What Lies at the End of the Road? Interview With Runner Dan Atkinson

What Lies at the End of the Road? Interview With Runner Dan Atkinson

A young boy named Dan Atkinson is running throw the field

The New Year usually comes with a new resolution. It is the beginning of the year and millions of people take the pledge to start exercising, drop bad habits and improve themselves.

For me it was this man’s story that inspired me – a story of going beyond your limits, overcoming your inner demons and coming out at the end of the road a new person.

It is during the holiday season of 2019/2020 when I stumbled upon a post by Dan Atkinson on his Facebook page and it immediately caught my attention. He was running through Serbia at the moment. I had to know more and boy, I was to be amazed!

This guy was on an epic adventure, running across Europe all the way to Turkey. On his website I found what was driving him to embark on such an amazing feat of mental strength and physical endurance.

I decided to contact him because I strongly believe that his story is worth sharing and might inspire more athletes (and people not so actively involved in sports) to overcome their problems through a journey that would change them forever. As you will see below, that’s just what Dan Atkinson did.

This story can be a great example for everyone and be the trigger to get you inspired to go beyond your comfort zone, even if that means changing your bad habits or making a fresh start.

So, without further ado, here is our interview with Dan Atkinson:

1.   What would you recommend to young people who are currently in a bad place, same as you were prior to embarking on your running adventure?

Dan Atkinson is preparing for running adventure throw the Europe

For anyone who is in a bad place, what I can recommend is “Get outside and start moving”. This doesn’t necessarily mean run, maybe you can only walk to start with, but the key is movement and raising the heart rate. I found that many good ideas in my life came from when I was out running and my breath was deep. When you’re in this state all problems seem to melt away and you can feel raw thoughts and begin to make life more simple in a complicated world.

2.   Among the people who are inspired by your journey, there must be many who can’t pull off a lifestyle change as radical as yours, for various reasons (family, financials, health, etc..). Do you have any advice for them? How can they bring a positive change into the lifestyle they already have?

I wouldn’t recommend anyone make any rash decisions without serious thought, I myself am a very methodical thinker and ideas such as my run are certainly the amalgamation of many thoughts.

Saying this for anyone who is looking to make change just start small, maybe it’s 5/10 minutes a day. And at first these minutes maybe strenuous but I found that it eventually became the most enjoyable part of my day and the time you want to spend in this zone grows and grows. Don’t set the expectations too high to start with.

3.   For such a long trek, what did you pack, what kind of gear do you use and what about lodging?

Dan Atkinson is supplied with all props for his adventure

So my original intention was to camp the entire journey, so I set off with a bivvy bag and sleeping bag in my pack. Little did I know that a week in I would’ve abandoned the idea as the fear of being out in the middle of nowhere and also the lack of recovery I was getting from being on edge made me abandon the idea and subsequently I decided to stay in hotels, motels, hostels and all things in between. This allowed me to get adequate rest to keep going each day. As for packing I realised I packed more than I actually needed, by the end my pack just consisted of 1 or 2 changes of clothes, a first aid kit, my foam roller and a few trinkets. Everything else wasn’t really a necessity throughout my trip, if I was carrying any food or water I’d restock every so often at shops when I knew I wouldn’t be travelling through a town or village in a considerable distance.

4.   Anything you didn’t pack but wish you had?

See above, the opposite occurred really.

5.   From a sports aspect, how did you prepare physically and how long would it take for someone with little running experience to embark on such a challenge?

Non existent  🙂

6.   If you had to pick 3 super foods, which would you pick?

While I’m reluctant to answer this as I had serious struggles with nutrition throughout my trip on a psychological level but if I had to say one food it’s eggs. While I originally started the trip as a vegan, after reintroducing eggs to my diet I felt a whole lot stronger.

7.   Any anecdotes/fun stories from your trip across Europe?

Dan Atkinson in Serbia with his "new friend", who followed him for 10 miles

While in Serbia there was plenty of stray dogs wandering the streets and one caught my eye which was adorable. After showing it a slight bit of attention it had made the decision that I was its new owner and it followed me for 10 miles all the way to the next town. It was a cute dog and you can see pictures on my Instagram, but it was hilarious how it followed me as I battled through brambles and wandered so far away from the road, it was determined.

8.   After India, any other plans for the future? Participating in any competitions?

For now I just want to settle back into the English lifestyle and throw myself all out in the community to help build relationships as I felt that was an aspect of my life that was severely lacking throughout my trip.Having said that I have plenty of ideas for future trips and I will certainly be entering running races throughout 2020.

Thank you Dan for this interview! We‘re sure that our readers will be inspired by your story, and we hope that they will be motivated to implement positive changes in their daily lives, just like you suggested.

To learn more about Dan Atkinson and to get updates on his future plans and journeys, you can follow him on social media:

Instagram: @dangoesrunninguk

Facebook: Dan Goes Running

Dan’s website: www.dangoesrunning.com

Strava: Daniel Atkinson

Copyright: all photos © Dan Atkinson