So everyone wonders "what drives you to run an ultra marathon?"
Honestly, there is no one definitive answer. One answer is simply it gives me the ability to explore some absolutely breathtaking places in the UK (and hopefully the rest of the world), another is that it keeps me disciplined by providing a goal to achieve.
Truthfully though I'd say what keeps me going back is that I somewhat enjoy the pain but take the experiences as an opportunity for character development. Since I was young I've struggled with self-confidence due to my weight, even bullied about it, which has made interacting with people difficult. Even now after losing weight I still sit on the edges of social groups and leave myself isolated. During an ultra it's natural to go through cycles of highs and lows and reserve the thought in your mind that at some point you'll be on your own and especially when you're tired and it's night things become extremely challenging.
Personally in these low moments I've explored some very dark places in my mind (places where even I'm afraid of) - things that make you cry, voices that tell you're not good enough/that you'll amount to nothing/that tell you to give up. Whilst this doesn't sound pleasant this is in essence the beauty of ultra running (walking a fine line, irrespective of endless planning, of everything being good and everything falling apart) - to be able to take a deep breath and be present in the moment and find a grinding gear inside which overrides your thoughts of pain, fear and doubts to keep going and say "I WILL NOT QUIT!".
This is the lesson I take.
Throwback to my first 100 mile race - 8th place overall, 28 hours 50 minutes