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I would run 500 miles, and I would run 500 more – 2017 Round Up
In the EMF Running Tour’s debut year, I accidently ran a marathon (if you missed it, the story is here), and this year, I’ve smashed another milestone!

1000 miles.

Yep. For someone who never intended to be a long distance runner. Now, I didn’t do this all in one go (I like having knees), but looking at the number of bookings we’ve had over the past 12 month, and doing the maths on the average tour length, I figured out that I must have run over 900 miles this year.

So I checked, and according to my old Garmin 210, I actually ran 1000 miles this year *just on tours*! Thank you to everyone who’s forced me out of bed to take the 7am tour, to those who have shared a whisky with me during the Winter Warmer, to the Trainspotting nuts and the film buffs, you’ve all been great fun and I had a blast running every single one of those 1000 miles 😉

It’s been a tremendous year for the team here at EMF Running Tours, we were granted the highest accolade possible by the Visit Scotland (blog post here here), and we were joined by hundreds of runners from all over the world, from as far away as New Zealand, to as close as my upstairs neighbour! 

Really looking forward to what 2018 has to offer. We have many plans about to get underway, so stay tuned to see what happens next 😉

RTJ

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Singles Night!
Oh what a night!

14 brave souls came out to play on our very first SINGLES NIGHT, in association with Joseph Pearce’s Bar on Elm Row, and what a night we had! A fantastic mix of runners, ages, ability levels, and interests! Everything from iron man competitors in training to gentle joggers, classics teachers and museum staff to army cadets, 6k of chat and jogging, engaging with like-minded singles!

RTJ, as the dedicated cupid for the evening, did his best to take the pressure off everyone else by making a prat out of himself. Silly warm up games outside JP’s, daft stories and nonsense chat on the way around, proved enough of a distraction so that everyone forgot all about the stress of meeting new people and just enjoyed themselves.

What better finishing point than JP’s, where we all clambered into afterwards for a chat and a “recovery pint” as RTJ called it… Having had such a lovely night, we’re absolutely going to do it again, so why not come join us on the 26th of May, 8pm at Joseph Pearce’s for round two?

See you there 😉

Tickets to the event are limited, and available at https://www.emfrunningtours.com/tours/singles/

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Tour Guides on Tour Part 3: Life and Death in the Desert

Tour Guides on Tour Part 3: Life and Death in the Desert

We last heard from RTJ after his running tour of Cape Town, so where did he end up next?

The day after the running tour of Cape Town, I loaded my bag into an old converted Mercedes truck and headed north to the Namib desert, with the intention of camping out under the stars, finding some wildlife, and surviving in conditions of up to 40 degrees.

I never thought I’d get to see a desert, and it was an experience I’m not going to forget in a hurry. Those who know me know that I’m built for winter. That guy who’s always in shorts, regardless of conditions? Yeah, that’s me. Cold, wet, I understand, these things I can deal with, but the brutal, cloudless skies of the desert? A mystery. To me, the heat, the dryness, the seemingly endless dirt, sand, and the sheer vastness meant death.

In amongst the dust and the sand dunes, however, there were still signs of life- specially adapted and accustomed to its environment, the creatures of the desert have made the most out of their harsh abode. By trees that had stood dead for almost a millennium, I found scurrying bugs, lizards, there were birds soaring above and signs of the roaming herds of animals.

I learnt about the Bushman, the humans who lived in this wasteland long before colonists arrived and all but wiped them out. I learnt about the techniques developed to live in this environment, about the special adaptations that the animals had evolved for gathering and storing water, about just how well life has adapted out there.

It’s a fascinating place, and if you haven’t been to the desert I highly recommend experiencing it.

I get the feeling I’ll be back someday, for now though, onwards….

Life and death in the desert
Life and death in the desert
Life and death in the desert
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Tour Guides on Tour Part 2: Run Cape Town

Tour Guides on Tour Part 2: Run Cape Town

SO, mere hours after wandering through the frozen forests and mountains of Norway, our intrepid RTJ finds himself in an entirely different climate….

Now, if you know or have met me, you’ll know I’m built for winter. Anyone who’s been out on one of the tours in the past few weeks, for example, may well have been wrapped up in as many layers as they can get on, in order to deal with the bitter Scottish weather. Not me though, I’m still in shorts and short sleeved t-shirt (although I have to confess, I do wear a hat if it gets below about 2 degrees!).

Imagine how I felt then, getting off a plane in Cape Town just as summer is kicking off! Yep, after an entire days worth of travelling, I went from -22 degrees to +25, and what’s the first thing I do? A running tour, of course!

I hooked up with the lovely Philippa from Run Cape Town who took me out on a wonderful run through the historical part of the town, filling my head with stories of pipe smoking pirates, key figures in the colonisation of Cape Town, and the history of life in South Africa. It was so much fun being a tourist for a change, and letting someone else take care of the chat, although I have to say I did find it a little hard to not tell stories as we ran along 😉

The city is beautiful, surrounded by a horseshoe of a mountain, with a really interesting (if somewhat troubled) history, and it was really great to see it from an insiders point of view. Next time I’ll be back for the run up table mountain, but the time is fleeting and I had to leave for the next part of the adventure….

RTJ

Cape Town
Cape Town
Run Cape Town
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Tour Guides on Tour, Part 1: James goes to Norway

Tour Guides on Tour Part 1: James goes to Norway

“November 1st? Sure, why not…” Well, I can actually think of one MAJOR reason why not, but the flights are almost £100 cheaper, so yeah, that sounds fine. The reason? Samhuinn. A fire festival in Edinburgh (at which two of our guides are volunteer performers) that finishes at about 5am, giving me approximately 4 hours to wash off all the body paint, pack, and get myself to the airport for the 10am flight to Oslo. But still, £100 is £100, and with Norway being famously expensive to foreign travellers, I book the cheaper flights, and use the saved £100 buy enough dehydrated camping food and whisky to last a week, and off I go.

As with every trip I take, I did a little research into where I was going, and learnt the importance of leaving a small pile of ammunition for the local trolls. If you leave them supplies, they will leave you alone; if you get chased by them, you have to run or hide until sunlight, when they will either flee the brightness or risk turning to stone in its glare, so when I found myself at the base of the highest waterfall in the country (Vettifossen), I thought it best to leave a little offering to the guardians of the pathways, just in case.

The searing beauty of the west of the country is hard to describe- using Laerdal as a base we explored the Sogneford as much as we were able to, seeing 12th century Viking churches, seemingly endless torrents of frozen water and snowy mountaintops, icicles forming structures that resembled magnificent church organs, and some of the most remarkable night skies imaginable.

I would love to claim that I went out running every day, but with temperatures dropping to -22 degrees at one point, I decided that a week off was alright. I supplemented the running regime with a healthy dose of walks in the fjords, scrambling through frozen mountain passages to get to forgotten areas in the snow, the only company the wolves who’s pawprints I had spent the past few hours tracking…

After a week in the wilderness, I pack up my things, head to the airport, and get on the plane home. You would think that after a week in the winter wilderness I would be prepped and ready for the Winter Warmer running tour to get underway, but 18 hours after landing I’m on another plane, bound for a very different climate; that story you’ll have to wait to hear about in part 2…

RTJ

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James' Accidental Marathon
My Accidental Marathon

My Accidental Marathon

We had a fantastic weekend over the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, and welcomed loads of folk onto the running tours. It was amazing to get the opportunity to share our beautiful city with so many people, and I had a bit of a funny accident…

I’ve never really been a fan of long distance running. My preferred distance is somewhere between 10-20K, and I’d never really had a desire to go further than that. On the Friday of the EMF weekend, we had four tours go out back to back, and at the end of the day, I looked at my watch to discover that I had done 22 miles. “22 miles?” I thought, “well, what’s another 4.2?”

So, despite never having the urge to do so, I ran a marathon that weekend! Whilst my pace was very gentle, and I stopped for lunch half way, I’m still really pleased that I made the distance, and have a new found respect for those who run 26.2 at race pace!”

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