If you're anything like me, you'll find it’s all too easy to get addicted to races - the competitive nature, compulsory organisation and the power of multiple minds focused around a common goal are quite unique. Tunnel vision into a season or series of events can be easy to develop – yet, if you only run organised events, are you potentially restricting your potential for a different type of adventure?
What’s stopping you from shaking off the shackles, unfolding a map in front of you and choosing your own path to run, cycle, kayak, or more?
Over the past couple of years I personally have focused my attention on races – anything from mountain to road and obstacle courses. The medals have stacked up, as have the fees for running on land which actually are usually free to access for most of the year, confining myself to run a predetermined path with the rest.
It is true I have a few of these races lined up this year, such as the London Marathon, and Ultra Tour of the Lake District - but what I really crave is adventure. To me, this means the opportunity to make decisions on the fly, explore wherever the wind takes me, and know that my only obligation is to make it into the office for 9am tomorrow in one piece.
So I’m setting myself a challenge - to get as many ‘freestyle’ adventures in to the coming year, exploring and experiencing what the UK has to offer, in a multitude of different ways:
- Trail running
- Mountain Running
- Fast packing
- Hike and Bike
- Bike Packing
Essentially these are different means to a common end; a human-powered adventure, being as self-reliant as possible.
Whether in the highlands of Scotland or the Brecon Beacons, I plan to break new tracks and bring the sports I love back to their fundamental elements - placing the quality of the time spent in all weathers and environments over medals, checkpoints and freebies.
I challenge you all to take on an adventure of your own, whether local or further afield. Pull out a map, pack appropriately and capture a few snaps. Make your own tales.
You don’t need to scale a mountain face, ride 100 miles clad head-to-toe in lycra, or even travel outside of your town. As long as you chose a path you have never been down, open your mind up to the unknown and take those first tentative steps, pedal strokes or paddles, you are embracing adventure.
A great source of inspiration for those looking to bring a little more adventure into their lives is
Alistair Humphreys’ ‘Micro-Adventures’. Check out his blog to find out more about them.