Wainwright Coast to Coast - 192 Miles (20th to 23rd May 2016)
We all have that friend, you know the one, always getting you into scrapes, the type that says things like "you trust me, right?" ... In my circle of pals, a group that errs towards the dramatic; run through the Amazon, sure!; across the Sahara, it'll be hot and sandy, what the heck, why not!; the arctic circle, great place for a run; our agitator is Steven Brown, a former (they are never ex, apparently) Royal Marine turned capitalist geek boy (head of data at some London finance centre).
The last time he uttered those words: "You trust me, right?", we ended up, much to the disgust of a party of climbers with ice axes, crampons and ropes, ascending Hellvelyn in the January snow and ice in our running gear, amidst 60 MPH winds. NOT advised. We all survived to tell the tale of the Mountain Leader, heading up the climbing group, who spotting one of our group in his shorts, atop an icy mountain shouted at us: "Waayay man 'use lot must be Geordies", however, it was an ill-advised adventure albeit we are all fit and familiar with the ascent.
When the invite to spend the Bank Holiday with Steve arrived, I looked for the kick in the tail, it didn't take long to find: "How about a bit of a bimble along the Wainright Coast to Coast route?".
Grand, thinks me, that will be great, a quick consultation of MR Google and I discover this is a 192 mile walking route that starts at ST Bees on the West Coast and finishes in Robin Hoods Bay on the East coast, traversing the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorks Moors. Considered opinion is that at a brisk pace, a fit walker, with good mountain skills will complete the walk in 12 days or so.
"You trust me, right?", "Four days will be plenty ........"
The days will be on or around 50 miles each, with the daily ascent averaging a little over 7000ft (that's 149 double decker busses tall! Or similar to ascending and descending Snowdon twice!)
Usually, I am something of a stickler for planning and preparation, while injury has impeded my last couple of years of running, before a big run, I have managed to pull a decent sequence of training weeks together to at least have the confidence I will finish the adventure, however slowly. Not this time, I am going into this mountainous, back-to-back marathon for four days suffer fest at my heaviest weight and lowest fitness level.
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" - Haruki Marakumi
It's fair to say I have opted for a good deal of suffering.
Well, I do trust Steve, right! And if he says we can do it, we will. I rather like the butterflies in belly, anxiousness associated with setting out on an adventure that, will stretch me to my limits and beyond, one I might be incapable of completing either at all or in the time frame.
It's very much these adventures and my experiences of taking them on that helps me with clients amidst a big strategic push or at times of significant change; when the desired outcomes can feel a long way off, I know that no fancy PowerPoint deck or strategic model can or will be more important than the simplicity of staying true to course and keeping on going.
So it's time to drink my own 'Koolade' and head for them there hills and monster challenge.