I first witnessed the magnificence of a mountain, as a six-year-old child. My family and I were on holiday and as we hiked our way through the rolling landscapes, and so my love affair began. I felt a sense of ‘home’ as the wildness, it provoked my curiosity and ever since I have sought adventure wherever that wonder takes me; typically, atop a mountain!
I was doing my Ph.D. in polar oceanography at university when I took a trip to meet with some friends in Bury. They were gearing up to do a 40-mile track race. Running had always been a part of my life. I cannot think of a time when I did not run. As children, we run as an expression of play, joy, and wonder. We all do it inherently, but I never stopped, and I took my passion all the way through into adulthood. I ran every day, but at that point, in Bury, 40-miles would be the furthest distance I would run in one go. I gave into my inquisitive nature. Running track for the first time, I was selected to represent England in the 100K, UK championships. That is where my running career began.
Apart from reading an article in a magazine about races such as the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB), I was not aware that such mountain races existed. I knew truly little of it. I was due to be finishing up my Ph.D. come the summer, and I thought taking on the UTMB was a fantastic excuse to get out into the mountains!
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