The trail - Cortina Trail 47km through the Italian Dolomites
Elevation - 2400m above sea level
Date - 24th of June
The goal - To finish and to be fit enough to have fun and enjoy it
When George, Tim and I started FATRUN London...yes I enjoyed running but only really while I was chasing a rugby ball around a pitch. If I'm honest I was never interested in running, especially street running; I found it boring, repetitive and uninspiring
However, when we began to cultivate a community and some of you came to our wednesday evening run clubs my mentality changed. It was not just a jog around the city streets anymore, it was a chance to meet new people, to catch up with good friends and let off some steam after the working day.
Our run and brunch event brought together my love of cooking and eating with a great group of people and a relaxed mentality to running. I was hooked and we enjoyed a fantastic summer of pop up run clubs.
(I'm now (just about) beginning to understand what Finlay Wild (six time Ben Nevis race winner) meant when he said ‘if you are running regularly, it is not a chore to start running and it is not physically hard to go out and run, it is relaxing.')
In August I took on the three peaks challenge with three other fantastic friends and it was an experience I will never forget. Certainly climbing Snowdon with less than 3 hours to go in order to complete the challenge in under 24 hours was the most tired and nervous I have ever been in my life. In the end we made it up and back with 15 minutes to spare and it was the furthest distance I had ever tackled on foot.
The following month, I went over to the Swiss Alps for the North Face mountain festival and this peaked my interest for seeking out trails and running off road; discovering again how exciting it was to run in the mountains.
In October, I jumped in with a crew seeking out 20 miles across dartmoor with a 20kg weighted pack. A sort of jog / walk / run during different segments of the challenge. It was an awesome experience again being hit with varied terrain underfoot and encapsulated by the crew I set out with and our conversations during a long day on the trail.
All these experiences stoked my hunger for finding time to get outside and out of London in order to challenge myself. And, just last week I registered for one of Europe's biggest mountain trail races, the Cortina trail. It will be a tough and nerve racking 6 months preparing for the unknown, however it has provided me with a training goal for 2017 and everyday I am thinking about viewing that fantastic landscape as I stride out, meeting other like minded people and delving deeper into the trail running community.
If you'd like to chat about any of these events, or are thinking about giving anything similar a go, give me a shout at the next run club. Hopefully this shows that anyone can go from not enjoying running to their first ultra in no time, and I would encourage everyone to give it a go!