Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Somerset Wildlife Trust’s own Marathon Runner, 2018!

Vangasse AnthonyWe would like to introduce Tony Vangasse, an amazing long distance runner, who has very kindly volunteered to run the 2018 London Marathon on behalf of us, to raise money for the work we do! is a little bit of information about him and how you can help him reach his £1,500 target. 

Hi, I'm Tony and 'I'm a supporter of the Somerset Wildlife Trust, along with other local and national wildlife charities. I am a big lover of wildlife, hence relocating next to a nature reserve 10 years ago, and I also enjoy running! Coming from a family of runners, it wasn't long before I became one too, competing in my first half marathon aged only 13!  Since then I have run hundreds of races, but I particularly enjoy running in Somerset within the wonderful nature reserves and was lucky enough to win the Somerset Series cup a few years ago.

I also enjoy raising money when competing in races, such as the Bristol and Bath half-marathons. Just last summer I ran 80 miles of the Offa's Dyke trial as part of a self-organised team, raising £6000 for a local charity.

We need to protect our beautiful Somerset landscape and the nature within it and running for the charity feels like a further contribution I can make, plus bringing awareness to the work of Somerset Wildlife Trust. I also love the idea of my children, in whom I am trying to cultivate a love of nature, seeing their father running for wildlife and I'm sure they will be the loudest children cheering on the day!


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Tony's Blog!

10th January 2018

The marathon training has now picked up in earnest.  Saturday saw me out early in the frost for an 8 mile run across the nature reserves on the Somerset Levels. With not a soul about on Shapwick Heath, there was plenty of wildlife about, including the usual egrets and herons, but the highlight was having an large otter cross the path only yards in front of me, passing from the South Drain into the reed beds.  Just goes to show what's on the move if you get up early!

The intention was to do some cross-country training too, to build some strength; however, the fields behind my house on the Somerset levels are mostly flooded with the amount of rain we've had over the past few weeks.  Not great for running, but great for bringing in wading birds.  We've had great displays of lapwings and there are a few snipe dotted about.

My plan is to run 3-4 miles every few days, with a long run every two weeks.  Adding two miles to the long run each time should get me to 20+ miles before the big event, providing I don't pick up any injuries.  I'd love to complete the marathon in 3 hours, but we'll see how I progress in training.  I'll keep you posted.


When is the right time to start training for a marathon?  Weeks, months, years before?  I ran my only other marathon 15 years ago and, despite some 20-mile training runs within a month of the event, I ‘blew a gasket’ in the last 6 miles and got a lousy time.  So, I’ll be starting training a little earlier for the 2018 London Marathon and this blog should keep me honest. 

In the spirit of the charity I am running for, I’ll also be trying to do most of my distance running on Somerset nature reserves; not least because I love spending time on them, especially this time of year when winter visitor birds are migrating here.

So, how much training have I done over the last fortnight?  None!  I’ve been in London and Norway for work and in Exmoor to check out the annual deer rut with my family; however, I promise my next blog will confirm the trainers are back on and the miles will be clocking up before the big event.  I’ll build the miles slowly, covering around 10 miles per week in November.  I should probably build a training plan – I’m open to suggestions!