My Transylvanian Marathon Bear Adventure…..

‘Courage doesn’t always roar… Sometimes it that tiny little spark deep within you, that knows being brave & embracing your fears, is way more scary than returning to safety, yet way more ‘happy making…’


I did the World Champion Wool Sack Race in Tetbury, in 2015 I managed to win this! This year I totally had my ‘ass’ kicked by some fearless, strong women who broke the World Record!!


I’m proud I did it though as I could so nearly not have done it, for a million valid reasons.  But it felt important to me, it was 3 years to the day I swam in the lake where Weily ‘Roland’ appeared and I want to embrace the challenge and ride…


As you read this blog, think, what you could allow yourself to move forwards and embrace this week?

From the Wool Sack Race, a few days later I headed to Romania to do the Bear Marathon Adventure……

I always say to clients, and myself. You have to find the motivation, behind the obvious motivation to keep you moving towards your big goal. So take a moment right now, and think, WHY do I really want to achieve this goal (whatever it may be….)?

Then write, WHY is that important to me? And then write, what will I gain from this…? Keep writing it out until you have lots of personal reasons and inspirations to keep you going.

For me, my why to Romania was this….. It’s 3 years to the day since Weils Encephalitis popped into my life, so this is my challenge for the year (aside from my 10km a month for The Encephalitis Society and writing ‘that’ book!), to grow my courage, confidence & raise some money for two very worthwhile charities. I often find myself doubting myself, and wondering what is the ‘right’ decision, even though there rarely is a right one, there is just a choice.  So with many, many nerves and doubts, blending with excitement, I headed on the adventure!

I am told/advised that the environment in Romania is even more remote and challenging in a different way to Sierra Leone (where I ran the marathon and did charity work for Street Child in 2014, my blog link is at the bottom), with only a handful of runner’s and check points.

kim sierra

To say I was a little nervous for a million reasons would be an understatement… and torrential rain was forecast…. !

I read a great quote that said….. if you let your fears control you, they will become your limitations, and then what you think is possible becomes reduced….. so embrace the fear and let’s see what happens.  I also had a great year end meeting with my accountant, George, who said, ‘Kim, you have to find the solution to make things happen, even if it takes a little longer and you miss out on some things… find the solutions to keep your passion and purpose alive….’ Wise words and man.

So as I was travelling out there, I started to do my Mindset & Confidence preparation.  I found 3 little quotes which I kind of liked…

⭐️ ‘Fears are like paper tigers….’ A. Earhart
🌟‘Courage dear heart…’ CS Lewis
‘ Wisdom means to choose now, what will make sense later… Learn to be with the space between where you are now, and where you want to be, let it inspire you …’ T E Ross

Part 1 was to get to Luton airport, which I did.  From there I didn’t know what I could do, but huge self care for my neurology and well being was a priority.

It’s a funny moment, reflecting over the last 3 years since Weils changed my life in so many different ways, and encephalitis allowed me to learn, adapt and grow. I found the ‪#‎bearmarathon‬ in Women’s Running Magazine in January, listed in their Top 100 races to do in 2016 (this month issue, they have another 100 for the second part of the year, and I’m their front cover girl and interview, do grab a copy and let me know the race you choose!).


One of my criteria for selecting a race is it has to be quiet…. so it ticked that box!!

Several months on, I certainly was the most nervous I’ve been about anything (well since my Tedx talk in Nov 15) for a while…and really doubted if I could do it.

‘Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage…’ Brene brown

Vulnerability and courage… Self confidence and trust. They kind of feel important words, even if I don’t quite feel them always.

So I headed from Luton to Romania, Sibui airport and then jumped in a bus with mainly ex army people and headed to the little Saxon village of Viscri , it’s estimated over 100 species of birds, 70 species of butterflies, 50 mammals, 10 amphibians and 6 reptiles as hundreds of plants….  as we arrived this was the image is saw.

It was like stepping back in time, over 100 years. Peaceful reality to these locals.  I spend several hours just wandering about, appreciating the basic way of life, the cows being herded home at 8pm, the goats being milked and the quiet.. the complete quiet.  I grew up on a farm, so there was something reassuring and wonderful about the environment for me.


After wandering around the village I found my little room for night, next door to the family’s cow, and in the bottom of a chest of drawers, I’m around 5ft8 so could curl up comfortably!


Yet before this, was the race briefing, simple, clear and to the point, whilst being really well organised.  I you see a bear make yourself bigger than the bear and stand still, if you get surrounded by wild dogs, stand still and hold your confidence, they will go…. no problems.  And oh, by the way its around 48km for the marathon, any problems?

It’s funny, if you have told me that before I left probably would not have gone…. yet out there, you think, well, check point to check point, let’s see how things go. The check points were a lovely Romanian person, a couple of big bottles of water, and some barbecue crisps…. I was really glad of my race prep and additional weight to ensure I had everything I needed.



So as I tweaked my mindset, confidence and physical race plan under torch light I thought of this quote…

‘Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Muhammad Ali ‪#‎respect‬

I thought my marathon and weekend was impossible….

Yet I woke in the morning to this view. The families cow having a drink, and thought, something is possible today. I don’t know what but let’s go and pace, relax and see what happens.


As we set off for the mini ultra as it was now being called, I could hardly climb up the first 10km through the woods due to the torrential rain the night before. Follow little yellow and black markers we weaved the first few miles with people around us, and then gradually the people spread out, rather like the clouds dispersing and the sun coming out 🙂

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On my route, I reckon I ran 90% completely on my own. I paused many, many times to just stop and take in the sheer, vast beauty of the landscape that stretched as far as the eye could see, without a person or building in site.  I paused a couple of times in the dense forests, sure that having seen bear tracks, poo’s and heard noises, I would meet one….. part of me really wanted to, and the other part, held my breathe and definitely ran faster to reach the open spaces!


On I jogged, making sure I was hydrating and eating little and often to sustain the adventure…. when I reached the final check point, I thought… yippee, I can do this!! Yet that last 10km was so tough, going beyond 26 miles which I have never done, and being in the thick forest, not knowing when you might arrive in the village to trek up the 200 or so steps to the citadel and finish line… but suddenly the daylight appeared, and the end was so close.

I kind of didn’t want it to finish, although my body was done (!), the space, freedom and peace was revitalising for me. Life is like the weather, sometimes beautiful sunshine and smiles, sometimes a sudden short downpour, sometimes a longer period of ‘stuck’ weather, and you just have to ride it out… life is like that.  Yet, change, like the wind, is key.  You need to blow the ‘stuckness’ out.

I wrote my mindset and performance plan using all my Gain the Edge NLP and psychology skills I use with my clients, 100% it is invaluable for focus, confidence and belief.  Yet, I also wrote out 3 very personal things I wanted to ‘run through and out’ during the run.  I had a ‘deal’ with myself, not based on time or even finishing, but that when I flew home, I would have let go of a couple of limiting habits and stories I had started to limit myself with.  They weren’t bad, they weren’t a problem, but they were not authentic to me… and I wanted to be brave and run free 🙂

That may not make sense to you… but what hopefully does, is always find something positive from every experience you do, however tough it is.  And if you first outcome is not possible, tweak the outcome to make sure you still gain something from it.

So what did I gain…. I met some of the most amazing, positive people and Ben and the Team organising the Bear Race were brilliant.  I let go of my limits (okay so the fears and doubts still appear but that’s life, and acknowledging is fine, as long as it doesn’t control) and started to believe in finding new solutions to making things happen with my condition.   I felt excited about what I can do, blending all the mind and body coaching knowledge, DNA personal fitness & nutrition training and adventures together, and how I can help others believe in themselves, and have confidence and courage.  And I did it!! I got a beautiful hand made medal, which I truly value…. and amazingly, as well as giving my Nuun to fellow competitors and take in the views, i came 4th lady, in my first min ultra! Yippee….

What did I learn…. always, always do your core and strength training, it makes a huge difference to how you run when you are tired.  Plan your kit, pre and post fuelling and overall wellbeing for you, don’t be distracted by others plans, look after yourself, so you can be your best and look after them.  That you can achieve more than you think is possible with a little courage and focus.  And that living in Romania with the quiet, quiet environment and running on my own feels like a gift, yet letting go of being part of the social meals, groups and conversations was hard, yet kind of the ‘rules’ for me currently…. I find it hard to understand what is possible with my condition and management, and what really still is a challenge.  Yet, knowing this, hopefully I can inspire myself and others but owning it, healing, growing and see what is possible…..


So to summarise….

6hrs trains & tubes, 7hrs buses, 2hrs Romania police security adventures, 1 night in the bottom of a wardrobe next to a cow, 30.5 miles Transylvanian Bear marathon running, 1 beautiful hand made medal, all in the most amazing, peaceful, remote scenery with humble, wise people.

98,798 steps taken in 3.5 days, 6hrs flying, 6 bounce balls eaten, 1 tube of Nuun, 1 pair of Mizuno Wave Riders, 1 Shock Absorber bra, 2 visits from weily Rolandas, 4 horses and carts, 2 cockerels, many dogs, over £400 raised for ‪#‎charity‬, amazing people met, not much sleep….

I took the dare….. And feel huge ‪#‎gratitude‬ for such a super amazing experience, in a truly beautiful, remote place, Transylvanian thank you, thank you everyone involved…  🐻

And if you would like and help or support making your impossible block shift, I would love to help you. Try not to narrow yourself, do spend moments enjoying the moment, and moments daring to see what’s possible….

Big happy week ahead, huge support, Coach Kim xx

Ps if you love music the ‪#‎untoldfestival‬ is there and you can get a free ticket by donating some blood (no joke! They have a shortage of blood!)


Links you may like: 

Do watch this fascinating video about the Nature Trust, it’s amazing and I’ve seen first hand the difference it makes

Sign up to Transylvanian Bear Race yourself for 2017 –

My Sierra Leone Marathon Blog:

Support The European Nature Trust & Romania Children with education here  –

Support Parkinson and their great work here:

My TEDx Talk to help you Overcome Adversity –

Join my 21Day Online Fit & Feel Good Challenge starting 26th June –