Wednesday June 19, 2019
Every few years I like to take on a big challenge; it must be easy to organise and not require anyone else’s help. Four years ago, I found a loop where I could leave my car near the beach, run to the top of a cliff, head inland for a short distance then come down a trail back to the car. The challenge was to run around that loop for 24 hours. Simple; all my food and water was in the car, which I passed regularly, so I had regular access to it. In the 24 hours my total elevation gain was the same as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Two years later I decided to base my challenge on my local parkrun, which consisted of one lap around a reservoir. The plan was simple, run parkrun then before the one the following week complete 100 laps of the course 500k (310 miles) in a week. There was a campsite with showers alongside the route. So, I pitched my tent stocked it with food and off I went, running just under a marathon and three quarters a day for 7 days with a good night’s sleep at the end of each run.
This year I’m 65 in June so to celebrate I am running every day in June with the length of the run equalling the number of the days. The first seven days was easy - 1,2,3,4,5,6 & 7 miles. The last seven will be a challenge - 24,25,26,27,28,29 and 30 miles. A total of 465 for the month. For the first week, when the mileage was low, it meant I could not reach the coastal path where I love to run. I have gone car free in 2019 so driving there to start the run was not an option. (Read my car free experience blog here) I decided I would run on the road (which I don’t normally do) and explore my neighbourhood. However, my trail running nature took over and I soon found a lane that took me into the countryside. It was an area I had looked at on the map when I first moved to Camborne and discounted it as a running area because it was difficult to find a good long off-road route. That was a mistake; it is a beautiful area. Because it was unintentional, I hadn’t followed the advice I often give to others - ‘when you are trying out a new route at this time if year wear leggings as the trail may be overgrown with brambles and nettles’. I arrived home with my legs lacerated and stung in equal measures, but I was happy.
The constraint of only going a short distance and not being able to use a car meant I was forced to do something different, head off in a new direction and it was a journey of discovery. I’ve realised that what was missing from my running, exploration! That was why I was becoming stale and losing some of my enthusiasm for the activity I love. I have now re-examined the map and have some longer routes to explore that only involve a little bit of running on the road. The constraint of not using the car will stay, but once I have completed my challenge in June I am going to think of new constraints and how to have fun. I’m already looking at where I can get to on public transport and run back from, but I think I need some rules around that to prime my creativity, so it becomes a whole load of fun.
When I complete my challenges, it is mainly for personal satisfaction, however I also use it as an opportunity to raise money for charity. This time the causes are CHICKSwhich provides respite holidays for disadvantage children and Mind,the mental health charity. I have suffered from many episodes of severe depression.