Tips for the Support Team


That’s my shortened version, the longer version came from Colin Hill:

“They [the support team] should never ask how you [the athlete] are feeling, because then you start to think about the things that hurt. They should only ask what you need next.”

I met Colin Hill at Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Colin Hill, goes swimming in sub-zero temperatures and enjoys it. He looks happy and sounds happy and tries to persuade the rest of us that it is fun! (Not likely, I’m the opposite of a troll, I turn to stone and can’t move in the cold.) I digress. He swam the English Channel in 10 hours 30. He knows what he is talking about. Here’s his second tip:


(All photos were taken from Bored Panda’s website but I don’t know where they came from before that. There’s more where these came from if you follow the link. If I get done for photo stealing I shall ask Emma and Mike to reenact the shots. They probably would, you know.)

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.

First Sponsor!

Hooray, we have our first confirmed sponsor! Edible and we like their ethos!


I met the UK Market Manager of Clif Bar at Kendal Mountain Film Festival and after hearing our story and the challenges of the run, he offered as many energy bars as Emma can eat. These, the shot bloks and Clif bars, can be kept in equatorial heat and humidity and will retain their quality and shape. We will see. We shall test them in the deserts of Namibia and tropics of Mozambique.

I am hoping that we get a few extra ones for the support team, as they are yummy and some are dairy free.