Why the Yukon?


I’ve never wrote down why I opted to canoe.

The Yukon had been in my mind for over a year, but with so much on I had to push it to the back of my mind and archive the idea. After a few months of finishing the marathons I was filled with a feeling of relief, that I’d got through it, but as that disappeared I realised I needed something to do, something to work towards. I didn’t just want to run again – running got boring, I felt like I’d done the marathon thing. I was getting pretty bored of people asking if I was running a marathon etc. It was great that people took and interest, i think now that for a lot of people they may have felt that was the only thing I wanted or could talk about. But one way or another I wanted to break out of that mould and try something completely different and really see what I was capable of. I thought for a few weeks of starting climbing again, but I’d done that and it wasn’t new. Then after boozy night out, I sat watching TV and a documentary came on about the Yukon River Quest. I went on a little run and whilst I was out I decided that was it. So I came in from my run. And whilst sitting sweating on the sofa (sorry guys) I signed up for the race. I hadn’t thought whether it was possible, what I needed or whether it was a good idea, I just thought why not. I had nothing to lose. I like acting now and thinking later, otherwise you always find reasons not to do something.

Only now with 2 weeks until my first 200 miles race is it dawning on me what I’ve signed up to. I’ve done about 15hrs total in a kayak and have some basic skills. Last year was easy, you could always walk off the course and give in. In June, this won’t be possible or in May. When I step in that kayak I’ll have to rely on myself from start to finish. This is what I find exhilarating – the success or failure of these trips are down to me: how well I perform and how well I prepared. Running marathons is a different ball game to what I’m about to expose myself too. I’ve had to change my body to get ready for these challenges and I’ll have to change my mind. I’m awful at staying awake past 10, but I’m going to have kayak for easily 70hrs none stop in the Yukon. Not only that but all the running last year has meant that i have poor circulation in my legs meaning i get pins and needles after about 30 minutes in a canoe. i’m really worried about this.

I think a lot of my friends and family see this as just a challenge that I’ll do and finish, in much the same way I’d run a marathon. However, from the research, training and planning I’ve been doing have shown. i know that this won’t be the case. I’m petrified by what I’ve got myself into, but I’ve never been more excited about the unexpected and challenging adventures that will pan out. 2 weeks to the first race and 6 to the next…

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