A Marathon At Midnight

“You know what J, I might have a glass of wine with dinner tonight.” 🍷🙋🏼‍♀️
“You go for it my dear.” He replied
“I certainly wi… oh no, wait.”
“What?”
“We’ve got to run a marathon after dinner.”
“Oh Yes, we have.” he smiled.

It was an easy thing to forget 🤦🏼‍♀️. 48 hours earlier Jamie McDonald had run into Palm Springs, California for a rendezvous with yours truly after almost three months apart. 🌵😍

He’d run 50 miles in two days to get to me, and was suffering a from a minor niggle in his knee as a result, so he decided to take a day off in 🌴Palm Springs🌴 to let it rest. And I decided that this was a nice excuse to be a ‘normal couple’ for 24 hours before hitting the road together. 🏃🏼‍♀️🏃‍♂️🇺🇸 Continue reading

Meet the Adventure Queens

I’m staring at a picture of a girl on her first bicycle tour. Her wayward hair is kept only slightly in check by a helmet perched awkwardly on her head. Her arms, now sun-kissed after a few months on the road lead down to legs muscles, now slightly tighter than they once were. As she moves to pose for the photo, her jersey shifts to reveal a small white area on her upper arms that the sun has yet to reach.

She is brimming with enthusiasm. She has dreams that seem too big for her head. She has no clue what’s she’s doing and a bundle of fears to face up to on a daily basis. She isn’t quite sure where to start, but start she has. And by goodness she’s happy that she did. 

FROM ROOKIE TO REALITY

The UK adventure community is a wonderfully supportive place. I’ll never forget the first email I sent to Dave Cornthwaite announcing that I wanted to head off on a 50 state cycle, but I had no idea where to start. I was scared of wild camping (which I had never done) and terrified I would buy all the wrong things. His reply was swift, funny and reassuring. As was Alastair Humphrey’s the first time I reached out to him. Continue reading

Behind the scenes at Women’s Health

I emerged from the myriad of tunnels that form Old Street underground station and picked up a message from my good chum Laura K. She was in the coffee shop next door to the location for today’s shoot. I still had plenty of time to spare, so I tracked her down and we got to natterin’. We gassed, chitty-chatted, chinwagged, talked the hind legs of many donkeys, before suddenly realising that the 30 minutes to spare had now reduced to just 2 minutes before we were due in the studio. Panic. We dashed outside, desperate to find the venue, which was apparently ‘just next door’.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FIND THE STUDIO

Alas, it seemed that finding the entrance to the studio was like finding the Ministry of Magic. Somewhere, in the gaps between these tall, ancient buildings and old industrial works was an entrance. But where, oh where in the world, was anyone’s guess. Just as I was beginning to wonder if perhaps we should retreat to the phone box across the street and go in underground Harry-Potter style, I spotted a glimmer of hope. Two ‘model’ types were hanging out on the steps of what we thought could potentially, possibly, definitely-maybe be the entrance. Continue reading

It’s not you, It’s me. And it’s over.

Better late than never for a final blog post, I’d say. Although it feels like I’ve been back in the UK for a lifetime, it’s only actually been 7 weeks. How quickly life slips back into ‘normality’ (whatever that means).

I often liken finishing an adventure to a break up. And so, now that the Te Araroa and I have said our last awkward goodbyes, handed back one another’s CD’s collection and taken up residence on opposite sides of the globe – I feel like perhaps we, I, New Zealand need some kind of closure.  Continue reading

Mind games in the final month

Jees Louise, I am tired. And it occurred to me that in my barefoot running, sunset snapping, unicorn pant wearing daily shares – that might not necessarily come across. So I thought I owed you all a little shot glass full of honesty.

The reality of entering the final month of a 6 month journey is…messy. My mind is a tangled web of thoughts, feelings and emotions – enough to give my hormonal 15 year old self run for her money. The only difference being that I can’t trudge up the stairs in my Airwalks, play Skunk Anasie at full volume and cry into my pillow.

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Whangariro: From Whanganui to Tongariro

If Carlsberg made rivers, they would make the Whanganui. It really is everything a river should be: Wet, winding, steep-banked, gorge-framed, tree-lined, tumbling and with a flow that can change from gentle stream to raging torrent on the flip of a dime. But I know, you know (that we know) rivers are about so much more than physicality. A World class river needs to offer the full package. It needs personality too. And let it be known – the Whanganui’s got swagger.

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North of the strait: Wellington to Whanganui

I’m in big trouble. I mean, like serious, knee-deep doggy doo doo. My problem? People.

I arrived in Wellington 10 days behind original schedule. No biggy, I thought, and reasoned that I’d make up time in the North Island. The terrain here is more suited to a runner after all. There are large sections along roads, and more frequent places to resupply, meaning a lighter pack and bigger daily mileage.

But all too often, Mr Reason and Mrs Reality decide to go their separate ways. Two
weeks in and it’s blindingly obvious that I was a fool was to think progress here would be faster. Continue reading

Hard Yakka: Nelson Lakes and The Richmond Ranges

In the days leading up to heading over Waiau pass, I consulted the map. Uh oh – a dotted line. Dashed lines are good, dotted lines – not so much. They mean ‘a route’ rather than a trail. As in, you can go this way, many do, but be prepared to place your heart firmly in your mouth to negotiate it.

Waiau Pass is a route for experienced trampers and mountain leaders only”. Dear mother above.

The night before taking on the pass, I stayed at the site of Caroline bivvy. The department of conservation do a pretty got job of maintaining huts, but some get rather neglected. Caroline’s reputation had preceded her. Cesspit, hell hole, mouse factory – were among the words used to describe it by Southbounders. “That thing needs burning down” one tramper had gone so far as to say. Another had reported that it was “an actual sh*t hole” Continue reading

Huts and the highway to hell

It’s nearing the end of a very long day. The trail has twisted and turned for almost 20 miles now, plunging through bush, down to creek beds and dragging me back up to open tussocky tops. I stop to catch my breath, throw off the pack and flop, lifeless, at the side of the trail. I pull out the GPS, a rare treat and something I only sanction every hour or two. There it is, a small black square less than 1km from my current flop point. Princhester Hut. I haven’t even clapped eyes on it, and yet and I’m already deeply in love.

Princhester is one of 900 backcountry huts throughout New Zealand. Owned and operated by the department of conservation (DOC), they range from teeny weeny 1 or 2 person bivvys to the biggest (or so I’ve heard) 80 bunk hut in the Coromandel. I’m dedicating a whole wodge of words to these huts because they have been by far the greatest surprise
addition to the journey so far.

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Hey there, big rivers: The Rangitata to the Rakaia

It was 9am and I was, much like the white rabbit, running late. I was caught up having a WWE style wrestling showdown with some waist high tussock. It’d just about pinned me to the ground, and I was on the third count when… I heard a whistle. I broke free from the tussle and looked upwards at the scree slope ahead of me.

There, silhouetted against a bright blue sky and every so slightly obscured by whisps of encroaching cloud, were the outline of two human beans. “Hi Kevin!!!” I shouted at the top of My lungs. “…I’ll, err, be there in a minute…” Which seemed like an obvious continuation, but something I should mention, just to be polite.

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