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Run for the hills!

Actually don't just yet - let me tell about these brilliantly inspiring running books first. Plus, fun local races to sign up for!

Having exhausted every possible exercise trend, from bikram yoga to SoulCycle, I’ve pretty much come full circle and started running again. It seems I’m not alone, stripping back all the gimmicks and just getting outside and running is the hot new fitness trend. It has never been so popular. Just take a look at our list below of all the brilliant summer fun runs taking place across the county.

So if you too are looking for some inspo we’ve rounded up a clutch of new books that offer uplifting, encouraging takes on running –  ideal if you’re getting back into the habit like me.

Think, move and eat like Kent native and double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes. Running Life is Dame Kelly’s inspirational and practical guide to how Mindset, Fitness and Nutrition work together to transform your physical and mental health. Drawing on her own experiences of overcoming depression and a raft of injuries to achieve her Olympic dream, Kelly shares her tips on how to make positive changes to your mindset, exercise and diet to help you perform at your highest level. Keep your body strong and improve your running performance, fuel your body with deliciously healthy meals and attain a winning mindset with advice from one of Britain’s most recognisable and admired athletes.

Jog On by Bella Mackie is a witty memoir about how pounding the pavements soothed the author’s mental health issues. Refreshingly, she’s no annoying goody two-shoes  – there’s still plenty of time in her life for booze and treats (our kinda woman).

In Outrunning The Demons, meanwhile, Phil Hewitt details how running was his salvation after a personal trauma. Having suffered an horrific attack in which he was left for dead, he seeks out others who’ve also used the sport to heal. It’s moving stuff. And here’s one for any running mentalists out there – Running Up That Hill by radio sports reporter/ Chris Evans’s sidekick, Vassos Alexander and now out in paperback, delves into the world of ultra-marathons (anything longer than 26 miles, basically).

Finally, an oldie but a goodie – Alexandra Heminsley, best-selling author and Muddy literary salon alumna, is so warm and big sisterly in Run Like A Girl that even die-hard refuseniks will find themselves mulling over a cheeky 5k. There’s loads of personal insight – she could only run for about two minutes when she first started, now she does marathons – plus an excellent practical section bursting with tips. And here’s an idea – you could listen to the audiobooks of all these titles (find them here on Audible) while you’re out running. How’s that for multi-tasking?

Next steps (geddit?)

If you’re feeling inspired, there’s absolutely loads of loads of races and competitions this year in our ‘hood, for all levels of ability. As any fitness expert will tell you, we train better and harder when we have a goal to aim towards. Here are a few…

The Little Welly, Sevenoaks, 11 – 12 May, St Clere Estate, Sevenoaks – The Little Welly organise children’s summer obstacle courses and festivals in various locations, including Kent, when it comes to St Clere Estate, Sevenoaks this summer. It’s all about getting kids active, outdoors, running, jumping and of course muddy (so we’re very much onboard). Don’t miss this!

Run, walk or push against dementia, 12 May, Knole Park, Sevenoaks

Taking place in the grounds of gorgeous Knole Park with its wild deer herd this race is aimed at raising money for a cause close to many of our hearts – what more reason do you need to tie those laces and jog, walk or push your buggie?

Race for Life Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells, 2 June – This is a 5k for everyone. This is thousands of people uniting with one purpose – to raise valuable funds for life-saving research.

Mud Monsters Run, East Grinstead near Tunbridge Wells, 9 June – Based in the countryside in East Grinstead, just over the border between Tunbridge Wells and Crawley and offers friendly obstacle course runs where all abilities are welcome. There are 5km, 10km and 20km circuits to choose from, so if you’re averagely fit you can drag yourself round having a laugh in the process, or, if you’re more hardcore, you can come over all commando and tackle up to 120 obstacles along your way. We’re talking, slides, walls, tyres, streams, monkey bars and more..!

Leeds Castle Triathlon, 29 – 20 June – Swim… Bike… Run… the most exhilarating way to experience this stunning castle and setting.

Run Or Dye, Penshurst Place, 30 June – Run or Dye is a chance to experience THE most colour-filled day with family and friends to celebrate friendship, fitness, and fun.

The Festival of Endurance, Hever Castle,  7 July – Sunday 7th July promises another exhilarating and atmospheric celebration of ‘going long’ at the iconic and stunning Hever Castle.

Pretty Muddy Kids, Maidstone, 7 July – Race for Life Pretty Muddy Kids is a muddy obstacle course just for the little ones. They can take on the obstacles, crawl through the mud pit and have fun with friends, all the while helping raise valuable funds for life-saving research.

Hever Castle Triathlon, 28th – 29th September – The UK’s second-biggest triathlon, the world’s largest children’s triathlon and the finale of both the Castle Tri Series and the UK triathlon season.

Muddy Dog Challenge, Eridge, 21 September – Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or just looking for a fun day out, they welcome humans and their dogs to take part and raise money to help care for the dogs and cats at Battersea.

Commando Series, Hever Castle, 9 – 10 November – Immerse yourself in the Commando world from the moment you arrive, and not only challenge yourself with the course, but take on a 3-hour survival experience in the castle grounds.

PS – The Kent Running Coach, a new sports injury and performance centre, that’s launched in the upstairs space of the 1809 Hub, (founded by Dame Kelly Holmes). It’s a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in sport and exercise (literally everything – run analysis and coaching, osteopathy, Pilates, sports massage…) The team behind it, Amy Pay & Clare Norris, will also be working closely with Dame Kelly and the 1809 Hub team to provide workshops and events based around running, fitness and mental health.

Find more ideas here


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