Choo Choo: Race the train


Race: Race the train (Bury to Rawtenstall)
Distance: 10.4 miles
Date: 10th June 2018
Supporting Runners: N/A
Fundraising to date: £3,650
Finishing Time: 01:47:43

It’s taken me a good few days to get over this race so apologies again for the delay in the write up.

But before I discuss the torture that was ‘Race the Train’, I wanted to discuss some exciting 30for30 news…

Some of you may have seen already – and others may be looking at the fundraising total wondering how it has jumped up so quickly – but we have actually made headlines with the 30for30 story which is amazing in a number of ways:

  • Adam’s story has been shared for the benefit of helping other people
  • We have had some kind donations, even from people who didn’t know Adam – a huge thank you to all
  • We have some new blog followers (hello! 👋)
  • We are raising even more awareness for mental health

Myself and family were a bit apprehensive about sharing the story in the public eye because, let’s face it, there are some people on the internet that can be a little weird and you can end up being trolled and become the victim of some nasty messages – which would have been really upsetting.

After much deliberation, we decided to just go for it because the positives would quite simply out-weigh the negatives. I wanted to get to the end of this challenge and feel like I had done everything I could to raise as much awareness and funds as I knew possible, and I feel the article has added to doing just that.
You can take a read of the article on the Manchester Evening News here >>

Racing the train

I came across this race randomly when filling out my well planned 30for30 excel spreadsheet… June was looking a bit sparse so I had a look at what was around and I thought the concept looked good.

The race was to start at the sound of the steam train – the spectators would be on the train, and I would run from Bury train station to Rawtenstall for around 10miles. How bad could that be? 

I quite like the 10mile distance as it feels like a massive achievement without quite going through those painful last 3miles to make it a half marathon.

I signed up and booked some seats on the train for Mum and Andy (lazybones) and kind of forgot about it from that point onwards.

I’ve been lucky enough to pick the keys up to my new place at the end of last month, so my mind has been preoccupied thinking (and stressing) about that. So when Sunday came around it was a case of just shoving my running stuff on and making our way there.

It was when I was getting out of the car that I decided to take a look at the route map and discovered it was actually a trail race. Well of course, I didn’t have my ‘trail shoe’ with me (you may recognise these really fashionable orange and blue shoes from previous races…) – they are just better for support and grip I guess?!

This news wasn’t the end of the world though because it felt like 95 degrees and I figured bits of trail would be sheltered by trees. Also, without sounding like a massive loser, trail races are beautiful and really make you appreciate the scenery, life and the outdoors. #deep.


So why was it so bad? 

The race was supposed to begin at 11am but there was a slight delay meaning we started at around 11:30am. This meant we were running slap bang in the midday heat and it really was hotter than the sun.

I got chatting to a couple of women before the race and made the error of asking if there were any steep hills involved in the race. They informed me that the whole thing was basically one big climb. They weren’t wrong…

IMG_3834Elevation data from the course…

You know those hill sprints that I keep writing about and meaning to train? Well yeh, I haven’t….

The first couple of miles were OK but it soon got incredibly tough with the heat, climbs and concentrating hard to not trip over roots and rocks on the tough bits of trail.

Some bits had to be done in single file where we slowed right down to a walk – I was quite grateful for those bits.

We got to a point where we had to cross the railway track and were told that we were in front of the train at this point. Although I had no intention of beating the train by now, just getting to the end would be absolutely fine.

We ran through fields and heard the steam train taunting us and I could just picture Mum and Andy on the train with their ice creams. Little did I know, Mum was actually COMPLAINING about being on a HOT TRAIN for over an hour and a half 😂

The mile 7 water station had ran out of water… I just stood there and waited for the next batch that was being filled up by a local cottage’s hose pipe. nice. I was desperate for some water and enjoyed the break.

The last couple of miles were the hardest. Exhausted with the heat, I was plodding my way to the finish. I began to walk at one point but then heard that damn steam train again so began to run out of fear of being spotted mid-walk. I waved at the train but didn’t see Mum and Andy on it – although I found out at the end that they saw me 😊

It is during the difficult times that I think to myself “what am I doing” and “why am I doing this” and I did get emotional at around mile 9 for the reasons why. I thought about Adam and the article in the MEN and the sad story surrounding what I am doing. Although it is constantly in my thoughts, it isn’t something I think about when running, because running does help me remain positive.

I burst into tears at the finish line because I was just pleased it was over and the emotional thoughts I got into towards the end. Andy was trying to take pictures and I was being all dramatic as if I was a celebrity trying not to be papped.

Within 15mins I had a pint in front of me and was quite happy again.

I missed the train by 3mins! Maybe if I had practised those hill sprints I would have had a chance…

I overheard someone at the end say that “most people beat the train today because it was late coming in”.. WELL NOT ME.

IMG_3846The only train I could beat

I’ve said it before but this time I mean it – it really has been the toughest race of the 30 so far and has left me with some really unattractive racer back tan lines.

BUT saying that, it was a great concept with a beautiful route and I would even consider doing it again. There is another ‘race the train’ in Wales that I might take on next year outside of 30for30…

Next week, a few of us (including Mum!) are taking on the 5k race for life in Delamere Forest.

If you would like to sponsor the challenge then please visit:

The final lineup of races is set in the ‘upcoming races’ section. If you would like to participate then please get in touch 🙂

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