New on Sidetracked:

Field Journal

The Hug Run // Part Five

From The Field
The Hug Run // Part Five

Morgan Cardiff is documenting the journey of Dave Chamberlain, part-way through the ‘Hug Run’ – a seven-year, 64,000km run taking him all over the world. In this fifth Sidetracked report, Dave explains the reasoning behind extending his journey by another 24,000km (and 2.5 years). Read Part Four here.

Words: Dave Chamberlain // Photography: Sean Rayford

My sister and her husband set off on a new adventure: children. Or at least ‘a’ child. The second one was a bit of a surprise. She brewed them in her belly for eight months, and then introduced them into the world. Those eight months were long. Yet, after having gone all that way, the moment they popped out, the new parents were back to square one again, at the beginning of a new journey. And so it will continue, one race run and immediately heading off on a new track. Always aiming for the finish line, while simultaneously extending it. For now, it’s a journey of feeding and cleaning what seem to be two permanently sticky creatures.

And that’s when it struck me. I’ve been going through the same things as my sister. I’m eight months in to the run, and as far as I have come, I’ve somehow managed to be back at the beginning again. A journey in a journey some would say, as I head off to retrace Forrest Gump’s fictional run across the USA. A side journey of two and a half years, give or take. And just like those on their own new journey, I also seem to be permanently smelly and damp, and I’m not too proud to admit that there have been some epic toilet fails along the way. My appetite has developed a schizophrenic slant as I seek out the most random food combinations to eat, and I travel around with a pram.

The Hug Run // Part Five The Hug Run // Part Five

I haven’t had a sympathy caesarean, because that would be worrying, but I did stub my toe once and it was quite sore. I might even have said ‘oh poot’, so I guess it evens out. And that’s what we’re all doing. Simply stumbling along from one event to the next, with varying degrees of panic and masochistic intrigue. That’s why I have chosen to do the Gump run. Because he just goes from situation to situation. He starts playing table tennis, achieves success and then goes into the shrimping business where he again achieves success. And on it goes, reaching a pinnacle and then starting over again. Much like real children, I don’t know how my ‘baby’ will turn out, despite my best efforts, but the adventure and rewards are just too intoxicating.

And so, I raise my milkshake in salute to all the honorary mothers out there. May your ‘children’, whatever they are, be the success you hope for. May your wet wipes be hypoallergenic and alcohol-free to avoid the sting, and may you always have salve at hand for when life chafes just that little bit too much.

Read Dave’s article, ‘West To The Sea’ about his previous running expedition across Canada. Also, ‘The Penguin Runner’, a story about Dave’s journey across southern Africa and filmed by Morgan Cardiff was featured in Sidetracked Volume Two.

The planned routes can be viewed here, and for more information about Dave’s Vidamago Foundation visit Words by Dave Chamberlin and Morgan Cardiff. Instagram: @rhys_morgan & thehugrun.

Photography by @theangrywhale