Hobbit Adventure??

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

WebPoster04

Week 1 and the UK section of my journey to Mordor!

Why am I doing this?

It’s a good question… Essentially, I am looking at running literally hundreds of miles, straight on from the Manchester Marathon, which other than a ferry into Holland, will all be on foot. [MORE DETAILS HERE]. Plus the Lord of the Rings theme is only going to serve to make this more uncomfortable. I appreciate people might think I’m being a bit weird.

Fundraising Has Begun!!

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Sure-footed as a mountain hobbit!

Sure-footed as a mountain hobbit!

Run Frodo, RUN!! … for real this time.”

 

This fundraising challenge has actually been around two years in the making in a way; following on from running to John O’Groats from Lands End in March, 2014. I remember being in a hotel in Wick on the penultimate day, when I got a message on social media from my friend Scott, showing me this thing you could do at the time on Google Maps where you plug in walking directions from the Shire to Mordor, and it would give you some smart-ass response along the lines of “use caution” as “one does not simply walk into Mordor“. Or something like that.

My “Impossible” Move

“What would you want to move to Buxton for??”

 

Border between Cheshire and Derbyshire

Border between Cheshire and Derbyshire

Errwood Reservior

Errwood Reservior

This is a question I’ve been asked quite a bit since I moved here four months ago, back in October. I think people mean well when they ask this, but there’s usually some genuine confusion attached due to the difficulty I’ve seemingly  placed upon myself that many would view as unnecessary, so I’ll do my best to try and explain…

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Geese

Geese

The Gritstone Grind, 2015

IMG_0455The Gritstone Trail is a national trail route that takes you from Kidsgrove in Staffordshire, to Disley in Cheshire; 35 miles of very green Peak District terrain and over 5,000 feet of elevation along the way.

Earlier this year, I discovered via the Welsh V3K and Snowdon Trail Marathon, that I am not quite the mountain goat I thought I might be… Running up a mountain is hard, running DOWN a mountain is crippling! It’s something I intend to work on, but mountains by nature are just that little bit more vertical than my body likes to work with.

Running Away From My Problems

How Running Becomes Therapy

How do you run so far?

Don’t you get bored?

 

Two questions I can safely say I have been asked a LOT. The first one is highly complex and has a very long, physiological answer. I suppose the real question then, and the answer to the second one in the process would be “Why do you run so far?” – So I’ll have a go at that one…

Trail Running – A Sport on the Rise!

PeakSkyrace_01

Me at the Peaks Skyrace, 2015 on the weekend

It was back in 2013 when I first started entering trail races. I decided that marathons were good fun (yes, you read that right), but I wanted to push myself with increasingly tougher terrains and route profiles.

Trail marathons I found were definitely my thing. I took to them straight away and noticed I was ‘reasonably’ good at them too.

All that summer, I found myself in the top 5 of events I entered, regardless of how little training I did. I never won any, but I had a couple of 2nd’s to my name and a 3rd place in one of the Hardmoors trail marathons. All evidence was pointing towards me being pretty big news…

Crisis of Confidence!

I’m pretty sure everybody has these days from time to time; when your brain inexplicably becomes your adversary and has you lose all confidence in all that you do.

Normally this happens when you’re tired for some reason. While I was on my own running the length of the UK, I would often wake up in the night with terrible anxiety about what I was trying to do. Then I would wake up in the morning and be 100% confident again. Strange.

I don’t know whether it is exclusively down to being tired, or possibly being subconsciously overwhelmed by your environment without realizing, and tiredness then brings that to the forefront.

John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 4 – Broken Bike

Where I left off

Day 4 route.

Day 4 route.

It had been an eventful previous evening, including a fall at high speed and an impromptu lesson in bike repair I didn’t know I needed. I’d been left with minor injuries, but also sadly, an unridable bike due to a split tyre.

I went to sleep that evening in a state of despair and confusion over what to do next. I had resolved to wake up early and find either a bike shop where I could purchase a new tyre, or at least a train station so I could get to a bike shop somewhere. The main problem was I didn’t know where either of these things were; plus I’d need to be on foot…

John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 3 – The Bit Where I Fell Over

Where Was I Now?

Day3It was now morning number three, and once again I found myself in a budget-crippling hotel after the weather had forsaken me for a second time in as many days.

The idea was that I’d be camping out in the wild; making the most of the remote, picturesque landscapes that Scotland provides in abundance; something I successfully managed in March last year for my LEJOG run. Unfortunately, the conditions were not so kind to me this… May? … At least I think it was May. It felt more like February.

John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 2 – Glencoe Valley!

Where Was I?

day2It was now Thursday morning, having left JOG the morning before. To summarise the challenge so far, it would be fair to say the weather was being a little unkind. The weeks building up to challenge we had a lot of sun, typical of what you’d expect from mid-May really. The very second I stepped off the train in Thurso the rain began. I’m not even exaggerating for comic effect here; that is genuinely when the first drops of rain started; I just didn’t think too much of it at the time. I was now in a hotel in Bonar Bridge; a non-optional budget extension having been exposed to a prolonged head-on battle with the elements all of the previous afternoon and early evening. Hopefully today would be a better day…