I arrived at the Buxton Adventure Film Festival shortly before Heather Dawe was due to speak. I snook into the theatre a little early (its amazing where a guide dog can get you!) and found a seat. I sat down a few seats away from Jez Bragg and was introduced to him.
Jez was at the event talking about his 3,054km run of the Te Araroa trail covering the entirety of New Zealand including multiple water crossings. After a quick chat and swapping our list of events for the following year it was time for the first talk.
Heather Dawe was talking about her amazing running and cycling career. She has achieved some wonderful things and returned from adversity after suffering what sounded like a terrible accident while riding her bike. A car hit her at 50mph and she was thrown over the car. Her talk was captivating and covered everything from running to painting! After the talk there was a little Q&A.
At the end of the Q&A the organizers of the film festival mentioned I was in the audience and asked if I would give an impromptu talk on how I got into running. So with Ascot in hand I struggled to get on the stage as Ascot was doing his usual jumping around trying to play with everyone. I gave a quick overview of how I started running and why I was attracted to ultra running. It seemed to go down well and I think I did reasonably well considering I had no idea I would end up on stage.
After that was a brilliant little film about the Dragons Back. Thankfully the film was filled with enough dialogue so I could tell what was going on. The few details I did need to know where filled in by Julie who was sat next to me. Its a great film and if you get the chance well worth a watch. It certainly seems like an incredibly gruelling race, it would certainly be an incredibly challenge for anyone to guide me on that course!
Following that film was Jez Bragg’s talk. Its always great hearing little details of peoples adventures and Jez’s was certainly a massive adventure. The water crossings added a great element to an endurance run and maybe came as a great break from the constant running for Jez. It was also interesting to hear that even the elite atheletes end up crying while out running! Its not just us mere mortals that end up breaking down after the body has taken a beating. What really struck me about Jez’s talk was all the mud and the tree roots. When I run I have no idea what my feet are going to land on, I just have to trust that it wont be anything too bad. There is no way I could run a trail like that, well I could but it would probably take me a year rather than the 53 days it took Jez!
It did sound like a wonderful adventure and I really liked the idea of the water crossings. I would love to have a crack at an endurance event that involved a little more than running.
Jez’s talk was followed by two short films,the first “The Journey”
Paul Pritchard became disabled in 1998 during a climbing accident on a sea stack in Tasmania when a TV-sized boulder falling from 25 meters inflicted such terrible head injuries that doctors thought he might never walk or even speak again.
He is still making a remarkable recovery and longed to return to the Himalayan mountain range. The hemiplegia which has robbed his right side of movement and played tricks with his speech and memory meant pedalling a specially built recumbent trike was the only way he could return to the mountains he loves and make the pilgrimage to Mount Everest.
The film was very humorous and the dialogue was enough to follow the story. Simon filled in a few od the details for me this time, such as the scenery and terrain.
The second film was “The road from Karakol”
In the summer of 2011, alpinist Kyle Dempster set out across Kyrgyzstan’s back roads on his bike. His goal – ride across the country via old Soviet roads while climbing as many of the region’s impressive peaks as possible. He was alone. He carried only a minimalist’s ration of climbing gear. Ten Kyrgyz words rounded out his vocabulary. Part meditation on true spirit of adventure and part epic travelogue, The Road from Karakol is the story of a unique spirit who pedaled to the road’s end and decided to keep going
However the film was more about the adventure he seemed to have along the way discovering the abandoned ruins of a post soviet union. This film told a great story overall and explored the fear of the adventurer and highlighted how overcoming fears seemed to lead to a greater adventure.
The final talk was by Rosie Swale Pope. As earlier we had snook into the theatre a little early so Rosie was still setting up. She had decided to hide on stage inside a tent – so after everyone had filled the room she could just appear on stage. I had heard a little about Rosie on the way to the event. After a few brief conversations I had found out at the age of 60 she had decided to run around the world, making her the first person ever to achieve this unsupported. I was amazed, it seemed an adventure like that would be something a crazed 20 year old would undertake, but someone old enough to be a grandma? It seemed incredible.
Her talk simply did not disappoint. Hearing Rosie talk is energizing and its easy to see why she delivers motivational talks all over the world. Her tales of not only the run but her life are simply amazing, if there is ever an opportunity to hear her talk it should certainly be jumped upon!
Thankfully her book is available on Kindle so I grabbed that today. As soon as I have read the mountain of books for my extended essay and disseration I will get right on it!
Overall the event was fantastic, I got to hear some amazing people talk about their wonderful adventures. I came away inspired and with little tidbits of information that I will introduce into my own training. It was also great to hear that Jez ate junk and rice pudding on his Te Araroa trail run as that is pretty much what I survive on! (So I cant be doing it that wrong). The amount of incline everyone at the event seemed to have covered during events was another take home for me. Being very limited to running my one route inclines are things of nightmares. But I am determined to at least do a gair few thousand feet a week albeit on the treadmill. Rosie had some great tips on socks and something I will bare in mind if I ever do a multi day ultra.
So the event achieved exactly what I hoped it would, inspire me to reach further and train harder. I would highgly recommend people attend next year, I know I will be trying my hardest to!