Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go!

The average man will outperform the average women in most sports.

However, there is at least one sport where women may have the biological advantage. Ultra Marathons. An ultra marathon is a race that is longer than the standard marathon.  Some are hundreds of miles long.

In ultra marathons participants can run for days – up and down steep inclines, eating on the run and with little sleep. The physical strain is immense!

One very successful ultra runner is Courtney Douwater. In October this year she won “the Moab”, a 240 mile race in Utah, beating ALL the other runners – men and women – by 10 hours.

Before that she ran the 2017 “Run Rabbit Run” 100 mile race. Courtney temporarily lost her sight for the last 12 miles, but ran on regardless. She fell over many times but still crossed the finish line in first place!

It is difficult to say exactly why women are able to beat men in this sport. Scientists suggest a woman’s smaller physique, and their ability to store and access energy, could be factors. Apparently, the female hormone oestrogen inhibits tiredness as well.

I doubt I will ever take part in an ultra marathon. But I am both fascinated and comforted to know that women are well suited to them. Why? Because motherhood often feels like a test of endurance.

Being a mother is undoubtedly a great blessing. Yet it has tested me in a way that nothing else has. Often it can feel like an achievement just to make it to the end of the day.

Short term goals are useful, but so are bigger long term ones.

Not long ago I listened to a talk by Francis Chan. He said that he often thinks about how he wants his children to remember him when they have grown up and left his home.

It got me thinking. Where am I running to in this race of motherhood?

Like most parents I have a lot of hopes for my children’s futures. However, in reality, they will only be in my care for a relatively short period. I have limited influence over how their lives will turn out.  The best I can do is be a good example and hope they follow suit.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13, a chapter in the New Testament of the Bible, persuasively sets out how love is the greatest of all pursuits. So I have decided to make love my goal. When I hit the finish line I want to have excelled in love.

I realise that might sound a bit wishy washy. Hollywood often depicts love as something we have little control over. It happens to us, not by us.  But real love couldn’t be further from wishy washy.  It is a deliberate choice, moment by moment, to put other people before ourselves.

It is hard graft.  At times it can mean doing things that are gritty and gross.  One of the ways Jesus set an example of love was by getting down on his knees and washing the dirty feet of 12 men who had been following him around (John 13:4-5).

Through Spoons and Crayons I intend to document my race, with its many gross and gritty moments.  Most of all, I want to help others in similar situations and will aim to share practical tips with each blog post.

I expect my race will look more like Courtney’s Run Rabbit Run race, than her performance at Moab.  In other words, at times I will probably lose vision and fall over.  But I pray and trust that by God’s grace I will get back up and keep on running!

Preparing food for my family is one of the main ways that I show them love.  And in this blog post I would like to share one of my favourite recipes with you.

It uses a cheap cut of pork and whilst it is a long slow cook, the prep is quick and easy. It produces loads of meat that can be used in many different ways. Most importantly it tastes great, the kids love it and it’s packed with veggies!

5 from 1 vote

BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe


  • 2 large onions roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 tblsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp hot cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes passata for smoother finish
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 75 g soft dark brown sugar
  • 50 ml malt vinegar
  • 1 tblsp yellow mustard
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1.8-2 kg pork shoulder


  1. Fry onions and celery till soft. 

  2. Add garlic, thyme and cayenne pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. 

  3. Add all other sauce ingredients and mix well.

  4. Add pork shoulder and coat with sauce. 

  5. Leave in slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours. 

  6. Remove skin. This should come away easily. Pull apart the remaining meat with 2 forks. Stir pulled meat through the sauce and leave in slow cooker for another hour. 

  7. Skim off excess fat. 

Recipe Notes

If you don't have a slow cooker this can be cooked in the oven. Follow instructions above and put all ingredients into a lidded casserole dish. Place in preheated oven 150C/130C fan/gas 2 for 4-5 hours until the skin comes away easily and the meat can be pulled apart. Stir pulled meat through sauce and place back in the oven for 30 mins.

Enjoy the meat alone with sweet potato chips, corn and coleslaw. Eat in a bun. Use in a baked burrito, on a baked potato, or scatter over pizza with mozzarella, red peppers and onions. Yum!

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2 Replies to “Ready, Set, Go!”

  1. 5 stars
    Love the ultrathon comparison and a firm agree with fact of love being a decision, not just a feeling. Can’t wait to try the recipe! X

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