After the elation of completing the Marathon Des sables, I was expecting to ‘come down’ as you normally would imagine after such a massive achievement and experience in my life. But that was not to be, I had been selected as part of The North Face Ultra Team! What fantastic news! I have been chosen, along with 9 other inspirational women (read more about us all here) to compete in Race To The Stones 100km in July, with the support of The North Face with the aim to encourage more women to step up to start taking part in ultras.
I am really proud to be a part of this team and fantastic project aimed to encourage more women to get involved in running further than marathon distance. And why not!? Women are strong, and a lot of the time we are stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and ultra running is the perfect sport to test your own boundaries. An ultra event is different to the traditional 10km, half marathon or full marathon where the atmosphere can be super competitive and possibly a bit off putting for some. At an ultra race the primary aim of a high percentage of the runners is to finish. They are competing against themselves and the clock, obviously it is also competitive and there are some amazing runners out there smashing some fabulous finishing times over massive distances, but the competition is friendly. The top elite runners are more than happy to talk to you and discuss training plans and kit, swapping stories and willing to give out some advice, though they are all keen to impress upon you that everyone is different and what works for one person may not be right for another. It is refreshing, and very inspirational to chat to these experienced runners. I have recently had the pleasure of chatting to Nikki Kimball (1st lady Marathon Des Sables 2014); Danny Kendall (5th place Marathon Des Sables 2014-highest Brit ever); Daniel Rowland (1st place Atacama Crossing & Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon 2103) and Bakiye Duran, first woman athlete to represent Turkey in international ultra marathons (we raced together at Kalahari with me taking 2nd place lady to her 3rd place). They have all been true ambassadors of the sport.
In looking forward to working with North Face in the lead up to Race to the Stones and testing out some of their kit, and here’s to building a great relationship with them and my fellow team mates. Stay tuned and up to date with my training and kit reviews on my blog runningdutchie.wordpress.com and twitter @runningdutchie and track our fabulous team of ultra babes @RTTS100 #rtts100 #longerdays .
If you are keen to get involved in ultra running, get chatting to me and the girls, we all love nothing better than talking about running. Perhaps there are some of you already signed up to Race to the Stones? Don’t be shy, say hi! And if you’re not signed up, there are still some spaces available so its not too late. Hope to see some of you at a race soon!