View from the top

I was fortunate today to have the chance to run in a beautiful place, one I hardly know and have never run in before; the Cotswolds. After much consultation with friends who know the area, my favourite ‘Wild Running‘ book, and of course the good old internet, I decided to run part of the Cotswold Way. Chipping Campden is where the route starts, so I thought I’d start there, with the aim of running for at least an hour and 15 minutes before logistics would require me to turn back.

The pictures I had seen whilst doing my research suggested that I would be treated to some awesome views, and fortunately I was. The run was hard; hard because it was hilly, very wet and muddy underfoot; hard because I’d had poor sleep last night; hard because I’d not recovered from yesterday’s run very well. It was one of those runs where digging deep became the order of the day. Digging deep becomes an awful lot easier, though, when I know that amazing views will be my reward. As I crested the top of the first climb, the panorama took my breath away; I felt literally on top of the world.

sheep

As I approached the highest point of the run, both geographically and emotionally, I suspected that I would be in for something even more spectacular and, again, I was right. If I hadn’t been already out of breath, the view would certainly have taken it away! I could see for miles and miles, in fact so many miles that Glastonbury Tor was clearly visible in the distance, along with the Brecon Beacons and so much more. Google has since told me that 16 counties can be seen from the top on a good day; incredible!

Running on trails, it it easy to focus on foot placement, map-reading or signpost-spotting; it is easy to focus on the steepness of the hill and what hard work it is, the distance or time left to run. It is easy to forget to enjoy the surroundings and appreciate all those features that are a reason to run on trails in the first place. Views for me are at the top of this list; I just need to remind myself of this whenever the going gets tough.

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