At the top of a muddy slope that drops into a beautiful valley, I take a deep breath and prepare to put one foot in front of the other. Walking down this track, strewn with roots and ruts, wouldn’t normally be too challenging. But today I’m attempting to reach the bottom at a faster pace. The trouble is, I’m struggling with my fear of falling. Thankfully, help is at hand. I’m in the Black Mountains for a Beginning Fell Running for Women course, run by Welsh company Element Active, based at Llanbedr village near Crickhowell. The day is run by Ruth Pickvance, a former international runner and British fell champion, and Faye Johnson, who competes internationally for Wales. Ruth created the course to encourage women to try fell running, which means dashing over hills and dales in wide-open spaces, rather than the usual joggers’ grind of pounding the pavements. The growth of parkrun (which has seen more than four million participants since 2004), and programmes such as Couch to 5k, have led to a surge in the popularity of running. And now many runners, especially women, are looking to push their boundaries even further – and immerse themselves in nature… Read full this story
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