Find what drives your pas­sion

For­mer track run­ner and #Run1000Miles am­bas­sador Julia Bleas­dale dis­cov­ered the re­fresh­ing power a trail run can pro­vide

Trail Running (UK) - - Warm- Up | Your Fittest Year Ever - MEET THE AM­BAS­SADOR Elite ath­lete Julia Bleas­dale, who was eighth in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics, has swapped the track for the trails of the Alps and now pro­motes run­ning tourism in En­gadin in Switzer­land.

Travel through any ma­jor air­port and you will even­tu­ally find a mov­ing walk­way and be tempted to hop on for the ride. Af­ter all, it prom­ises ra­pid­ity with a cer­tainty of di­rec­tion while you are con­veyed along, quite of­ten to a des­ti­na­tion that is some­what out of sight as you com­mit to tak­ing the jour­ney. Of course, there is then no turn­ing back.

This was my life as an elite ath­lete, with known bound­aries, al­ways mov­ing for­wards with the pro­ces­sion of train­ing cy­cles, com­pe­ti­tions and train­ing camps fea­tur­ing as reg­u­larly as the clever ad­ver­tis­ing adorn­ing the walls of air­port thor­ough­fares with the next in­trigu­ing prom­ise or in­stall­ment al­ways just ahead. My fel­low trav­ellers were my friends, fam­ily and run­ning ri­vals. The pur­pose was clear and fo­cused, the des­ti­na­tion dis­tant.

Then, softly at first, comes the po­lite but repet­i­tive voice, bring­ing news that your brief and en­joy­able jour­ney is com­ing to­wards its con­clu­sion and to be pre­pared for a re­turn to a more nor­mal hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. Ig­nore the ad­vice and you can stum­ble but strid­ing off with in­tent you can find a nat­u­ral rhythm once more.

So step­ping off the elite stage I knew I must find what run­ning now meant to me, what it was that drove the pas­sion, am­bi­tion and train­ing, to be able to cope with the ups and downs. I had to re­dis­cover run­ning and pur­pose.

When you are young it is not just speed that ex­hil­a­rates, it is not time nor po­si­tion that is highly cov­eted. It is the free­dom and ad­ven­ture that pro­vide the at­trac­tion to run.

There is a story in ev­ery run­ning en­deav­our. Trails and nat­u­ral land­scapes am­plify this nar­ra­tive through ter­rain, weather and pure diver­sity of mo­tion. A move to the moun­tains and trails now en­cap­su­lates run­ning for me as ul­ti­mately we are not yet de­signed for ei­ther track or tar­mac, and trails pro­vide a re­fresh to our com­plex men­tal states and a phys­i­cal va­ri­ety to en­liven the body.

So the wind­ing trail and feel­ing of ad­ven­ture with ex­plo­ration is run­ning, as ul­ti­mately we all come to seek those ex­pe­ri­ences that en­rich our souls and en­able us to be closer to our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. It is this con­nec­tion that gives me pur­pose – al­ways imag­in­ing what is around the next cor­ner or see­ing what the dot­ted line on a map re­ally feels like un­der­foot.

I am happy to have landed safely, avoid­ing stum­bles and ne­go­ti­at­ing the ar­rivals hall of my elite ca­reer with my lug­gage, mov­ing on to fresh pas­tures and trails within the stun­ning arena of the En­gadin Valley in Switzer­land.

Hav­ing found my feet, the mo­ti­va­tion is to see that more peo­ple dis­cover this lesser-known, mag­i­cal trail run­ning des­ti­na­tion tucked away in the high Alps. Do join me for a run one day!

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