TheLondon Landmarks Half Marathon [LLHM] ballotopens this week and if you are up for a run which takes in some of the capital’s finest sights, has entertainment on every corner, and is a perfect half pre-April marathon then get entering the ballot!
Well I don’t know much about the London marathon, I’ve never run one, but I have watched a fair few of them and running up towards Tower Bridge in the LLHM, knowing I was fit enough to make it up the incline and ready to switch back round and back under the tunnel I felt as if I could run a marathon ..no problem.
Forward one mile -ish coming out of the tunnel, in which they blasted dance music with the DJ just outside, I realised if I wanted to make a PB, doesnt everyone, I’d have to get a wriggle on. The last 2+miles weren’t pretty but I made that PB by about 1minute. So my fastest half marathon is now 2 hrs 5 minutes!
Wind back 8 weeks and I’d been offered a place in the London Landmark Half, only my second half marathon, ever! The first was great, albeit wet and with a chest infection, the Royal Parks Half, so when I was offered the chance to run in London again I grabbed the opportunity.
I called on my old ski friends at Profeet to help me with some shoe advice. I had bought a pair of running shoes locally the previous summer but knew I’d need something waterproof for February and March training and my current Gortex trail shoes I felt would be a bit heavy for running. I was also nervous about another wet run and wanted to get some expert advice. With my old shoes in tow, I headed to Profeet for a ‘run analysis’ and also for advice regarding my trainers.
Running on the tread mill in the Profeet store was a revelation. I ran with my current Brookes run shoe, super comfortable, quite a thick sole and then Anna suggested I try a waterproof ‘On Running’ and see if there would be much difference. With a couple of small tips from Anna’s: lift the legs a bit more, try and stay a bit more upright to ease the pelvic tilt showing on the screen analysis and the On shoe came out clearly the better option for me, plus Anna had found one with a waterproof coating. I didn’t need any persuading to buy this shoe as I knew I needed a light, waterproof option.
Running in the snow in February was a breeze in this shoe, grippy, waterproof, I actually really enjoyed it. On race day, I was quite nervous and it was actually quite hot so then I was worried that the shoe may get too sweaty but with some much entertainment around the 13 miles, my feet felt great. I should probably have concentrated more on pace and less on high fiving all the charity supporters and boogieing along to the many bands that lined the course. Note to self for next time!
That and a few more weeks to train and maybe next time I’ll get to 2 hrs or less. Time to sign up!
TheLLHM 2020Ballot opens Tuesday 18th June at midday and is open for a week, closing on midday Tuesday 25th June (ballot winners notified Thursday 27 June).
LLHM 2019, which is organised bybaby charity Tommy’sfor the benefit of the whole charity sector, raised over £7.2 million for good causes, making the total sum raised for charity since the inaugural event two years ago £12 million.
London Landmarks Half Marathonshowcases some of London’s most iconic and amazing landmarks such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye It also unearths and promotes the hidden highlights of the city, with an emphasis on historical and cultural landmarks and facts. The event attracts thousands of spectators who enjoy the live music, dancers, cheer stations and historical figures who line the route.
At the end of the 1960s, the film-makers were taken by the futuristic revolving restaurant on the Schilthorn mountain and the scenes involving the imaginary Piz Gloria were shot there.
Murren is the highest, continually inhabited village settlement in the canton of Bern and lies on a terrace at 1,650m, high above the Lauterbrunnen valley.
A double-cable ropeway leads up onto the plateau from Lauterbrunnen, while a cableway runs from Stechelberg, past turbulent waterfalls and craggy rock faces, into the centre of the car-free village of Mürren, and further to the Schilthorn at 2.970.
Here are 10 reasons why Murren should be on your ‘must-visit’ list:
The Village – Murren in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland is one of the most beautiful villages in the Alps. Perched on the side of the mountain, it really is picture postcard material. Car free and maintaining snow on the village paths throughout the winter it doesn’t get more attractive than this.
The View – with views across the valley to the Eiger (3970m) , Monch (4099m) and Jungfrau (4158m) mountains, a stay here takes your breath away. The panoramic doesn’t fail to impress each time I visit.
The new Thrill Walk at Birg. Not for the faint hearted, this new 200m metal path clings to the side of the mountain at Birg, wrapping around the mountain from its access at the back of the terrace behind the Birg restaurant, to the front side looking down the mountains. One section is just a thin metal wire…don’t look down!
007 –The James Bond Film, ‘ On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was filmed here – watch the movie and see the revolving restaurant at Piz Gloria still looking remarkably similar. The revamped Bond Experiencea within the Piz Gloria building is really fun to spend some time in.
The skiing – The ski area doesn’t look huge but with it has something for everyone. The top steep sections down to the narrow Kanonenrohr run between the rocks; the blue runs through the trees down to the village; the lovely long s-bends down to Lauterbrunnen (when snow allows) and the easy nursery slopes in the middle of the village.
The restaurants – choose from the old Suppenalp restaurant just above the village (you can even stay the night there), so cosy inside, or the little hut below the top of the Schiltgrat chair for hot chocolate with rum and cake, the lovely terrace at Birg for lunch with a view, or ski down to the village and sit outside the Hotel Jungfrau on its terrace and watch the beginners slopes under the sunshine. Again plenty of options for all tastes.
The Inferno – each January over 1,800 skiers descend on the village to take part in The Inferno. A huge 14.9km downhill race (including several uphill sections) where competitors are set off at approx. 10 second intervals. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018, there are plans for a new Inferno team event, the ‘Sir Arnold Lunn Cup’ where the competitors will start at the same time.
History – British ski pioneers the Lunns still have family living in Murren. Sir Arnold Lunn organised the first slalom race here in 1922, a few years after his father Sir Henry Lunn first brought winter holidaymakers to the village. The Kandahar Ski Club, which was founded in Murren in 1924, is still going strong and runs a regular ski race training programme for children and is fundamental in the number of British taking part in the Inferno ski race each winter.
Access – as Murren is car free, all cars park in Lauterbrunnen in the valley. Why not travel by train? All the airports close by – Basel, Bern and Zurich offer train travel to Lauterbrunnen and then connect with the cable car and small cog railway to the village itself.
Not just for winter – Murren in summer is stunning too. Covered in wild flowers, perfect for short or long hikes, try the via ferrata. Take the train down to Interlaken for some shopping or a swim in the lake.
For further information visit: https://mymuerren.ch/en/winter/
After the rain last month which caused terrible floods, the Hautes-Pyrenees have re-started their summer, the clean-up is almost complete and here are 10 fantastic reasons to visit the Hautes-Pyrenees this summer:
1.Visit the highest observatory in Europe at the Pic du Midi
At 2877 metres above sea-level, the Pic du Midi is the most exceptional place to view the complete panorama of the Pyrenees and the plains of SW France. The highest observatory in Europe, the Pic du Midi, founded in 1880, offers fantastic opportunities for astronomers and stargazers. For an incredible experience, sleep the night in the Observatory and mountain bike down at sunrise. 1800m descent.
NEW – for 2013 Pic du Midi will be awarded the RICE label –“Réserve Internationale de Ciel Etoilé” for its clean air and stability of atmosphere.
Offer: 2 days, 1 night half board at the summit of Pic du Midi : £332 double, £220 single
2. Bathe in Donkey Milk Cleopatra-style at Aquensis
There are eight spas in the Hautes-Pyrenees and a visit to one of these spas is integral to a holiday in the region. Aquensis in Bagneres-de-Bigorre offers a ‘Donkey’s milk’ bath, where the benefits of donkey’s milk can be experienced in a private spa bath. Donkey’s milk is loaded with vitamins and purifies the skin.
Offer: 8 days, 7 nights Spa Tour: Half board 3-4* plus entry (2h) into 7 spas in the Hautes-Pyrenees: Aquensis, Balnéa, CIELéO, Le Jardin des Bains, Les Bains du Rocher, Luzéa and Sensoria. £500pp
3. Drink Madiran wine
VisitChateau Montus – one of the best Madiran wine producers of the Pyrenees, frequently in the World’s top 20 wines. Elegant and modern wine produced by one of the best winemakers in the world, Alain Brumont. Wine tours and wine tasting sessions with viewing points from treehouses around his vineyards towards the Pyrenean peaks. Or visit during the wine festival from 14-15 August when the village buzzes with wine tasting at every street corner.
Offer: 2 days, 1 night 3* half board, lunch with wine tasting, breakfast at “Château Montus et Bouscassé” and wine tour. £106 pp
4. A night in the trees
Escape reality – stay in a treehouse , bliss for adults and children alike. Views to the peaks of the Pyrenees and south facing terraces. Outdoor hot tubs for relaxation, together with light wood and chocolate and turquoise interiors.
Offer : 2 Days , 1 night half board :£73 pp
5. Visit the Cirque de Gavarnie
The Cirque de Gavarnie is a UNESCO World Heritage site easily viewed after a 15 minute walk from the village of Gavarnie. It is an extraordinary natural arena whose summits reach over 3000m with a stunning waterfall dropping 420m over the walls of the Cirque. Gavarnie is often referred to as the ‘Chamonix of the Pyrenees’ a mecca for climbing in summer and ice-climbing in winter.
Offer : 6 days, 5 nights 3* half board (3 nights France, 2 nights Spain) with 5 days of guided hiking with luggage transfers £681pp
6. New Event -‘Hautes Routes Pyrenees’
The NEW Haute Routes Pyrenees, a road biking event from Barcelona to Biarritz takes in the Hautes-Pyrenees including time trails in Hautacam and two nights in Argeles-Gazost from 4-7 September. Fun atmosphere or rent a bike and try the Hautacam section.
Offe : 3 days, 2 nights 2* half board , space for bikes £106 pp
7. Night ride 14km Luz to Luz: 5 August 2013
Starting at 9pm in the village of Luz Saint Sauveur, cycle the 14km to the mountain village of Luz Ardiden, reaching a final height of 1720m. Over 1000m of climb! This night ride replaces the two scheduled night bike rides cancelled due to damage to the road at Col du Tourmalet after the floods.
Offer: 2 days , 1 night 2* B&B with an entry into the night ride and a ‘riders pack’ £68pp
8. View 16th Century frescoes at Mont Saint Calixte
The Saint Calixte church in the Louron Valley is the finest example of Romanesque art in the area and dates from the eleventh century, dedicated to an Aragonese martyr. Legend has it that this Spanish nobleman and his companion Mercurial died helping the Louron people fight the Moors. The Romanesque church at Mont has frescos from the sixteenth century including a superb representation of hell on the façade. The church is classified as a historical monument.
Offer: 8 days, 7 night at the residence Lagrange Prestige (studio) + 1 Louron family pass’ (unlimited access to the Ludeo water park and chairlift at Val Louron plus preferential rates on many activities) £644 per family
9. Bungee Jump – the only place to jump in the Pyrenees
En route from Luz Saint Sauveur to the UNESCO site at Gavarnie, stop off at an authentic Napoleonic bridge, the only place in the Pyrenees where it is possible to Bungee jump, 80metres down!
Offer: 2 days , 1 night 2* half board plus one bungee jump £103pp
10. Tango in Tarbes
The International Festival ‘Tarbes en Tango’ from 17-25 August 2013 offers nine days of dance and music for all, beginners or experts. Showcasing internationally renowned Maestros – Argentine tango shows specially created for Tarbes, orchestras with international reputations all creating lots and lots of possibilities to dance –from milongas (dance nights) to apero-tango on the terraces of the local cafes -into the early hours! www.tarbesentango.fr
Offer: 2 Days , 1 night 4* half board with entry in to the Tango Festival £115pp
For further information and all holiday offers visit: