Not that long a go epic really meant epic. The word is perhaps best encapsulated in film with the likes of stunning and stimulating masterpieces such as Gone with the Wind or Lawrence of Arabia. Epic in the sense that these films conjured up something that went that extra mile. A project that involved outstanding creativity, stunning and exotic locations, real Hollywood A-listers - in-front of and behind the cameras - and dealt with a subject-matter that grabbed attention for the right (or the wrong) historical or otherwise reasons. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world would share these epics moments and they would leave a legacy…
Whilst poring through the images that Leon McCarron sent in to accompany his Holy Land 1,000-mile trek, epic immediately sprang to mind – see page 36. Not so much in terms of the physical miles Leon walked (although these were of course epic) but more so in terms of what he witnessed and what he saw in a region that many might think unsafe to travel. It was truly breathtaking stuff and the material that a no doubt epic movie could be crafted from. That he found only kindness and support from those he met along his way supported his initial notion, that apart from a few, the majority of humans, whatever their background, religion or race, are well intentioned. It’s for good reason then that Leon graces our cover, in Hollywood hero stance complete with bush hat. Now where’s that bullwhip? Leon did what Indiana Jones only does in a script!
This issue has some other epic challenges, Chris O’Connor writes about the Fire & Ice Ultra in Norway – see page 30. A stage race deemed by no other than Mohamad Ahansal to be the toughest of the tough – tougher than the Marathon des Sables - and as a multiple winner of that race, he should know. Mohamad swaps the heat for the cold, and sand for ice as he tackles Fire & Ice.
Continuing film vernacular, Phoebe Smith stars in what could be described as an action adventure. The vistas and the plot may not be quite so epic or dangerous as Leon’s Holy Land Trek or Fire & Ice but the story is nonetheless as entertaining. Phoebe goes Bothy to Bothy. She treks between these welcome refuges in the great outdoors to find shelter, respite, warmth and in one, kindred spirits – see page 48.
A comedy adventure… well, I hope Catherine Jevans does not mind me describing her cycling exploits as such – see page 56. I will hasten to add that I’m not belittling Catherine’s challenge of cycling 500 kilometres from Utrecht to Paris but rather the way that she self-deprecatingly writes about her ride with a group of other women. Catherine injects humour into her exploits and obviously enjoys the thrill and spills.
A few more leading men and leading women in this issue – we have Greg Rutherford, a man whose long jump exploits may only last seconds but whose training is very much outdoor based – see page 76. Then there’s Keri-Anne Payne, another Olympic medallist heading to Rio, she explains just how stimulating open water swimming can be and why you should give it a go – see page 18.
So lights, camera, action… the panoramas and colours, and the “actors” of the outdoors make for a great visual and truly engrossing treat – so sit back and watch er… read the epic tales in this issue.