First of all the great news. Thanks to the huge generosity and efforts of family, friends, and companies like Footworks Edinburgh, Merrell UK, Tribesports, the Balmoral Hotel and UVU racing, and dare I say it many people reading this blog, we reached our targets from Lessons From Africa. A special thanks also to Arnaud le Marie for his fantastic and unstinting website work, and to Ross Lawrie for producing brilliant Graphic Designs, posters, and other great stuff all of which has led to the success of this project, and previous ones also. Over 1000 pairs of shoes have been sent out to support Running Across Borders, over £10,000 raised to support African Palliative Care Association, and vital medical equipment has gone out to support Chogoria Hospital. Massive, massive thanks everyone.
New years bring new ambitions. I love the simplicity of a poster I saw “No matter how slowly you are going, you will still lap those on the couch”. It’s kept me going in December, when times were slow and the days cold.
2014 will be a huge year for sport in Scotland, and one that I’m looking forward to enormously. There will be fairly major personal challenges from a running/ adventure point of view, and some great stuff going on at work.
Next week sees my first outing race wise of 2014, racing the Anglesey Coastal Trail Series http://www.endurancelife.com/event-new.asp?series=82&location=267 . It’s a 34 odd miler, with about 1000metres of ascent and descent in a fabulous part of the world. I’m usually one to pick races based on a place I fancy going and the seaside villages, coastal tracks and stunning beaches as well as the customary hills sound an ideal way to spend a Saturday morning. As a bonus it is on a Saturday, so we can go climbing in nearby Snowdonia the day after. The last time I was in Snowdonia, I did the Welsh 3000 feet peak challenge in winter, climbing all the 3000 peaks consecutively and running between them. The itinerary on Sunday might be a little less hectic.
The weekend also offers a chance to race in some new kit. My principal sponsor for 2014 are Merrell UK. I’ve enjoyed working with them last year, partly due to the top quality of their footwear and clothing but also they are good people- for example donating 150 pairs of new trainers to Running Across Borders during last year’s Africa trip. I’m delighted to be a brand ambassador for both footwear and clothing this year, and a Merrell Pack leader. You can join the pack here, for information and lots of free giveaways.
Both weekends so far have offered the chance to do what I enjoy best- get outdoors. Last Saturday we had some fairly variable (glorious sunshine to white-out) weather up Beinn a Ghlo and a few of the Perthshire mountains and felt we’d earned a beer at the finish. In preparation for an epic challenge this summer, both Donnie Campbell and myself will be spending a load of time in the mountains. This weekend I’m up in Crieff with the family enjoying some outrageous sunshine and doing a load of outdoor things.
Last year I had the chance to climb, run, bike and hike in a load of cool places, from the Dolomites to East Africa, but actually many of the amazing days were in the UK- running along the Giant’s Causeway and immense adjacent rock formations to days in the forests, on the coast, or in the mountains of Scotland. We also had some almost perfect weather for a week in the lake district. This year will be no different, with trips planned at home and abroad- it is incredible what you can see in even a day.
Work wise having largely worked in sport for the last year, I’ll start to direct more efforts into getting more people more active more often. For some of the reasons why check out a cool video called 23 ½ hrs, whilst January means that 6 Nations Rugby is round the corner, where I’ll be assisting Dr James Robson with the Scotland team during February as well as doing ongoing work with European Tour and Challenge Tour Golf, and the SportScotland Institute of Sport.
I’ve also started writing my second book – which will offer insights and smart solutions into the Science and Medicine of running for longer, and faster. I’ll share excerpts from this on my blog.