Sunday Race Memories: Great Winter Run 2017

In 2017 I did the Great Winter Run for the second year running, as Geth was by that point in his first year of running and wanted to try out all the races I’d done the year before. I was quite a bit slower than I had been in 2016 – I didn’t have a total running slump that winter, as I was still doing parkrun every weekend (our custom was to get up, go out to the Town Moor to do a freezing cold parkrun and then come home and ‘hibernate’ for the rest of the day!), but I wasn’t really doing any additional running and so definitely wasn’t as fit as I could have been. I was also back up at my heaviest, as I’d decided to have one last ‘fat Christmas’ of eating and drinking everything in sight before starting Slimming World in the new year…

Great Winter Run 2017
Post-race happy faces! (c) John Cooke 2017.

This was the last 5k race I entered, as you don’t really need 5k races when you have parkrun providing the same thing for free every week. 2017 would end up being a great year for longer races, though!

Gaming time

I spent all of the Easter weekend working on last-minute polish stuff for my new Adventuron game. It was a really fun project, but these things always get a bit manic just before release and so I now most definitely need a quiet weekend of playing games instead of making them! As such, for the next couple of days I’m going to be curling up on the sofa and playing all the other games that were made for the jam (along with a bit of Bravely Default II, which I’ve been neglecting for the last couple of weeks!).

I submitted the game on Wednesday and have just been catching up with day job work since then. I’m looking forward to a more normal week again next week and am excited about getting out for my nice long walks again 🙂

Easter tree
My Easter tree (all the rage this year from what I’ve read!). The LED lights have started to go a bit dim as the batteries have worn down but they were really bright last week.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson – ‘Tears’


Michael Land – ‘Herman Toothrot’
The Goodies – ‘Funky Gibbon’
Michael Land – ‘Club 41’
Duran Duran – ‘Planet Earth’


DNCE – ‘Cake By The Ocean’
Johann Pachelbel – ‘Canon In D’


Joe Hisaishi – ‘Kokoro No Kakera’
Walk The Moon – ‘Shut Up And Dance’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’


Michael Land – ‘The Underground Tunnels’


Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’
Dee Cooke – ‘Monster’*
Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’


Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’
Lisa Lougheed – ‘Run With Us’
The Firm – ‘Star Trekking’

*Yes, the tunes that I composed on BeepBox for my new game have spent a lot of time stuck in my head the last few days. It’s good that they’re catchy… right?

Phone Box Thursday: Barry Basic and the Quick Escape

Thursday phone box post pulling double duty today, as I’m featuring the phone box from my latest text adventure game, Barry Basic and the Quick Escape (released yesterday – click the link to play)!

Red phone box
An essential part of an early puzzle!

I can’t believe it’s taken me so many games to get round to featuring a phone box! Mind you, the first game I ever created in Adventuron (abandoned when mostly complete and still unreleased… but I’ll finish it one day!) has one in. This is the first example in a finished and released game!

I might put one in every game now 🙂

Playlist Pick: Lisa Lougheed, ‘Run With Us’

Everyone has a favourite Saturday morning cartoon theme song. This is mine, and it appears on many of my Spotify playlists, including my running one. Many happy memories of cartoon-watching in childhood (funnily enough, while The Raccoons was a perfectly passable and entertaining cartoon, the theme tune was the best part!).

I used this song to test the way music works for Adventuron games earlier this week, so it currently also feels like a victory song. Jam game released tonight and I will link to it tomorrow!

Happy Easter

No running vlog this week due to the Easter holiday / the fact that the game jam deadline is in two days’ time. Double vlog update next week!

Geth and I have had a great weekend eating chocolate, playing videogames (in Geth’s case) and making them (in mine). Feeling a bit out of sorts, though, so vegetables will happen soon.

Easter mantel
Easter mantel 2021!

Sunday Race Memories: Great North Run 2016

I was a bit nervous about signing up for the Great North Run in 2016, having only just recently run my first 10k. It felt a bit like biting off more than I could chew. Nevertheless, that spring I found myself a charity place – it was the very first race I ran for the RNLI! – and started planning my summer of training.

The longer training runs were tough in the summer heat, and I inadvertently made them tougher by doing boring three-lap courses of a particularly dull loop near where we live. On my final twelve-mile training run, I was so slow that Geth was able to keep up with me walking, and carried several bottles of water to see me round. That was a long day, but it meant I knew I could do the distance.

I did the race itself in 3:46:45 – a time I have now beaten by more than an hour and twenty minutes and hope to cut in half by the time my half marathon days are done. On that day, though, finishing was the most important thing, and though I had to take a lot of walk breaks, I got to the end, very sunburnt from the ever-reliable GNR day sunshine. I mostly remember my feet hurting so, so much on the long stretches of dual carriageway between Gateshead and South Shields!

At the end of the race, as an RNLI runner, I had the option to visit the lifeguard hut on South Shields beach and have a shower. This was vital for recovery, as I was pretty much dead on my feet after the long day of running! I spent the rest of the afternoon celebrating in South Shields and discovering the atmosphere of the big post-GNR party that takes place in all the pubs along the route back to the Metro station 🙂

Great North Run 2016
Pre-exertion on the start line!

I’ve run every Great North Run since – including the virtual version last year. The atmosphere of the world’s biggest half marathon is like nothing else, and I still find it incredible that it’s right here on my doorstep in Newcastle. I can’t wait to get back on that start line this September (fingers crossed!).

Slowing down… and a much-anticipated break

It’s been a busy week getting everything done in the run-up to Easter weekend. At the start of the week I was frantically finishing my jam game, but we’ve got a week’s extension for that so I’ve been able to take my time a bit more – I’m looking forward to settling down and getting it finished over the weekend. I also had a lot of day job work that I needed to get cleared before the holiday, which has been pretty much full-time this week.

Still, I got everything done yesterday, and today I’ve been enjoying the time spent drawing graphics!

Running and walking has suffered a bit this week, as I didn’t have as much time for it as I usually do. I’m looking forward to getting out exploring on longer routes over the weekend though.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, whether or not you are celebrating Easter or anything else 🙂

Street art
Some street art I saw in north Newcastle this week.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Stormzy and MNEK – ‘Blinded By Your Grace (Part II)’
Slade – ‘Run Runaway’
Pet Shop Boys – ‘Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots Of Money)’


Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse – ‘Valerie’
Johnny Hates Jazz – ‘Shattered Dreams’
Clean Bandit and Louisa Johnson – ‘Tears’


Revo – ‘Savalon Desert’
Tim Heintz, Randy Petersen and Kevin Quinn – ‘Sister, Sister (Main Theme)’
Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – ‘1999’
Scandroid – ‘Thriller’
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – ‘Telephone’
Michael Land – ‘Governor Marley’s Mardi Gras Fish Fry’


Alexandra Burke and Flo Rida – ‘Bad Boys’
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – ‘Telephone’
Dawn Penn – ‘You Don’t Love Me’


Steps – ‘One For Sorrow’
Marilyn Monroe – ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’


Owl City – ‘Fireflies’
Blur – ‘Parklife’
Sacre – ‘The London Marathon’
Tim Minchin – ‘White Wine In The Sun’
Lady Gaga and Beyoncé – ‘Telephone’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming:

The Human League – ‘Human’


Michael Land – ‘The Drinking Contest’
Olly Murs and Flo Rida – ‘Troublemaker’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming:

Counting Crows – ‘Butterfly In Reverse’