After turning 29 I started doing what happens to most people touching 30, I started posting runs on my Instagram. Tragic, I know.

Accepting the fact that you're almost as close to 40 as you are to your teens is pretty daunting and makes you seek "positive change" in every shape and form.

Green tea, cycling, ice baths, hikes, I am a walking cliche.

What I finally settled on though, was running. I've been tightly fastened into this self-crisis for about a year and I must admit, I'm hooked.

Running is a wonderful thing, it can boost spirits and fitness, and more importantly, make you feel less guilty for the ungodly amount you drink on weekends.

Beginning with 5 km, I slowly but surely increased the distance and felt all the better for it. So not before long, I signed up for a marathon - the Manchester Marathon this Sunday.

In this age of Hardest Geezer, Sean Conway and other famous long-distance athletes, you could be misled into underestimating a marathon. Compared to their achievements, it's true, it's bugger all.

But they don't smoke, work 9-5, or have an unhealthy relationship with Guinness so, more fool them.

My mate who encouraged me to sign up for the marathon with him gave me a training sheet a couple of months ago. I've been sticking to it, ish.

The schedule aims to get you covering about 40km+ every week, including one big run at least once a week. "If you stick to it," I was told, "you'll smash the marathon easy".

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I did not stick to it. 

My runs soon became sporadic and inconsistent. Hitting half-marathons (21.1km) was doable, but anything further took a real toll on me.

I carried water with me on runs but nothing else, I knew that had to change. Cue Kendal Mint Cake.

What is Kendal Mint Cake?

The peppermint block of sugar was first made in 1869 by Mr. Joseph Wiper and is noted among the hiking community for being a tremendous source of energy.

It was also a happy mistake. While making a batch of clear mints, Wiper is said to have taken his eye off the pan and the mixture had become cloudy…Kendal Mint Cake as we know it was born.


Kendal Mint Cake was immortalised in history on May 29th 1953 when it was carried on the first successful summit of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

A member of their team later wrote: "It was easily the most popular item in our high altitude ration packs - our only criticism is that we did not have enough of it."

The Westmorland Gazette: The action packThe action pack (Image: Newsquest)

How good is Kendal Mint Cake? 

If it can get people up Everest, surely it can put a few more miles in my legs? 

I was very kindly sent an action pack that looked ideal for runners. In the box, you had five gels, a white chocolate and mint bar, two oat bars, a chocolate and mint bar and a classic block of Kendal Mint Cake.

Over three weeks I tried them all out on different runs, here are the results:

Run 1 - 14km

Before setting off I had the chocolate and mint bar. Not a good mix of flavours I won't lie, but it did the job.

The overall route was relatively steep at 270m, yet it felt like a breeze. The chocolate mint bar got me over the initial steep bit and then during the descent, I decided to try out a gel. Some kick up the jacksie let me tell you. I practically flew down.

First impressions? Crack for runners (the nice kind).

The Westmorland Gazette: Run 1Run 1 (Image: Newsquest)

Run 2 - 26km

The second run was quite a step up but for once I was confident.

Before setting off, I had an oat bar and gel, whilst taking another gel and classic mint block with me.

As a comparison, these are the times in which I completed my last few 21 km without any Kendal Mint Cake or other supplements:

The Westmorland Gazette: Previous timesPrevious times (Image: Newsquest)

On this run, I opted for a much flatter route than before. 

The bar and gel kicked like a mule almost immediately after setting off and I was left fighting the urge to sprint off too quickly; I'm really bad at pacing and have ruined several past runs as a result.

After an hour or so in, the heavens opened. Fantastic. Despite this, I still felt steady on my legs and bursting with energy, perhaps too much.

As I approached the England/Wales border looking slightly like Bez minus the maracas, I felt good. Whatever Walt and Jesse had cooked up in that Kendal lab was working. I had made the halfway point: 13km.

Another hit was needed and it was finally time to break out the Everest-beater, the classic cake. By far my favourite of all the different gels, bars and mints.

The return leg is always the hardest I find, but after making my way to the 18km point, I still felt ok. But I knew it was going to get worse, so decided to have my last gel.

Every time I hit 21km my legs go limp and tell me to **** off, but not this time. I carried on and finished strongly, stronger than any of the previous attempts without the gels/bars.

The Westmorland Gazette: Run 2Run 2 (Image: Newsquest)

Run 3 - 35km

The last run, the big one. I had never gone further than 30km so yes, this was pretty daunting, but I had my trusty gels and bars to hold my hand.

That said, I was pretty low on bars and gels at this stage so decided to have a normal meal an hour beforehand and take the rest on the run with me.

I psyched myself up and apprehensively set off. 

The first 10km flew by, it honestly did. I couldn't believe I'd been running for an hour and this spurred me on for the next 8km. 

It was here where I made my first mistake. Don't take oat bars on the run with you, always take them prior.

It took the contents of both my bottles to wash the damn thing down and now I was left without any water at the halfway point.

There’s a reason water is handed out at marathon events, so you don't have to interact with or go near the general public.

An air of malaise swept through the Tesco Express as soon as I entered, before everyone followed their noses and spotted me, “ah, that’ll be it”, they said with their eyes. Undeterred, I paid for my water, refilled and resumed running.

I continued until the 24km mark before deciding to tuck into my final piece of cake. The white chocolate mint cake. The final boost I needed to kick on to 35km. 

The Westmorland Gazette: Run 3Run 3 (Image: Newsquest)

Yep, Kendal Mint Cake worked an absolute dream on each run and I couldn't quite believe what a difference it made. 

It gives you an incredible boost of energy and I can see why it is a fan favourite in certain sporting circles.

If you're looking to 'go the extra distance', then look no further.

My only gripe is that the mint cake doesn't need any chocolate covering, it works perfectly on its own. I found that it was harder to swallow whilst on a run which wastes water.

Don't fix what's not broken, stick to the classic Everest conqueror.