At last year’s South West Outdoor festival, Hugo was so inspired by Jamie McDonald's talk on running across Canada that - having never run more than 6km before - he borrowed a pair of shoes two sizes too small and ran a full trail marathon on Sunday up and down Cheddar Gorge. Respect.
Read Hugo's full story below, it's ridiculous.
Being easily influenced is not a great trait for protecting your family’s honour. Sadly, at the South West Outdoor Festival 2017, I was that man. There we were, fresh from having thrown majestic shapes to the 7 piece ska band Crinkle Cuts, we decided to settle round the fire.
The idea was brief but powerful. The Cheddar Gorge trail marathon was the next morning and hey, a marathon can’t be that difficult, right? Fresh from a round of beers and with the taste of curry on my breath, I reasoned that:
A. A marathon couldn’t be that hard
B. I was promised an onion bhaji if I finished
C. I was easily influenced and in need of an adventure
The inevitable happened and I woke up confused with Marathons on my mind. I found an undefended can of beans and set off in search of running shoes. 1x pair of shoes that were two sizes too small later, I found the organiser man who gave me a free entry because there would be no way I would finish..thanks again Relish The Great Outdoors. I settled in for my pre race poop having just signed up to race. To my horror, the gun went off and I burst out of the portaloo pulling up my trousers to get stuck in.
Except I didn’t.
I ran the wrong way.
The crowd were on hand to laugh at me and point me in the right direction. I died a little inside. But I was still excited, ambitious and full of the desire to get this over and done with.
And so I ran.
And it hurt.
And this was only 15 minutes in.
6 hours later I was a changed man. But heading across the finish line. Broken, full of self loathing, and boasting the only case of a 23 year old with rapid onset arthritis and joint failure.
Like an angel from the mist, my bhaji man emerged (everyone else had left). Soggy and dissappointing to most, it was the greatest thing that had ever and will happen to my mouth. I ate. I cried. I regretted.
I would do it all over again, a thousand times over.
Hugo and I will be at the Top of the Gorge festival this year doing mountain bike skills sessions and encouraging people try out our mountain bike challenge course! Use promotional code TRAILTEN for a 10% discount to the Top of the Gorge festival 22-24 June, or code TOTG1 for a free tshirt.
Hugo and Tom are trail hunting fanatics, travelling around the UK to find the best and most beautiful wild riding locations for their mountain bikes. We write about our findings and provide professionally guided mountain bike trips to our favourite spots. We're also big believers in outdoor education for children.