13 in Thirteen Challenge

Details of the 2013 Challenge

The 13 in Thirteen challenge consisted of me competing in not one but thirteen official 10km races over the course of the 2013. Each calendar month I competed in an official 10km race. As the year moved forward some of the races had to be changed due to the weather and postponements etc.

All 13 races were official races sanction by either the UKA or ARC. 13 races in 12 months I hear you ask? I also completed 2 10k’s in February to make up the 13. The sub aim of the challenge was for me to also hit a personal best each time. This helped raise more sponsorship money through people sponsoring me per PB.

The goal of this challenge was to raise a total of £2013 for my chosen charity the NSPCC. All money raised from the challenge was sent to the local Sheffield branch of the NSPCC.The challenge as we now know was a resounding success, with all 13 races completed as well as a PB at each race. The fundraising target was also achieved.

The 13 races were as follows, with my finish time in brackets:

  • Chernobyl 10k – Sunday 27th January (49:47)
  • Brass Monkey 10K – Sunday 10th February (49:01)
  • Wrap Up & Run 10K – Sunday 24th February (48:50)
  • Sheffield Varsity 10k – Sunday 10th March (47:27)
  • Sheffield Lord Mayor’s 10K – Sunday 21st April (47:16)
  • Sandgrounder 10k – Monday 27th May (46:59)
  • Woodhall Spa 10k – Sunday 2nd June (45:52)
  • Jane Tomlinson’s Leeds 10K – Sunday 14th July (45:00)
  • Jane Tomlinson’’s York 10k – Sunday 4th August (44:30)
  • Wilne 10k – Sunday 1st September (44:11)
  • Shelton Striders 10k – Sunday 6th October (43:35)
  • Abbey Dash – Sunday 17th November (42:33)
  • Percy Pud – Sunday 1st December (41:38)

Here is a recap of the challenge:

The challenge was official announced on the 23rd of November 2012 .After losing the first 4 stone earlier in that year. I discovered a passion for running and after completing in not 1 but 2 10km races in September I decided to do a challenge and got in touch with the NSPCC and pitched my idea to them and they gave me the green light. Originally it was only suppose to me 13 races until people challenged me to PB at each race and the challenge grew from there.

At the start of December I raced in what was my 3 ever race the Percy Pud and despite limited training I managed to knock 5 minutes of my time I set at the TenTenTen back in September. After the race I appeared in local papers publishing my challenge.


The year started with a radio appearance on BBC Radio Sheffield on the 9th Jan I posted an updated race list due to more races being published, however the challenge was nearly over before it began as snow hit the UK causing the first race in Corby to be called off on the Friday, 2 days before it was due to start. We managed to find an alternative race over in Preston and was allowed to enter on the day and despite the strong wind and flooding in parts I managed to do a time of 49:47 and got the ball rolling in the challenge.


With the original first race called off, the decision was made to make this the extra race as Feb’s race was going to be the Wrap Up & Run so made sense to get the extra race done early. The 2nd race took place in Corby on a wet and very windy race track. Even though it was 2 weeks after the first race I was flying round the race track and 50m’s from the end my wife then told me to stop as the time was at 47:56 some two minutes quicker I then strolled to finish line and waited till the clock hit 49 minutes to pass and my official time was 49:01 a massive 46 seconds quicker.

I knew I had to keep improving and wasn’t going to do this on my own, so I made the decision to join a running club. I picked Sheffield Running Club and not looked back and took part in my first club race in mid Feb and also started doing parkruns to keep myself on the go and by the 3rd race I already had 47% of the money raised.

Then race 3 and the extra race took place at the Wrap Up and Run in Graves Park the first home race of the challenge and boy was it tough as it was very hilly and most club mates predicted it would be tough to PB and yet managed to knocked 11 seconds off my time at the 2nd race. 3 races down and going strong.


March started for me with my longest every run by doing the Norton 9 mile race week before my next challenge race and caused a mild bout of sciatic and was looking at alternatives but I decided to give it ago and the longer the race went on the better I felt and managed to recorded a new PB of 47:27


I had a 6 week break between race 4 and the 5th one which also happened to be at Don Valley stadium and the route was almost the same with only the start/finish line in a different area. Before race I was introduced to the Lord Mayor of Sheffield which was good publicity before I went and set another new PB of 47:16, I also finished this race with my daughter which was special.


May so me compete in my first and only half marathon to date at the Sheffield Half Marathon a week before race no.6 that took place in Hull or at least that was the plan as things went south at the start line as the race was first delayed and then the race marshall announced that due to a bridge breaking and being stuck open the race was reduced to a 9km race which was a disaster. I still went and did the race completing the 9km in 39:15.

It meant I only had a few days before end of the month to find another race and thankfully we found one in Southport on the bank holiday Monday and despite the heavy rain the actual race was a good one and 46:59 and another new PB.


However due to the re-arranged race it meant I had to do the 7th race just 6 days later in Woodhall Spa and the Friday before I injured my knee and resulted in having to have physio and despite being less then 100% I still did a new PB in a time of 45:52 which was a fab time and then it meant I had 6 weeks before race 8 and this allowed me to rest the knee.


By the time race 8 came about the UK was in the middle of a heatwave and meant a whole new race experience for me, HEAT. I planned to race hard before it became too hot and by the 7th km it was very hot and people were struggling, thankfully my race was in the bag by then and was just a matter of keeping going and I did and crossed the finish line in 45:00 exact and another PB. By now people was starting to take my challenge seriously.


York as the next race and York is a fav city of mine but the cobbles and twisting route made it a difficult race and the wind and hill climb at the 8th km meant for a touch and go finish and I had to work for every second right till the finish line and I crossed in 44:30 the time I had planned at the start.


September was a big month for the challenge as I raced twice in the month and by the end of the month the fundraising total had been smashed even though there was still 3 months of the challenge left. First race 10 took place in Wilne that was very windy but a flat coarse. I suffered from sickness bug half way round but despite feeling very drained I managed to cross in a time of 44:11 and set a new PB. The next race wasn’t for another 5 weeks but I decided to race the Great Yorkshire Run at end of September as it was the scene of my first race and I set a new PB at that race.


A week on from the Great Yorkshire Run and I was done in Derby doing race 11 at the Shelton Striders 10k and it was a tough race with half of the race on very rough terrain and with bright sunshine made it one of my least enjoyable races but I still managed to set a new PB of 43:30 a whole 26 seconds from what I set the week before.


I was back in Leeds for the 2nd to last race at the Abbey Dash that was similar to the Leeds 10k so knew what to expect and was out like a shot at the start and raced hard and found it hard to maintain speed after the climb to the half way mark and was blowing like a good un but I recovered to finish strong and in a new time of 42:33 and meant I was one race off completing the challenge.


So here it was the final race I had two options a race in Telford on 15th or the Percy Pud on the 1st. I decided to pick the Percy Pud where it all really start a year earlier and the build up was horrendous as the pressure was mounting and I knew I had to PB. I was out like a bullet and did a 3:44 first km and meant on the underlating route I was soon blowing and really had to fight hard ever km and the climb at the 8th km didn’t help but I kicked again and flew home in a fab time of 41:38 and thus completing my challenge and setting a PB in every race.

I left the Just Giving page open till the 15th and a lot of donations came in from fellow runners and made the final total even more impressive and end the challenge on a massive high.  The final total raised doing the 13 in Thirteen challenge is a massive £2,444.50. Which was 21% over the original total of £2013


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