Frances Mills tells us about her journey of a lifetime
So this is day one. One day and a only a few miles into a 10-month, 4500-mile running journey and my back aches. My soles hurt like I’ve been punching them, which I suppose in a way I have been, pounding them into the ground one after the other all morning. Now that I’m finally sitting down though – with a hand-warming mug of hot tea and the sun still shining on my face - I can’t help but feel I’m on the right track.
I’m Frances, though most of my friends call me ‘Franny’ or ‘You’re Mad’ for short. Mad not because I love running (I do), nor because I run super-fast (I don’t), but mad because I can run and run, then walk and run some more. Now before I get ahead of myself here I should mention that I run slowly - really slowly! My mum often jokes that she’ll come for a "run" with me one day and comfortably walk along beside me at the same speed! Although I’m sure I’m a tad faster than that, it’s true that speed is not in my blood. The going is slow for me - slow enough that I can just keep going.
The plan, or so I keep telling my feet, is to run and camp along the British coastline over the next three winters. I’ve begun close to home in Bristol and will head down through and around the southern tip of Cornwall and eventually venturing as far North in Scotland as I can go, while meandering and jogging everywhere in between and along the coast!
Running for me is not a race, nor a question of speed and timing. It is a way to explore, to find those new trails, see different and varied landscapes and to experience winter running - something I have avoided for years and to my own detriment!
No more excuses for me not to explore - I’m not yet fit but I’m not rushing to catch up with anyone. I’ll happily plod along this winter, distracted by every frog, jumping in every frozen puddle and smiling at every funny shaped tree!