I can think of no better way to kickstart 2024 than with this super enthusiastic, super-accomplished guest post from my UK-based friend Kathakoli. If this post doesn’t motivate you to get up, lace up & head out, then I don’t know what will!
Katha set herself a big goal in 2023 namely to run the entire length of the UK. Virtually.
You read that correctly. The length of the UK, from the extreme north to the south. 874 miles.
Here, let Katha share this exciting journey in her own words:
Virtual Challenges, anyone?
Last year on New Year’s Day I joined the End to End virtual challenge to keep myself motivated to walk/run on the dullest and darkest of days. I chose the Land’s End to John O Groats route covering 874 miles from SW to NE of UK.
I gave myself a year to complete it (officially you can complete it in 18 months).
So it required doing approximately 75 miles a month of walking or running.
It forced me to get out of the house even on days when the weather was appalling. Especially in January and February.
Though ironically, as the weather improved, it became harder and harder to meet the goal. Summer was open water swim focussed for Dave and me. Besides longer, warmer days also meant I was going out for long bike rides, cheating on running and walking.
Also my food business requires me to be on my feet over 12 hours on busy weeks. And when I finish for the day, I want to plonk on the sofa or crash in bed, and not use my legs!
But encouraging postcards and emails from the community kept me going. (I got myself out of the house—sometimes well past midnight—after finishing work for the day, to get those miles in.)
The postcards that come at regular intervals tell you interesting facts about a particular location on the map.
Besides you can check your progress daily on the map.
It was rather exciting to find myself running past cities I have visited in the UK. Then one day to find myself in the city we live in! (My motivation rubbed off on my husband Dave, who joined the challenge in October and set himself the target of finishing by Good Friday. He is well on track for that.)
But I wasn’t just travelling virtually through this challenge.
2023 was a year of travelling for me.
I went to 6 new countries last year. And everywhere I went, I explored on foot as much as I could, and I ran almost everyday. It gave me a sense of accomplishment to log the miles on the website at the end of the day.
My journey in a new city abroad helped me reach closer and closer to John O Groats in the UK.
And I managed to complete the challenge after a full day of exploring in Krakow, with over a month to spare.
My finish medal, post card and T-shirt arrived a few weeks later, when I was in India.
And I was waiting to wear it for a ‘suitable’ run.
What better than New Year’s Day run?
And seeing how much it inspired me, I decided to sign up for the Trans Europe Challenge—covering 1500 miles from France to Bulgaria. (Cycling is allowed in this one!) I have two years to complete it.
But I am giving myself a year.
It’s a year of big challenges for us. We are doing London to Paris bike ride in May. And we have signed up for our first ever ultra (I have never even done a marathon!) that too an off road one in the Lakes, in July!
Wish us luck!
Now isn’t that just something?
And please don’t miss the fact that the 874 miles of 2023 will be increased to a cool 1500 miles this year!!!
This girl is on fire, as the song says 🙂
Katha, I wish you nothing but the best-est of luck for your amazing challenge – almost double the mileage, and in one year rather than two!
Keep us posted, please.
Here are just a few memories from Katha’s amazing year of overseas running.