I recently participated in the Run Against Violence virtual ultra marathon from Broken Hill to Sydney as part of a team. Run The World provided the technology to track our progress. I learnt from some of my team that they were already participants in Run Down Under so when the RAV challenge was over (we reached Sydney in 9 days and I reached my 130km goal just before we got to Sydney), I thought I'd check out what Run The World was about because I knew I would need a new challenge to keep running. I was really impressed with the set up and, in the current climate, the affordability of your program.

I chose Run UK and Ireland because a) I can run for real in Australia, b) it's a distance that's achievable in a reasonable amount of time so I won't lose motivation and c) having travelled through the UK and Ireland in my 20s, I liked the idea of being able to visualise where I was on the map and to evoke some memories. It's also on my bucket list to do the Tour de Trails Coast to Coast, Pub to Pub Trail Run tour one day but in the meantime, I can do some virtual running in the area.

I came to long distance running late, taking it up in my 40s as a way to get fit for a trek and Community Project in Peru. However, I never really considered myself a runner until I ran my first marathon to celebrate turning 50 (some people have parties). I've now completed four full marathons, a 60km ultra marathon and numerous shorter distances. I've also walked the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker three times. I never really got that runner addiction, though, so I do need a challenge to aim for to keep me motivated. What I love about Run UK and Ireland is it's an ongoing challenge that will keep me moving for a good while! I'm very fortunate to live in an area of Australia with some amazing places to run, including probably the most iconic of Australian routes, the Great Ocean Road. I love that race and have completed the half marathon twice and am signed up for the full marathon next year having been stymied the last two years by firstly a pulmonary embolism and then a pandemic. In the meantime, I'll visualise myself running through some scenic places in the UK and Ireland (until I can run there for real!).