> Go Long / Wasdale Recce - Dave Atkinson

Go Long / Wasdale Recce

I couldn't help but have a wry smile to myself as I read some of the mischievous comments on the e-group about the Wasdale recce. But I do think I need to stand up and defend the nutters who like to go long and try and inspire some of you to join us especially newcomers who might be put off or feel intimidated by long distance running off-road.

I like nothing better than a short or medium race competing against clubmates and the clock but I make no apologies, when it comes down to it, a long day out in the hills is what drew me into fell running and what continues to challenge and motivate me.

Lets get one myth out the way first that going long is brutal hard and for super fit athletes only. You just have to turn up to Alwinton Show race or Ben Nevis where your lungs get pushed to bursting point, thats what I call hard work. No, just turn up to long distance races and you'll find a relaxed bunch of like-minded souls who are out to challenge themselves, compete against others, the clock, but usually the challenge is on getting around and the self-fulfilment that brings. You set off slow and hope to finish at the same pace, you even have time to talk to other competitors - how sociable is that? You see unlike short races long races are about the journey, the camaraderie with others, getting around the course, the challenge of the navigation, the joy of recces with friends and clubmates, the sandwiches and jelly babies in your bumbag and the sweet mountain stream water to keep your thirst at bay.

Local short and medium races are great and have their place but I urge anyone with a sense of adventure to have a go at the Lakeland Classics, Fellsman, Bob Graham Round, Jura, LAMM, West Highland Way, Ultra Trail TMB, Petit Trot de Leon, this list goes on and on but have a go, there are loads out there. Come along to the recce and enjoy a long day out in the hills, you can savour and the craic that goes with it. Or even better still get out there yourself, all you need is a map and compass, a bag of jelly babies and clothing that is appropriate for the weather. Find yourself and your soul it's what it's all about. We have some lovely remote hills and mountains in this country go on discover them you'll never look back.

I'll leave you with a quote from the man himself Joss Naylor from his recent book titled JOSS ''Once you start out on one of these long events you get into a frame of mind that is your own. It's hard to explain exactly what it's like but you are totally and absolutely immersed in your own thoughts and you are on a real high. It's almost like floating. If you get it right there is a point on an event like this where you are just running on a high and even after 60-80 miles you can still feel that it is fantastic, it's brilliant!" - Joss Naylor.

Have fun discover your soul, go long, see you all next weekend.

Dave Atkinson

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