Would you like to run a 53mile (85km) ultra marathon in the Highland Fling race (www.highlandflingrace.org) next summer? That question alone has pretty much changed my life, well technically it was my response that changed my life…. “Yes, challenge accepted”!

Anyone reading this will probably assume I am a good runner if I have completed an ultra marathon but I beg to differ. Before agreeing to embark on the trail running challenge with three of my girlfriends I had previously only ran a couple of half marathons and one marathon. Running 53miles was a rather large step from any other running challenge I had undertaken, not to mention the race was on hilly trails in the Scottish Highlands.

I’m quite the self confident and determined person when I set my mind to do something but without doubt I wouldn’t have signed up to do this one on my own. Whilst working in Glasgow on the Commonwealth Games I was fortunate enough to have made close friends with active and adventurous like-minded people and signing up to do a challenge together, whether it be the UK’s Three Peaks Challenge or an ultra marathon, was relative easy, but that certainly hasn’t always been the case.

Completing the ultra was the most amazing achievement of my life and a memory that I will hold on to forever. Not only because this was a big deal for an Australian girl running 53miles along the West Highland Way but because of the amazing friendships I made along the way. Making a pact to sign-up and agreeing to support each other through the training was ultimately what got all of us to the start line; and the laughs, the stories and the shared aches and pains turned this challenge into something that at one point seemed perhaps a little out of my depth into something so damn achievable that I am now adamant that anything is possible.

Challenge Chum provides an excellent opportunity for adventure junkies to come together as one community. Having the ability to find other people that share the same desire to take on a challenge, that are available on the same dates and location with a similar budget is a great concept. Often it’s not the challenge itself but the new friends you make that is the highlight and I will definitely be using this website to embark on more adventures in the future.Ultra3