So my first blog detailed why I'm currently unemployed, and why writing a book is fulfilling a childhood dream. Now it's time to let you all know what the book is about.
Ever since I was 14, athletics has been a major part of my life. I love to run in all weathers, but sometimes, just sometimes, I need to escape the British/Irish winter and do a spot of training somewhere else in the world. I like to travel, and am interested in other cultures, so running gives me a great opportunity to do that. In 2005, after finishing my PhD, I went on my first of 5 (to date) trips to Kenya. Initially I found it difficult to find information on how to organise the trip, and subsequent warm-weather training trips around Europe have proved to be just as difficult to organise. Where do you find information on the best places to visit? What venues have access to weights equipment? Can you use the local track? Where is the best place to stay? Is it a safe place for females? Do you need a car to get around? Is it safe? Is it suitable for solo travellers? And most importantly, as someone who generally despises running on the roads, what are the trails like? So many questions, and so few answers. Sure, if you know someone that has been there before, they'll be able to answer your questions. But are there places out there that are underused as training venues - and some that are grossly overused?
I had an idea a few years back about putting together a book or a website about the best altitude and warm weather training venues around the world, but for a long time this has only been a crazy idea at the back of my head. Now I'm about to make it a reality, and am currently gathering information for what I envisage to be a travel guide for distance runners and provide practical information for those planning altitude training trips around the world.
On Tuesday 30th March 2010, I set off on the first leg of my exploration journey, which will see me visit and train at various altitude locations in Mexico and the US. Now 4 days later, I am sitting in a 4-Star hotel in San Luis Potosi with not a care in the world, still as excited about the whole adventure as when I first decided to live my dream last December. I hope to visit locations across Europe, Africa and Australia in the coming months, and 18 months from now publish what I hope to be the first of many books.
Can anywhere compare to Kenya?
I can't pinpoint when it was, but I fell in love with Kenya long before I visited the place. My first visit in 2005 not only lived up to my expectations, but greatly exceeded them. It was as I had imagined but more. More colourful. More peaceful. More exciting. More friendly. It's difficult to explain, but Africa truly does fill up the senses, and Kenya in particular is a must visit for all running enthusiasts. It truly is the distance running Mecca! As I've said, I've been 5 times before, and never get bored of the place. It is definitely number 1 on my list of places to train, and I can't imagine that changing. Over the next 12 months I'll look to see if anywhere else comes close.
How you can help
The more information that I can gather for this book, the more useful that it will be. I want to include venues that suit all tastes and budgets. If you are running-mad like me, and you have a favourite (or not so favourite) altitude training venue that you think I should visit, then please let me know. I will also be looking for travelling partners along the way, so please let me know if you would like to join me at any stage of my journey. (Male travel partners for a few weeks in Morocco in late September/early October would be greatly appreciated).
BTW, this is the 4-Star Hotel - for £34 per room per night, it truly is a bargain.
Right that's me for now. Please feel free to post your comments about my project at the bottom.
Until the next time,