When he’s not tearing across the South Downs, you’ll find Chris Clarke speeding along the Solent! 2016 will be his tenth Challenge and he tells us what brings him back each May to the Far North …
Tell us a bit about yourself and your hobbies
I’m a Male Vet 60, retired, and divide my time between living on the South Coast and Bedford. As well as running I enjoy dinghy sailing on the Solent.
Tell us a bit your running history. What kind of running you enjoy most?
I’m a member of Biggleswade AC, having joined in the early 80s. I run and race over a range of distances on road and cross-country, from 5k to 40 miles. I’ve run the London marathon five times, my first in 1991, and most recently in 2015. As I get older I’ve been enjoying off road running more and more, especially in the South Downs.
How many times have you been to CWC?
I have been to the last nine CWC events and aim to come back in May 2016 for my tenth!
What made you come to CWC for the first time?
I first heard about the Challenge from our Club Chairman (Nigel Bush), soon after it started. A few of us ‘down south’ thought it sounded like fun, but trying to fit a week’s running holiday around other family holidays didn’t quite work. However, the first winter after I retired, I entered as I didn’t have an excuse not to.
Tell us what makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
It’s an event like none other I’ve heard of. On my first visit I was encouraged by the welcome of both local residents of Durness and the visiting runners. Everyone, without exception was so very friendly and I love coming to Scotland. The thought of having a holiday and a week’s running was too good an opportunity to miss. The social programme is also so good, very varied, with something for everyone.
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
The Monday half marathon along the edge of Loch Eriboll, whatever the weather: it is such a fantastic location for a road race.
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area?
There are so many; seeing old friends, both locals and runners, meeting new visitors each year, being in such fantastic surroundings, and it’s also a chance to get away from it all, to get some peace and quiet.
What are you most looking forward to when you return?
See previous answer!!
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge week in three words…
Fellowship Friends Scenery
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
There are a few, but a race I’ve done most years since 2007, is the Meon Valley Plod, a 21 mile cross country race in the South Downs in February, usually with lots of mud, and made more interesting by having a number of route changes over the years.
Anything else you want to tell the CWC Community?
Thank you for coming up with the Challenge in the first place and then having the dedication and commitment to keep inviting us back.