My first 5k race

Damien Clarkson

Last night I took part in my first ever timed 5k race. It was as part of the GoodGym Race Series, which combined 45 mins of volunteering helping out a fantastic new social enterprise called Makeversity who are going to be offering affordable working spaces to people who ‘make things’, both digital and physical things with the hope of matching the talents within their building with teaching programmes for young people.

The 5k race was my first target on my recovery from injury. In fact I have pretty much exclusively been running 5k(ish) 3/4 times a week since the first week of August. The race took place in the evening and started on the Embankment outside Somerset House and the route would see us run along the embankment over Westminster bridge then down to Lambeth bridge before running back to Somerset House.

I decided to run in the sub 24 min group, my practice runs had been around 24 to 25 mins. But I thought despite constant dodging the tourists and steps we had to walk and down I could make it under 24 mins, because after all it was a race and I have always enjoyed competition.

I have to say I really enjoyed the race, I just went at my steady running pace until what I thought was a mile from the finish (it turns out it was 0.7 miles) then I decided to run hard to the finish. I came through at a respectable 23.35 which given the conditions, steps, tourists etc was respectable. It placed me 3rd overall which I was really happy with.  A youth spent playing cricket and football meant I was used to competing on a regular basis and it is something I think I have missed.

I have written a blog for GoodGym about my injury and my recovery was published, I think anyone who has ever had an injury will take something from reading it.

I would also recommend reading this blog by Nikki who has had a similar experience with injury and her recovery.

So, if anyone wants to do a park run or a 5k in the near future let me know. Running feels really exciting to me at the moment.


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Life

Well life has been busy and we have had an actual British Summer, these factors combined has led to me not blogging for far too long. However the past month has been packed full of some amazing experiences, life changes, struggles and exciting challenges. But have no fear, I am back on the blogging bandwagon 🙂 undoubtedly this will probably mean a flurry of blogs followed by my usual month of silence. But I promise I will try to be more consistent and anyway it is raining now.

At the end of June, I took my first holiday in 2 years and went to Berlin. I stayed in the district of Kreuzberg at a great backpackers for people under 40 called Jetpack Alternative.

On the day I arrived in Berlin the weather was 35 degrees and immediately I settled into the hostel and had a night out with a bunch of other backpackers. Althrough throughout the break I spent most of my time hanging out with Diana, who I met through CouchSurfing. She and her friends made me feel incredibly welcome and we checked out lots of bands, ate great vegan food and generally just had a great time relaxing.

Me and Diana

I was struck by how many people were vegan in Berlin, they have a huge vegan supermarket in Friedrichshain although it was deemed to be stupidly over priced by my new friends. Berlin really felt like a city I could see myself living in one day, I think Berlin has a culture which makes it easy to be an artist. Because of state support for education, and affordable housing and strong laws protecting tenants mean that creative young people can live in the most amazing accommodation for prices Londoners would only dream of.

So, on my return from Berlin, I decided I would go vegan, this is something I have been thinking of doing for quite awhile. I was already vegetarian and had been phasing out dairy for awhile.  Going vegan has been surprisingly easy, the only times it has been difficult has been when out of London and eating out. This has resulted in a few items being sent back.

Vegan times

As a result of going vegan, I feel full of energy and happy about how I am reducing my carbon footprint and not participating in a system which is cruel to animals. I have also read ultramarathon champion Scott Jurek’s new book ‘Eat and Run’, he believes a vegan diet is one of the key components which turned him into a champion. So vegan ultramarathon greatness here I come :-). Ok well perhaps I will crawl round a marathon next year before I turn 30.

Speaking of running, I have been receiving physio from Helen at Fix, which is a new sports physio practice near me in Hackney. I have learnt so much about how I run, what I need to change and my overall body and how it behaves. I have discovered that  I have been shielding the left hand side of my body for the last 8 years. This has led to me regularly getting injured as a result of putting too much pressure through my right hand side. My lazy left side is now shaping up and I am redeveloping my running to run in an increasingly front foot running style better known as ‘barefoot running’. So far the early signs are good, I haven’t had any side affects and after 3 months of injury I can run for 20 mins of a 30 min (10 mins rest for my ankle).

I have just recently returned from 4 days in Cambridge with some of my wonderful friends. My friend Tamsin took us to Trinity College,  at Cambridge University where I saw one of only 4 remaining copies of Shakespeare’s first folio and went punting. which turns out is loads of fun if not slightly hard work.

Punting in Cambridge

Tamsin and me at Trinity

We did plenty of cycling, walking and I led the cooking for 12 people, which was fun but exhausting. We did lots of discussing our future plans and the world we live in. I feel really blessed to know these amazing people who care so much about everything happening around them. All in all, beautiful people and beautiful times.

Walking with friends
So that was kinda the last month; I also saw ‘The Breeders’ and ‘Dinosaur Pile Up’, play which were amazing, I am trying to see more gigs, so if people fancy checking out bands let me know. I have tickets for Drenge in September, hopefully I won’t bump into Ed Miliband there after Tom Watson’s resignation letter suggestion.

Dinosaur Pileup

Next month I turn 29 (I can’t believe it) and the social enterprise ‘CookHoods’ I am trying to set up with my friend Bex is gathering momentum. I will update everyone on this soon but if you like good homemade food and supporting local communities, I think you will love it.

Until the next time. Big Love, Damien xx