Endurance AdventuresI love the start of a New Year. Although change can happen at any time in your life, there’s something special about January 1st that marks the threshold of a new chapter in your life- a feeling of starting again and making real progress in the 12 months now ahead of you…

So- have you got your endurance adventures planned out for 2013? What races will you do, what challenge events will you complete, what ultras will see you sweating through all manner of terrain, what personal challenges will you meet?

Now is the time to start planning… when the New Year is still fresh and exiting and new… before normality and work take over again and you find the year slipping away from you without you achieving most of the things you hoped you might.

Believe me I am writing this as much for me as for you- I had high hopes for 2012 and I ended up achieving very little. No reason really. I just didn’t seem to be able to get my butt into gear and sunk into apathy, under exercising and over eating whilst the year passed me by…

But not 2013! Oh no. I have several challenges set out over the year, some of which I have already entered. I will share these with you in the hope that it will keep me accountable. I don’t want to be writing this time next year trying to give some paltry excuse as to why I didn’t achieve them!

My current challenges are;

  • The Belvoir Challenge. This provides a useful benchmark for my current fitness levels. The route changes every year, and as it passes through clay soil country (the Vale of Belvoir) it is usually very, very muddy!
  • Three Shires Challenge. This is a challenge walk with various distance options through Derbyshire, Cheshire and Staffordshire. Last year I completed the second longest distance at 27 miles. There is an additional 2 mile loop available- it doesn’t sound much, but it involves climbing Shutlingsloe- which isn’t known as the ‘Matterhorn of the Peaks’ for nothing! Well this year I intend to complete the longest distance and climb Shutlingsloe.
  • As part of my preparation for the Three Shires, I will complete the John Merrill Three Counties Challenge Walk– a tough, hilly 28 mile walk in its own right. I purchased the guide to this challenge years ago and have never got around to doing it!
  • The Bullock Smithy. This is a 56 mile route in the Peak District with a 24 hour time limit. The challenge starts at midday on the first Saturday in September and you have to be back at the start at Hazel Grove, Stockport, by midday on Sunday. I first attempted this in 2008 but due to a combination of taking a head torch that gave out literally 10 minutes after switching it on and then getting lost and wandering round fields for hours, I had to throw in the towel. This year I will complete this beastie!
  • I have booked a week’s trekking in the Pyrenees with Explore Worldwide in May/ June. Although it’s not a tough trek there are still parts that will be challenging and I will need to be fit enough to complete it.
  • Plus any other challenges I fancy throwing in there during the course of the year.

Now it’s your turn! Go on- have a brainstorm, dig out those challenges you always wanted to have a go at but never got around to, look online for inspiration, anything… but don’t let this week go by without listing at least three things you want to achieve in 2013.  Make it count!!

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