In one month today I will be fifty years old, a milestone that I have been anticipating for a while, yet one that has just sort of snuck up on me in the last few weeks and one I was unprepared for – until now.
Eight or nine years ago I decided that I wanted to do the Trans-Alp mountain bike race for my fiftieth. It is a multi day, gruelling ride held late September / early October so timing wise it fitted and I liked the idea of the challenge. That idea morphed into a plan to tour Europe and finish the trip I was on when I celebrated my twenty fifth birthday, in the Kombi van somewhere in Holland. Well the whole mountain bike thing fell off the list as my riding fitness waned and bike time became almost non-existent, however I am in Europe – so half the plan was actioned.
This left me with a big milestone rapidly approaching and nothing to do to acknowledge or celebrate it, I can hardly have a big party as most of my friends are in New Zealand. Three weeks ago I put a semi-facetious note on FaceBook asking for ideas and my ‘friend’ Malcolm suggested I run 50km. I recently supported Mal when he ran 1014km in 17 days to raise awareness of mental health, see Mal’s review of the Coast Path Run starting here, so it was no great surprise that he suggested it!
My first thought was this was pretty silly, I mean – I am happy to run for a couple hours, but 50km, off road – Mal would never suggest a road run, would be a real challenge for me. I guess this is why it was suggested ! No point in doing something easy. I gave the idea about 2 minutes thought and decided that if I could do a couple of decent two to three hour runs in the next couple of weeks I would do it.
If I was going to run 50k I may as well do it somewhere with stunning views and somewhere where I at least had some vague familiarity with the terrain, so I emailed Tom, who lives on the English south coast and was also involved in running the Coast Path Run for some ‘easy’ options for a fifty. He suggested a few locations and also volunteered to reverse roles and be my support person for the day – how cool I that! I also contacted Garry, another runner from the coast who ran with Mal (and has an impeccable music taste) to see if he was around and he said he would do the whole thing with me – and knowing Garry, if he had the time he would turn around and run back again! With this kind of support, how could I not do it ! I love trail runners, such an awesome bunch of people.
So Saturday 15th September, two days before I turn fifty I am going to do 50 for 50. Mal – thanks for the idea, I mean it 🙂 a great way to celebrate my birthday, it fits in with my original plan – do some crazy physical thing plus I get to hang with Tom and Garry, two top blokes for the day. If anyone is wondering, ‘what is he doing on the actual day?’ – I will be staying at my daughters in Bristol, where I will party , – I am looking forward to that too !