The outdoors is always where I’ve felt the happiest, the most like myself.
As a child I was lucky enough to live in areas that allowed me to be outside as much as possible.
Born in Somerset living next to a farm in a small village then moving to Devon at the age of 4.1/2 years old to live by the sea I was never far from wide open spaces. Even our garden in Devon with it’s apples trees and towering poplars were a place of constant wonder and amusement.
My parents made the right choices and I am forever thankful of that.
Always active in some way but not sporty in that netball or hockey never appealed to me, I just enjoyed being outside.
At the age of 19 I got my first taste of travelling, and off to Australia I went in 1998, a short trip but one that holds some amazingly fun times.
From then I went to do a summer season in Spain, before going to South Africa for the Autumn and then Italy for a ski season where I got my first real taste of what cold actually was.
After that I spent a few years studying with a bit of travel over the summer of 2000 to Canada where I traveled up towards Quebec and saw my first bear.
Once finishing my Business Diploma the travel bug was still there and off to New Zealand in the British summer of 2001 I went with the hope of snowboarding and anything else I could try, met a Frenchman and life was dandy.
The most magical place I have been to thus far, this is where I paraglided and hiked glaciers and found out that I liked to run in the mountains and in wild places.
I came back to the UK with a desire to work outdoors which I tried but quickly grew frustrated with things, so I went back to New Zealand and then onto Australia for a ski-season where I tried to become a snowboard instructor, failed, but was happy as I saw kangaroos hopping through snow regularly.
After coming back to the UK for short stay I then went back and forth between France, Spain and the UK to be with the French boyfriend as much as possible and traveled around in a van.
The outdoor life grew and grew, and days were spent quite often working in the morning with running, hiking or paragliding in the afternoon. Lots of overnight hikes up in the mountains, bivvying out under peaks to climb in the morning.
Then things changed, I was in the French Alps in 2004 working as a chalet assistant during a summer season. I got a phone call from the UK that would change my life forever, my mother calmly told me she had Breast Cancer. The world I knew changed for me. I no longer felt safe, or secure. I felt lost.
For 4 years I carried on the season workers lifestyle between France and the UK, spending as much time as I could at home with Mum during the off season. We thought she was getting better and her and Dad purchased a small apartment in the south of Spain.
She didn’t want me to stop living the life I dreamed of. Encouraged me to pursue a mountain leader training course as well as a gym instructor course. I spent more time hiking and running in the UK, re-discovering Dartmoor and places like Brecon Beacons and Snowdon.
In September 2008 I came back to the UK, that same month we learnt Dad had Prostate Cancer. The world shook again.
November 2008 Mum passed away. I went into auto-pilot. Dad was now the focus. I wanted to be around Dad and my brother, I needed to make sure that they’d be OK.
I took a job at a local gym, met some lovely people, left my French boyfriend and the season workers life.
Met someone who was secure and gave me what I needed, moved in, started up a small outdoor fitness and running group business in 2010, made some lovely friends.
May 2011 Dad passed away. This time the world came completely down.
The only thing that kept me going was the outdoors, and running. I started entering events with aim of raising money for Cancer Research, met more great people and decided that I would train to get points for a race called the UTMB.
From 2012 and 2016 I had a mixture of good races and a smattering of DNFS (did not finish).
As I had DNFd at the North Downs 100 miler in 2015 I didn’t have enough points to do the full UTMB 160km so entered and tried the CCC 100km in 2016 but only made it to 55km.
This last event was the hump that broke me, an ongoing injury and other stuff I just left feeling quite deflated.
As much as I enjoyed being outside and meeting others something wasn’t right, what I was doing wasn’t satisfying me, or making me feel like I was progressing enough. Was it the racing aspect, the need to be somewhere at a certain point or was it a body management issue, poor preparation? It was a mixture of all of these things.
But mostly racing, I enjoy a mountain marathon, yet prefer to be out enjoying the environment in my own way, I want to stop and stare for a while, be absorbed by it. My days spent training were always more enjoyable than the races themselves bar perhaps a few. This may well change for me, just for now I think racing needs not be a priority.
This has led me to now. I decided that I needed something else to do with running , but what, how could I still enjoy the environment and discover places like in my traveling days, yet also feel like I was progressing and being challenged?
I’d always thought of running across a country and thus the idea was formed…………..