What type of people go on Rogue Expeditions running trips? It seems that everyone worries that they'll either be too slow, or too fast. That the mileage will be too difficult, or not challenging enough. That they'll be too old, or too young. That the other people will be super serious running geeks who talk about nothing but training, or that the other people will all be there to take it reeeeeeally easy. That they'll be the only person who doesn't know anyone else.
In truth, there is no "type." The trips attract all sorts of backgrounds, all sorts of ability levels and all sorts of motivations for being there, and the beautiful thing is that it works for just about everyone! To prove it, over the coming weeks we will be interviewing a number of our runners about their running background, pre-trip hesitations, favorite trip memories and most surprising revelations.
Here is the take from Paul Broadway, who lives in London and is one of the quickest and toughest runners we know (seriously - he just finished 47th place at Marathon des Sables, his first stage race ever).
Describe your running background.
I started running at university in 2013. Mostly cross country and did a few marathons here and there. I was a mid-pack runner but loved the social element at Uni.
How did you end up on your first Rogue Expeditions trip? What led you to the decision?
In December 2015 I signed up for the Marathon Des Sables (April 2017). I'd always wanted to give it a go and it was the first time I could afford such a big race. Since July 2016 I trained for that race and on all my holidays I wanted to be able to continue to train whilst also relaxing and seeing new parts of the world. I typed 'Running holidays' into Google and hit search... The rest is history!
Any hesitations or uncertainties going into it?
Before Kenya I actually picked up a pretty serious calf injury and was unable to run for virtually the whole trip. I was initially gutted and thought that I shouldn't go, but in terms of enjoyment it made no difference. I still had the most amazing time with safaris, the company, the food and was able to hike all of the running routes.
Did you know anyone else in the group beforehand? How was it traveling with a group of strangers?
I knew no one for either trip and what is more, was the only person not from the Americas on both. It was ace, everyone comes from different backgrounds with different levels of experience and ages. Particularly on the Morocco trip, we all had adventure in our blood and the love of running (and a bit of friendly competition!) in common too. Meeting new people is one of the best part of the Rogue experience.
What was your favorite run in each destination and why?
Kenya - It wasnt actually a run but due to injury I walked just 1 lap of the famous dirt track at Iten and it was just one of the greatest feelings to tread where so many world famous athletes learnt to ply their trade.
In Morocco, Day 3 running 30km up to a remote camp in the hills was awesome. The route is a partial goat trail, unmarked on any map and not viewable on Google Earth. I felt like a real trailblazer running into the unknown, at my own pace, with a tough last 10km of steep incline to top it off.
Food is a huge part of any travel experience. What was your favorite thing that you ate in during each trip?
The food generally is absolutely 5 stars. In Kenya the breakfast spreads were just exquisite, and in Morocco the beef tagine was a true thing of beauty. In Morocco I enjoyed the food so much that I received the 'Bottomless' award at the end of the week for my ability to eat copious amounts of food at every single meal.
Both travel and running have their ups and downs. What has been your most challenging moment or issue during a running trip? How did you overcome it?
Being injured in Kenya. I dealt with it by relaxing, hiking the trails and taking in the amazing surroundings instead of thinking just about running. There was so much more on offer than just running.
In Morocco it was managing a knee problem. This is probably not the right answer, but I dealt with it by popping some painkillers and going out and tackling it head on. It hurt, but it felt incredible to come through successful on some tough and technical terrain!
Pick one trip. What surprised you the most about the experience?
Kenya - you don't have to be a good runner to enjoy a running vacation - you don't even have to run at all!
Runcation vs a race: what do you think are some of the key similarities and differences? Or are they even comparable?
They aren't comparable really at all. On the Morocco Endurance Adventure there were some tough parts where you had to dig a little deeper than on a light run but it's still nothing like a race.
In a race you'll be happy if you smash it, in a runcation you'll be happy regardless. It's pretty much as simple as that.
Sum up your Rogue Expeditions experience in one sentence:
The best conceivable way to meet similar people, keep up good training, see the world and eat until your stomach is about to burst!