I love London Marathon day – massive congratulations to all my mates who ran today. It’s 12 years since I ran the London Marathon myself so today it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. Thankfully there’s a good few bakers up for it next year too.
This week started on a high as we spent Bank Holiday Monday back at Lavenham Falconry. Last year, we’d gone there to do a Hawk Walk, that I’d got as a gift the previous Christmas. The kids fell in love with the owls we’d met so we returned this week to do their Owl Encounter experience. I really couldn’t recommend it more as a family day out. We spent three hours meeting the different owls and learning all about them with our expert, Steve. The kids got to fly them too and really took to it. I’ve tried to bring them up around as many animals as possible and it’s paying off now as they’re so gentle and confident around all kinds of creatures.
We were lucky enough to spend the morning with a great couple also doing the owl experience; Lee and Steph and their daughters. With the marathon around the corner, we got talking about running and particularly how good it is for mental health. The work of the Heads Together charity has been all over the news recently and I thought it was a real marker of the campaign’s success that it was an immediate talking point between strangers. Lee is really passionate about the positive effects of running and is starting up a running clothing company, Runarchy. He and Steph made the video below for Heads Together this week to talk about what running means to him.
I’ve been pretty open about my own history on the blog recently and I’ve found running and particularly training for something specific has always been good for how I feel. I ran the London Marathon in 2005 and the Paris Marathon in 2008 with my wife Sarah (pictured together above after the race), my best mate Ross and his wife Karis. Since then I’ve kept up a bit of running with 5Ks for Great Ormond Street and 10Ks for the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Watching the marathon this morning, I thought how much I’d love to do another marathon, especially ten years after the last one.
When you go on the Great British Bake Off, in your contract it warns you you’re likely to put on a bit of weight, which I’ve always referred to as the “Bake Off Stone”. Baking the amount we had to for the show takes its toll on the waistline – there’s a reason so many chefs are into running. For many of us since Bake Off, baking regularly to test recipes for books and magazines, baking for private commissions, baking for demos, etc. means that what to most people is the odd treat becomes a constant supply of baked goods through the kitchen. But the other really noticeable attribute of past Bake Off contestants, and what I like so much about the friends I’ve made through the experience, is that they’re all doers: not people who might do things one day, but people who commit to an idea, jump in with both feet and say yes.
After the tweet above sent by last year’s Bake Off winner, Candice, this morning, within a few minutes, Candice, Jane, Tom and I had all agreed to run the Marathon next year. By this evening, we had a Baker’s Dozen signed up:
- From Series 7: Candice, Jane, Tom & Michael
- From Series 6: Ian, Mat & Alvin
- From Series 5: Me, Chetna, Enwezor & Claire
- From Series 4: Kimberley & Beca
There may still be more of us GBBO alumni up for it but all of a sudden I’m ending this week really excited about having this to aim for over the next year. Sarah is the most organised person I’ve ever met so is already on the case coordinating this for us all and is planning to run it again too. What I love about those of us doing this from the Bake Off gang is that there’s a big span of age and levels of fitness amongst us and I really hope that between us we can motivate other people and hopefully raise a lot of money for good causes. If you want to sign up yourselves, the ballot opens at the beginning of May so keep an eye on the official website here.
In the spirit of being inspired by stuff I’ve watched on TV, following the Big Painting Challenge, the art course I signed up for begins this week. I’ll try and share some of what I do on Instagram and it’ll be fun to draw something other than cake designs (as above) for a change. Anyway it’s been a really long day today after a successful baking demo this afternoon, and still a quick tray bake to finish this evening for Daughter #1 to take to school so until next week, Happy Baking and let’s get our running shoes on too…!