Written By LEWIS ROBLING
Having previously completed Ultra X Wales, Ultra X England and Ultra X Scotland, Lewis has decided to take on the mammoth challenge of completing all five of our 250km events this year. No-one has ever attempted this before and we’re so excited to support Lewis’ journey this year, it’s going to be life-changing.
Last year I decided to search for a challenge. One that would test my physical and mental capabilities and would require me to push beyond limits I thought I had.
Well, in December 2020, only a few months after running my first Ultra marathon (England 125 with Ultra X) I was at the lowest I’d ever been in my life. At the time, this made no sense to me whatsoever. I couldn’t understand why after this phenomenal experience, after Iearning more about myself in 2 days than I had done in 10 years as a professional athlete, after I’d met so many incredible people that I felt completely and utterly lost. I needed help. Luckily, help was just around the corner in the form of Bigmoose and Jeff & Chloe Smith (founders).
Bigmoose is a non-profit coffee shop turned Charity that uses their profits to pay for early intervention therapy for those that need it. No matter who you are, where you are or what your circumstances are, they are there to offer a helping hand. They funded four sessions for me with a fantastic therapist who helped me understand the why and quite simply got me back on my feet.
It was only after the therapy that I truly understood why I was so low. I was using running, ultra running to run away from life’s tough situations. I used the ultra as an escape from reality and unconsciously used it to forget about what I was facing, mainly in my business as it struggled during covid. And, amongst all of the incredible life lessons you learn from preparing, training and running an ultra marathon, for me, here lies the most invaluable lesson…
You can’t run away from your mental health, no matter how hard you try (trust me, I tried bloody hard too!)
The solution to this problem then?
- Speak up for mental health
- Push myself beyond any perceived physical and mental limits
- Inspire others to do the same.
Instead of running away from life’s challenges, I’m going to use ultra running to run head on into all 5 of Ultra X’s 250km ultramarathon races:
All the while, using these challenges to raise awareness, speak up and most importantly to give back to Bigmoose for all they did to me. I want to raise £25,000 to help fund approximately 250 hours of early intervention therapy – with the potential to save 250 lives!
Prep so far?
I started training for this with a purpose back in December. Training has gone really well so far with no ridiculous mileage to cover just yet! I’d say my weekly total is around 80-100km. My coach, Luke Tyburski, is looking after my training and is always quick to remind me that Sri Lanka is part of a training block… I mean, that’s absurd right?! I’d never ran over 10km without getting injured 18 months ago! Having said that, I am rather nervous about Sri Lanka. Running in that heat and humidity is something I’ve never experienced before, and I have no idea how my body is going to react to it. It’s not as if we can acclimatise here in the UK! Not only that, but eating and drinking in that heat is going to be the difference between finishing or not – I just need to make sure I have electrolytes on hand pretty much 24/7 and that I’m drinking constantly. However, the excitement FAR outweighs the nerves! The opportunity to run through a foreign country, full of culture, to run through local villages, to see a new place, to hopefully see wildlife in the jungle, to meet and connect with other runners, share stories, sit around the campfire in the evenings, to learn more about myself, hope I adapt to stress, manage discomfort and just absorb every single part of this experience is honestly lighting me up – even as I type this!
Having been fortunate enough to race with Ultra X already, I know how much they value the community and the experience. They do everything that they can to provide you with the most phenomenal experience – they’ve gotten rather good at it too!!
For those of you on the fence about embarking on a journey like this, you are capable and you will not regret it.
As for the rest of the year, Slovenia will be incredible – the opportunity to run with some of the most accomplished runners in the world will be an experience of a lifetime. Wales, well I ran Wales last year and I’m probably most nervous about this race as I know what is coming… It was absolutely stunning and I couldn’t believe this was North Wales. This is also a tough race, one that will really challenge you, so if you’re up for it, this is an incredible adventure. I remember describing it as beautifully brutal!
Then the final two races are arguably the toughest. Mentally, I know I’ll be counting down the races (only 2 to go) – however, they are the most challenging. Mexico in the Copper Canyons presents me with 12,000+ metres of elevation over 5 days. By this point I have no idea what my body will be doing… to make it tougher, there is only around 3 weeks to recover after Jordan before going to Mexico. Only time will tell!!
I think I’ve probably blabbered on enough now! Thank you if you’ve read this far. Obviously, if you want to know more about the challenge, or Bigmoose then please get in touch. Instagram messages are great, or if you want to go one step further and join me and the team at Ultra X on this adventure, then have a look at some of the races! If you fancy the beauty of Wales, Mars-like Jordan or the spectacular Copper Canyons in Mexico then make sure you sign up!
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