Race review: Dinton Duathlon

It’s Sunday morning at 6am – my alarm has just gone off, I groan and haul myself out of bed. It can only mean one thing – I have a race!

Today’s race was in fact the day of my first ever team and multisport event – the Dinton Duathlon, which comprised a 5k run/20k cycle/5k run. I have been looking forward to and terrified of this race in equal measure for the last 2 months. I think it’s been a fear of the unknown – running races are easy for me now, but I had no idea what actually happens at a duathlon! I abandoned the notion of actually taking part as an individual seeing as I have the cycling skills of a 4-year-old, and Andy kindly stepped in and took on the 20k cycle. Cue team Dashing Diva and Dude.

As it happened, I needn’t have worried about anything at all as we arrived at the race, which was super easy to find and in the beautiful setting of Dinton Pastures Country Park, in plenty of time. We parked up, registered, dropped Andy’s bike off and after the excellent race briefing, we were both ready and raring to go.


I set off in the second wave with the other team runners – the run was a 5k circuit on the trails around the country park. I got to try out my new Adidas Raven trails shoes for real and I can assure you they had a real test as it was quite slippery and muddy in places! My legs were still sore from a really hardcore circuits session on Friday (think 150+ kettle bell swings, 30+ squat jumps, burpees etc) so my time wasn’t earth shattering – 28.09 minutes. I handed the baton (timing chip) to Andy who then set off on the 20k on-road cycle. I waited in the bike transition area, had a bit of my protein cookie, chatted to some other runners and before I knew it Andy was back after smashing the cycle part in an incredible 34.39 minutes (actually the third fastest bike time in the team event – well done Andy!).


My achey legs then set off on the second 5k around the same circuit – surprisingly the run wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be at all. Sure, my legs felt a bit tired, but I pushed through as it was ONLY 5k after all. I finished the second 5k in a slightly slower 29.09 minutes (I’ll take that!).

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I can confirm that Team Dashing Diva and Dude finished the team event 12th out of 25 teams and were the 4th mixed gender team. I think for two total duathlon newbies that’s not too bad is it?



DIVA rating: 5/5




  • Great location – beautiful setting, easy to find, good parking and amenities (no queues for the toilets and actual real toilets!).
  • Well organised, both in the materials beforehand and the excellent briefing in the morning
  • Great fun event – I loved being part of a team and everyone was really friendly and supportive
  • Lots of marshals
  • Beginner friendly – not all triathlons or duathlons are very accommodating of beginners, which is a real shame
  • Doing the team event allowed me to get a taste of what doing a full duathlon would be like, but without the stress
  • Nice trail run instead of a boring road run
  • Great bling


I highly recommend this event, particularly for those who want to give a duathlon a go.  If you’re uncertain about doing the whole event alone, why not join a team of 2 or 3?

Special thanks to Andy for stepping in at the last minute to cycle and for Ellie of Barnes Fitness for giving us a place in the event.


Review: The Running Mat


I was asked if I wanted to review a new product – The Running Mat – and I jumped at the chance because innovative products like this are right up my strata.


The Running Mat is a clever piece of kit – it’s a portable outdoor exercise mat that you wear around your waist perhaps if you take part in boot camps, hike or run shorts distances and want to mix in some outside stretches and core work.


I chose to try it out on my 17-mile hike for something to sit on during my lunch break. It’s a great idea because it’s lightweight, foldable and you hardly even notice it’s there when wearing it. It also retains the heat, which is really useful as I tend to cool down very quickly once I have stopped running or hiking.

I shall certainly be using it for my running club this week!



Review: New Balance Leadville 1210


The lovely people at New Balance gave me a pair of their much admired and much talked about Leadville 1210 ultra-trail running shoe, named after the legendary 100-mile race. I adore my good all rounder 870v2 road trainers reviewed here, so I was looking forward to trying out a pair of trail shoes. First impressions are that they look and feel really well made and solid, and I love the colour and design. The key features of the Leadville are its N2 cushioning, a REVlite® midsole and Vibram® outsole to cushion and protect you during your run.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure it was the best idea to try them out for the first time on a 15k Alpine trail run! Initially, I had some foot pain, which is more linked to my weird feet than the shoe. I’ve had problems in the past when I have a lot of sole under foot. However, after stretching them a bit and bending them, the pain abated and I was able to run properly on them. As with my other New Balance trainers, they are very lightweight and are a good fit. I’ve not had any blisters at all with either of my trainers.

If you want an attractive, solid and extremely well made shoe with excellent grip and cushioning, then I would recommend giving these a try!

£99.99 RRP

Diva rating: 4/5
rating 4 of 5

Review: Workplay bags Fleetfoot II running bag

I was really excited when Workplay bags asked me to review their Fleetfoot II women’s running bag. I actually use these bags myself (see earlier post on what I carry with me on a long run here), especially for longer runs where you need more supplies. I am also a sucker for helping out small start up companies so was happy to provide my honest review.

Before I had a go myself, I watched the video on their site as I wanted to make full use of all the features and one thing that really struck me is just how well designed and well thought out this bag is. It looks much smaller than my existing waist band, but there are some really clever pockets and features of this bag that are not obvious to the eye. My absolute running essentials are water, keys, money/card, phone, and iPod.

They have rather brilliantly thought of all of this and have created specific pockets within the bag to accommodate these. For example, there us a padded internal ‘ninja’ pocket, which is specifically designed for keys and coins to minimise jangling whilst running, and there is also a nifty bungy system for you to hook through your jacket.

When you put the bag on and adjust the strap, it sits comfortably into your lower back and I had a go at running and it doesn’t seem to bounce around much at all, which is good as there is nothing more annoying than things banging against you when you’re running. For the Brighton half marathon, I stupidly put my iPhone in my pocket and about 1 minute in it was already irritating the hell out of me! If I were to add anything else, and I am being picky now, perhaps I would add in a couple of pockets on the side for gels, but otherwise I think this bag has been really well conceived and well put together.

I am impressed and I will certainly be buying some other bags from them in the future.

Check out their website and watch the video for yourself for more on this and other bags that they make.

Diva rating: 5/5


This is a review and for full disclosure, we received the bag to try out for free. The views expressed in this review are entirely my own.

Review: Bouldering at The Arch, Bermondsey

On Friday after work I popped over to The Arch climbing wall in Bermondsey for a bouldering induction. Just to credit that I found out about this place through PrettyFit. For those of you who don’t know, bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and limited to very low climbs over a crash pad (called a bouldering mat).

Me back in October really struggling at rock climbing.

I actually arrived late, so they quickly took me through the safety part (how to land and climbing etiquette) and before I knew it I was climbing like a monkey up the first section of the wall! I was so proud of myself as last time I went climbing I absolutely sucked massively at it, but this time it wasn’t an issue of strength at all. The climbs got progressively harder though. The next one had much larger gaps between the hand and footholds, and although I got up there no bother, I got totally spooked climbing down so I actually jumped from half way up (only 8 feet or so, but still!).

Once I’d got over the shock of that (it actually wasn’t bad at all – the fear of jumping was worse than the landing, which was fine!), I was back on it and we then had a few really complex virtually seated starts where I looked at the instructor and thought ‘how the hell do you expect me to get from here to grab that hand hold 3 feet above my head?’. Weirdly though I was able to do it, but I couldn’t get my head around the knee twist and couldn’t quite grab the next hand hold. We then did a section of wall where there was an overhang. Now this was fun. Seriosuly hard (you have to climb with your arms out straight), but great fun and a really good workout!

All in all, I can’t wait to get back there again and I’m thinking I might make it a regular thing. I still ache now so it must have been good right?