I fell in love with trail running just before Christmas, at the end of last year. Of course, it wasn’t my first ever experience of trail running, but there was just something about this weekend in the Lake District, with two good pals that changed my approach to running. I’d never seen myself as a natural runner – I found it boring, painful and I just never seemed to be any good at it. Somehow, this was different and I felt like I could run mountain trails all day every day.
Once the weekend was over, I returned to normal life – back in the centre of a city with no scope for regular trail runs. That was, until I discovered trail running in suburban woods – what a revelation! Just a few minutes drive from the chaos of city life, I could find myself in a deserted wood with nothing but birds, rabbits and deers for company. It was great, but I wanted mountains – hard hill climbs and technical ground to run on.
So, I made for the hills on the outskirts of town, then pushed myself further into the Angus Glens running steep climbs up to high mountain lochs, and summiting Scottish Munros – these are the highest of the Scottish Mountains, of which there are 282 in total – I’m planning to complete a full ‘round’, running them where possible, but there’s a few I’ve earmarked for ski-touring in the winter – on completion I’ll be the first woman from N. Ireland to summit all 282 mountains.
Aside from that, I’m not really an eventor type of person – I don’t need an end goal to continue doing things I love, I don’t want any rewards, accolades or recognition, and I’m far too spontaneous to sign up for an event months away – I do all the things I do for love and my own enjoyment, anyway I’d far rather hop on a last-minute flight to catch up with pals somewhere sunny!
However, there are two events that I have been lusting after long before I even discovered trail running – I’m sure fate intervened somewhere along the way – the first of these is the Aviemore Half Marathon – a mountain trail marathon in the Highlands of Scotland. It’s always oversubscribed, but this year I was lucky enough to get myself a race number! I’m running it with a pal, and as if things couldn’t get any better I’ll be spending the summer in the Alps to train for it!
The second event, is a marathon distance trail race which is happening in the summer of next year – I’m reluctant to divulge more information than that, because, you know, things get talked about and they sometimes don’t become a reality – for some reason, society sees that as a disappointment, when mostly it’s just a change of circumstance! Anyway, it’s been in my mind for a while now but I’m keen to keep my cards close to my chest and will reveal all when the time is right – watch this space!