Until the age of 36, I was a lifelong journeyman when it came to fitness and exercise. I'd always put at least some time aside during the week for some form of physical activity, be it jogging, tennis, weights, skiing or 5-aside. Enough to stay moderately healthy, if a little chubby at times (mainly diet related).
Then in 2016, my friend Matthew suggested we sign up for the 'Fan Dance' - a rather gruelling load-bearing run in the Brecon Beacons. This is one of the SAS tests in their selection week, which was opened to the public a few years ago, and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to properly test their physical limitations. Having both considered a career in the military at an early age, we considered this event to be an ideal tonic to what was probably some kind of mid-life crisis for us both; Training was tough and the race was tougher (the hardest physical test I had ever experienced). But finishing under the selection time (I was happy just to finish) and experiencing the real camaraderie along the way, made all the pain worthwhile. I acquired a race merchandise mug afterwards, which bears a quote that summed up the whole experience : "at the finish, all the pain and suffering turns to feelings of pleasure, and the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure."
I credit that day for triggering HuntingThirty, which is an ethos capturing the aspiration to strive for limitations and then break them, no matter the obstacles. 2017 brought plenty of obstacles including bereavements, troublesome young children and a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis which will affect my training and diet for the rest of my life. But we all face hurdles from time to time, and I hope 'HuntingThirty' goes some way to inspiring others to believe they can transcend, tread new ground and set new personal achievements.