The question of Why I run long?


Let's start with "why you run" not "how you run".

July 8th 2017 was like any other race day. I felt slightly sick and nervous standing at that start line for the Sinister 7. I felt good and confident in my training. The mood of other runners was full of optimism and hope. Pictures were being taken, then the count down began and we were away. 100miles ahead of us.

But this wasn't to be my race or my year for ultras in fact. I did not finish the Sinister 7. I stopped after leg 3. I just did not want to be out there. I wanted to be at home with my family. I just did not want it enough this time. I did not want it at Lost Souls in September, as I stopped after two loops, completing 107km. So I now have those three dreaded letters after my name. Georgie Islip - D.N.F.

I really do not look happy! My dark thoughts during Sinister 7 2017

Looking back, the end of one race was rather funny. I had decided that I was not running more than two loops in Lost Souls simply because I had talked myself out of it - more on this later. I told the volunteer at Headquarter Transition that I was ending it after my two loops. The gentleman on the microphone proceeded to announce to the world, which again was not many considering it was about 4am, that I was quitting and I had a poor year running. There was no mention that I had just run 107km in the smoke and heat. No condolences. Nothing. But then I had chosen to quit.

Since last September I have been trying to explore my "why" for running long. If your reason or motive is just wanting the medal or t-shirt, this simply is not enough to complete an ultra race. You also can not just "turn up" and expect to complete an ultra race. You need to know your why for being there.

My light bulb moment happened in Lost Souls when I realized my reasons for running long races. They were to complete something that my parents would never do; to prove myself; to prove that I was not like my mother (who has always suffers from a mental health illness) to run these races for dear friends that have died too young and to show that I was hard. I felt in that moment, that I had come to terms with my Mum's health issues, my friends deaths and I how I do not need to prove myself anymore. It was quite an enlightening moment. I felt at peace with life and I felt a great weight left my shoulders. These were my reasons why and they are not my reasons why anymore. I needed to explore my new whys!

If I look back to the 2017 races I entered, I think I made several errors which helped my D.N.F.s.

1. I had not mentally prepared myself for either run. I just turned up, expecting to finish.