Goats on the run 27 – 2020 Review

For the final goats on the run of the year, we’re looking back for our 2020 review.
Goats on the run is our recurring feature where we shine the spotlight on some of the Lonely Goat Running Club members who have caught our eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Strava channels. For our 2020 review we’ve picked out a few of the Lonely Goats who have featured in goats on the run over the past twelve months, to tell the story of what has been a strange year.

A new year, full of promise

Way back in January, before coronavirus disrupted all our lives, 2020 started like any other – with new runners starting Couch to 5K, and more experienced runners running races, setting goals for the year, and trying new things.

Benn MacIntyre

Reaching your goal for the year in the first month? That’s going to feel pretty good!

“I am unbelievably chuffed right now. I’ve been running on and off for 4 years now I think, more seriously in the last 6 months as I’m training for a triathlon.

My aim for the year was to beat a sub 30 minute 5k/parkrun. It’s January 25th and I’ve just smashed my target!”

Benn McIntyre after breaking 30 minutes at Horsham parkrun
Ellie Vaughan

What better commute than a trail run?

“So tonight I reached a milestone…

I have been building the confidence to run home from work for the last few weeks. It’s 9 miles, some trail, some hills.

Not much to some, but I could not feel happier right now.”

Ellie Vaughan, running home
Jon Smales

After four days of an epic cross-country adventure, Jon came to an inspiring realisation.

“Great Glen Way, day 4: Laggan Locks to Fort William. 38.59km, 316m ascent.

Last day and what a day! The forecasts had predicted a dry start with weather deteriorating later so I decided to set off early to get as much mileage before the weather went south. Unfortunately the weather didn’t get the memo so I set off on my longest run ever in driving sleet and rain.

It was a hard day, my legs already had 90km in them and the conditions were grim so I just ground it out. By halfway it was much more about mental resolve than physicality and with the word ‘persevere’ frequently popping into my mind I just kept going. Even my phone nearly gave up the ghost but I got it done.

Starting my running journey last May was always about getting fit enough to have bigger adventures and having concluded my first, my brain is popping with ideas about what to do next and excited about what more I’ll be able to do as my fitness improves.

An unplanned bonus has been to realise that’s there’s more in there than I imagine. Finishing today’s run, dizzy and brain fogged, with fatigue it occurred to me there’s more in all of us.”

Jon Smales on the Great Glen Way
Vicki Finlay

Vicki’s post has a message that we wholeheartedly agree with.


…but not the usual kind of celebration post – I’m celebrating a very short and very slow walk!

After reaching a mental burnout in November I’ve been off work (last time off sick was 2006!). Hiking, swimming, running were all my best medicine until 9 days ago!

3 years of difficult events finally took their toll, but there have also been some amazing events, too (I’m always an optimist).

I took up running in January 2019 after losing weight and starting to self care more. Running has never been easy as I’m not built aerodynamically! But in April I’m due to be 50 and signed up for a Half Marathon having never done more than a 10K. 3 weeks ago I started a ‘runfit’ 10 week programme. Last Monday, I slipped on the ice in a carpark and ended up in hospital with a torn abdominal wall.
Today, I celebrate walking. A week ago I couldn’t. Not getting out has really affected me mentally.
While the Half is looking unlikely, I’m blessed today as I got up and walked.
Progress looks different to each of us daily. Moving forward between progress, failure, trying again, and starting over.
So if today you’ve got up and got out; celebrate! One hoof in front of the other! Progress is progress, no matter the speed, distance or route!”

Vicki Finlay

Lonely Goat International

We started off in the UK, but the great thing about being an unconventional, decentralised running club, is that anyone can join – no matter where they live. Here’s a couple of the international members of the Lonely Goat ‘Herd’; one from Spain, and another all the way from the other side of the planet…


“I love to run because it’s my way of life. I run to challenge myself, to be a better version of myself, to feel free, to have the finest fitness level possible. I run with dreams in my heart.

I have been running before professionally to win races. I liked to defeat my opponents and to get that gold medal. With time I understood, running is more than just winning race events.

Running reminds me that even in my weakest moments, I am strong. Aristotle wisely said, ‘We are what we repeatedly do’.

I am a runner. I was born to run.”

Amanda Pavey

Amanda is an active member of the Lonely Goat community who shares her Australian trail running adventures in our Facebook Chat Group.

There are no doubt many Goats in the UK winter who will have envied the Australian summer – at least until the 2019-20 wildfires hit.

“So I probably drive many people mad posting my running adventures. I post sunrises, sunsets, snakes, echidnas, kangaroos, frogs, lizards. I post selfies, and motivational quotes or memes. I tell you about running through tall grass without my snake bite kit. I report on how empty, or full, the dam is. We go on the empty river bed and run photo tours.

I create and post little video updates during events, or as I fill my water for wildlife containers. I post about our devastating bush fires and the dangers of trail running when the smoke is so bad. I invite you to virtually join me as I run around my property on my own for 24 hours over Christmas in my own little ultramarathon for one. For anyone who missed that one, yep, I’m that crazy.

But what you hear comparatively far less of from from me is my dedicated training. My weekly speed sessions, tempo runs, long endurance runs, 5 km time trials. The daily effort I put in to break personal bests, hit ambitious splits, running 70-80 km weeks. Strength training. Swimming.

Instead I choose to make you all roll your eyes in boredom with my sights, sounds, creepy night runs, and sweltering hot day runs. I do this because I hope to ‘speak’ to anyone who simply enjoys being out there as much as I do.

I don’t care about your speed or distance. At all. We’re not running together. You don’t need to care or hear too much about mine.

I just want to share, connect, laugh, cry, encourage and banter with all of you who simply are runners. Whatever speed or distance that means to you.

We’re all in this crazy game together as far as I’m concerned.”

Here’s one of Amanda’s sunset trail photos.

Australian sunset, by Amanda Pavey

A different kind of year

By the Spring, it became apparent that 2020 was not going to be a normal year. Like everyone, runners had to adapt to the restrictions of lockdown, and the disappointment of races and events being postponed or cancelled. Despite the difficulties, there were positives to be found from overcoming adversity, and new ways of running together, to be discovered.

Lindy Lou

“First indoor virtual 5K on Zwift Run! I really enjoyed it; made the ‘dreadmill’ interesting.

‘March into March’ day 28 and 88th of 100 days of running – 290.8 miles so far this year – and still going strong.

Hoping to get in an outdoor run tomorrow, but if it doesn’t happen I’ll certainly be enjoying my indoor run on Zwift Run – I even met some fellow Goats from our Herd.”

Lindy Lou, on Zwift Run
Ian Denham

“Good morning, fellow Lonely Goats.

This is my first outdoor run for over three weeks.

I suffered a stroke and a bleed to the brain three weeks ago while at work, totally out of the blue, no signs, just ‘Bang – have that!’

Luckily, I work close to a hospital and with the help and quick reaction of my work friends I got straight to Accident and Emergency.

I have a condition called CAA [Cerebral amyloid angiopathy] which is fatal in 1 in 3 cases, has no cure and is linked to Alzheimer’s dementia (I have family who suffered with dementia too).

Anyway, the doctors told me to rest, so I have, but they also said I can run – but slowly. So I ran this morning and it felt great.

With everything that’s going on in the world, if you can run today then run and enjoy every single step and every mile.


Ian Denham

The 2.6 Challenge

With the London Marathon postponed to the autumn, and then being changed to an élite only race in 2020, many charities were facing an uncertain future without the fundraising income they were hoping for. To try and plug that gap, the 2.6 Challenge was created, in which runners got out and completed their own fundraising challenges. The Lonely Goat community got stuck in, with many raising funds for charities close to their hearts.

Emma Mumby

“Good morning Goats.

It’s Saturday, it’s my long run day and it would have been the London Marathon this weekend – something I wasn’t taking part in, but would have been sofa-supporting, tea and biscuits on hand to help fuel me through hours of cheering.

This year is slightly different to say the least. Those who were to take part will feel a loss that non-runners in your life may not get at all… Try not to get upset and frustrated with them, you have a right to feel a bit ‘meh’ about it all, and we’re all here for you on that.
There are many doing inspiring runs and challenges to mark this weekend as part of the #2.6challenge. I hadn’t another marathon in my legs, nor even 26K…but I knew I could safely social distance run with a time goal instead. So this morning I’ve done 2 hrs, 6 mins and 2 seconds for my chosen charity, ensuring I had an uphill section to represent struggle, and a flatter section to represent how some of us feel.
I started the month raising money for The Christie Foundation with my marathon, and while I did ponder doing my 2.6 for another charity, I couldn’t fairly choose which. So I will be donating £26.20 to The Christie and then each month for the rest of this year I will do likewise for a different charity of my choice, and mark the occasion with a run.
Whatever you do this weekend, find the joy, be kind to yourself, don’t judge others as you don’t know their struggle, spread kindness.”

Emma Mumby

Challenge yourself

Virtual Challenges have been around for a while now, but 2020 was the year in which they broke into the mainstream in a big way – whether they take the form of low-key self-determined challenges, or were taking the place of established large-scale events.

Emily Mary Fisher

The Lonely Goat ethos can be summarised as ‘Support, Inspire, Achieve’, so we love to see Goats who have been inspired by other members to achieve something new – like Emily:

“I would like to say a big thank you to the Goat who posted about doing a RED August* – it inspired me to give it a go and today, I DID IT.

Not only did I manage to complete 31 consecutive days of running, today I ran the longest I’ve ever run!”

[*aka Run Every Day in August]
Emily Mary Fisher after completing RED August
Curtis Tyrone-Jones

The flexibility of Virtual Challenges has got many people trying new things with their running, or revisiting pursuits they last did a long time ago, like Curtis:

“Last week I signed up to do something I haven’t done in almost 20 years: I entered a 5K Race!

Today I ran the Run Boston Virtual 5K Run. I had a good time out there, but my two year old wanted to run another one when I was done. So sorry buddy, but no thanks!”

Curtis Tyrone Jones, and his wife, following the Run Boston Virtual 5K

A return to racing

As the world gradually found ways of living with the challenges of coronavirus, some running events were able to start again – albeit in altered socially-distanced formats.

Stephen Perry-Byrne

“Fantastically organised with social distancing and a waved start of four runners, felt completely safe at all times. It was great to be back amongst like-minded, friendly running folk. My time was 46 secs too slow, but I don’t care; it was just great to be back.”

Stephen Perry-Byrne

Thank you to our amazing Herd of Lonely Goats

At Lonely Goat Running Club, all runners are welcome, regardless of the speed you run, the distance you run, the events you run, or the reasons why you run. We are constantly impressed and inspired by the exploits of this wonderful community – every single one of you.

This is why, in goats on the run we celebrate all kinds of achievements and contributions to our community.

It would be impossible to feature all of you in goats on the run – and there have certainly been far too many of you doing amazing things over the past year to include in our 2020 review – but we hope you have enjoyed revisiting some of the achievements of your fellow club mates.

If you post your runs in our Facebook Chat Group, on Instagram, or Strava, then you may just be featured in a future edition of goats on the run.

Happy running, everyone!

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