What is achievable in the space of 10 weeks?
I'll cut straight to it - I've decided to enter a 100km (62.5miles) trail run at the start of May. This in itself is not particularly extreme. There are many, many people who can (and do) run this sort of distance with relative ease. I however, am not currently one of those people. In fact, in the last 3 years, I've rarely run further than 15km in one session. The last time I did any running with a purpose I had an Olympic Torch and a six-month beard to keep me company. By way of a somewhat feeble excuse, I can only offer that I have spent a lot of my last few years either cycling, trekking, or cart-pulling (or resting inbetween said exertions!)
All considered though, I now have quite a challenge ahead of me to get ready for this race. The idea of trying to run 100 kilometres in a single day (or rather, in 10-15 hours) is rather a terrifying one. But, as a strong believer that fear should never be given license to take hold of us, I have decided to cast aside doubts and commit to it.
This is certainly a little late, but worth blogging about even after the fact. On the 3rd June (just 1 day after returning to the UK from expedition in China) I was extremely honoured to run with the Olympic Torch along the stunning North Coast of Northern Ireland.
I'd first found out about my nomination at the start of the year,whilst still in the mountains of Northern China. A teacher has put my name forward after I gave a tour of Belfast schools, encouraging kids to get outside and get active. I must admit that initially I felt quite detached from the whole thing. The email came through while I was sitting by a roadside in a remote area of Shanxi province watching snow cling stubbornly to the few brave (and bare) trees that dotted the hillside. I was less than a quarter of the way through the toughest journey of my life, and the idea that in a few months I would be jogging through a small Irish village carrying a flaming hunk of metal while hundreds of people cheered seemed remarkably alien. At that stage I didn't even know about the white jumpsuit, but I imagine I would equally have struggled with that.
As the months passed however and I happily found myself still alive on the other side of a rough winter, news of the build up for the Olympics filtered through, and I had time to ponder the whole thing. I'd be carrying a flame which would pass through the hands (not literally) of 8000 inspirational people, travelling the length and breadth of the UK and ending up in the Olympic Stadium to mark the start of one of the biggest moments ever in British Sport. That, I figured, was pretty cool.