It was, really, a simple plan. Run the entire Three Peaks Challenge on foot. 466 miles in 8 days, all while raising money for breast cancer research.
The thing is, simple doesn’t necessarily mean easy.
As we headed out on the morning of June 21st, we thought we had every angle covered. Our route was solid, our supplies more than ample , and we had an incredible team of friends and fellow runners looking out for us.
However, the world had other plans. At the end of day one, we’d covered 70 miles but somehow managed to miss our first stop, approximately 60 miles from our starting point of Snowdon, Wales, by more than ten miles.
Over the next week, bad weather, impassable trails, misdirection, lost gear and a near miss with a tour bus on a rural road took our well organized plan and tore it to shreds. In the end, we managed to summit the 3 Peaks, but only logged in 215 miles of actual running, which in most cases would be seen as a complete failure.
But here’s the thing. Whenever we had some unforeseen problem completely screw with our schedule, something equally amazing happened to balance things out. The bus incident? That lead us to a Bed & Breakfast who put us up and fed us free of charge when all we wanted was to crash in their parking lot for a few hours.
Lost directions put us on the West Highland Way, giving us an amazing dawn summit of Ben Lomond, a view we would have never seen if we’d stuck to our plan.
When freezing rain grounded us at Balmaha and left us huddled under the awning of the visitor center, we found and rescued a baby bat that had fallen from its roost. I received an email from rangers that he had been checked out, returned to his roost, and was doing fine.
And those were just the big incidents. Every day, we met new, kind and amazing people, who kept us at least near to our goal, offered moral support and more often than not, donated to our fundraiser. By the last day of our attempt, we’d raised nearly $2300 for Breast Cancer Now.
So yeah, the run was a bust. No worries. I mean, sure, it would have been cool to have eight smooth days of running, collect some accolades and gone home, but things happen, right?
After all, no amount of perfectly orchestrated, flawlessly executed miles could ever compare to the glorious, life affirming mess that 3 Peaks - 8 Days turned into.
And besides, now that the kinks are ironed out, I can come back and kill it next time.
Blog by TRIBE Runner Mark Wood.