Kendal Mountain Festival: Jez Bragg, ultra distance runner

A fine looking trail in Mozambique doubling up as a quality road. Photo courtesy of Fred Hoogervorst
A fine looking trail in Mozambique doubling up as a quality road. Photo courtesy of Fred Hoogervorst

(I’ll admit I put this photo here because, I think it is beautiful and I thought you might like it too but really, it belongs later on in the post.)

If you have a crazy idea, Kendal Mountain Festival is definitely the place to go to get support and advice. Its inspiring hearing about the limits that other people have pushed themselves to. To hear them speak about their adventures with absolute joy and talk about the emotional and physical challenges they went through. It was a huge learning experience for me.

Jez Bragg gave a presentation about his 3000km run, along the length of New Zealand, on the Te Araroa Trail. It was an honest portrayal. The three main points I took away are:

Shoes: It’s pretty obvious but shoes are incredibly important. Jez Bragg has lots of shoes, lots and lots. He keeps his shoes dry and sand free. Emma is running through the desert and into the rainy season. We’ll need gaiters to keep the sand out, lots of shoes and a method of drying them. I am about to test a drying/desmelling method, I shall let you know if it works.

Trail runners like to run on trails: Jez talked about loving being on trails and off roads. It brings home to me Emma’s dislike of roads. We’ll have to find a solution and enable her to go on tracks as much as it’s safe.

Perhaps no solo trail running here ...
Perhaps no solo trail running here … (Zimbabwe)

Although if the roads are as enticing as the one in the photo at the top of this post, finding trails where Emma can find that runner’s peace, won’t be a concern.

Celebrating: After running 3054km Jez Bragg asked the question, “How do you celebrate running that distance?” That’s a good question. How do you? How would you celebrate running 4000km across 4 countries? But maybe its too early to think about that.