Big Easy????? What the #@%&!!!!!!!!!
Big, yes. Easy, no!!
If you are looking for a real adventure marathon in New Zealand, then this is the race for you to enter. It has everything... punishing uphills, even more punishing downhills (20kms!), beautiful views as far as the eye can see, fantastic marshals, a gorgeous river run to finish, tonnes of brilliant spot prizes, and best of all, free beer as soon as you finish!
I really enjoyed this marathon. There was about a 13km section where there was no enjoyment, but for the rest of it, and definitely after, it was nothing less than amazing.
Sometimes I find it hard to describe in words how incredible something is. There are only so many words to describe something beautiful, and I'm not good with words at the best of times. So, I have put together this small video which I think sums up the whole event pretty well. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to ask any questions or write any comments below.
For more information about the marathon, check out their website.
And if 42.2km is not enough for you, well, they do a 100km race too!!!
WHAT A YEAR!!!
Like so many people, I love to look back over the year and see how much I have achieved. In those times when you are feeling down on yourself, it really picks you up to think how far you have come, and what you can accomplish in a given time.
Looking back over 2016, I really can't believe how much has happened. I have been on 20 flights, visited eight countries and achieved so much more than I could have ever planned for. But, the best things, which unfortunately are not measurable, have been the changes in my mind and the mental barriers I have begun to break down.
After not running in any races for many years due to my nerves, I decided recently that I needed to overcome my fear so I could compete again. Taking on a mental challenge can often be harder than a physical one but sometimes with more rewards afterwards.
I did some research and picked out a few key points to help me. Below are three short videos to show the main tips that I used to overcome my nerves before the Queenstown marathon. When race day came round I felt confident and calm. Take a look...
Tip one -
Familiarise yourself with the route and area.
Advertised as 'Flat out beautiful' they aren't lying! Well, about the beauty anyway! The multiple times when I was struggling throughout the marathon, I would look around and be in awe of the beautiful environment. Those magnificent mountains, winding rivers and shimmering lakes can distract from the most exhausted legs.
Before the day of the marathon came round I already felt very confident that this was going to be a great event. Each participant has access to a personalised copy of the route map with target times at various locations during the marathon (above pic). You can also get a wrist band with your expected times at certain distances which you collect from the very well constructed athlete 'check in' the day before. All of the organisation seemed really smooth so at least all my worries and anxiety were only based on my own actions.
It's been so long since I've been uber fit that I'd forgotten how good it feels.
For the previous two years, since completing my cross-Africa run, I have maintained a basic fitness level but I've not really pushed myself. I have kept fit enough that I can participate in all the activities that I love without struggling too much. But I wouldn't have described myself as healthy, and I definitely wouldn't have described myself as a RUNNER
How smug do I feel after completing a month long detox!!!!!
After a summer of seriously overdoing it with unhealthy food and too much alcohol (blog about it here), I needed to kick start my body back into health. Being an 'all or nothing' type of person, the best way to achieve this was to give up booze all together. Even with all the physical challenges I have taken on in my life, this was pretty tough for me to accomplish!
Through committing to avoid alcohol and junk food for a whole month I learned a few big lessons which I'd like to share...
This story begins as so many others of mine do... I was drunk!
Back in May, Sarah Williams invited me to dinner at her house. There was wine and prosecco, and plenty of it. Sarah pinned me to the ground and force fed me glass after glass of all kinds of potent concoctions. And, as soon as I was incapable of making informed decisions she slapped me with the big question... "Emma... do you fancy running Hadrian's Wall with me?" She knew that in my confused state I wouldn't be able to defend myself, and that was it. I was committed.
I've always had a love for the mountains. Whether its running, walking or biking, being in the hills makes me feel alive and puts everything into perspective. Twelve years ago I completed my Mountain Leader Training as I wanted to be in the mountains on a daily basis. At twenty years old, I was a bit too young for the responsibilities and I never completed the qualification.
It's half way through September and the summer will soon be over. Time to stop living on wine, cocktails and junk food, and return to a reasonably respectable lifestyle. I don't know about you but my body needs a kickstart back into health.
So, I'm having a month of detox-ish. I'm not doing a full, proper detox but simply trying to eat healthily and cut out all alcohol for 31 days. Originally, I was just going to quit alcohol for a month but I figured there's little benefit if I continue filling my face with pork pies!!
Traveling through the rural villages of Malawi, the third poorest country in the world, has taught me lessons on another level. We all know that children are our future. It's a phrase we often hear and I guess some people think more seriously about this than others. I had rarely thought about it. But now, reflecting on my journey in Malawi, I can’t stop thinking about the struggle for the young people here compared to the comfort they have in developed countries.