In late July 2011 I was sat on a tube train in London reading the free newspaper, Metro. I had finished the main news section and was absent- mindedly flicking through the latter pages when I came across the book review section. My eye was caught by a bold, luminous yellow cover emblazoned with the title ‘Run!’. The next 30 seconds were to change my life.
I read with fascination the book review discussing Dean Karnazes and his exploits, pushing boundaries within this whole new world to me called ultrarunning. How he had run for days without stopping, 100 mile races through mountains and extreme events on all four corners of the globe. Instantly I was hooked and went straight to Waterstones to buy a copy.
From there, I devoured ‘Run!”, I went on to Amazon and ordered his first book, ‘Ultramarathon Man’ and his second discussing training for his 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days. I searched YouTube and became more and more immersed in this whole world that I never knew existed and was still relatively underground compared with marathon running. I learnt about runners such as Scott Jurek, Timothy Olsen, Hal Koerner and top British runners such as Jez Bragg.
Having already completed two marathons in what can only be described as jogging times, I realised I was not a fast runner by any stretch of the imagination. But I didn’t get exhausted easily and had stamina to be on my feet for hours at a time. I knew that with training, I could maybe do an ultramarathon. Of course, I never thought I could become elite, but I knew I had it in me to do what 99.9% of the world’s population will never do- toe the starting line at an ultra…and maybe even finish.
This is my first blog, developed one year after coming across ‘Run!’. Essentially, this is my personal diary to look back on in years to come and hopefully be proud of what I have achieved. It’s a slightly corny phrase used mainly by musicians, but I have written this for me and if anyone else enjoys reading it, that’s a bonus. Last year I was about as far away from athletic as you can get. I am not a natural and I have to work really hard at doing this and I have a long way to go- but if I can find time to train for and run an ultramarathon, seriously anyone can.
My dream is to run the Western States 100 and I will not stop until I achieve this goal. For those of you unfamiliar with ultrarunning, please view www.ws100.com to learn more about this race.
I went to California to witness and crew at this race in June 2012, having not even heard of it one year before. I will write about that in a separate piece soon, with the experience only just having fully sunk in.