Sunday, 3 July 2011

Challenges Ahead.....

This time next week it will all be over and I will have competed in my 4th ultra distance World Championship race for Great Britain. Even now it still feels a little unreal. Four years ago I’d only ever dreamt of competing for my country, and although the past couple of years have been full of ups and downs, I don’t regret any of it.

Last Thursday the new GB kit arrived and that same sense of excitement and anticipation took hold, not only about the actual running, but also about meeting up with old friends from the ultra running world and making new ones. I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many inspirational ultra distance athletes since I started running “Beyond the Marathon” myself, some of whom have gone on to achieve some exceptional accolades and undertaken some extreme challenges.

For me, next weekend at the World Trail Running Championships will be another personal challenge. Although I’ve dabbled in trail running overseas in the past – the 78km Swiss Alpine Mountain Marathon and the World Trail Running Championships (50 miles) over in Texas back in 2007 both spring to mind – I have always considered road running to be my strength. However, I’m now finding myself drawn to the trails and having the urge to do longer and more difficult races that will test my limits and take me out of my comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to the race next Saturday and want to run well, not only for the GB team, but also to give me the confidence to try different things. Next weekend is just the start, and then after that, who knows?! Trentham have entered a team for the 24 hour Thunder Run at the end of July which, whilst a team effort, will also be a test of mental and physical strength, running through the night in a 24 hour relay. Maybe I’ll attempt the Bob Graham Round, or maybe I will finally get round to running the 100 mile Staffordshire Way in 24 hours, but one thing is for certain -  if this is the start of my midlife crisis, then I’m happy to face it head on and see where it takes me.

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