Birthday Bargains

So it’s almost 28th March, my birthday. This year I will have the pleasure of looking after my son Harris as it falls on a Friday, also known as ‘daddy day’. It’s been a month since I dropped down to a 4 day week so that I could spend more time with Harris and split childcare with my wife and her mum. The past 3 weeks have, for one reason or another, seen me working just 3 days a week – great for spending more time with H, not so good for keeping up with things at work!

It has to be said that looking after a 1 year old is considerably harder work than being at actual work! It’s just sooooo full time, with never a second off. Hats off to all the mums and dads out there who do this day in, day out. 100% knackering but also 100% rewarding!

With a bit of luck, the sun will shine, and we can do what we have been doing most daddy days, heading off for nice long walks and/or heading off in the Croozer.

The most noticeable impact of the arrival of Harris for me has been:


Or should that be lack of training. When your little on is up at the back of 5am and heads off to bed at 7pm that doesn’t leave much scope for training. Come 7.30pm, after a quick tidy up, all I want to do is get horizontal and chill!


Or should that be lack of finance lol! Pre Harris, I was generally able to find the money required to maintain my admittedly self centred fascination with kit, one of the main attractions of running if truth be told!

Since the arrival of Harris, this has been put on the back-burner somewhat!

Thankfully, my priorities changed without any concern. I’m definitely in a happy place, enjoying parenthood and not overly concerning myself with the impact on training or the reduced volume of shiny new kit.

Thankfully, my position as a product reviewer for The Running Bug, Barefoot Running Magazine and, of course,, means that I do still receive some kit free of charge to test out.

When it comes to obtaining other kit, there are two great opportunities, Christmas and birthday, and, for me, the latter opportunity presents itself this week.

The majority of people give me money which always works for me :o)

This year especially, I was keen to get as much bang for my buck as possible and, whilst one of the new The North Face or Inov-8 race vests was most definitely appealing, I opted for utility maximisation, opting to get kit that could be used as much as possible in everday life as well as out on the trail.

Armed with a budget, a PC and a keen eye for online bargains, I reckon I did pretty well. The Montane Fireball Smock was THE bargain buy, but was unfortunately as a result of the demise of a store. Some well timed sales at Pete Bland Sports and Wiggle provided the rest of my bargain buys.

If there’s anything left over, I will most likely opt for some of the newly released Montane Prism Gloves, RRP 35.00, which sound like just the ticket to see me through to Summer and beyond.


Product RRP Purchased
OMM Rotor Smock £130.00 £63.00
Montane Fireball Smock £120.00 £36.00
Salomon Exo Wings Twinskin Short SS14 £70.00 £30.00
Salomon Fast Wing Vest AW13 £70.00 £35.00
Total: £390.00 £164.00

Website Refresh

A lot has happened since was first registered as a domain way back in 2005. The choice of domain name reflected my love of Scotland and an involvement in web design. However, as a web site, was little more than a playground where I dabbled with the latest web technologies. Until, that is, I found a real purpose for the site, centred around ultramarathon running, and started to grow the site accordingly.

Initially, I started blogging about my running and writing race reports but, in time, this was expanded to include all things running related, from product reviews, to race information, to routes and galleries.

And then, in February 2013, my son Harris was born, impacting considerably on all aspects of our lives. Without a doubt, it’s the best thing ever to have happened to me and I love parenthood. However, long gone are the days when I can ‘nip out’ for a 4-5 hour training run. Some days it’s all I can do to even exercise at all, such are the constraints on my time and, from a high of 7 ultramarathons in 2012, I was reduced to just 1 in 2013, a figure I hope to match, time permitting, in 2014!

Running still plays a huge part in my life and, hopefully, this will rub off on Harris. Realistically however, my running goals for 2014 will be to work on my barefoot running, my overall running form, and to try and turn the clock back and attain PBs at 10k, 1/2 marathon and possibly even marathon distance – definitely more family friendly distances with regard to the required training.

What I have found this past year is that I am now returning to activities that I loved prior to becoming all consumed in ultramarathon training, namely walking and cycling. Both are considerably more family friendly as it’s much easier to involve the family in these activities, whether it be baby wearing out walking and/or towing a Croozer trailer while out cycling.

With the change in lifestyle, I feel that it is appropriate for to also undergo a bit of a refresh and, as such, the new look web site will be expanded to include not only running, but walking and cycling as well. I hope to continue the review section of the web site and, indeed, am open to reviewing walking and/or cycling products as well as running ones. In time I also hope to expand considerably on the gallery and routes sections of the website.

I decided to start afresh rather than just port the old website across in its entirety. I’ve painfully gone through each and every post, updating where required, and attempting to bring a more visual element to the site.

I hope you like the new design and direction of As with every web site, it’s continually a work in progress.

I decided to start with a bang, so the leading item on the new look is my interview with ultra legend and The North Face athlete Jez Bragg, and also a gallery of images taken of Jez on his recent Te Araroa trail expedition. All images are © Damiano Levati.

Enjoy! :o)

Teaser of “Déjame Vivir” Summits of My Life II

Teaser of “Déjame Vivir” Summits of My Life II from Summits of My Life on Vimeo.

His aim isn’t to win. It’s to play all the time.

“Mountain lovers, the second episode of Summits of My Life is coming soon! Here’s the teaser trailer, a sneak peek of how Kilian and his friends experience mountains in a different way.

Stay tuned for the release of the film on March 27th. You can now pre-order the dvd and the download or contribute to the project by becoming a Friend on