Category: David’s Column

An interview with @steverunsslowly

June 16th, 2020

Hello all!

I hope everyone is keeping well and training hard, this week we have a treat for you and have an interview with the incredible Stephen Hall, who is a fellow runner who has been doing a lot of hard work for the Trust. His journey is one I personally find inspiring and I feel we can all either relate to or learn something from some of his answers.
If you’d like to keep up with Steve on his running journey give him a follow @steverunsslowly on instagram.

Why did you start running?

I started running to channel my frustration after my partner Louise and I suffered a miscarriage in September 2018, so I decided to sign up for the Great North Run 2019 with Tommy’s the baby charity.

What keeps you motivated when you’re out on a run?

Once I’m out the door with my headphones in and in my own little world I find it really easy to stay motivated, recently the messages of support and donations coming in during my streak has been the fuel to keep me going out every day. Getting out of bed is the hardest part!

How has running/keeping fit had an affect on you in your everyday life?

Running has changed my life completely, in the past I have struggled with anxiety and depression and running helps me manage that. The mental focus and clarity that comes with improved fitness and routine is the main reason I run.

What would you say to someone that is thinking of getting into running?

Buy a pair of decent running shoes to avoid any extra discomfort which might put you off early on. Find your local parkrun and start off there. The running community on Instagram is the best too so get involved with that!

What’s your number one running tip?

Always go at your own pace, and remember to smile and enjoy it!

What’s the worst mistake you’ve made(fitness/running related)?

Running a half marathon without training enough! After the great north run I struggled to walk for about 4 days!

Why did you choose to run for Dragonfly Cancer Trust?

Cancer has impacted my family quite alot in recent years, my nana has survived breast and lung cancer! My mams partner lost his Dad to cancer earlier this year so I began to look for a small local cancer charity who I could support where I knew my fundraising would make a big difference. When I went onto the Dragonfly Cancer Trust website it really touched me when I learned of the amazing work done by the charity! The thought of cancer affecting people so young really breaks my heart.

What do you think makes Dragonfly Cancer Trust different to any other charities?

The work done by all cancer charities is amazing, but with Dragonfly Cancer Trust every case feels so personal and relatable. When I contacted the charity to ask if I could help, I received such a warm reply! It feels like I’ve been welcomed into a little family and I’m just so grateful for the opportunity to help make a difference to someone’s life through this charity.

Morning Motivation

March 12th, 2020

Waking up before midday on a weekend might sound like a humorous joke to you, however it can be the best way to start your day and leave you feeling ignited with energy for the new day ahead. Personally I love nothing more than starting the day with some form of exercise and it can really relieve any stresses. If you’re still looking for answers why getting up at the crack of dawn is for you then keep on reading.


Start your day off well

Instead of waking up feeling groggy and lacking energy, getting straight out of bed and into the outside world will leave you ready for whatever the day throws at you!


Live your best life

I am sorry but I feel that exercise can give you a feeling that nothing else does, and If you feel this at the start of the day, you will be sure to carry that with you the rest of the day and you might even be tempted to swap out that burger for a salad at lunch (not guaranteed!)


Listen to music

Yes you thought you could escape it this week, but no, the ABBA obsession continues! Music is my motivator on a morning, simply to hear Swedish legends before anyone else that day provides more than enough motivation for me. Plus you can sing your heart out, and there will not be a soul who judges.


Use every moment

If my time at the charity has taught me anything, it is how precious time is and how valuable your loved ones are. Waking up early and running while everyone’s asleep means you can spend the rest of the day with the people who make you happy.


Get a head start

I’ll let you in on a secret, even Mo Farah has a lie in (that probably isn’t true, don’t take my word for it) so get ahead of him! It means you can spend more time running than the person who will be standing next to you at the start line and get an even better finishing time.


Killer running playlist to power you through your midweek workouts

March 5th, 2020

As the cold, dreary weather continues into the month of march, you’ll surely be asking yourself why should I be out running when it’s so bleak?

Well ask no more as I have compiled a selection of the finest music to grace your ears while your Running your socks off. From ABBA to the bee gees and everything in between, we’ve got you covered.


1. ABBA – Dancing Queen
“You can sing, you can dance” …However more importantly, can you run?

2. Bee Gees – Night Fever
Possibly the only point in the day I have time to run, and who doesn’t want to have a bit of Saturday Night Fever when they are hitting the tarmac

3. KC And The Sunshine Band – Give it Up
Honestly please don’t give it up, keep it going, you’ve only got another 10 miles to go!

4. Matthew Wilder – Break my Stride
“Ain’t nothin gonna break my stride” …Too right! After reading this blog you should be running ultra marathons in no time.

5. The Housemartins – Happy Hour
Oh you bet, running till your legs fall off is my happiest hour of the day as well!

6. Tears of Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Too right they do… But for now focus on getting through that 5k. One step at a time

7. ABBA – Take a chance on Me
We couldn’t just include one song could we? Just ignore “we could go walking”. Because we can’t. We only do Running. Sorry.

8. Queen – Don’t stop me now
Stop reading the blog, get out running!

9. Katrina and the Waves – Walking on the sunshine
If it’s anything like last year you truly feel like you are walking on the sun. Utterly boiling.

10. Scissor Sisters –  I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
And so you shouldn’t – come on, were meant to be running.

11. Barry White – You’re the first, the last, my everything
This year’s Great North Run, may well be your first, hopefully not your last, So give it your everything??
…I think I’m entitled for a round of applause for that.

12. John Travolta – You’re the one that I want 
Serenade that Runners medal, tell it you’re the one that you need… oh yes indeed

13. Whitney Houston – Million Dollar Bill
Running should make you feel like a Million dollar bill, or at least one of those new £20 pound notes

14. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
I mean c’mon, it wouldn’t be a running playlist without it

15. Hairspray – You Can’t Stop the beat
If this doesn’t give you energy at 7 in the morning, I honestly don’t know what will. After all.. You can’t stop the beat.

Why you should join the Dream Team in 2020

February 12th, 2020

Just as February has started, this year’s Great North Run ballot has been and gone and whether you have got a place in the run, or you have just missed out, there is a place for you on this year’s Dream Team.

Every year thousands of people have the decision to make, which charity do I run for? Seriously, this year there is no question as we are providing the best running experience for runners no matter your ability. Some people may already have ballot places which are great and you can still join our team and raise money for a great cause.

So what’s going to be different this year?


Dragonfly Running Team

This year’s big change is that we are going to introduce the dragonfly running team (how on earth did we come up with that name?!) This way if you are struggling with training, or simply want some company on those lonely late night 10km runs, the running team can be there for you.

We will also have a running leader board so we can all compete to see who has clocked the most miles and they will receive a special shout-out on the blog.

Training tops

Looking for some new colourful gear for your training run? Look no further than here! We will be offering training tops to our dragonfly runners so you can support the charity with pride when you hit the tarmac in the months leading up to the run.

Support along the way

That’s right, it’s not just your Auntie Julia who will be cheering you on along the way. We plan to have some volunteers along the route in order to keep you striding on, even when your toenail falls off (…speaking from experience, you will need all the help you can get at this point!)

Funky fundraising pack

This will include all the help you will need to reach this year’s goal of £350. The trick is to start early, get in there before everyone else… it will take the pressure off you so you can enjoy the lead up to the run. We will also include a dragonfly badge so you can show everyone that you are running for a fantastic cause this year.

This incredible blog!

Courtesy of yours truly, you will be receiving weekly articles all about running and everything Great North Run in order to keep you motivated and entertained …probably.

A tent

No, it’s not the sort of tent you went camping in the lakes in as a child, this tent will be full of support and smiles once you have finished your run. Plus there will be lots of treats to get your sugar levels back up.

Knowing you are making a big difference.

The money you raise will have an incredible effect on young people’s lives across the UK, and since we are a smaller charity, every pound and every penny will make such a difference.

Imagine you are a young person and you are told you have limited time left to spend time with your family and friends, and you don’t have the money to enjoy that one dream you have, whether it’s driving a fast car or having a ride in a helicopter. You can help these dreams come true. The fundraising you do will make priceless memories for young people and families across the UK. The sky’s the limit, keep running and try and raise as much as you possibly can.

What’s Hot and What’s Not

February 6th, 2020

As the ballot has opened for this year’s run (until the 9th of February), you might be left wondering what exactly do you need and what you can afford to give a miss. Instead of trawling through endless pages on start fitness and Sports Direct pondering on what you may need for your great north run, I have comprised a list of barebone essentials. Missing out on all of the “important” vitamins, supplements, and all the other gimmicks that are not necessary, In the guide is everything you will need for your mid week runs to your race day.



Running tops.
Especially important because standard cotton t shirts will retain moisture and the t shirt will lose most of its breathability meaning that your t shirt will become heavy and uncomfortable. Try and look for tops made from polyester and nylon.


Reliable shorts
Much like tops, fabric is important and try to go for a nylon material instead of any type of sweatshorts. Length is important and I would suggest trying these instore as a 7 or 8 inch short may be more preferable for somebody taller, however if your smaller or average height (like me) you may prefer a 4 or 5 inch short. Don’t forget to make sure these have pockets so you can store your phone and keys when your out and about.


Good quality socks
If you were going to follow one of these points make sure its this one. as silly as it may sound, running in cotton everyday socks can cause blisters and even athlete’s foot as, much like tops, when you sweat they retain the moisture and this is no good for your feet and can cause a lot of irritation. If you’re looking for something cheap and reliable go for more miles socks from start fitness they have a solid range of styles and you can buy 4 pairs for a tenner (£1.25 per sock)


Proper running shoes
Serious runner or beginner, proper running shoes are essential, running in converse or running “style” trainers can cause problems for your feet and ankles as they will not give you the right amount of support that you need. You don’t need the latest Nike or Adidas model being marketed as the “greatest running shoe of all time”, try something from brands such as Brooks or Saucony as they are usually more reliable and last longer. If you’re looking for a bargain try shopping for last years model as usually not much has changed and they are normally heavily discounted.


Running cap
Sometimes you have to accept that when you step out of the house, it isn’t going to be glaring sunshine and it may be pouring with rain or very windy In these instances a cap is good because there is nothing worse then your hair being blown about in the wind or it getting soaked as it can be very distracting. At least with a cap your hair is all in one place and you have one less thing to think about.

The … Non essentials ?

Running jacket
Unquestionably a controversial choice, however I think a bit of rain can be fun and can help your endurance. 9 times out of 10 you will get hot and bothered and wish you’d never brought it in the first place. Even in the freezing winter months you’ll still see me in shorts and a T shirt, so maybe take my opinion with a pinch of salt.


Running supplementation
Energy gels can be effective while running, however most of the recovery powders and drinks, most of the time are gimmicks and will not provide anything more beneficial than a good night sleep will


Overly expensive running shoes
Nikes latest creation is a shoe that makes you 4 percent faster and costs the beastly sum of £250. Do not be dragged in by the marketing and any shoes that are well into the hundreds of pounds usually are not worth it unless your training for a sub hour half marathon.