#Run1000Miles ambassador Jeff McCarthy looks back to completing the challenge in 2017 and offers tips to those starting out
What a year it’s been thanks to the inaugural #Run1000Miles challenge! Back in January 2017 I honestly had no idea whether or not I’d achieve it. I thought it very unlikely but knew I’d enjoy participating and the reciprocal encouragement the community of runners would surely provide.
I'm delighted to say my lack of confidence proved unnecessary as I achieved 1081 miles over the year. I'm even more delighted to say I wasn’t wrong on the incredible community of #Run1000Miles runners that developed on Facebook.
I got into running after being cajoled into a Lakeland Trails event in about 2008. Scenic trails had me hooked immediately. My mate advised me to “forget about pace, just get into your own rhythm and stay with it” – a tip that was to immediately relax me and enable enjoyment of the route, the terrain, the camaraderie.
Ever since that Helvellyn trail run, it’s been a case of entering (mainly) trail running events so there is a focus and reason to keep running. I’d been active all my life yet never appreciated the joy of running until I discovered off-road!
I was asked to write this short piece as we look forward to #Run1000Miles 2018. In thinking back, the most amazing thing about this has been seeing what others have achieved. So many have run much further in a year than they ever have before – regardless of reaching 1000 miles or not.
The running pictures shared are truly awe-inspiring. Shots of woodland terrain, mountain-top vistas, muddy and exhilarated faces.
The group has kept us all honest too – runners admit they don’t always enjoy a run, they will accept if they need to cut a run short, and they celebrate each other’s achievements. They keep each other motivated if illness or injury keeps us away from running. We have runners who only started running in 2016, others with long-term medical conditions, many of whom have transformed their lives through running. We’re increasingly global, yet able to organise some event meet-ups.
What tips can I offer you?
- Take it all at your own pace and do your own thing. Don’t compare yourself to others – simply enjoy the mutual involvement with the challenge.
- Seek and give advice to the Facebook community – the wealth of knowledge and support is amazing!
- Take the opportunity to explore new trail routes. New horizons will abound!
- Be kind to yourself. You may have to revise your goals up or down and there is nothing wrong with that.
- Treat this as a fresh challenge. It doesn’t matter what you did or didn’t do in 2017 – this is a brand new running year to embrace
My aim for 2018? To try to make more of my miles trail and fell. Again, I have no idea if I’ll achieve 1000 miles due to the legacy of Lyme Disease and Babesia. But that’s not important. What matters is being part of an incredible community.
How far and where will 2018 take you? Enjoy the challenge.