Well that went past quickly! 2015 was a big year of change for me! Travelling to the other side of the globe to look after elephants, becoming vegan, leaving the NHS and venturing into a new career as Assistant Manager at “Run4It”, new opportunities and moving on to my own flat at the end of this month with a new focus on my goals ahead!
Marathons and Beyond
This year has been my venture into the world of Ultra-running and discovering a deeper love for running and adventure that seems to have awakened a deep wanderlust within me and a renewed love of the outdoors, especially mountains!
So After 7 years of working within the NHS, this year I said goodbye to mental health, shift work and unsociable hours and hello to an exciting new assistant manager roll at Run4It in Dundee. So far I have loved this position, I get to be more involved in a sport that I love, advise people on a daily basis, talk about running and hear inspiring stories from customers that come through the door.
Run4It is a running specialist. A runner’s paradise…selling only the best of kit in store. I found it incredibly interesting learning about gait analysis, the management of the stores and getting to talk to the reps and use new kit. If only they started sending me to run all around the world, then it would literally be my dream Job!
Discovering The Kintyre Way
In preparation for my big event of 2015, I started my year by running sections of the Kintyre Way. Running the trails in the snow made this a fantastic, fun route. I very quickly found out that the trail was tough, hilly and absolutely beautiful. I loved running over these trails and received a great response from fellow runners on my recce of the route that I featured on my blog. On race day itself, many runners mentioned that they were following me and had read my blog.
Spending more time in the Cairngorms
Scotland is famed for its mountainous landscape and it is a beautiful place to run! If I could run in the mountains every day I would. I was lucky enough to complete a fantastic run from Glen Isla taking in a couple of Munros which proved a great challenge in the ice and snow. My run was featured in Trail Running magazine.
Running to Perth
I finally made the run from Dundee to bonnie Perth which was a fantastic flat run. It was very hot… ice cream was a necessary stop!
The Kintyre Way UltraMarathon
This was my big goal for last year: to break the marathon barrier and compete in unknown territory. How did it go? FANTASTIC! Even though it was tough, I loved every moment of it. From the recce runs right up until race day the event was a huge stepping stone for me and a great motivator to push myself. The magnificent weather, the amazing scenery and the inspiring people just made it one of my best experiences.
Having a few days down south exploring part of the Lake District was fantastic. Spending time in the mountains was a well needed break. The mountains in the Lakes were more than beautiful and the trail network proved to be easy to navigate and great fun for scrambling over. Some snaps!
The Sidlaws and The Lommond Hills
I spent a lot of time this year in the Lomond hills and the Dundee Sidlaws. Great places to run with fantastic views on a good day and hilarity in the mist.
Thailand was without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited and I will definitely be heading back! Me and my girlfriend at the time, Rosie, volunteered in the elephant sanctuary “Elephant Nature Park” which was an experience unlike anything else. I wish we had spent the entire holiday working with these amazing animals. The Staff, the animals and the fellow travellers made this place TRUELY something special. Elephant Nature Park was the reason for me turning Vegan this year and becoming a lot more interested and involved in animal rights.
Running in Thailand was HARD, mostly because of the busy roads but also because it was just SO humid. It wasn’t until our final days that we were beginning to get used to the heat.
Glenmore 24hour Relay
In September 2015 some fellow roadrunners and I undertook the fun challenge of Glenmore in the form of a relay. We did not intend to run as far as we did as we had not done any training for the event. The run itself is a fantastic 4-mile loop with a nice gentle 2 miles of uphill followed by a further 2 back down, with stunning views and rather chirpy marshals en route. The whole race was like a wee running festival, so I can’t wait to return and attempt it all, solo, this September.
The first of many more adventures to follow!
Glencoe marathon was an incredibly tough but possibly the most beautiful route I have ever run. The route follows the West Highland Way from Glencoe over into Kinlochleven before coming back up and over to Fort William. The route had some breath-taking views and we were lucky enough to get PERFECT weather for the run. My buddie Rosie managed to get first female in her very first marathon! A very proud moment!
Anybody that follows my blog or Instagram will see that I have been posting a lot about a fantastic Finnish brand called Karhu. I won a competition a few months back and so was sent a pair of “fast 5’s” to try out and review. My review and posts were well met and I have been sent a pair of “Strong” support shoes to also review. Stay tuned for that update!
Goals for the coming year:
I have set my sights even higher this year. With the Kintyre Way done, I have caught the ultra bug. I have set myself 2 main goals for this year;
D33 – A 33 mile out and back road run that I signed up to last minute and so have no idea what to expect!
The Highland Fling – A 53 mile race, running from Milngavie to Tyndrum along the West Highland Way. A beautiful scenic route that I have yet to explore.
Glenmore 24 SOLO – After doing this as part of a relay team in 2015 I was inspired to take part in the race, solo. In the relay we got through 40 miles each, this time I want to hit 100 solo and hear that horn blow. This will bring around all sorts of new challenges for me involving continuous running, sleep deprivation and exhaustion to fuelling and hydration. I can’t wait!
Other than these 2 events, I will be training hard, finding new routes, hitting the gym and posting product reviews. For me 2015 was a good year of opportunity! I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for me.
Love – Live – Run and get out and hit them trails!
Thank you for reading!
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