Four weeks ago I left Eversberg, Germany to continue my run across Europe, which started in Schiphol, Netherlands. Crossing the border to Poland was the best run of my life: 65km, which a few weeks before would have seemed a huge distance. I was so elated to realise I’d run every step of the way from Schiphol to Poland, it was an emotional climax on my journey.
The following evening I set sail for Sweden and as soon as I stepped off the ferry, I could feel the stresses falling away. I had no plan, just found the beach and started running east. For the first few days I found myself breathing huge deep sighs of relief. It was such an incredible contrast to the challenging navigation, highways and complex or non existent forest trails in Germany. I hadn’t realized quite how stressed I was, but with the extreme heat and lack of access to water and food, the first half of this journey was a lot tougher than I had allowed myself to acknowledge.
Sweden changed all that. I’ve wild camped, woken up to the sunrise over the sea and fallen asleep to the lapping waves. I’ve meandered barefoot for hours along incredible coastlines, bowled over by the outstanding wildlife, ancient forests, immense variety and beauty of the landscapes. I followed the amazing Skaneleden Trail along the beaches of South and South East Skåne until I continued North East to Karlshamn for the ferry to Klapeidia, Lithuania. My feet, legs and whole body feel rested even though I’ve run around 200k in the last 5 days. Every ounce of tension has disappeared and I’m completely free of any pain, soreness or even hint of overuse injuries. Today I binned most of my medical supplies to save weight, I haven’t used them in 4wks and I don’t intend to.
Sweden has given me time to relax and enjoy the journey, if the first weeks were about survival and concern about staying injury free, this last few days has been about breathing, taking stock and relaxing. I’ve realised that it’s time for me to “downsize”, reduce my material possessions, reduce my outgoings and focus on functional, practical comfort. I’ve never been more convinced that Run the World is what I’m meant to do, that this is my vehicle to live my life and help inspire others to change theirs for the better. Last April I lay in bed with my granddaughter Marley, with a blank note book, and I told her this was going to be my book about my 50th year. I tried to explain to her that this book would capture all of the amazing moments and achievements I was about to have and that it would inspire others. That was my dream and I’m going to make it happen. I’m fitter, stronger and happier than ever and am looking forwards, not backwards, super excited about future opportunities and adventures, whatever they may be.
So how far have I run…1347km on Run Europe and 964km on this run. I still have 653km to complete to hit the 2000km goal I stupidly set for myself ! I have a maximum of 16 days before I need to fly home, and know I need to take a rest day each week, which means if I’m to make it I need to average around 47km a day for the next few weeks. Sitting here now it’s a tall order, I’ve averaged closer to 38k per day to date. In a few minutes I’ll be in Lithuania and I’ll head east to Latvia and hopefully Estonia. I’ve never been to any of those countries and have no plan, just my bag, my tent, my running shoes and me. I couldn’t be happier.
Thanks for all your support and messages they truly keep me going. Thanks also for your sponsorship, for those who haven’t had chance yet, just a small donation to Women’s Aid will make all the difference, and if I can run 2000km, surely we can raise £2000!!!