I first met Kirsty a couple of years ago at The Ox – that race has a lot to answer for. She came second lady and was just a powerhouse of awesome – plus we share a love of the New Forest and trail running which meant we could yap on about ponies and trails for ages. Kirsty answered the call to action and I am thrilled that she is the final piece of our little running jigsaw!
“I absolutely adore Scotland and am always keen to visit new places” says Kirsty. “I have wanted to do a supported event for sometime, to focus more on running and distance rather than carrying all your kit. I think it will also be great to meet other like-minded women and hopefully make new friends as well!”
Kirsty is a relatively experienced runner, who like a lot of other trail runners came from an OCR background.
“Initially I was quite keen on obstacle course racing, but now I focus on running. It took me ages to complete my first marathon but after buying the Rat Race season pass in 2016 and completing their key races, I was hooked. I think I have completed around 20 marathons/50kms. I’ve been very fortunate to participant in some amazing events in some truly stunning parts of the world. While travelling in South East Asia in 2017 I competed in several events including; Mt Ijen Marathon and won (first lady) and also came third lady in the Mt Rinjani 36km trail race both while in Indonesia. More recently I have become interested in completing longer distance challenges.”
One of the things I love about Kirsty is her thirst for adventure and passion for seeing the world on two feet.
“I hiked unsupported with my husband the Great Divide Trail in the Canadian Rookies this time last year.” Says Kirsty. “It was 1000km over 32 days, including two full and two half rest-days, hiking 12-14 hour days, 30,000m of elevation gain! There was snow, hail, rain, thunderstorms, sun! There was trail, no trail, many rivers and much crawling and climbing over fallen trees and bush waking! There were bears and having to hang your food in a tree away from your tent!” A bit like Scotland then. Sort of.
“This year we have just returned from running/hiking the Cape Wrath trail in the Scottish Highlands unsupported over 10 days. Approx 230miles. Again there was rain and a lot of bog! But no bears and we were actually able to eat food in our tent which was nice on this occasion!” OK - that is more like what we’re doing.
Like most of us, what has held Kirsty back from taking on these challenges is time. “Work and life get in the way. I am a junior doctor and life can be busy with exams and on-call commitments, but it’s important to take some time out if you can. Completing this challenge will be a huge achievement, but the thing that means the most to me is actually having the courage to attempt it in the first place and having a group of inspiring women to attempt it with.”
As a doctor, I would expect Kirsty to be all over the mental side of the challenge, and she is. “There’s no question that you have to have a good level of baseline physical fitness to complete a challenge like this” Kirsty continues. “I know that the real challenge is going to be a mental one. Running for hours on multiple days in all weather and in the dark when I just want to eat and go to bed is going to be a test not only physically but also mentally. How do I deal with it? Cry, shout, scream!”
“Joking aside it’s important to acknowledge when times are tough to take a minute and evaluate the situation. Be kind to yourself and others around and try not to beat yourself up if things aren’t going as hoped… and if you need that extra chocolate bar to get though then so be it! I recently had my first ever DNF at a 50km race. I had been training for it for months. I felt so unwell, before but against my better judgement still attempted to run. After retiring it took me a while to get over it but in hindsight it was the best thing to do not only for my health but for the race organisers as I didn’t want to endanger anyone.”
Kirsty is a huge advocate of just saying yes to stuff. “Seriously if I can do it then anyone can. Of course I have my worries, not being able to keep up with everyone, not being able to complete the days and having to get a lift in the sport vehicle, but at the end of the day I am going to do my best. My biggest concern is failure - not completing what I have set out to achieve.” That isn’t going to happen. She’s a doctor. She’s got a massive bag of drugs!
Welcome Kirsty! We love you but we love you bag of drugs more.
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