Matt Smallman

Endurance runner, productivity geek and bio-hacker

Matt Smallman

Rebooting my blog

Now seems as good as time as any to restart this blog. In the six years since it was last properly updated an enormous amount has changed in my life, nearly all for the better, and I have also learnt a tremendous amount about a range of subjects. I hope to use this blog to share this with others who might be on a similar journey through life and to also act as a memory jog for myself about the decisions I made and the reasons behind them.

At the outset I expect there are going to be a couple of areas of coverage:

  • General Musings – I have an opinion on many things. Most of it won’t be interesting to other people but the act of actually writing it down will help me explain and understand myself better.
  • Endurance Running – One of the last posts on this blog was from the London Marathon in 2013 which was a major achievement for me then but after a few years of social and fitness running I’ve gotten serious again. Last year I completed my first Ultra marathon and I intend to more.
  • Productivity – As an independent consultant for the last 3 years and a geek for most of my life I’ve started to hone my productivity systems, tools and processes. I intend to catalogue the components of this and the lessons I’ve learnt in the hope that others may find it useful.
  • Bio-hacking – Both as a runner, entrepreneur, father and husband I need to be at my best I’ve learnt and continue to learn so much about how to be at my best. I hope to share what I’ve learnt so far and where I’m trying to get to.
  • Home Automation – As I work from home and am always trying to optimise my environment I have spent a lot of time (and money) trying to automate various aspects of our house with varying degrees of success. Given the time spent on it, the effect has almost certainly been net negative but it does provide an escape. It’s one of those areas where other peoples blogs have really helped me so I’m hoping to repay their effort by paying it forward with my own experiences.

I hope you enjoy what follows and am always looking for feedback.

Personal Statusboard

I came across this great app ( a few months ago and have used it to build a personal status board for my iPad. My statusboard currently consists of:

I have some more things I would like to do when I get a chance:

  • New – Countdowns to next holiday or other events
  • New – Running training tracker – Using the runkeeper api.
  • Improve – Train RSS feed to only show items relevant to me items
  • Improve – Tube RSS feed to only show items relevant to me
  • New – To Do list – Using toodledo api.
  • Improve – World clock – Add time of day icons
  • Improve – Server Status – Add time since last seen

I will also update this post with links to articles on the items I wrote myself for those who are interested. Totaliser

I used this code to create the Statusboard panel with my current fundraising total during my 12 week challenge to complete the 2013 London Marathon for help the hospices

You need to have an API developer account at, insert your details in the script as appropriate and put the page somewhere publicly accessible (as it’s .html this could even be dropbox or google drive) but otherwise, it should be self-explanatory then point your status

Shows total of funds raised, on and offline including gift aid (UK Tax refund) from on Panic Status Board:
1. Register for an API key and access at:
2. Replace: with the appropriate api-key and your-page-name
3. Place the page on an accessible web server
4. Install into Status Board using the DIY option

  <title> Totaliser</title>
   <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, minimum-scale=1.0, maximum-scale=1.0">
   <script src=""></script>

    function update() 
         	$.getJSON("", {},  function (data) { 
         		var total = Number(data.totalRaisedOnline) + Number(data.totalRaisedOffline) + Number(data.totalEstimatedGiftAid) ;        


	  <table style='border-spacing:0; border-collapse:collapse; width:100%; height:100%;'>
			  <td style='padding-left:10px; font-size:36px; '> FUNDRAISING:</td>
				<td style='font-size:36px; text-align:right;'> &pound <span id='raised'></span></div>

Marathon Challenge – The Finish Line

Whilst you will probably be relieved that this is my final post on the subject I am very glad to be able to report success in my 12 week marathon challenge. I was very pleased to finish last weekend’s London Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes (just under my 4 hour target). It was an amazing, if not painful, experience that I will never forget; although I feel no need to repeat in the immediate future as it wasn’t until Wednesday that I was able to walk down stairs again. I was completely overwhelmed by the support I received from friends, colleagues and family both financial and emotional. It is no exaggeration to say that this is what got me up on cold winter’s mornings and ultimately to the finish line. Thank you.

For those who like the stats (I do – did you guess?). From a standing start just over 12 weeks ago I’ve sent 196 emails, made 20 social media posts (Barclay’s internal mysite produced most sponsorships and LinkedIn least if you were wondering), filmed 40 minutes of video in 63 segments, edited 8 videos down to 15 mins and of course spent 29 hours, running 195 miles over 24 sessions (not quite my original 250 mile target but only 3 of these were even warm enough to wear shorts). 161 of theses emails have been opened, the website visited 479 times by 209 unique visitors and the videos played 195 times (although only 108 times to the end – maybe I need to work on that) and finally 77 people sponsored me which helped to raise £3313.25 for Help the Hospices with a little help from Barclays.

This is an enormous amount, far more than I ever dreamt possible in such a short time and I am immensely grateful to everyone for their generosity. It is hard to express in words just how much it means to me to be able to do this little bit to help ensure that other families and their loved ones can continue to benefit from the whole person approach to terminal care that Charlie and I were fortunate enough to receive for our respective fathers.

In case you haven’t yet had a chance; you still have a short window of opportunity to support Help the Hospices by sponsoring me at:

Finally, whilst I am obviously very grateful for everyone’s support in getting me to the finish line, if it hadn’t been for Charlie and Thomas graciously giving up a significant chunk of their time with me over the last few months then I would never have been able to make it to the start line. I therefore promise to find a much less time consuming challenge for the second half of the year.

P.S. I forgot to mention in the stats section the 10 litres of Waitrose Chocolate Milk that fuelled my training. Highly recommended to accelerate post training recovery.

My Home Server – Part 1

As Home Server gen 4 is now up and running I’ve decided it’s time to clear out all the old bits of computer that have been hanging around for several years

  • 2007 – XBMC and NSLU2
  • 2009 – Ubuntu HTPC
  • 2010 – 2012 – Windows HTPC Server
  • 2013 – Ubuntu Netbook Server
  • 2014 – ESXi Beast
  • 2016 – QNAP NAS
  • 2018- Ebay ProxMox

Marathon Challenge – Week 11

[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_vimeo id=”64130281″ width=”500″ height=”281″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”badge=0&byline=0&title=0&portrait=0″ class=””/][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]With just under 2 weeks to go until the big day I am through the hardest (and dullest) part of my training and have started to ease up a bit so I’m fresh on the day. It was great to finally get out in some sunshine this weekend after what must have been the most miserable first three months of the year ever.

As a result of colds and other injuries I didn’t quite make my planned furthest distance of 22 miles but did make it to 19 a few weeks back but I’m not sure I’d even have managed that if it weren’t for your generosity. You can see a dramatically sped up fly over of the 19 miles that took me 2hr 40mins last weekend in just 2mins 10secs in this week’s video blog.

I’m still tracking for a respectable time but a lot can happen between now and then as well as on the day when the sheer number of people on the course can have a big impact. If you’ve never been in London for the Marathon then I would definitely recommend it. If nothing else it is a great spectacle, there is a wide variety of entertainment around the course and you can take pleasure in the fact you are not running. The Canary Wharf area affords several opportunities to see the race as it passes within about 200 metres of the same spot a few times, the bars, restaurants and shops are open as normal and you can easily get back to the finish area in Westminster on the Jubilee Line. I’ll be wearing number 40453 and the yellow and blue Help the Hospices vest with my name on it so give me a shout if you see me.

With your support I’ve now exceeded my £2500 sponsorship target and am hoping to be somewhere near £3000 by the time the dust settles.

I plan to send out one more update before the race and another when it’s all over but if you want to keep up to date, I’ll be posting video blogs at most weeks.

Once again thank you for your generosity and support.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Marathon Challenge – Week 7

Marathon Challenge – Week 6

Marathon Challenge – Week 4

Marathon Challenge – Week 3

Three weeks ago today I received an email asking if I wanted a place in the London Marathon that Help the Hospices would loose if not filled in 24hrs. There were two main problems with this proposition:

  1. I had only run about 4 miles since the start of 2013 and would need to bank around 250 miles in the next 12 weeks (which is as far as I ran in the whole of 2012) to stand any chance of finishing.
  2. I needed to commit to raise £2500 to secure and justify my place.

I obviously said yes, and now that my training is on track I need your help with the fundraising.

I’m going to try a couple of tactics you get your support. You can donate because you want to give me the motivation to complete, because you enjoy watching me humiliate myself in my video diary or because you understand the importance of the hospice movement. I don’t really mind which but please give what you can.

The Personal Appeal

As you may know I used to live a slightly less sedentary existence, running most days and had dreams of running the London Marathon and getting a good time. I even got a place on a couple of occasions but unfortunately HM Government had different plans for my time. Since leaving the Army though, I became a bit of a fat knacker, enjoyed my food a little too much and ignored my fitness and therefore these dreams were mostly forgotten. On occasions I would submit a ballot form or think about it but accidentally miss the deadline. This time last year I decided to do something about it and hauled myself round a two mile circuit in a time I daren’t print but have been working hard since then completing two half marathons raising £1700 for Medical Detection Dogs. Don’t take this to mean that I am not slightly afraid or scared of the task ahead because I really do need your support to get me to the finish line.

The Humiliating Videos

This started out as a bit of a gimmick but already has a bit of a cult following, so I will film a new video every week and post to my site If you donate, you will get a special thank you video and some special updates before, during and after the big day. Here’s this weeks video from the Isle of Dogs:

The Good Cause

Help the Hospices represents the many hospices around the UK on the national stage; lobbying for funding and recognition, as well as providing training, support and education. If you don’t already know hospices provide truly holistic care to patients who are nearing the end of their life, often after continued treatment for terminal illness has been judged futile or counter productive. They provide an environment that recognises the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their loved ones, as well as the purely functional. At both of the two most difficult times of my life, two different hospices have helped me and the ones I love to come to terms with the reality of the situation, to let them really live the last few days of their lives and to say goodbye in a dignified manner. They are certainly not most the glamorous part of the health service or the sexiest of charities but unfortunately death is inevitable and if those you love go before their time then they provide a dignified and respectful setting in which to do so. It takes 400 million pounds per year, more than 1 million pounds a day, to keep the UK’s hospices going, so every pound you can give is needed.

Please give whatever you can, whether to see me humiliate myself on the internet, to support the hospice movement, to encourage me to get round the course, or a combination of all three. Don’t forget that Barclays will match your donation and that you can increase it even further by opting to use gift aid.

You can keep track of my fundraising, training and race progress at

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