Newsletter April 2021

Television, Skylarks, Sunshine and Still Wearing A Thermal Vest.

“Can you run round that again and then across the skyline please, Ruth?” I did more running while filming for ITV’s Coast and Country than I’ve probably done in a whole month! And I worked WITH other people for a day. I realised how much I’ve missed the positive interaction and energy that this brings. The producer, cameraman and interviewer Ruth Wignall were lovely, interesting people and I learned a lot about drone footage and filming for continuity. And what glorious hot weather we had: intense sun, skylarks soaring and all under a blue sky

While being questioned about what I get from fell running, it made me reflect on how important just being outside in landscape is: away from traffic, seeing what’s happening in the natural world, reflecting on how I feel that day and how I’m moving. At one time, my main motivation for getting out on the hills and training was to be fit enough to compete at a high level – it’s no longer the case and what I’m left with is the sheer value of moving in this beautiful environment.

Women being out alone and being vulnerable has been much in the news these past weeks. I have always run, most of the time alone, in order to be able to do what I did with my running. It’s also vital for me to be able to have this “head space”. I feel completely safe in the wilds of the mountains. I’ve had to train in towns and cities too and have made good calls about where to run and when. I would say to all women who run to “KEEP GETTING OUT” because it’s what we do; it’s what we have to do. Please don’t normalise fear and vulnerability – almost all of the time we are rationally, statistically safe.

I’ve been enjoying lots of mountain biking this spring. I love designing routes and putting days together that have lots of interest and are appropriately pitched and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m making good progress with the biking too and am reminded how progress comes in small increments and not generally in big strides and how we have to keep getting out to make that small incremental progress. Our first Beginning Mountain Biking Weekend for Women in July is now fully booked. We have another on September 11thand 12thand, excitingly, we are opening one up in the Yorkshire Dales on September 18th and 19th. As a runner, it’s been invaluable to me to have this activity that takes me into the mountains and has enabled me to rest an injured heel. I can’t stress enough the value of diversifying physical activity.

]It’s been undeniably frustrating not knowing how soon I can open up to run events. Information has been late coming, fragmented and unclear. Having to reschedule two fully booked events in April was very disappointing. However, we’re kicking off on June 27th now with a Beginning Fell Running day and here’s a quickie roundup of what’s coming. Full details and descriptions are as ever on the Element website:

June 27th: Beginning Fell Running (Brecon Beacons)
July 3rd & 4th: Fell Running & Yoga Weekend (Brecon Beacons)
July 10th: Beginning Fell Running (Lake District)
July 17th & 18th: Beginning Mountain Biking (Fully Booked)
July 24th: Beginning Fell Running (Brecon Beacons)
July 31st: Beginning Fell Running (Brecon Beacons)
September 11th & 12th: Beginning Mountain Biking (Brecon Beacons)
September 18th & 19th:  Beginning Mountain Biking (Yorkshire Dales)
October 2nd & 3rd: Fell Walking & Yoga Weekend (Brecon Beacons)
October 16th & 17th Travel Writing Weekend (Brecon Beacons)

Events and weekends are being added in all the time so do check the website or get in touch if there’s anything more you’d like to know.

So much for finally washing the winter filth off my down-filled duvet jacket in these early spring sub-zero temperatures! I actually wore a vest in bed last night for the first time this winter. Here’s to wearing sleeveless vests outside again soon!

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