Letter to a Runner

29 Aug 2017

Dear Runner (and anyone who runs, even a tiny weeny bit, but daren’t call themselves runners),


How do you describe the pleasure running brings? Were you like me and struggled to articulate the joy running provides within your life beyond the simple four words “Because I like it”?




Having really thought about it, I am getting better at describing that sense of fulfilment as body and mind combine dedicated to the pursuit of one challenge, the flow of blood through my body, dialling into a seemingly inner primal rhythm and sheer escape from reality.  


I find the call of the great outdoors and connection to nature is also deeply embedded; whether it’s my local haunt on the Westbury ridgeline where Saturday night inevitably involves hill reps; scaling Pen Y Fan in the swirling mist as horizontal rain whips around my legs moments before stumbling across a stag party complete in fancy dress with pirates, cavemen and a man size bottle of beer; or clambering up Snowdon against hordes of Chinese tourists on their dusky descent amid supposedly helpful cries of “You’re going the wrong way”.


I remember a question my mother posed in passing at a recent family gathering:


“Once you’ve got the UTMB out of your system will you hang up your trainers as you’re not getting any younger?”


My world paused. The world paused.


Everything slowed down as I grappled to comprehend her words. It simply didn’t make sense. What would possibly prompt me to give up on the one activity which makes me feel most alive?


To stop running would leave a gapping void in my life. I concede these intensely deep-rooted feelings and emotions lurk deep within and the border between passion and obsession is miniscule.


 My descent into