Tuesday, 30 May 2017

WHY I RUN - BY BEN MOUNSEY

It’s dark.
I’m alone and I’m tired.
I’m cold, wet and hungry.
I’m miles from home.
My body hurts.
I’m dreaming about food and the warmth of my bed.
I’m so tempted to quit right now.
It would be so easy to give up.
This is my choice.
Nobody is forcing me to do it.
I could stop right now and no-one would ever know.

Why am I doing this?

Why do I run?


I’m not afraid to admit that I’m obsessed with running. It’s an addiction that needs feeding but one that is easily satiated. I’m at my happiest when I’m
running, completely immersed in the sights, sounds and the smells of the outdoors.

‘OBSESSED IS JUST A WORD THE LAZY USE TO DESCRIBE THE DEDICATED’ inov-8

I feel blessed that I can run. It makes me appreciate what I’m capable of and it gives me an enormous sense of freedom and well-being. Not all my runs are
fast or difficult. Most of the time I just like going slow so I can enjoy the views. No run is ever the same. No view is ever the same. My eyes have witnessed
some amazing sights. I’m constantly aware of what’s around me and I never take it for granted. More than anything, I love to run in the mountains. To climb high above the rest of the world and far away from the pressures of everyday life. I don’t need to listen to music for motivation, I prefer to lend an ear to nature, whose sounds are just as intriguing as her sights. It’s here, in this perfect wilderness, that I find my comfort and solace.


Pictured above: Val di Mello, Val Masino, Northern Italy

I run because it’s a release from the stresses and strains of everyday life. I can forget all my worries and just focus on the simplicity of putting one foot in
front of the other. When I’m out running I do most of my thinking with a clear head. I like to spend time planning and making decisions. Although admittedly, most of my time is spent thinking of an interesting name for my run on Strava, one that befits the effort I’ve made, or describes the experience I’ve just had.


Running gives me a purpose and a sense of belonging. If I’m running well and often, then I’m happy and content. It makes me feel good, both physically and mentally. It gives me the confidence and structure in my life that I need in order to be successful in everything that I do. 

Pictured above: Climbing high on Sentiero Spinotti, above Collina,
Northern Italy

I’m always looking for a new adventure. I like to explore my surroundings. There is nothing in the world that gives me greater pleasure than climbing a
mountain or finding a new trail. I’m usually without a plan. I like to make my own way, tread my own path. There are times when I don’t know where I’m going and I don't know where I am. I run where I want and where my feet take me. I’ve found that sometimes in life, the only way to really find yourself is by first getting lost.


Pictured above: Training on Sharphaw, North Yorkshire

Part of my addiction includes competing – I just love to race. I enjoy it because I like to test myself. Not just against others, but against the course, the terrain and the natural elements. I like to push my body to see how far I can go, how fast I can run and what I can achieve.
 

Racing has taken me to some amazing places, allowed me to enjoy new experiences and meet other like-minded people. I’m yet to meet a trail runner who doesn’t share my love and passion for the sport. Being a part of the off-road running community feels like being part of an extended family that stretches right across the globe.

Pictured above: Flying the flag for the GB team at the European
Mountain Running Championship 2016, in Arco, Italy.



I’ve been incredibly lucky to have competed for the three C’s – my club, county and country. The memories I have will last a lifetime and I’m always hungry to create more. I have hundreds of special moments to look back on and I dream about what I’ll achieve next if I keep working hard in training and during races. Whenever I need some extra motivation to get out of bed in a morning, or do an extra mile, or another hill rep in the rain, then I think back to these moments and I’m instantly reminded of why I’m doing it. I don’t want to have any regrets in life and I don’t want to look back and think about what I ‘could’ have achieved.

THAT’s why I run. 


You can read more of Ben Mounsey's adventures on his own blog. 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

An afternoon at Newbridge on Wye Primary School

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Newbridge on Wye Primary School in order to help launch the start of an initiative to help the pupils get fitter, more healthy and active outside.  This was the launch of a scheme called The Daily Mile, which the children of Newbridge School will now perform between 9am and 9:15am everyday.

This will involve the children running, jogging and walking their way to a healthier lifestyle when they complete 13 laps of the school yard everyday. 

It was a massive honour for me to be invited to attend the launch alongside Welsh Government Minister Kirsty Williams and T47 international athlete Morgan Jones who actually attended Newbridge School when he was younger. Running is a sport that brings so many people together and it was so humbling to see all the children so enthusiastic and excited to run and to experience that enjoyment and sense of achievement together as a school. 

I would just like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to Newbridge Primary School for inviting me to attend. It will be an afternoon I remember for many years to come. I would also like to wish good luck to the pupils and staff of the school in finding and growing their passion for healthy activity together as I am sure they will do by running a mile everyday as a school community! 

You can watch the YouTube clip below by Jonathon Nash of Sport Powys to help you understand why the Daily Mile is such a great initiative for the children of the next generation to participate in. 

If you or your child has been inspired by this; why not bring your child along to the llandrindodlife children's running group, which meets at Llandrindod Wells Lake every Wednesday, 4-5pm. This is for children aged 8 and over and costs just £2 per child. It's a fun introduction into the sport with the aim of getting the children of the Llandrindod Wells community and beyond more active and healthy, just like the Daily Mile at Newbridge Primary School! If you would like some more information, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Friday, 24 February 2017

RWG MOBILE

(This post was orginally published on the llandrindodlife blog site which promotes the community of Llandrindod Wells.)

"RWG Mobile is run by people in Wales, for people in Wales...wherever you are."


Maybe you haven't heard of RWG Mobile before? I hadn't either until recently but read on to discover what this unique Welsh service has to offer the people of Wales. 

First things first; you may be wondering what RWG stands for? The answer is Red, White and Green; like the colours on the Welsh flag. Using this name highlights the mobile networks' patriotism and their passion for all things Welsh and what Wales stands for. 

"Before RWG Mobile was launched, there wasn’t a mobile network that belonged to Wales. A mobile network that was run by people in Wales, for people in Wales. One with a Welsh language service as standard. RWG Mobile set about to change that."

Other countries have their own mobile network so why should the people of Wales have to settle for less? Here you have Wales' very own mobile network which is suitable for everyone with the flexibility of no contract. 

RWG Mobile is a pay-as-you-go mobile provider that gives you total flexibility of how you buy and consume your mobile services.

RWG gives you complete freedom over your mobile network and how you use your phone as it gives you the ability to buy your voice minutes, texts and data completely separately and to renew them when you wish to. If you accidentally go over your limits you won't be punished. By using RWG Mobile you are not locked to a long-term contract and so you are not paying for a service you don't use. 

To use the RWG mobile network you can use sim cards, the RWG app or both. The RWG Mobile application is available via the Google Play Store and Apple Store. To top up, you can easily use the downloaded app, your local PayPoint store or via your account online.


RWG Mobile bundles are valid for 30 days and are drawn down from credit balance only. There are different bundles for voice minutes, texts and data so it's easy to find the one which suits you and your needs.

RWG Mobile SMS bundles

RWG Mobile voice minutes bundles


RWG Mobile data bundles

 

What is so special about the RWG Mobile app?

 

The RWG Mobile app provides additional phone numbers you can use for free and low cost calls and messaging without the need for an extra SIM card. App to app online calls and messages are free and unlimited. Users you can call and message for free are clearly highlighted in your app ‘Contacts’. You will need a WiFi or data connection to use the RWG Mobile app. 

The best thing about this app is the fact it gives you the ability to have extra mobile numbers on your existing phone so you can have separate numbers for different aspects of your busy everyday life for business, social and personal use. 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Features of RWG Mobile:

  • Extra mobile numbers for business and personal use
  • Free calls to other RWG users
  • Free chat via the RWG Mobile app with other app users
  • Low cost calls to any phone
  • Low cost SMS to any phone
  • 4G at no extra cost
  • First extra number is free
  • Get another business line without the need for an extra device
  • Keep your personal number private
  • Peronalised voicemail on each profile
  • Customise each RWG profile
  • Easily see who is calling you
  • Decide when you're available 
  • International roaming
  • Free Wi-Fi calling

Another thing which is unique about RWG Mobile is the fact the customer service team are happy to help in English or yng Nghymraeg! They are able to provide you with a true Welsh service which I think is really special for the people of Wales.

RWG Mobile is a Welsh company, passionate about all things Welsh and all the things Wales stands for. I am Welsh athlete, with a passion for the country in which I live and run. Every time I pull on that Welsh vest and represent the red, white and green; I am extremely proud to be a part of this small but mighty nation. 

There is no better feeling than running the hills of Wales and feeling alive on a windy and wild, Welsh hill top
It is on this note that I wish to tell you about how RWG Mobile are supporting me; my running ambitions and my community work and how through using the unique RWG Mobile network, you can support me too.

If you are currently using a pay-as-you-go network which is not RWG Mobile then I strongly advise you to switch to the red, white and green network, as not only will you be supporting a true Welsh company; you will be supporting a Welsh athlete who is helping to put our hometown of Llandrindod Wells back on the map.
 
RWG Mobile have provided me with a revenue share opportunity where I receive 15% rebate on top ups from any customer who I bring to their network. The customers who move to RWG Mobile will also receive 10% free on their first top up. 

There are two ways of ensuring this works...
  1. Every time you top-up your RWG Mobile sim use the promotional code HEIDI. This will give you 10% free on your first top up and allow me to qualify for 15% rebate. This will help me with things such as travel and accommodation costs when I compete. 
  2. If you have not yet got a RWG Mobile Sim then you can easily request one, free of charge here. In order to support me; all you need to do is put my name in brackets after your name in the first field and then your account is allocated to me to qualify for rebate. You will receive 10% free on your first top up.

Just add my name in brackets after yours... it's as simple as that!

The use of mobile phones has become part of every day life in the 21st century. If you are as passionate about Wales as I am; why don't you choose to drape your phone in the pride of the red, white and green Welsh flag and order your free RWG Mobile sim today!

Welsh people, Welsh companies, Welsh communities should stick together. Together us Welsh people can be a part of something wonderful. 

  
Don't forget to follow RWG Mobile on Twitter and like them on Facebook to stay up to date.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

INOV-8 ROCLITE REVIEW

Hop over to the INOV-8 website or any of their social media channels and you'll soon find that everyone is raving about the all new decade in the making, ROCLITE shoe. But what are ROCLITE and why is everyone so excited?


Carry on reading if you really really want to try a new pair of INOV-8 latest ROCLITE (come on, I know you want to) but you're not sure you'll be able to convince your family you really need to add another pair to your beloved 'mountain' of trail shoes already bursting out of the cupboard or off the shelves of your 'shoe cave'.


I mean looking at my shelves, they seem pretty full but I still managed to just about squeeze a pair of ROCLITE in. There's no reason why you can't too. After all, a pair from the INOV-8 range of all new ROCLITE are just what you need to hit the new year with a BANG!!!

It states on the INOV-8 website:

A good running shoe is one that stands the test of time in a hugely competitive market place. That shoe is the ROCLITE.

I couldn't agree more, with the original ROCLITE launched back in 2006. (Back when I didn't even know running existed, let alone what trail shoes were) Over the last decade the shoe has taken on numerous guises for runners who seek a shoe that can work well on many types of off road terrain.


"From the original ROCLITE 315 to the super-lightweight ROCLITE 243 and the more recent ROCLITE 295, runners wearing these shoes have broken global records and won world championships. It was even the shoe of choice for Kevin Carr, who between 2013 and 2015 undertook the ultimate all terrain running challenge, becoming the fastest man to run around the world."

Times are a'changing and to mark a decade at the top, the ROCLITE has had the most significant revamp to date. While the DNA at the heart of its success has been retained, five new shoes make up a fresh, exciting ROCLITE range that boasts next generation running shoe technologies.

And so we have the all new ROCLITE 290, 305, 325, 305 GTX and 325 GTX.

Personally, I have the INOV-8 ROCLITE 290 and their unique mix of lightness and flexibility means they are fast and agile over a number of different terrains and surfaces.


My first ROCLITE 290 experience was early on a frosty Wednesday morning when I raced to the hills above my hometown of Llandrindod Wells to catch the sunrise. On this particular morning, they dealt with a number of underfoot conditions from frosty grass, frozen icy puddles, rocks, roads and well-trodden hard-packed frozen trails. I ended my morning, hilly adventure feeling impressed by the ROCLITE's durability for the different types of Mid-Wales' terrain thrown at them.

Racing mother nature with ROCLITE 290 & INOV-8 Full-Length Running Tights

The quick response from the POWERFLOW midsole provides a perfect mechanism for shock absorption and assists with giving you that extra kick of energy that you might require. In my case, to race mother nature and get to the top of the hill before sunrise! (I made it!)

The hills I call home

The ROCLITE 290 weighs in at 290g which is perfect for anyone like me who prefers a light, smooth ride with minimum weight over any terrain. The stud depth of 6mm is perfect for gripping onto whatever path you're running, giving your shoe a larger surface area for greater stability. (Means less/no falling over-hooray!) The studs are also multi directional, preventing any debris from clogging up in between them and thus further improving grip.

Built around the natural anatomy of the foot, the new ADAPTERWEB met-cradle adapts to the natural movement and swelling of the foot in motion thus creating a more stable ride and reducing foot movement within the shoe. This creates the perfect fit for any athlete.

Features of the ROCLITE

Another thing that really shouts out to me and probably will do to every other running shoe lover out there is the look of the ROCLITES. The colour and style of all the ROCLITES really makes them stand out as a shoe that has been revamped with a wham. What's more, they're a shoe that not only looks good but performs well too. What's not to love!?

ROCLITE 325, 305, 290



I can honestly say, I will be using the ROCLITE 290 frequently over the coming months; both for my training preparation for the up and coming mountain season and also for racing on the mountains and trails over the summer.

So if you hadn't worked it out by now; I am a BIG fan of the all new INOV-8 ROCLITE range and give INOV-8 a big thumbs up!

But... don't just take my word for it. Go and get yourself a pair and you'll soon discover what all the fuss is about!

Feeling nervous on the start line? Calm yourself by playing a little game and tally up the different shoe brands. You'll soon discover INOV-8 is often the most widely worn... so breathe deeply and take heart, for you know you are wearing a brand with a proven trail record for success! If you're not wearing INOV-8; well more fool you... it's time to go shopping... well shoe shopping anyway!

Ta Ta for now,
Heidi x

PS: A massive THANK YOU!!!! to INOV-8 for the continued support. I'm so lucky to be an ambassador for such an amazing brand.

running into 2017

Friday, 28 October 2016

Ups and Downs

So, that's it! The mountain running season is officially over for another year. I can't help but smile at the many amazing memories created during this season but I internally weep at the fact that there will be no more mountain adventures with inspiring mountain running friends until next year. Okay, maybe it's only six months until the start of the next mountain season... that makes me feel a little bit better....

If you regularly read my blog posts, you will know I was selected to run for Britain at the World Mountain Running Championships again this year. The World Champs were held on September 11th at Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria. 

Prior to the World Champs, I was so lucky to be able to spend some time in the absolutely beautiful valley of Livigno in Northern Italy near the Swiss border. It’s 1,800m above sea level and every mountain runners’ paradise.

The beautiful Livigno valley
"I’m here with some of the British Athletics mountain running team to acclimatise for the World Mountain Running Championships, being held in Bulgaria on Sunday (September 11). It’s been an invaluable experience – and my first at altitude. I love waking up each day to a chorus of cowbells and marmots whistling, seeing the magnificent mountains encompassing the horizon, and then heading out to explore them. A run in the mountains at the hands of mother nature. There is so much freedom in that."~from my blog post for Inov-8 about life as a teenage trail runner.
A big thank you to British Athletics for allowing me to experience that amazing opportunity. The camp really opened up my eyes to the mountains and the incredible world in which we live. The time spent in Livigno with some of the senior British mountain runners really increased my passion for the sport of mountain running and made me understand the dedication and determination elite athletes need to achieve their full potential as we basically lived as full time athletes during that time.

Livigno was extremely beautiful and I really want to return there again one day to make more unforgettable mountain memories.

Sunday long run in the mountains
Training alongside Emmie Collinge // Pic: Phil Gale

After the time spent in Livigno; it was time to head onto Bulgaria to meet the rest of the British Atheletics team for the World Champs.

Straight from the first stride forward on my warm up for the race; I knew it was going to be tough out there. I felt awful; like I was running through treacle. My breathing sounded like a steam train chugging into the station.


I tried to be competitive throughout the race. I got out okay but then I just went backwards. My legs had nothing. A very very bad day at the office. I admit coming over the line; I was devastated. For me, that race was more of a learning experience rather than a success.

For others, it was one of the main highlights of the Summer season. This was the case for my friend and team mate Bronwen Jenkinson. Earlier in the race Bronwen had passed me looking really strong. Upon finishing whilst I was lying on the floor trying to come to terms with the race, I was so excited to hear that Bronwen had finished in the bronze medal position. Seeing her receive her flowers on the podium and her medal later on in the evening was so lovely. Her medal is testament to all the hard work she has put in. It couldn't have happened to a nicer person. She was one of the first people I met when I started mountain running many years ago and I am truly happy for her.

Team GB in Bulgaria

A week later, it was time to head to the Lake District with the Welsh team for the Junior British and Irish Mountain Running Championships. We would once again meet with Little Man, Skiddaw. I just hoped I could put the bad race behind me and run a positive race here. Although I felt a little bit better than I did in Bulgaria; my body still felt tired and lethargic. When I finished I admit I was unhappy with third position and wish I had listened to my family who had told me to rest and not try to put my body through any more stress.

British & Irish MR Champs // Pic: Woodentops

When I went to the training camp at altitude, I was taking a huge gamble as I had never been to altitude before and so was unsure how my body would respond. As it was, the altitude didn't do me any favours when it came to the two races and looking back now I think perhaps I did try to do too much at altitude. Nevertheless, I wouldn't swap that experience in Livigno for the world because it has allowed me to learn new things as an athlete and has allowed me to grow as a person. Next time I go to altitude, I will be more aware and knowledgeable about how my body will respond.

The two races in September may have not been successful for me but they have added to my experience which I will call upon in the future. At the end of the day, I am only young and I've still (hopefully!) got many more races to run. Ultimately, I run because it is fun and something I enjoy. I've learnt that there's no point in beating yourself up about the bad races. The bad days just make the good days even sweeter.
“Frame every so-called disaster with the words; In five years time will this matter?”
I've already moved on from my poor performances and I am looking to the exciting future ahead.

Trofeo Vanoni is always a brilliant race to end the mountain running season with. This year was no different. I headed to Morbegno with the Welsh team for this prestigious mountain race just last week. We met with the Snowdon race team at Hotel Margna once again and we were all soon busy catching up with each others' adventures.


This whole weekend was kind of like a spell of Deja Vu as we seemed to follow the same sort of itinerary as last year. One of the highlights was another trip to Lake Como where some of the members of the British teams enjoyed a chilly dip in the lake. Like last year, I accidentally (on purpose!) forgot to bring a spare change of clothes to swim in the cold waters.

A chilly dip in Lake Como

Beautiful Lake Como ft. the legend Ben Mounsey

Soon it was race day and I stood on the start line, excited for the challenging race ahead. Throughout the race, I found I was really having a good time. I felt strong, definitely better than the races in September and much more like my normal self. I enjoyed the steep climbs up out of the town and the descent was over in a whirlwind of noise as the Italian atmosphere was fantastic. I finished the race in 7th place, 22 seconds quicker than last year. I'm very happy with this performance and this was just what I needed to boost my confidence again.

Start line

Making my way up the hill // Pic: Gareth Hughes

Pic: Ben Mounsey

Pic: Achille Marchi

The rest of the British ladies did well again this year with Heidi Dent (Snowdon Race Team) in 6th, Lou Roberts (Snowdon Race Team) in 9th and Sian Williams (Wales) in 15th. I have a really vivid happy memory of us all laughing and smiling together near the finish line, exhilarated by the race.


All of us ladies went out on the course to cheer the men on during their relay. The clouds came down and it started to rain which really made the descent very tricky. The Snowdon Race Team ran well to finish in 4th place and the Welsh team finished 11th. Next year the women's race will be a relay too and I really hope I will be selected again to experience this as the men's relay race looks so fun!

The two HD's and matching Inov-8 XTalon225

Welsh flag out on the course

At the finish with the Snowdon Race and Irish Teams



The next day, there was time for a run from Morbegno up into the mountains before our flight back home. It's always so nice to run with a group of runners who all share the same passion and love for the trails and the mountains. The views were incredible and this run once again reminded me why I love the mountains and the natural beauty of the world. I just wish I could run in the mountains forever!

Autumn mountain adventures


So with the season over there is time to reflect and remember. 2016 will be the year I remember for winning my first international individual medal at the European Mountain Running Championships and it will also be the season I remember for having a disastrous race at the World Championships. But that's okay... it's all a learning process.

European Mountain Running Championships 2016

The mountain running season of 2016 will be remembered for the magical time I got to spend in the Italian mountains in the beautiful valley of Livigno. It will be remembered for the many new friends I have made throughout the mountain running world. It will be remembered for the ups and also the downs. I am even hungrier and more determined for next season. I hope you will continue to follow me along this journey.

Mountain Running Friendships

I would just like to thank my family, friends, teammates, Welsh athletics coaches, British athletics coaches, Sport Wales, Welsh Athletics, Inov-8, The Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, SportsAid, The Metropole Hotel, Junk n Disorderly, Arvon Ales, Happy Home Gift Company and everyone else how has had their hand in helping to make me the athlete and person I am today. You know who you are. Thank you to you all for your unwavering support and I hope I am doing you all proud.


Finally, I would just like to finish by telling you all about a really exciting film all about Nicky Spinks and her Double Bob Graham Round.

In May 2016, Nicky Spinks made history by becoming the fastest person ever to complete a DOUBLE Bob Graham Round. I don't know about you, but one time around sounds enough to me!

This Double Bob Graham included 132 miles around the Lake District, covering 84 summits with over 54,000 ft of ascent. This took Nicky just 45 hours and 30 minutes. She took over an hour off the previous record set in 1979 by Roger Baumeister, who was there in person to support Nicky during her attempt.

Now the story of Nicky’s incredible life and phenomenal Double Bob Graham Round success will be told in a new film called RUN FOREVER. The film will be premiered at the Kendal Mountain Festival in November, after which it will have its public release. To whet your appetite here's the exclusive film trailer.



That's enough of my ramblings for one day. Time to get running around some muddy cross country fields.

Until next time,
Heidi x