In between us both working I managed to catch up with Simon James the founder of Run the Wild which launched last year as the UK’s premier running holiday. It’s been built around the passion of running and exploring the outdoors.
As an incredibly experienced ultra runner and mountaineer he has conquered peaks over numerous continents and run in some of the most extreme environments. I first met him a few years go whilst training for Marathon des Sables, he has gone on to do the GR20 (the toughest long distance trail in Europe) and Ultra Trail Mont Blanc considered by many to be one of the ultimate races when it comes to ultra running mixing distance (160km ) and elevation gaining more height than Mount Everest.(you can find some interesting facts in the link below http://visual.ly/ultra-trail-du-mont-blanc-utmb-all-stats-youll-ever-need-know)
Where did the idea of Run the Wild come from?
After being made redundant from the city I spent 2013 running and climbing full time. It was a big shock after working 12 years at the same bank, but looking back, one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Whilst I was climbing an 8,000m peak in the Himalayas (manaslu) it suddenly came to me. I love climbing because of the amazing places as well as friendships you make, but it’s not a race. I love running self sufficient style over the alps, so why isn’t the mentality of climbing in running? Running for the love of running, with a team… So “exploring places, not running races” was born and Run the Wild.
How did you get into running?
I used to run as a kid on the cliffs in Gower, South Wales where I grew up. But I didn’t do any running really until I was 28, when a business client challenged me one evening whilst in a bar to a 36hr walk across 54 miles of the West Highland Way in Scotland. I foolishly said “yes”. He then rang me the next day to tell me we would be running it. I was 3 stone overweight and had not run more than 8 miles in my life. We finished it in 14hrs and I was hooked. And he’s now one of my best friends.
Most enjoyable event you have taken part in?
Race – London Marathon, no one normally shouts my name like that crowd!
Trail Run – running round Mt Blanc on my own in 2.5days, self sufficient.
Hardest challenge you have taken on?
Running The Walkers Haute route when there is too much snow and with a broken backpack.
Best bit of trail running?
Most important item you carry with you?
My lightweight Patagonia smock
What is your luxury item on multi day challenges or expeditions?
Check out run the wild and if your a runner of any level get yourself booked onto one of the trips as they are certainly worth the experience. Until then where abouts do you normally go running? Have you got a favourite place or route?