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Adventures in Running: Three Years In

Three years running the world (and counting)

· running,community,adventure travel,africa,career change

It feels like an age since I walked out of my London office for the final time with hopes of a more fulfilling existence.

I wanted the freedom to travel, to discover a simpler way of living, to explore running culture across the world and understand the concept of 'Sport for Development' a little better.

As I was reminiscing about the last three years during moments of reflection over the festive season, I thought I'd write a little recap of the highlights.

Year 1 - The Globetrotting Racer

The only plan in the first year was to drop into Colombia and spend five months travelling north overland to Boston Marathon. I would train for the marathon whilst trying to find people along the way who were involved in community sport to see what I could learn from their experiences.

It's fair to say that this part of the journey was more eventful than I had anticipated!

  • Arriving for my first visit to Colombia and deciding to travel straight to the coast to run in Del Mar a la Cima - a trail marathon on the highest coastal mountain on the planet
  • Training with the lovely folk at 21 Korredores running club in Bogota
  • Discovering the amazing (free!) public sporting facilities during Christmas in Medellin
  • Spending a magical month in Nicaragua running on Isla de Ometepe and trekking volcanoes in Leon
  • Ending up in hospital in Guatemala with dengue fever
  • Racing against time to return to health just weeks before Boston at a training camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico
  • Running one of the coldest, wettest Boston Marathons on record
  • Then running one of the hottest London Marathons on record six days later
  • Off the back of this questionable decision, suffering a knee stress injury that would prevent me from running for several months
  • Visiting Iten, Kenya and the Kaptagat training camp of the main man: Eliud Kipchoge
  • My first visit to Kapchorwa - Uganda's endurance running mecca and the 'Land of Champions'
  • Deciding to go ahead with running Berlin Marathon only eight weeks into my return
  • Then Chicago Marathon
  • Then New York Marathon
  • Attending my first ever Thanksgiving in Chicago and realising the ambition to run a 'Turkey Trot' (complete with a polyester turkey on my head)
runner participating in a turkey trot race in chicago

Taking part in the 'Turkey Trot' during a freezing Thanksgiving in Chicago

Year 2 - Purpose

As the second year drew to a close, I was keen to make use of all I had learned. By now, my body and mind were becoming weary from the constant travelling, training and racing. I was ready to find a base and build something.

runner finishing comrades marathon

The last few metres of a tough day at the Comrades Marathon Up Run in 2019

Year 3 - Covid and the Search for a Safe Place

What can I say? A 'dropped trifle' of a year.

  • Living with an elite running team and learning how Ugandan runners live and train
  • Co-founding Run Kapchorwa - using adventure sport tourism to build capacity and create employment
  • Covid-19 hitting Uganda. Becoming stranded in Entebbe for two months whilst planning a return to the UK as the only international airport is closed
  • Returning to the UK. Having a struggle whilst isolated in London and deciding I was far better off in Uganda
  • Pretending the previous three months didn't happen. Settling back in to life on Mount Elgon whilst nervously awaiting the Ugandan Presidential Election

What will Year 4 bring? Watch this space...

morning training run in kapchorwa with elite ugandan athlete Benson

Early morning runs with Olympic hopefuls in Kapchorwa, Uganda

COVID-19 has resulted in a severely reduced income for freelancers like me. If you've enjoyed any of my ramblings, it would be lovely if you'd consider buying me a coffee

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