01 October 2020
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

From the sea to the sky – exploring Britain on foot

June 23, 2015
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In March I embarked upon my first #takeonNATURE challenge – the infamous Jurassic Coast Marathon (you can read the full event review here). This was an amazing opportunity to explore the rugged Dorset coastline, an area of the country I had spent little time in beforehand.

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The Jurassic coastline is well known for its spectacular views and stunning coastlines. The challenge was predominantly off road on beautiful trails that found us weaving our way up to cliff edges, negotiating our way through peaceful wooded areas and through nice spongy open grassland (which my knees were incredibly thankful of!) The views and varying terrain were certainly what got me through my first attempt at a marathon. We were blessed with perfect conditions, clear blue skies with a nice sea breeze to keep the temperature down. The views were simply stunning, from high up on the Portland Headland overlooking Chesil Beach to the famous landmarks of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. (Click here for Course map)

This challenge completely turned me off road running and I realised I was rapidly becoming a trail lover! Therefore, I couldn’t wait to take on my next challenge, leaving the coastline and heading up into the Welsh mountains to have a go at my first ever sky running event – the Vegan Carneddau Half.

The Carneddau Half is the little sister of the main event, the V3K Ultra, otherwise known as the Welsh 3,000s. The V3K Ultra crosses all the mountains over 3,000ft in Wales which includes 15 peaks. It is a classic and unique event on the mountain running circuit because of its successive 2-3000ft ascents and descents. If you love being up in the mountain air and being able to touch the sky then this really is a must do for any mountain lover. For the Ultra you do need to be confident on knife-edged arêtes, and have the stamina to keep going up and down the peaks for 55k with over 4,000m of ascent in total. The other unique element to this event is that you must complete the race on a vegan only diet for the day.

Not being a seasoned fell runner and having only recently discovered the delights of the trail, I therefore opted for the little sister event, the Carneddau Half (full event review coming soon). This is the third and final section of the Ultra taking in 7 peaks across 13 miles climbing a total of 1,100m. It misses the gnarly exposure of the first two sections of the Ultra and just concentrates on the slightly less technical terrain of the Carneddau range. (Course map)

This challenge fulfilled one of my aims of #takeonNATURE and truly allowed me return to the simplicity of nature in all its forms. The feeling of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone against the unapologetic and silent adversary of the mountain peaks, negotiating your way along the arêtes and touching the sky was all the better for the pure tranquillity and serenity experienced amongst the simply awe-inspiring views. For most of the run you could look to one side and be in the shadow the mighty peaks of Snowdon and Tryfan. Then to the other side, when the visibility was clear, there were breath-taking views to the North out to the Irish Sea and the Isle of Anglesey.

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It was also a great experience to try running an endurance event on a vegan only diet for the day and added nicely to our #takeonNATURE theme. It really did make me reassess what I eat and which food types offer natural energy, rather than the energy gels and sports drinks that have such a dominating presence at most races I have done before. We were also treated to some incredibly yummy hot food dishes at the end of the race, which were very well received!

Exploring these areas of outstanding natural beauty through running has been an incredibly fulfilling and unforgettable experience so far, and I am absolutely loving it. My aim is to encourage others to do the same and I really hope some of you can join me at events in the future, because something I am quickly discovering is that the sense of community at these events is what makes them so successful and enjoyable.

For my next challenge, I shall be leaving the skies and crossing Europe by following two of its major rivers, the Loire and the Rhine, by bike. This will be a huge undertaking for me as I have never done a cycle expedition before and I can’t wait! More details coming soon…

Clarissa Goodwin, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

 

 

 

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Clarissa inspires others to #takeonachallenge

Off the back of completing 'My Year of Ultimate Challenges' follow me as I attempt to take on bigger and more enduring challenges from abseiling, cycling, stand up paddle boarding and swimming to desert races, mountain treks, adventure and obstacles races….with as much variety as possible! I’m doing this in the hope to encourage girls and women to #takeonachallenge, get active and have fun whilst raising money for the Go Sisters World Series which aims to promote female participation and empowerment of girls through sport across the globe. I am also doing all of this in the memory of my father who inspired and made me the sport fanatic I am; and raising money for The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association in his honour. Follow my journey through the highs and lows of my training, reviews of the events I partake in, and be part of this fulfilling journey of discovering how hard we really can push ourselves!
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