2016 London Marathon and the Camino Trail

Since I retired, even though I have been traveling for most of the last four years, sometimes I feel like I need a little more of a challenge. Something to push me a little. Something more physical than mental. Something requiring dedication more than nerve. I have been working in the gym, but I wanted something more active than just lifting weights. So, a few months ago, when Sarah said that she wanted to run in the 2016 London Marathon, I thought about it for a few minutes and said, “Okay, me too!”

However, due to its status as one of the premiere running events in the world, saying you want to do the London Marathon and getting in to the London Marathon are two completely different things. We both signed up for the lottery, which is basically a way that (very) non-elite runners such as ourselves can, maybe, have our names drawn out of a hat and run in the race, but because we knew the odds of one of us getting picked was about one-in-thirteen, and the odds of both of us getting picked were astronomical, we started looking for a different way in.

Jon and Sarah After a Short Hike in Bhutan

Jon and Sarah After a Short Hike in Bhutan

After doing a bit of research we found that ActionAid, one of our favorite charities, was offering slots in the marathon to people who were willing to raise awareness (and money) for them. We contacted them and they said they had two slots available! ActionAid in a U.K. based NGO that focuses on people that others forget. People in emergencies and conflict zones. Children living in crisis due to lack of educational possibilities, women disenfranchised from the system, victims of climate change and many others in need. We like the ActionAid approach because it focuses on sustainable, long-term solutions that are designed by the people in need themselves.

We are happy to be on the ActionAid team and know that through our running, we will be able to help them raise awareness and hopefully some donations, through people sponsoring us. If you are interested in ActionAid and are interested in helping them (and us) raise money, please consider sponsoring us through our Just Giving page. Proceeds go directly to ActionAid, but we do get to see who has helped and we would GREATLY appreciate it.

As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t crazy enough, we came up with another idea!

As if running 26.2 miles wasn’t crazy enough, we came up with another idea! Since we are going to be “in the neighborhood”, we decided to do our “cool down” and tack on another 500 miles or so and walk from St Jean de Pied de Port on the French side of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on the Atlantic Ocean along what is known as the Camino de Santiago, or the Camino Trail (or Way of St. James, St. James’s Way, St. James’s Path, St. James’s Trail, Route of Santiago de Compostela and Road to Santiago, among others.)

“The Camino” is an old Christian pilgrimage route that dates back to the middle-ages and runs across the Pyrenees Mountains, all the way across Northern Spain, through Basque country, eventually ending on the Atlantic coast. We are walking it primarily for the adventure, the travel, the camaraderie, and the challenge of walking for several weeks in a beautiful country. We will also be celebrating a very special birthday for Sarah, and I will be celebrating my birthday along the route as well.

If there is one thing I have learned since retirement, it is the power of “why not”. The London Marathon and walking the Camino de Santiago are two things that we have been wanting to do and 2016 is as good a time as any to do them. This will require a lot of training, but I have been through this routine before and Sarah has already been consistently running for several months. We don’t expect this to be easy, but then again, even in retirement, you should have real goals aren’t meant to be easy, get out of your comfort zones and have some adventure!


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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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