to spread the word, we have the potential to give them the cash to campaign the hardest they ever have done.

And you could win an amazing prize.

26.2 miles

  • Posted by ruben
  • 24 May 2011

On Sunday, I ran my first ever marathon up in Edinburgh.

26.2 miles. At least 4 miles further than I had ever run before.

Towards the end, every mile felt like an impossible distance.

By 22 miles, I was sure I'd give up at any minute. How could I keep going?

When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I couldn't quite believe I'd done it.

10k: 51 minutes
Half marathon: 1 hour 47 minutes
30k: 2 hours 43 minutes
Marathon: 4 hours and 17 minutes.

What’s in your bag?

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011

I'm not sure what it says about me, but I love packing my bag for a trip - making sure everything is neatly stowed away and easy to get at when it's needed.

Today I thought I'd go ultra light, and commute with my smallest bag.

I managed to fit in: half a liter of water, a cereal bar, a pair of jeans, socks & spare pants, a t-shirt, my phone, wallet and keys, a small torch, an emergency whistle & a stripped down first aid kit (because you never know).

Lost in transition from my usual bigger bag were: an A5 moleskine, iPad, 6 pens, a highlighter, 2 pairs of headphones, some loose change, a handful of old receipts, another torch and a few cables for assorted stuff.

I never usually need those things. I may as well have been carrying half a brick most days.
And it was great to feel light on the way in.

What do you carry with you every day, and what bag do you use?

Welcome Matt Page

  • Posted by ruben
  • 26 April 2011


I'm very happy to welcome Matt to team howies.
We share the same back yard, and ride the same trails.
We will be helping him out with off the bike stuff.

Many of you will already know who Matt is and like me, you may have been lapped by him at more than a couple of races out there - but for those of you who don't know, here's an introduction in his own words -


For some people cycling is just a hobby, but for me I am extremely fortunate to be able to say that it is my job. It hasn't been easy to get where I am now and it has taken many years of hard work and dedication.

I won't bore everyone with my life history, but let's just say that I have always been active and enjoyed the outdoors. Cycling, running, walking, climbing and camping were all hobbies and the love of the outdoors is something that has stuck with me. Racing a bike didn't really get going until I was in my early 20's and I started entering the relatively new Marathon/Enduro events that were springing up. I seemed to go far better in the longer races than in the shorter XC races.

If I were to pick one thing that made me into the cyclist that I am now it would be getting a job as a cycle courier in Cardiff. I went from riding a few times a week to riding 80-100 miles a day 5 days a week, then racing the Mountain Bike on the weekend. It was tough going at times, but it gave me a great base fitness and I the results started to improve pretty quickly. In 2007 I won a 12hr solo race and then a 24hr race in 2008 and each year since along with other results along the way. The job as a courier lasted for 2 years until I decided to return back to Llandovery where I was raised in order to train with more control and structure. Another 2 years of tough training whilst working full time as a postman paid dividends and I won the inaugural UK 24hr solo championship in May 2010 and had the chance of a lifetime to travel to Australia to compete in the World Championships where I finished 6th despite what I consider to be a bad race.

Fast forward to 2011 and the chance to become a full time athlete presented itself, which is what I have been working towards for so many years. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but I am already feeling the difference as the consistency of my training has improved and also the amount of rest and recovery time.

One big reason why I love the outdoors and cycling so much is the beautiful Welsh countryside that I live in. Living near the town of Llandovery in Carmarthenshire just 40 miles from howies base in Cardigan is to me the perfect cycling area. Quiet country roads, big road climbs and amazing scenery give me endless choices and motivation to “get out and ride”. The off-road riding is pretty special as well, with the Cwm Rhaeadr trail just 2 miles up the road and Brechfa about 20 miles away I have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am and grant it for granted far too often.

This year is already well underway and my racing and training has been going well. I have moved up to Elite in XC racing, a dramatic departure from 24hr solo racing but something that I feel benefits my training. My first major event of the year is less than 2 weeks away, the UK 24hr solo championships where I hope to defend my title. Later this year I am going to tackle some big races including the Mega Avalanche and Etape d'Tour on consecutive days and a big stage race called Iron Bike, which is an 8-day race in the Italian Alps with an average of over 3000m climbing and 100km distance per day!

2011 is going to be a really exciting year and I am extremely happy to have the support of howies, especially as they are such a local company to me. I'll be keeping everyone updated of my racing and training progress as the year unfolds.

cough, sniff, run

  • Posted by ade
  • 19 April 2011

My friend Chris is back from Canada. He is the one who got me back into running two years ago. Despite snot a cough and a fragile constitution it was time for the first run in 2 weeks.

He has been working out there for the winter and running ultra marathons and 100 miler. We went for a quick hour round the cliff path.

We left the road from Poppit sands and headed out around Cemaes Head on the Pembrokeshire coastal path. The ground is bone dry and dusty, and the heat over the last few weeks has bought out the 1000's of flying insects you see in the picture. I had to pull my merino over my mouth when we chatted to avoid swallowing air plankton.

We stopped just round the corner 150 meters above  a beach called Traeth Godir-Coch that you can only get to by boat. Over 50 seals were on the beach as it's mating season, and we would see at least 10 in the water. (the i-phone pic was too awful to use)

With the sun heading into the ocean we cut inland through the footpaths and lanes to complete the loop.

I got to ask him the burning question that has been nagging me since reading Born to Run. Can I run 100 miles in the next year. He told me about his highs and lows. Diet. Calorie in take. Kit, training and mindset.

It's mind set.

So I need to sit down with a pen and paper over Easter, work out the plan and book a place on a 100 miler.

If you are out here ever, run this place. The light and the tricks it plays on the eye are worth the odd fly in your eye.

run rabbit run

  • Posted by hollie
  • 13 April 2011

So...we did it!

A few months ago my friend Naomi and i decided that even though we weren't runners and had very little interest in exercise, we'd run a half marathon in 2011.

After a shambolic few months of very little training (but plenty of pre-run carb-eating) the day finally came around on Sunday. We'd travelled all the way up to Edinburgh to stay with a friend a few days before so were feeling fresh... but terrified, the furthest distance we'd run together was about 6 miles and i think it was finally dawning on us just how far the race was going to be.

We aren't totally unfit ladies, but knowing our limits we decided sensibly to place ourselves in the 2:30 - 2:45 time pen at the start, laughing at the fact our legs were aching a little bit from the walk to the Meadowbank stadium that morning.

It was a really hot sunny day and it later turns out that the course was actually too long, but we did it in the none-too-shabby time of 2 hrs 19 minutes (that also includes a quick toilet pit stop too!)

A few days ago i wrote a blog about the race, and Tim from the Mothership kindly offered us the use of the Kinetic app to track our race stats...so here are my screenshots! (the massive blue nosedive at about mile 3 would be the pit stop!)

A big thank you to anybody who lined the course to clap and shout encouragement, (it really did help immensely)

We weren't aiming to break any records or anything, we just aimed to finish the race together and in one piece...so on that note I'm pretty proud of us.

The ugly scenes of undignified chocolate bar eating at the finish line probably wasn't a pretty sight, or anything to be proud of -  but it had never tasted so sweet!

It just got real...

  • Posted by hollie
  • 29 March 2011

This arrived in the post yesterday -

What started out as a bit of a 'yeah-we-can-do-that-why-the-hell-not' challenge between myself and my friend Naomi has all of a sudden become very, very real!

Neither of us are experienced runners, and both are as useless as each other when it comes to things like organising a disciplined training schedule, so in true 'hollie & naomi style' ......we haven't really been training.

But last night we went on a 'just over' six mile run, (...not even half of a half marathon!) Starting out in Cardigan, through the marshlands and past the Fforest camp and back again, the evening sun and constant nattering gossip made it a bit less painful, as did the beautiful view.

Energy levels and enthusiasm started to dip pretty early on though if I'm honest, and although hearing my phone shouting out the 'mile' markers helped massively,  we both agreed that we needed some advice from experienced runners - Ruben has suggested nibbling on jelly babies every few miles, which i do like the sound of...but anything that will help us and stop us being picked up by the stragglers bus will be most welcome!

If you're running it yourself then I'll see you there.

...I'll be the one that's dressed head to toe in howies merino huffing and puffing my way around the course......or more likely the one dressed head to toe in howies merino that's stopping off at a burger van about 4 miles into it.

Have your spray...

the Epic Trousers are flying off the shelves at the moment and to help them fly even faster we've set up a little instore demonstration for everyone to try out. the trousers are perfect for those spring showers, when you want to keep dry and look smart, cycle to the pub, walk the dog or even go for a quick jog around the block. they also come with the added bonus of a reflective strip on the right hand side which you can have on display to keep you safe and sound whilst you're out after hours.

here's some more info to wet your appetites...

Epic Ed's - http://www.howies.co.uk/product.php/3809/0/

Outsider - http://www.howies.co.uk/product.php/3811/132/

Epic Chino - http://www.howies.co.uk/product.php/3811/132/

and if that wasn't good enough, the Outsider trousers currently have a £10 discount for the next couple of days.

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