As I reflected on the past few years, I recognised that each one brought multiple challenges and learnings. Through these experiences I’ve discovered a lot about myself in so different ways. I think it was during 2019, when I started running longer than 100km distances, that I found out just how strong my mental resolve is. No matter how tough or how painful the experience, I always seemed to find a way to keep going, to keep pushing through until the end. The cliché of being comfortable in discomfort resonated quite strongly.
Over these last couple of years I think I’ve found my own reason why I run. People often talk about running for their mental health, running to escape the vigour of life. running for ‘their time’ or space etc. And, whilst I agree with this, I found I am often thinking about running for quite the opposite reasons (which do achieve the same outcome of relieving stress and gaining mindfulness). I’ve found that I run so that I can be alone with my mind and my thoughts, but not to escape them, but rather to embrace them. It’s a time when I can’t escape from the brain. I have no choice then but to deal with the endless scenarios, questions and overthinking I am susceptible too. It’s a time when I address my problems. Find solutions and and come to accept myself and my mind. A time I find true happiness in who I am and the way I am. That for me has been enlightening. I don’t run from my problems, I run to think about them and to find a way to deal with them. It’s become such a release for me and I believe that I am a far stronger person for it.
Do I need all this running? All these challenges and the validation of achievement that comes with them? Quite possibly. It satisfies me and keeps me focused and fulfilled. So I shall keep embracing it as long as I am able to, knowing one day this may not be possible for a myriad of different reasons.
2022 has shaped up and is a continuation of each year before. Not necessarily further, faster or farther. But full of unique and challenging adventures, endless hours shared with close friends or battling the solitude of my mind and a fair bit of physical suffering to go with it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
There are some exceptional events booked in already, a few re-arranged events (still hangovers from 2020!) and no doubt I’ll keep adding more as the year progresses. These trips also bring opportunity to visit new countries with Macedonia and Norway on the cards and particularly exciting for me. As far as I know, I’ve also got a guaranteed place at UTMB following the success at VDA last year (yep, we thought it would be the easier option to run 47 hours rather than have to enter the lottery!). It is going to be another great year of running!
- February – St Peters Way 70km
- March – Hardmoors 55 (80km)
- May – Ohrid Ultra Trail (107km)
- July – Serpent Trail (100km)
- July – Eiger Ultra Trail (100km)
- July – Wendover Woods (50km)
- August – Stranda Fjord (100km)
- August – UTMB (164km)
- December – Cheviot Goat (80km)