Missing your Parkrun? Looking for inspiration? Or, just looking for a distraction in these worrying times? Owen Morgan reckons a newly launched book could be exactly what you’re looking for.
“Beyond Limits” couldn’t be a more appropriate title for the story of a remarkable ultra runner, explorer, mum and multi-award-winning television presenter.
After being told that she would never be able to run again following a freak rugby injury, Lowri Morgan has defied all the boundaries set before her.
From presenting live television programmes, to exploring the wreck of the Titanic. From ambitions to be a singer and musician, to being the only participant to cross the finish of a 350-mile, non-stop Arctic endurance race.
Gowerton-born Morgan has certainly lived up to her belief in trying to live her best life.
In Beyond Limits, she gives a fascinating account of the sometimes unexpected twists and turns that have taken her on a remarkable journey, a path that includes some of the toughest ultra-marathons and endurance races in the world.
— Lowri Morgan (@_LowriMorgan) March 29, 2020
This is the story of determination, resilience, several lost toenails and the need to run.
In her own words, Morgan says of running: “For me one of the amazing things that happens when people meet for a run, regardless of distance, is everything gets left behind, your background, your job, your age, your gender. None of it is relevant.
“Running is an open sport for everyone, all you need is a pair of trainers and a passion for running. We are all the same at the start of a run.”
But how did the “teenage plodder”, who was confined to a wheelchair for a year at the age of 19 after suffering horrific knee injuries in a rugby accident, defy the odds and become a leading endurance runner?
According to Morgan, who has beaten some of the most experienced runners in the world, it’s about putting one foot in front of another, one step at a time.
As she says in one passage from the book: “Come on, feet. Keep going. You can do it. Just one step at a time. It’s an old cliché but now it’s so true. Look at the feet Lowri, don’t look ahead at the never-ending road. Count the steps. Let’s say 2,500 to the mile, what with all the wibble-wobbling all over the road. Multiply by 120. Just the 300,000 more of them to take, then. One at a time . . .
“Giving up is not an option. I just have to put one foot in front of another and keep going, in the hope that eventually my mind will find that white, quiet space where pain and worries go to disappear. I have to carry on. For me if not for anyone else.”
Honest, modest, open and recalled with insightful detail, the book talks about Morgan’s childhood, rugby, television, her struggle with an eating disorder and an array of injuries.
The 40-year-old describes extraordinary landscapes and mid-race hallucinations. She discusses family, motherhood, 5am starts, lists, the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish), teamwork and support, and, above all perhaps, pushing through the pain barrier.
Anyone who has ever donned a pair of trainers and headed out for a jog will understand her descriptions of running, the sense of freedom, the way it can balance mind, body and soul.
Last year, Morgan completed the Berghaus Dragon’s Back race which has the fearsome reputation of being the toughest five-day mountain race in the world.
Covering 315km and 17 Welsh mountains, the race features 15,500m of ascent – almost twice the height of Everest – and is made up of some of Wales’s highest and most challenging mountain terrain, including the “knife-edge” Crib Goch ridge in Snowdonia.
Morgan has conquered challenges as diverse as a 350-mile arctic foot race, to tackling murky swamps and rivers teeming with piranhas in the Amazon. She has even lived with a nomadic Namibian tribe.
Serious athletes will be fascinated by the intricacies of how – the training, the prep, the mental and physical battles, the runner’s ‘high’.
But this isn’t just a book for runners. Any reader will surely be inspired by her sheer determination and dedication, and relate to the many ups and downs (literal and metaphorical) she has faced.
It’s certainly a book to make you believe that you can push your boundaries, whatever they might be, and that nothing is Beyond Limits.
A welcome and inspiring message in these most testing of times.
Beyond Limits, published by Gwasg Gomer, is available now priced £11.99.