People often ask me why I run. Running for me is friendship, freedom and adventure! It has brought me so many opportunities and given me so much, but before I go into all of that I’ll tell you where I started.
13 years ago, I signed myself up to a local half marathon. All went fine, I completed it and then stopped running. The race had passed and my motivation was gone too. A few years later I saw my friend Laura getting involved in obstacle races and I thought “I wonder if I could do those?” They looked so challenging and I hadn’t run in a few years. It seemed so unachievable.
One day I went along to support her, planning to take my camera and see what this obstacle racing malarkey was all about. I did just that, running through fields, trying to track her and see where she was going next. I must have run miles and miles that day, but I didn’t notice it at all, I was having so much fun. I decided to commit and sign myself up for an obstacle race, picking Laura’s brains on every detail, how to train? What shoes to wear? What clothes to wear? She helped me train and gave advice; she was my Mr Miyagi of obstacle racing!
I discovered running in the mountains on a recent trip to the Altas mountains in Morocco. This came about from a series of tweets and me being impulsive. I’d been running the trails where I lived and my distance had increased significantly from the parkruns I started out with, but I’d never been running in the mountains before at high altitude and doing multiple days of longer distances. Maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew? But it turned out to be the trip that made me fall in love with the mountains. I’d never seen anything like it in my life and I never thought for a second I’d be running through such amazing places. The trip opened my eyes to the fact that there are so many beautiful places to explore and what better way to do so than to run around them. The friendships I made on that trip that will stay with me for life.
I kept in touch with the people I met on that trip, went on a running trip to Chamonix and caught up with many of them. So when I was asked to join them on a trip to Gran Canaria, it was an easy “yes”. And so I found myself running my first trail marathon.
There is something about running, especially trail running, that seems to bring people together. I can’t explain what it is - maybe it’s an appreciation and love of the same thing? Getting out on the trails, seeing those epic views, having low moments where a complete stranger helps pick you up and keep you on track, you go through the highs and the lows together. Those moments where you find yourself in the most breathtakingly beautiful of places, feeling completely and utterly free. Free from the stresses of life, with a feeling of belonging. Running has built my confidence and changed my life on so many levels.
So what are you waiting for? Grab those trainers, get out on those trails and make some memories!
Karina is a Hoka One One Flyer
thoughts, feelings and tribulations about running by runners.