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My First Competitive Trail Run

Outside of my working career, I am really into adventure sports and being outdoors in general. These sports and adventures really help me switch off and reset, which is something I believe is not only important for your mental health but can also support you in your career allowing you to relieve stress and think more clearly and effectively.

Recently I took part in my first competitive trail running event with Trail Pursuit in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales.

Will Brett-Atkin - Trail Pursuit - Trail Running

Trail Pursuit

Trail Pursuit is a new trail running festival based in the UK. The event I attended was their second event based on the Brecon Beacons but they also run an event in the Lake District which I hope to attend in the 2022.

Trail Pursuit has multiple distances including the Ultra, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Kids race. They also allow you to run with your dog which is something I would be keen to try next time.

As this was my first trail running event and I didn’t really have time to do any training I decided to do the 10k race as this is a distance I frequently do.

Outside of the running festival they also had a race village full of shops and stalls as well as multiple food vendors, Yoga, Sports therapists and live music and talks. On the Friday night, they also screened a film festival which was brilliant.

How did the race go?

Having no idea what to expect and the weather certainly more on the wet side as it often is in wales we joined the mass start. After a quick warm-up and a briefing telling us to follow the route signs, we were off.

I quickly realized I had started too far back in the group and spent the first 2km doing my best to overtake runners. This wasn’t because I was trying to be competitive but more that I was running much slower than my normal pace. Something to think about for next time.

Once I was running at a more comfortable speed I came across my first route signs. At this point, I had separated from the group and it would be very easy to go the wrong way. Thankfully other than a few times where I had to run back to check the signs I managed to follow the route without much issue.

On the 10km there was an absolutely killer hill climb which was officially named the hill climb of doom. This was incredibly steep and I am comfortable with hill climbs being a mountain biker but this was something else. Made the 10km more challenging and therefore more rewarding.

Will Brett-Atkin - Trail Pursuit - Trail Running

After the hill climb it was a case of following the route signs and enjoying the stunning views. At this point I was really appreciating that my life allows me to take part in events like this. That I have the option to put myself in challenging situations rather than being forced to.

The rest of the race was pretty smooth running apart from falling over right in front of a cameraman. Wish I had the photos of this.

I then managed to catch up with some of the runners on the downs. Clearly, I am fast running downhills. I guess this is thanks to my skills in mountain biking.

The last 3km were pretty flat returning into the race village. I had a pretty bad stitch (Lack of training probably) but I was able to keep pace.

In the end, I finished my first competitive trailing running race in 2nd place in my category and 3rd place overall. Not bad and thoroughly enjoyable.

Why am I writing about this on my portfolio site?

So you may be asking why I am writing about trail running on my professional portfolio website? Well, I think it’s important to have a work-life balance. I also strongly believe that sports and being outdoors is incredibly important for your mental health. This can help you relieve stress and switch off from work keeping you fresh and on point when you do return to work.

I also think that competitive sports can support you in your professional career. Competitions whether mountain biking, trail running or other can give you a real sense of who you are and where your limits are. They also really highlight areas you can improve. Another thing they help you with is being a good sport. You are unlikely to be the best at everything and it’s good to be humbled. All these lessons can also apply to your working life.

So I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you want to read more articles I have written then you can check out my other website One Track Mind MTB Magazine. This is my free online mountain bike magazine where I post content regularly. It’s also been voted in the top 10 mountain bike magazines: we are currently number 4 at the time of writing this article.

Check out my other post about how mountain biking has made me a better designer here.