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  • Stacey McGowan Holloway

Why run so far?

On my longest training run so far I had the distant and quiet thoughts of quitting. Dropping out of the WHWrace, for surely I could not succeed, or I would hurt myself trying. I cannot shut off these voices, they are natural for survival and as I get closer to the event, and deeper into the event itself, the negative voices telling me to stop will grow louder.

I need a clear motivation that is greater than the voices telling me to stop. My chances of success rely on this. I need to know why I am doing this race. What bigger reason to keep going despite pain, discomfort and fear. There are reassurances I can utter to myself like ‘it is only pain’ or ‘you are privileged to feel this pain,’ and I will not be alone in the latter stages of the race which will be an immense comfort, but these alone are not enough. I need to fully understand why I am running.

I wrote a post about my motivation to enter this race, about discovering what is in the void. After a friend had run the race, he told me ‘this journey will teach you more about you than you know’ and on that promise, I was hooked. I want to know who I am at second sunrise, I want to know how I react when things get harder than I imagined, I want to know what self limiting beliefs I throw away, what values I abandon and what of me is purely ego.

I was a research student in Switzerland for a short while in my mid-twenties. It was the first time I was truly on my own. No one knew me and it was a welcome relief! It was with this time alone that I realised how much I was living by other people’s expectations about who I was and how I should be. It was the first time I did not have to justify, explain or even tell anyone of my plans and it was utterly freeing. I spent a lot of time walking in the forest alone and in that time questioning a lot of my own assumptions. I got to exist without any context and was able to work out what I really wanted.

I think running 95miles through two nights, in my favourite part of the world, and with the people I love supporting me is an extreme version of this. Putting myself into a situation so far beyond the everyday context to see who I am when the sh*t hits!

I am REALLY interested to understand how others are motivated to keep going, what strategies you use to placate the voices telling you to stop and why you may be running a silly long way in the first place. Please comment, I would love to hear 🙂

#Training #westhighlandway #running #happiness #personaldevelopment #ultrarunning #westhighlandwayrace #motivation #racing