Rob, like many people in modern society, spends far too much of his working life sat behind a desk in sanitised corporate offices. This means that his evenings and weekends are spent indulging in his passion for the great outdoors. In a competitive sense this means training and racing in fell and trail races across Northern England. On a more relaxed note he loves nothing more than going on family walks, tending for his menagerie of animals (horses, chickens and dog) and trying to keep up with his wife and nine year old daughter at open water swimming. An enthusiastic environmentalist he loves enjoying the delights of our countryside whilst trying to do his bit to protect our increasingly fragile planet.
At 42 years old I find myself stuck in corporate life, chained to my desk for long hours in major cities around the UK. This makes my excursions into the great outdoors even more important, my medicine for the trappings of modern life and the frustrations of big business. I love nothing more than getting out running on the trails and Fells of Northern England, just me, my dog and nature. This is not the story of one individual event but more the repeated restorative powers my adventures exert on both my physical and mental health.
To most running up mountains would seem the hobby of a madman but these ascents bring out some great qualities such as strength, determination and perseverance. Here the only accepted currency is that of sweat and lactic acid and the only thoughts that occupy your mind are ones of exertion and endeavour. Then there are the rewards of the crashing downhills which require bravery, pure concentration, fast feet and just a sprinkling of insanity. A good descent turns back time and fills you with childlike joy to the extent I have even been known to let out the odd yelp of excitement.
On occasion you happen upon trails that seem to have been placed there by the running gods themselves. These trails have a flow to them that engenders a real connection between the path and the runner, so much so that it all becomes easy, almost fluid, no matter how tired the muscles are. It is on such routes that you often happen across wildlife that calls it their home. It might be a deer that momentarily stands and stares before bounding off into the woods or smaller mammals, birds or rodents that scurry across the path lighting up my springer spaniel with excitement in the process. No matter what the creature, the experience fills you with a warm glow that emanates from deep inside before manifesting itself through what is commonly known as a smile.
This euphoric impact is repeated by the stunning views that open up from the summits. The vistas of the valleys that lie below and the hills that stand proudly in the distance are hard earnt. A beauty that is enjoyed as I gulp in breaths of clear, pure air seemingly unaffected by the pollutants we humans inflict upon our more populated areas. This is why we must continue to protect our wildernesses from encroachment from our ever expanding towns and cities. We must protect them from the Governments that seem to be oblivious to the workings of rural communities and ignorant of the importance of our natural environment, because this is our playground, our home, our habitat, our salvation, our earth.