Hitting the heights

4 trigs start cw

Photograph by kind permission of Chris Woodcock

The first running event I took part in was about 15 years ago – the Cardiff 5km Race for Life.

I did it with a friend. Neither of us were runners – nor even at all athletic.

Afterwards we celebrated by eating lots of cake and immediately hung up our trainers again.

Around the same time a new fell race was launched in Sidmouth, called The Four Trigs.

20150208_094114I remember reading about it in the local paper. The description of the route was terrifying. A gruelling off-road, self-navigating course that takes you from sea level to 800 feet hill tops many times, including four triangulation points. A total ascent of more than 3,400 feet in 17 miles.

I marvelled at those fit athletes who could undertake such a challenge. I thought they must be super-human, never remotely imagining me ever being that capable.

Sure, I knew how to lace up a pair of trainers and jog along a short, easy route. But running, really proper, hard running – no way!

Back in 2000 I was working as a reporter. My friend too. She wanted to be a writer of fiction and was trying to break into that hugely competitive and tough market.

I met up with her just last week and we chatted over old times, fondly remembering the challenge of our Race for Life run all those years ago.

20150208_104238Belinda, who never really got beyond that first race, exclaimed: “Crikey Jo! Look at you now, you’ve gone on to run 46 marathons.”

It’s still a feat, I can’t quite believe.

I marvelled at it again yesterday, when enjoying every step of those 17 miles of the Four Trigs – the fourth time I’ve run it in recent years.

Not superhuman. Just me.

Oh. And Belinda?

Well, she hung up her trainers, yes. But she kept up with her writing and went on to become the best-selling novelist Belinda Bauer, author of five critically acclaimed novels, ‘Blacklands’, ‘Darkside’, ‘Finders Keepers’, ‘Rubbernecker’ and ‘The Facts of Life and Death’.

‘Blacklands’ won the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year in 2010 and ‘Rubbernecker’ won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award in 2014.

20150208_132746Another step. Another stroke of the pen. And one day you look around, and think wow, what a view!

If I can do it. If Belinda can do it. Whatever it is you want to achieve, so could you.

With thanks to Nick Keast and Sidmouth Running Club for a fabulous event; to event sponsor Hayman’s Butchers; and also to my running pal Jane Hemsworth 20150208_132716for her lovely company en route.

To see the ups and downs of the 4 Trigs via my gps recording…..



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