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)
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.
- Returning for winter marathon training in Kapchorwa
- Learning about the training methods of Joshua Cheptegei and the NN Running Team camp in Kapchorwa with head coach, Addy Ruiter
- Trying again to beat three hours at Boston Marathon 2019 but falling short
- Working on my final Uganda Marathon
- Taking on the World's biggest ultra - Comrades Marathon in South Africa
- Finally crashing
- Starting a project to explore innovative, sustainable ways to fund community sport in Uganda
- Deciding it would be a good idea to run the length of the River Thames to crowdfund it
- Choosing the madness of the MTN Kampala Marathon to mark my 20th 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...
Early morning runs with Olympic hopefuls in Kapchorwa, Uganda
One last thing...
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