The moment you struggle to find truffle oil in your local supermarket, is the moment you realise you’re no longer cut out for a life in England.
These days it’s no secret that I’m far more Italian than English, my transformation close to complete. I own an impressive collection of expensive shoes, drink espresso standing up and proudly wear a leather man bag. It’s only a matter of time until I move abroad. Until that day comes, I’m happy to travel and search for new adventures, exploring places that, perhaps in the future, I might one day call my home.
For my final blog of 2017, I’d like to share a collection of my favourite images, from all of my running adventures this year, in the hope that it might inspire others to seek out similar challenges and explore new and exciting places.
Here is my year on the run…
inov-8 photo shoot, Loughrigg, Lake District, England, UK
Grizedale Forest, Lake District, England, UK
Testing the @inov_8 Mudclaw 300 on the wet and slippy trails in Grizedale Forest.
‘The Hebden’, Calder Valley, Yorkshire, England, UK
Joint 1st place in The Hebden (21 miles) for The KGB (Karl, Gav & Ben)
Sharp Haw, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK
Despite being a little camera shy 😂it was a real pleasure to work with the super talented Col Morley on a photoshoot for his extremely impressive portfolio. To see more of the shoot and other work just visit his site…
MountainFuel training weekend, Lake District, England, UK
Fantastic weekend training in Keswick with the @mountainfuel_uk team! Nothing better than spending time in the mountains with good friends.
The Northumberland Coastal Marathon, Northumbria, England, UK
Mega chuffed to win the Northumberland Coastal Marathon today (27.5 miles! – so in my eyes an ultra 😂) in a new record time of 3:11 (previous 3:15). Legs are battered now though! The new @inov_8 Roclite 290 were the perfect choice for the mud, sand, rocks and sea!
Long Mynd Valleys, Shropshire, England, UK
Nothing better than a sprint finish at the end of a 11 mile fell race with 4500ft of climb 😂
Donard Challenge, Northern Ireland, UK
Despite taking a bad fall in the last 1km I had a cracking run. Quality fell race.
Burgau, The Algarve, Portugal
Sunny trails, epic coastline, beautiful beaches and Pastel De Nata for breakfast. Portugal once again delivering the goods.
Unbelievable mountain trails on the route of the GR 221 and some epic cycling. Highlight of the week was tackling the beast that is Sa Calobra.
The inov-8 Yorkshire 3 Peaks, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK
Huge thanks to everyone for their amazing support at the 3 Peaks fell race. Firstly all of my family and friends, my amazing sponsors @inov_8 & @mountainfuel_uk , and all those people spectating on the route offering kind words of encouragement (abuse 😉 😂- Phil Winskill) and much needed water & jelly babies. Unfortunately I didn’t quite set the world alight with my laboured effort and I was way down on my target time, but in the end I was really (really!) relieved to grind it out and finish the race. Now back to the shorter races!!!
Inter-Counties, Broughton Heights, Scotland, UK
ALWAYS a really proud moment to represent Yorkshire. 15th place at the Inter-Counties Fell Championship was enough to help the team to silver. As defending champion, not quite the dream result of 2016, but based on current form it was a good, solid performance. No margin for error today. A fast race with minimal time gaps. Huge congrats to Lancashire for winning the team prize by just 1 point and of course to our ladies for taking gold against favourites Cumbria. Also to race winners Andy Douglas (different class!) and Lizzie Adams. Massive thanks to Mr and Mrs Yorkshire (Dave & Eileen Woodhead) for selecting and organising the teams. Finally congratulations and thanks to the race organisers and marshals for hosting a fantastic race.
Calderdale Way Relay, Calderdale, Yorkshire, England, UK
I must be a glutton for punishment. First I ran leg 1 of the CWR with Swifty and then leg 3 with fat boy Godsman! Really proud to play a small part in Calder Valley’s CWR victory.
Trail Degli Dei, The Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy
A return to the Amalfi coast for one of the most stunning races of my life. If you have never been then you really MUST visit! Check out the Hotel Parsifal in Ravello for the best accommodation.
Blencathra, Lake District, England, UK
I’ve always fancied doing the midweek Blencathra fell race, but never managed to get there in time after work. So this year I made sure I did, and I can honestly say it was worth all the effort and travelling. Only £3 to enter for a fabulous route with magnificent views and a quality field. I can’t recommend it enough; it’s everything that’s good about fell running. Great to catch up with everyone for pre and post race craic. Congratulations to super Lou Roberts for notching up yet another win and to everyone else who ran. Epic battle in the men’s race too, I just managed to get my big nose in front on the last climb and hang on for the win. Huge thanks to the organisers and marshalls for putting on my favourite race of the year so far. It reminds me exactly why I’m a fell runner.
MountainFuel Billy Bland Challenge, Lake District, England, UK
The Billy Bland Challenge Race leg 2
This leg is around 13 miles and 6000ft of ascent and covers 12 fell tops.
It was a pleasure to race with @cal_tin on the BBC leg 2 last Sunday. Taking a 5 minute lead from leg 1, we were able to extend this and in doing so also record the fastest time for leg of 2hours and 20 mins, knocking 7 mins off the previous record.
inov-8 Get A Grip weekend, Lake District, England, UK
I’ve had the most amazing weekend in Keswick with the staff and competition winners of #TeamGetAGrip inov-8 😊Finished off with a great race on Skiddaw today. Super proud of everyone for their outstanding efforts. Makes me appreciate how lucky I am to be involved with such great people and a brilliant brand. Huge thanks to @inov_8 and @freestak for making it happen.
The Alva Games, Scotland, UK
Not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made given the fact I’m nursing a knee injury…but a strong climb meant I managed 2nd at the Alva games today. Pity I was crap on the descent but to be expected. The main thing is I picked up some vital BOFRA points and I can still walk.
Lingmell Dash, Lake District, England, UK
Hugely enjoyable weekend in the Lake District with friends. Saturday began with Leg 2 BG support for Andy Swift in the morning and then a win at Lingmell Dash in the afternoon. Many thanks to Stephen Wilson of Grand Day Out Photography for some cracking photos of the race.
SportShoes.com inov-8 photo shoot, Bingley St Ives, England, UK
Quality photoshoot with @sportsshoes at Bingley St Ives, modelling the new @inov_8 Autumn/Winter collection 2017. The inclement weather was perfect to test the latest range of waterproof jackets. More images and product reviews coming shortly.
PGL 2 Centre Adventure, Mimosa and Segries, France
Beautiful morning runs around the trails of Vagnas in France, with the Brooksbank School staff and students.
Piz-Tri Vertical & The FlettaTrail, Malonno, Italy
Easily one of the best experiences of my running career so far…double dipping in Malonno. First the PizTri Vertical last Saturday for my VK debut and then the famous FlettaTrail the following day. Finishing in the top 20 of both races against the very best international athletes. Nice bonus of 2nd vet in the combined race competition too. HUGE thanks to the main man @skola14 for making it happen – Italiano leggenda! Also to the wonderful people of Malonno and the Italian national team for your warmth, friendship and gracious hospitality. Grazie mille!!!
Staffetta 3 Rifugi, Collina, Forni Avoltri, Italy
Really proud to be part of team SS Lazio today the 3 Rifugi relay in Collina. An amazing run from @maximiliannicholls on leg 1 (in 3rd place!) set us up for a top 10 finish! Huge congratulations to our Capitano @tony_tamussin_ AKA. l’Aquila 🦅 for running a PB of 21 minutes on leg 3.
Kilnsey Show, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK
The Kilnsey Show crag race, Yorkshire. Less than 9 minutes of sheer explosive speed, power and unbelievable agony. Easily the most unique fell race I’ve ever done and certainly one of the most memorable. After furiously sprinting to the summit, the infamous descent down ‘the chimney’ was over just as quickly as it started. I just tried to ignore the fact that one slip, or false move, would prematurely end my season or running career! 😜There isn’t a single moment where you can relax or take it easy. This race requires a ‘foot to the floor’, ‘eyeballs out’ and ‘FULL GAS’ effort for entire duration. But despite all the risk, the drama and the pure physical pain, it was an amazing experience and one I’ll look forward to doing over and over again. The crowds and support were amazing, the atmosphere absolutely electrifying. If you’ve never done this race before then it needs to be immediately added to your bucket list. I was happy with 7th on my Kilnsey debut, in a highly competitive field, but hopefully next year a podium spot after some specific training and a return to top form. Huge congrats to winners Nick Swinburn and my amazing @inov_8 teammate Victoria Wilkinson, who also smashed the women’s record to pieces, only a few days after doing the same at the Grasmere Guides race. What an athlete!
Piece Hall photo shoot for Calderdale Council, Halifax, England, UK
I’ve done some pretty cool things during my running career, but this morning was something very special. Shooting a short ‘Chariots of Fire’ style film for @calderdale council in the amazing Piece Hall, Halifax. As a local lad, it makes me really proud to see it brought back to life after a few years of redevelopment. If you haven’t paid a visit then you really must. Cool bars, cafes, shops and restaurants, all independently owned. Lots of brilliant events planned and tons of stuff taking place in the future. Watch this space. Major thanks to @robin.tuddenham for making it happen and for organising today. Also to @craigchewmoulding_atmosphaera for capturing it all on camera. It was a pleasure and an honour to be involved.
The World Masters Mountain Running Championship, Pruske, Slovakia
Absolutely destroyed myself on the final climb to finish individual 5th and team bronze🇬🇧 in the World Masters Mountain Running Championship (M35) in Slovakia yesterday. Congratulations to everyone who competed, especially my GB compatriots who also won medals! What a great day and a fantastic way to end a summer of run. On the final day I enjoyed breakfast in Slovakia, coffee in Czech Republic and lunch in Hungary!
The Cleveland Way, North Yorkshire, England, UK
The Cleveland Way. Whitby to Robin Hood’s Bay along a stunning coastal path. Exploring another section of the beautiful North East coastline on foot. Such a beautiful part of Yorkshire, despite the biblical weather conditions. Definitely a day for merino!
The Tartufo Trail, Parma, Italy
Italy is ace. Why am I not living here? So tempted NOT to get back on a plane home tonight. Love the people, the weather, the food and the montagna ❤️🗻
A weekend is never enough, but soooo worth the travel and effort. Parma is beautiful, Calestano on point and I’ve ticked off yet another region on my Italian hitlist. It’s been a blast. Hopefully next year I can return to defend my Tartufo Trail crown. Another successful running mission in bringing some @inov_8 love to italia. Grazie mille to Francesco Caputi and family for making it happen. I’ll be back soon to visit, that’s for sure. Paolo, @peter_barbiere @_gloria_robuschi_ = 👍💪🇮🇹😜👌
It’s not about the winning. It’s about the journey, the experience and making new friends. Of course it’s also about the meat, cheese, wine and beer…and sunshine.
Always the sunshine ☀️
British Fell Relays, Llanberis, North Wales, UK
Great day out at the British Fell Relays in Llanberis, very happy with 4th place overall.
Florence, Pisa and Lucca, Italy
Beautiful Firenze 🇮🇹❤️It’s been such a long time since I last visited Italy, I was starting to get some serious withdrawal symptoms. Capturing the beauty of Florence, Pisa and Lucca in miniature and minimalistic photography. An amazing few days in Tuscany with @rachel_lumb & Brooksbank students.
Burgau, The Algarve, Portugal
Beautiful Burgau and the glorious Cape St. Vincent, Portugal. A breathtaking sunset at the most south-westerly point in Europe.
Due North Events, Kettlewell, Yorkshire Dales, England, UK
Fantastic training weekend in Kettlewell, organised by @eventsduenorth 👍a real pleasure to be involved, great to meet another fantastic bunch of runners and pass on some fell running tips and techniques.
Coniston, Lake District, England, UK
Winter has well and truly arrived…
What a fantastic couple of days training around Coniston, especially above the snow line. The perfect opportunity to test the new @inov_8 X-Talon 230 and the inov-8 Protec Waterproof Shell. Amazing kit!
Positano Wine Trail & Rupert’s Trail, The Amalfi Coast, Campania, Italy
2 races, 2 days, 2 wins! Didn’t have much left in the tank at the end of some super-tough mountain racing this weekend. Huge thanks to all my friends in Italy who made this weekend possible and so memorable. I’ll be back really soon (no doubt about that!)
Wasdale, Lake District, England, UK
Such an amazing few days running around Wasdale. Snow on the tops, glorious sunshine and unbelievable views. You never forget days like these. So glad I ran with my camera…
As always, I would like to give a huge thanks to my main sponsors inov-8 and Mountain Fuel for their continued support throughout this year. Now bring on 2018!