• Tom Crossland

The last week

Updated: May 8, 2019

I have had a very busy week planning for Run to Refuge.

It is now less than a year until I begin running. Last week, Bex and I had a chat about when to start and, although I'd miss her birthday, we agreed that we would set the 1st of May 2020 as the start date for my big adventure. This date was a decided on as it strikes a balance between the heat at the start in Greece and the cold and snow in the mountains. I want to try and get to the northern part of the Dinaric Alps and the Italian Alps in late May or early June, so that the trails will be clear enough to pass.

The route is starting to come together now and I have a pretty clear plan for the first eight countries of the journey. The majority of this will be using the Via Dinarica, which is a 1200 km hiking trail through the Western Balkans. If you don't mind I will provide more information on this in a future post.

I also had a pretty exciting morning at the end of last week when I recorded my first podcast interview about Run to Refuge, with Coach Rob Wilby, for the Oxygen Addict Triathlon Podcast. I have been working with Rob for about three years now and was really pleased he gave me the opportunity to publicise the run on his podcast. I was surprised by how nervous I got just before he called me for the interview. Being nervous was an odd sensation because I speak with Rob every month and I tried to think of this as just being like another chat about running. Hopefully you'll hear though that when I got going I begun to enjoy it and relaxed. It must have gone okay because the interview was included in episode 230 of his podcast. My interview starts around 6 mins in, but the whole thing is worth a listen, so please do check it out if you get a moment.

The May bank holiday weekend was also the Extreme Energy Southdowns Way Devil's Challenge. This is 97 mile three day race from Winchester to Eastbourne, along the Southdowns Way. I love this race and have been back for the past three years. This year I crewed one of the checkpoints on day one and then ran only for the last two days. I'd totally recommend this race to anyone who is looking to get into either ultra running or multi-day ultras. The Southdowns are just stunning with awesome views most of the way and the Extreme Energy team take care of everything and are so friendly and welcoming. I also need to say a massive thank you to Chris from Anxious Viking Productions for coming out to the race to take some awesome photos. I'm planning on posting a full race report later this week.

My overall plan for my training (if you can really train to run 3500 km) is to try and take part in a short multi-day race every month between now and October. In November, I am excited to be entered into TRIBE Run for Love III, which is a 280km run over 6 days in the Azores (pictured above). This race will be six months before Run to Refuge and so after this I'm planning on taking a little recovery time before properly building for the run.

I would love to hear from you if you are reading this thinking that you might like to run or crew some of Run to Refuge or indeed if you can assist in the funding, planning or logistics in any way. I am also keen to hear from you if you would like to talk with me about raising awareness in your school. Please don't hesitate to get in touch :-)

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