James’ Jurassic Run

07 . 04 . 18

All of the people who walk through the big blue workshop doors​ here are multifaceted; everybody has more than one interest, and the same goes for us here. We all surf, but we all also pursue other passions and projects. James runs, and at the end of last year, having never run a marathon before, he signed up to run three in three days. A little more actually. Along a particularly steep and unforgiving stretch of the Dorset coast path. Some of us here nicknamed it “Jimmy’s Jurassic Marathon of Pain”, expecting it to be exactly the sort of “Type Two” fun that has been so well classified by the climbing community. For those of you unfamiliar with these different classifications of fun, they run something like this:-

– Type One fun is actually fun, both whilst you’re doing it and looking back upon it. Riding a longboard in clean knee-high waves on a summer’s day is Type One fun, for example.

– Type Two fun isn’t necessarily fun whilst you’re doing the activity, but you remember the experience fondly. Some winter surfs, with ice cream headache duck-dives, clean-up sets and frozen fingers punctuated by some great waves or a memorable turn, are Type Two fun.

– Type Three fun isn’t fun, at all. Neither when you’re doing it, nor in hindsight. Think terrifying winter storm surf, with a horrific paddle out and a current that rips you off down the coast before you can even catch a monstrous wave and you have to get out another bay down, climb the cliff and walk back to the car in the dark.

Some of the team here expected the Jurassic Coast Challenge, a 130km trail run in three sections, to be Type Two fun for James, but it turns out that even a week on he’s still claiming that the entire experience was fun. He admits that there were definitely challenging and painful moments, but a simple understanding that the only constant in life is change gave him the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other. As much as the bad times don’t last forever, it is also true that those high moments don’t either, so his plan was to capture as many of those high points as possible along the whole course and simply hold onto them. Until the first day the furthest distance that James had run previously was 17 miles. He did a lot of training over the winter, running with his old friend Ally all around Cornwall ramping up their distances every week, but stopped short of hitting full marathon distance in the weeks leading up to the event. He also surfed a little less as a result, partially because of needing to devote time to training and partly to minimise the risk of picking up an injury.

James ran with Ben, the husband of one of Liz’s oldest friends; he’s run events like this before and they stuck together across the full three days, supporting and pacing each other. The Jurassic Coast is not a stretch of coast that James was particularly familiar with. There are some surf spots along this stretch, some very notable ones, that James and Ben ran past, and James carried a camera with him to document their challenge. Keep scrolling down to see a snapshot of the weekend; some beautiful coastline and the checkpoint and finish line smiles that come with achieving such a significant challenge.

James admits that his biggest take-away from the weekend was the true understanding and belief in the simplicity of running. It’s not always easy, but it is always simple. One foot in front of the other and sooner or later you’ll get to where you’re aiming for.

Above image courtesy of Charles Whitton

Above image courtesy of Charles Whitton

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