Berghaus Trail Running Weekend

I absolutely couldn’t believe it when I received an email saying that I had been shortlisted for the Berghaus Trail Running Team.  I had actually only entered on a whim as I  genuinely had absolutely no expectation of getting shortlisted.  But I did, so… yeah!!!

I was super lucky to be able get a lift up to the Lakes with Rebecca Dent, not only is she a wealth of knowledge about sports nutrition, but she is also the loveliest person ever (and a trail runner).  And along with us was the cheeky chappy Barnaby.

After tackling the motorway we arrived at Helvellyn Youth Hostel (YHA) bright and early.  Once registered and armed with our sticky name tags we all bundled into the conference room.  We were individually called outside to have a portrait photo taken.  With the wind behind me I have no doubt that mine will look similar to a ball of red candifloss with two eyes lurking within.

After photos, we then had the opportunity to hear all about Berghaus and their involvement with the team.  We learned how they design their clothing and equipment around specific disciplines, we even had the chance to have a little play with some of their new products.  Then the same with Torq, who gave us a really insightful talk about fuelling for long distance running, and gave us freebies!!!  This was followed the amazing Steve Birkinshaw.  He is one of the UK’s best ultra distance runners. The best thing that I learned from him is that you can be an amazing runner and still enjoy the odd pint in the pub after!  Helene Whitaker was the final person we heard from.  She was such a delight to listen to, so inspiring.  She has completed the Dragons Back race, twice, and twenty years apart. She is truly an inspiration to me.

From listening to all of these speakers, the main tip that I went away with was that it’s really important that you refuel your body within 30minutes of completing your days run/exercise.  It doesn’t matter what it is that you are putting in but you need to be getting some fuel in.

50 of the shortlisted trail runners in the beautiful Lake District
50 of the shortlisted trail runners in the beautiful Lake District

Sadly the day had to end at some point, but it ended on a high with a group run up the fells.  We only had 45minutes to run so we didn’t go very far but it was a brilliant opportunity to chat with all the other entrants and to hear their individual stories.  Thankfully, as you see from the photo, the sun came out so everybody was smiling.  When we reached the top, a few crazy folk decided to pop into the lake for a paddle (looked a tad too chilly for my liking!).  After cooling off we headed back down to the YHA.  I was one of the last to get back.  I just don’t know how people seem to gallop downhill so easily!

Back at the YHA, I sat down briefly and chatted with a few other runners, before saying goodbye.  I also had a look through the new magazine ‘Like the Wind’, with stories from other incredible and inspiring runners its definitely worth a read.  Unfortunately that was the end for me, Rebecca and Barnaby, and we slowly made our way back down the motorway to Manchester.

Thank you to everybody that put the day together and everybody that I met.  I have come away from the day even more motivated and with a greater love for running.

by Emma

x x x

ShAFF

A blog post by all 3 of us! We’re experimenting.

Aysha: So it turns out meeting a top director in the business of adventure media isn’t as hard as you would think. I sent Paul Diffley an email, he replied and after several months of not much contact I asked him if he was serious about working with us. He said maybe, offered us a camera to use and suggested we met at ShAFF. Which was why we went. I’d never heard of ShAFF (Sheffield Adventure Film Festival) before.

Over the hills to Sheffield

Mike: Its my first ride in the 4×4. Well done Aysha, for finding that beast. Big, spacious, comfortable. And, its great to have the team on a road trip. It was hard work getting into Sheffield because most of the roads into the center were closed for the (cancelled) half marathon.

Morning!
Morning!

Aysha: It’s the first time I’ve really spent time with Mike. I’m normally shy round people but we’re going to spend 5 months together which makes being shy a waste of time. We arrived in Sheffield almost an hour early and were stumped to discover all roads to our destination were blocked off. With Mike’s great navigation, we found a car park, after 45 minutes! Emma bounced out the car to help me park and then remembered she needed to pee and went into a weird cross-legged position, which still makes me giggle when I think about it, I wish I had a photo for you to see.

Emma: Yes, I did take on a Tina Turner like posture for some time due to pee-need.  We all have these problems! I loved seeing our team come together for the first time and I think we all really compliment each other.  Our truck ‘Cleo’ is the coolest thing ever, I love her dearly.

Paul Diffley’s talk on making films

Mike: I learnt lots of really good stuff from his lecture, like the rule of thirds and the 5 shot rule – take 5 different shots: establishing wide/mid shot; close up of hands; close up of face; point of view/over the shoulder shot; and a creative shot. How to set up interviews and where to stand when interviewing people.

Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!
Photo accidentally taken with a flash in a room full of media experts. Doh!

Aysha: The biggest message, for me, was the importance of sound.

Emma: I felt completely out of my depth with all the technical talk.  I’m very glad I have the excuse of running for not doing too much filming!

Meeting Paul Diffley DSC00488

Aysha: I walked up to Paul, to introduce us all, expecting him to brush us off. Instead, he gave a friendly smile and said, “I’ve got a camera for you”. Which was a huge relief and delightful. Not everyone takes you seriously when you say you’re organizing a trip across Africa and you want to film it.

DSC00489
Can you tell me again – how do I turn the camera on?

Mike: It was amazing to meet the Hot Ache’s guy and ace that he has lent us a camera for the training run on the Cotswold way. Just need to get some good footage now. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with filming.

Emma: Very scared of having a camera pointed in my face!

The running films

Mike: It was really cool to see the running movies, especially the one about the South African guy running in Namibia (The Penguin Runner). Seeing some of the terrain we will be going through and getting to speak to the guy who filmed it.

Aysha: The running films made me realise that we need to stick to one story: either its all about Emma, or our adventures as a team, or the people we meet along the way. But I don’t think it can be all three in one film.

Emma: I loved all of the films but ‘The Runners’ has inspired me to try and get people to chat to me (and a camera) when I go out for runs.

Favourite Films: The Runners a surprisingly intimate meeting with individuals who run; The Penguin Runner one very entertaining man running across Namibia unassisted; In the High Country a beautiful cinematic film.

Accelerate UK

Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma's feet
Colin Papworth, Accelerate UK checking Emma’s feet

Aysha: There weren’t a lot of stalls to browse but this one was flippin’ brilliant. Emma’s been needing new shoes since January but not buying any, as she couldn’t afford them. We agreed to go halves on a pair, which then caused her agonizing pain in her foot after 5 miles. This hugely alarmed me (I still can’t run, I really don’t want to take her place). And we can’t afford to buy shoe after shoe until we find a pair that don’t hurt her feet. I’ve been arguing with her to go to a specialist shoe shop so I was dead pleased that Colin, in the photo, is a podiatrist. He talked through the problem with Emma, explaining lots of stuff and advising her what type of shoe to buy. We bought the pretty shoes in the facebook photo for the absolute bargain of £40!

Random Thoughts DSC00492

Mike: It was really good to hear Aysha talk about the run and I’m learning lots from her.

Aysha: We work well together as a team. The fourth team member should probably be as chilled as Mike.

Emma: We are so lucky to have such great support from so many awesome people. Feet that have been in tights and boots don’t smell nice, sorry Colin.

March

So the beginning of the month was spent in Taiwan. I went there on holiday with my mum to visit my brother. Thankfully I did have some will power and managed to run almost IMG_0442every other day while there.  This was massively helped by having my mum there running too.  She has never been a runner but has recently, in her fifties, taken up the sport.  She is an absolute inspiration to me and should be to everybody.  Its hard enough to convince myself to run some days and I’ve been running for years.  My mum has never had any interest in running, so if she has the will power and motivation to put on her trainers and go out running in the sweaty, smoggy, streets of taiwan, there is no way I can be lazy and
sit on my backside!

We mostly ran around the university track that I used to run around when I lived in Taiwan.  It’s just under a kilometre around so can become quite tedious after a few laps but its better than getting run over by the millions of scooters on the roads.  One day we ventured further and went for a run along the beach front.  There are 200m markers along the footpath so I broke out into some sprints for the first time in many years. This isn’t particularly useful for my African training but is a nice way to break up the boredom of long slow runs.IMG_0454

Being on holiday for the first part of March slowed down training a tad but I don’t mind as it’s the only time I’ll be going away before Africa so I made the most of the break.  I managed to get over 100 miles in this month which I’m pretty happy about. Slowly increasing the mileage is how I would like things to go.  Something very exciting that has come from this month is that the Sports and Exercise department at Manchester Metropolitan University are very interested in talking to us about the run and hopefully letting us play in the environment chambers that they have.  Paula Radcliffe has used the very same chambers in her training. How cool is that!  Cant wait to go play!

March total distance: 118.7 miles

March longest run: 18 miles

Sometime in March

Sometime back in March, Emma and I went to the Banff Mountain Film Festival. We were inspired. We went clubbing, we came home, we drank tequila and we talked about changing the world. Then Emma mentioned she’d run across South Africa a marathon a day for two months! I was gobsmacked and asked, “Would you do it again? … For a charity? And we’ll make a film of it for Banff?”. “Yeah, that’d be great.”

Such a simple conversation, so easy to say and absolutely nuts when you think about putting it into practice. I know nothing about organising a trip across Africa. I’ve never been to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi or Tanzania. I don’t know the dangers, the languages, the cultures. I haven’t even started a camp fire for 20 years. How, how am I going to organise this?