As a junior, he’d been a promising endurance athlete, winning the English Schools Cross Country Senior Boy’s title, as well as the National Youths Cross Country Title, and been a member of the British Endurance Squad. When he was 18, he won a sports grant to stay and learn from the godfather of endurance running Kipchoge Keino, at his orphanage in Eldoret. Disillusion with injuries had forced him to quit competitive running at 21 and he returned to another of his passions-rugby union. He had represented Northern RFC, Basingstoke RFC, and Paris Vincennes First Team at wing and full back.
Several years later, he went on to become the Bournemouth Daily Echo’s outdoors correspondent, where he befriended and also started training with a Zimbabwean asylum seeker Williard Chinhanhu, a 62-minute half marathon runner. He bought a bike and for a brief period took up triathlon, until he realized he swam like a beach ball with a brick inside.
It took an 800km walk across Spain in 2008, the Camino Santiago, which offered glimpses of changing landscapes (yes he went boho for a while!) for him to finally quit his job as a newspaper journalist. It flashed up the need to do something he loved doing. So in 2012, he set up his own business called Wild Running and was given a Unltd social entrepreneurs award.
The aim was simple: to take unemployed people out running on Dartmoor once a week. They provided the transport and picked people up en route. He knew firsthand about the benefits of off-road running for boosting resilience and well-being, as well as improving your running longevity. Ceri had little cartilage left in his knees (a legacy of his years playing rugby) and found road running a challenge. He felt he did not need to gather any scientific evidence to know about these benefits, as he’d already spent a lifetime acquiring the experience.
Having mainly lived and worked in large towns and cities: Newcastle, Madrid, Paris, Buenos Aires, Cuzco, he found that there was always one thing that connected them all on a visceral level…Running through nature.