Recently, I had a dilemma: do I pay £40 and enter an organised trail marathon, or do I save the cash and plan and complete my own adventure run?
Hmmmm…I love running in proper races, but the idea of heading off and running on my own for a few hours seemed like a winner. Plus I was skint. Decision made: I opted for my very own adventure run.
Simple: run the Rhondda valley from top to bottom, starting in the uplands and working my way down. I knew the area, had my map out and felt pretty smug looking at it with a cup of tea in my hand. This was gonna be great. Half a day I reckoned, and if I set off bright and early, I could be home in time for lunch.
And I had my food supplies sorted.
Well, it pretty much unravelled from the start. In the pic below, I’m stood on top of Pen Pych which was checkpoint 1 of my run. I was supposed to be here at 08.30am. Problem was, by the time I took this rather soggy looking selfie, it was after 10am.
Running to this point had taken longer than I thought. I’d been sidetracked taking pictures, like the one below of Pen Pych’s awesome waterfall. Dammit.
A plan in tatters
I hadn’t been out that long but already I’d fallen way behind. And it may have been July, but the weather was hilariously bad – I was soaked through. Stood in a puddle and feeling sorry for myself, I realised there was no way I was gonna do this in half a day.
My adventure run was not gonna happen today, but I could still have fun. I just needed to re-focus. So I decided to embrace the crappy conditions, find some big puddles and just enjoy it.
And the lesson is…
One of the best things about organised races is that you run them safe in the knowledge that the route will be clearly marked with regular checkpoints. As long as your body keeps working, you can just plough on. And there’s great comfort in that.
Doing it on your own can be more daunting. I naively thought I could glance at a map and then run an entire valley with little to no prep. It didn’t take long to realise my ambitious plan to run an entire valley from top to bottom became nothing more than a sodden, short lived trot. Maybe next time.