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Athlete hopes novel Alpine run will inspire others

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Athlete hopes novel Alpine run will inspire others

An ultra-distance athlete has set his sights on running the entire length of the Alps on a never-before-traversed route in the hopes of inspiring others to “say yes to more of what they love”.

Jake Catterall, 32, who is originally from Loughborough and relocated to Amsterdam 10 years ago, is no stranger to journeying long distances – he has previously cycled a complete lap of Iceland in one go and tackled the length of Europe on foot from Norway to Spain.

However, the art director said his upcoming 2,000km (1,243 miles) challenge across the Alps, starting on July 8, will be a “big question mark from the very beginning” as he will be the first to take on a new route along the European mountain range which has not been crossed before.

“I have a chance to set the first one for other athletes after and I just thought, ‘you know what, I’m going to do it’,” Mr Catterall told the PA news agency.

“There’s been an interesting curveball because the Via Alpina group, a mountain association, have just made a new official route as of the end of last year, start of this year.

“There’s an opportunity to do a brand new route that would never have been run before and it will be the new official route moving forward for the Via Alpina route, and I decided (on Friday) that I would go for this new one.”

He added: “The whole thing is unknown, of course I’ve looked at the path, but the whole thing is a big question mark from the very beginning.

“I guess that is the beautiful thing about the whole trip, you just really don’t know how the whole thing is going to pan out.”

The journey, which he estimates will take around 35 days, will see him cross eight countries and scale roughly 110,000 vertical metres (69 miles) – the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 12 and a half times.

“The message is the most important thing for me, which is I want people to say yes to more of what they love, that’s my main thing,” Mr Catterall said.

Last year, he embarked on a running challenge across the length of Europe from the north of Norway to the south of Spain, where he invited others to join him along the way.

“People had a variation of reasons, some said they wanted to join something crazy, others said they were going through some stuff and they wanted to be inspired by someone, but the main thing was people were so glad they said yes to joining me.

“I thought I could use this whole Alps run about that moment specifically – about people coming out and enjoying something that they really wanted to do and they just said yes to it.”

He added that he will be inviting people to join him for his upcoming challenge, saying: “From what I’m seeing, this Alps trip especially, is something that people say is one of their life goals that they would love to do one day.

“It doesn’t take much to inspire people to do things that they love, they just sometimes need to see someone doing something amazing and I hope I can be that for people.”

Mr Catterall is hoping to cross Antarctica in the future, with each new venture acting as a stepping stone towards his goal.

“A few years ago, I decided I wanted to cross Antarctica, that became my dream, I felt like I needed something in my life to point towards and it’s something that I’m still on.

“It’s so big in so many ways and I think I need to train myself step by step in order to get there.

“That keeps me going through a lot of these adventures, I constantly think ‘well if I can’t do this, I won’t be able to go to Antarctica’.

“Every trip has to be a bit more challenging than the last in some way.”

Mr Catterall said he will be joined by two friends on his Alpine challenge who will be driving a campervan which will carry their supplies and provide a place for them to sleep.

They will also be filming the venture to develop a documentary which will focus on the steps he will take to achieve his goal of crossing Antarctica.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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