The next big milestone

In 2018 something very, very big is happening. I am hitting the big 3-0. Not much of a milestone but somewhat surprising to me. When I first started running I did so because I realised I wasn’t the person I wanted to be in my 20s. Now as I look ahead to the next decade of my life I’m excited to say I’m pretty happy with who I am.

But still – a milestone birthday wouldn’t be complete without a couple of milestone challenges and in the past couple of months this has got me thinking: how should I mark turning 30 now I’m the other side of an Ironman? Or that big post-Ironman question: what next?

So I’ve decided on 3 things to challenge myself to.

Run 3,000km in 2018. That is a big, scary number. Roughly the distance from London to Greenland. But this year I’m just about to hit 2,000km and that’s with plenty of Ironman distraction to boot! It must be possible. A different kind of big 3-0…00. One of my great running friends Celia celebrated her birthday this year by running a km for every year she was turning. So I guess my actual birthday should probably involve a bit of mileage too. Cheeky 30km on a Wednesday morning anyone?

Become an ultra-runner. I’m going to be careful how I write that goal. I don’t want to complete an ultra-marathon. I want to become an ultra-runner. For that I want to not just do a flat 50km I want to really challenge myself. So I’ve signed up for Transgrancanaria in February. I’ll be racing the 64km course with a slightly breathtaking 3,200m total ascent. That’s roughly three times the height of Snowdon. I love the mountains. Always have. Always will. Before running the mountains were always part of my life. I feel like a huge part of my childhood was spent scrambling around the Lakes with my brilliant, bonkers mountain walking father. So for me the next step post-Ironman is obvious: combine mountains and running. Slow down and increase the distance. Find the mountains. Explore.

I’ve mentioned this before and it’s so ridiculous it seems a great way to enter a slightly more grown up decade of my life: I want to set a world record. Amusingly it’s not as hard as it sounds. I’ve got my eyes on a fancy dress marathon. Now I know I can run a sub-4 hour marathon I figure I must be able to find a great WR to smash in some zany fancy dress. Ninja is up for grabs? Suggestions very welcome. And volunteers to go on training runs with me dressed up like a wally.

So what do you think? Who’ll join me on my birthday celebrations next year? It’s going to involve lots of mileage, lots of mountains and most importantly – lots of laughter.


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