“ I want to prove to myself that I, she who would mysteriously twist her ankle just before cross country in school, can actually do something like this!” laughs Kim Hopkinson, our fourth addition to the all-female Outer Hebrides hit squad.
“I decided to sign up because it sounded like great fun….well - that’s a bit of a lie, it sounds slightly mad, but also like an amazing adventure – it’s going to be incredible!”
At the age of 30, Kim has decided to take on a distance that she has very little experience of, and that makes her all the more awesome. “It sounds a bit sad, but I’ve definitely been inspired by Allie’s attitude of just getting on and doing it.” Apologies in advance Kim….
Kim is not coming into this totally green. She has a few marathons under her belt, has taken part in the epic Man v Horse and also completed her first 50km event as part of training for the Outer Hebrides.
“I didn’t really know stuff like this existed” says Kim. “There is a whole world of running out there that I didn’t know about until recently. Running for fun and experiences and adventure, rather than running for times really appeals to me. Nine women tackling this together is a big draw - we’ll be working through stuff as a team, not trying to compete against each other. Having a mini community around this is super-helpful for asking questions - I think the community around Ultra Awesome is going to be an invaluable resource as well”. (She did say that everyone, I am not making it up!)
As with a lot of us, Kim does have those nagging thoughts of failure. “There’s still a not insignificant part of me that doesn’t believe I’ll be able to do it” she says. “Obviously you need a base level of physical fitness to take something like this on, but it is going to be physically uncomfortable regardless of how much training you have done. For me, adequate training in the 12 weeks I’ve had to prepare would be somewhere just north of impossible and that’s where the mental side of things comes in. Self-management - eating/drinking when you need to but don’t want to, slowing down when you need to, dealing with hotspots before they become blisters etc, all of that is mental. You’ve got to trust how you feel, but also make sure you respond to yourself correctly.”
Kim coping mechanisms are pretty similar to mine – we all know I like a little cry/punching trees etc right? Let’s just hope me and Kim don’t decide to have ‘go cray cray’ time at the SAME time. “I’m not averse to letting myself a little cry before having a word with myself” Kim says. “I think it’s important to really feel your feelings. Apparently I have an annoying habit of finding the best in frustrating circumstances.”
“I am probably the least well-equipped out of the group” Kim continues. “ But the only way to find out if you can do something like this is to do it. Find people who have the same outlook as you, whether that’s weekend warriors or those who completely devote their lives to adventure. The internet may have its downsides - but it also helps connect like-minded people.” YAAAAS QUEEN!
As for worries about the challenge itself, it’s the logistical unknowns that are playing on Kim’s mind. “I’m trying to embrace that side of things!” she says. “The most scary thing is the ever-present fear of holding other people back. Particularly as we get to days three and four. I have no idea how I will cope physically.”
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