‘It was emotional, gruelling, challenging and fun!’

They did it, knowing that they had your support. Thank you for helping us to raise money for 2 phenomenal causes and for contributing towards transforming the lives of others.

One of the runners, Su Hall, writes…

WE DID IT! In just four hours we completed the Winter Wolf Run, raising nearly £8k for the mental health charity MIND and Women in Power.

With the memory of our dear friend Jayne propelling us on, it was an emotional, gruelling and challenging rollercoaster, topped off with a large dollop of good fun… check out the photo evidence of the muddy affair!

A huge thank you for all the support and encouragement – from training runs, to threatened training runs, from motivational texts and messages, to personal training advice, from the loaning of kit to the beds to sleep in, not to mention recovery massages and of course the sponsorship. HUGE GRATITUDE to everybody.

Another runner, Karen Ferberman, writes about her emotional journey through the Wolf Run…

I cried all the way round. All 10K of it, which literally felt like a marathon. And in many ways, it was for me.

The mood was high and nerves were a-jangling as we stood in the registration tent, already ankle deep in mud, singing “deep into the mud we go” and “come on now women, come on” despite the strange looks of the mostly male runners and the delight of one female runner who we didn’t know but who stood in the middle of our circle, soaking up our energy through every pore before thanking us and disappearing.

Just as we were moving towards the start line, our first WiP supporters – Lou and Laurie – rocked up with baby Larkspur, hugged us and cheered wildly as they watched us go on our way, immediately through a waist-deep river.

I’m not sure if I was subconsciously ignoring information that was constantly being shared in our incredibly supportive WhatsApp wolf runners group but I seem to have missed some important warning signs.

There are some 30 “obstacles” on the course so being able to run, walk or crawl 10K is really not the issue. I thought I heard someone say the obstacles were a nice rest from the running. I’m not sure my definition of rest involves wading through waist-deep mud, unsure of whether my trainers were going to stay on my feet with each step, crawling through tunnels, swimming and wading through lakes and rivers, climbing walls and cargo nets, balancing on ropes and logs, or – my least favourite – what I can only describe as slippery mud moguls.

In fairness, I did rest once….on the famous big red slide for about 3 seconds.
In truth, nothing I can write here could possibly describe the conditions on what even the Wolf Run organizers believed was the toughest weekend they have ever had.

And as I ran, walked, crawled, climbed and rolled my way around, falling over at almost every opportunity, listening to the (sometimes manic) laughter of my pack, being pulled and helped by them in rotation along the way, singing, chatting, moaning and soaked through, I started to cry.

Once I started I couldn’t stop for any length of time.  I was exhausted, yes, and that was a contributory factor but I was crying for so much more than that…

I cried for Jayne, whose journey inspired so many of us, who would never have considered this to be a challenging run.  For her family, who even donated to our endeavours; their loss, our loss, my loss.  For the knowledge that she had been so 100% alive just 2 years before, doing the same run with some of the same women.
I cried with shame that I had not contacted her directly when I knew she was so seriously unwell.

I cried for my children, who are supporting their half-sister in a very serious mental health battle and for my daughter who oftentimes cannot eat when it all gets too much.

I cried for those WiP women who wanted to be running with us but couldn’t because of their own mental or physical health issues.

I cried for the contagious effect of mental ill-health, and how little it is understood or spoken about. For the lack of support for many carers of those with serious mental health issues. For the epidemic that this is, particularly among our teens and young adults.

I cried for my own journey, the shocked admission to myself, just days before, that I had suffered several times in my life with depression and never framed it in that way. Just like sexual abuse, and violence in the home, depression, and anxiety simply were not acknowledged in the world I grew up in…yet they all happened to me.

I cried because just 16 months earlier I had completed another journey – my breast cancer treatment, which had been harrowing in a different way.  I cried because I had spent a whole year in recovery from that illness and treatment, training myself back to physical health, taking better care of myself than ever before, gradually building up my strength, and STILL I will never be the woman that I was, never have the body that I had, never be able to do all that I used to do.

As we got stuck in really deep mud at one stage, I reflected on what a microcosm of life this was for those with mental health challenges.  We talk of wading through treacle, and I got that like never before. I struggled to keep my balance and stay on my feet, as I slid about, with every step being so much harder than any other steps I have ever taken. As I fell and bruised every part of myself, and became weaker and weaker, my heart and my soul ached.

Eventually, as we came out of the woods and into the open air, we could see the finish line about 1 kilometer on the winding road ahead of us – through several more obstacles, under a tunnel, across a lake and over a climbing wall.

Then I really started to cry!  Tears of exhaustion and relief poured out knowing that my tired, battered body would soon be able to rest and get warm, after 4 hours of being wet and cold.

Tears of pride that we had all done it! Each of us with our own moving and powerful story about what this journey was for us.  We had done it as a pack, as a team, and not one of us would have done it alone.

And tears of joy that we had raised so much money for these 2 organizations, so close to my heart at the moment. That we had raised nearly 4 times as much as ever before because we had captured imaginations by being real, honest, and supportive.

I mistakenly thought I was the only one who had experienced such a journey on the run. And then I looked at the faces of my beautiful, courageous sisters in the photographs that were taken of us walking arm in arm, across the river, to the finish line. Those photographs tell their own story.

It’s some weeks later now and my crying has finally been replaced with a deep feeling of pride, not least because we have helped raise the level of awareness around mental health.

This can never be undone or put away again. The ripple effect we talk about from WiP will happen here, in these discussions and acknowledgments of the issues and with this, will gradually come a better understanding for many.

I have certainly learned a huge amount for myself.

Comments 5

  1. Beautiful Ferby. Your words bring your journey through the mud to life. A very real portrayal of your heart, that covers so much ground and holds so many and so much within it 💕
    Much love Elgiva x

  2. Beautifully and movingly written Karen, and the photos bring your experience even more to life. I’ve seen your journey over many years be full of AFGOs (Another Fucking Growth Opportunitie)s and seen you continue to rise and expand.
    Much love to you
    Roxy x

  3. Dearest women,
    Thank you Su and Karen for sharing some of this incredible experience. And huge respect to you Karen for telling the depth of how it was, all you were weeping for, all you achieved, all it cost, and the pride in your incredible achievements, and the amazing depth of your resilience. Deep blessings xxxx

  4. Dear Karen
    I am so touched by your rawness and vulnerability. Proud of you – in awe of what you undertook. What an amazing pack!

  5. Beautifully written and a reminder of how special you are. If there is a ‘next time’ I would love to join you – maybe ‘love’ is the wrong word, but I would be up for the challenge in the knowledge that in the moments I would imagine I couldn’t go on you would definitely haul me across the finish line xx

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