Freedom Racing has been set up by Tom Sutton, a keen runner and outdoor enthusiast presently living in Cornwall, originally from West Sussex and at home in the hills and wild places!
The races I have created reflect my attitude towards and reasons for running - being outdoors and going to special places, completing an outdoor challenge and the physical journey from one place to another, covering the ground as fast and smoothly as possible.
I’m sure everyone has had similar thoughts and whether it’s having the time to yourself in a race, the enjoyment and adventure or if its being removed from day to day life and able to just focus on the task at hand on your own in the outdoors - to me this is the absolute feeling of freedom and why I run.
Trained as a summer Mountain Leader, I have enjoyed numerous hill walking trips and UK challenges, scrambling, climbing and long distance backpacks as well as winter mountaineering, kayaking, off road driving expeditions and mountain biking. With my father I organised and lead expedition trips to Kenya and Tanzania, climbing Kilimanjaro 3 times, Mt Kenya and Mt Meru as well as safari’s and adventurous excursions.
I started running through getting to the final selections to represent Great Britain in the 2003 LandRover G4 Challenge adventure race expedition, when trail running was one of the activities.
Since then running has become my main passion, with ultra trail running my main focus as it combines all the aspects I run for -of being outdoors in great places, adventure, self reliance and being a huge challenge... especially when it’s not going well!
My aim is to create the best events I can, on routes that are equally as challenging as they are scenic and fun, being chosen for their location in some of the most special places, but also others that are just good fun or a unique challenge! I enjoy putting a lot of thought and care into recceing and researching routes to use as I believe where you are is crucial to the overall experience of a race, as well as the care and detail given to the rest of the planning and logistics!
On race day it literally wouldn’t happen without a team of volunteers that share the passion for sport and the outdoors. People that are from various backgrounds of sport and industry with a wealth of personal experience and abilities to bring to our races. Lots of our volunteers have completed numerous marathons, Ironmans, triathlons, duathlons, utra marathons, adventure races, cycling events etc, as well as having careers in the forces, sports industries, logistics, care and hospitality for example. One of the main people on race day and company on recces is my girlfriend (now fiance) Nicky, a highly experienced ultra runner, marathoner and triathlete, and who is also regularly a model for photos!
In the 2013 Lakeland 100 race, I was running off the top of the highest point of the route at about 71 miles; it was daylight again, the sun was shining, there was no one else in sight and as I started the descent off a wide ridge I was in awe of the stunning Lake District scenery with clear views for miles. It felt like I was really experiencing the landscape, not just seeing it but part of it in this perfect day. Tired from 71 miles of it - but now also more energised from it than any food could ever provide.
As the hill got steeper the view to the lake below and the feeling of space opened up in front of me and I was flying down the hillside! I had a favourite song playing on the Ipod and was barely able to move my feet fast enough. My head was empty of any thoughts other than pure enjoyment; everything was good and I literally felt on top of the world!
I was loving it; totally immersed in the moment and completely aware of my surroundings; any occasional resentment to the sacrifices made over the previous months trying to get fit all remembered and negated as this was worth far more than any night out! The speed and fluidity I was running with after 15 or so hours on the move, mixed with fatigue and lack of sleep and being in this special place alone in the wilderness all combined to make me high on euphoria and adrenaline for a good while afterwards! It is as vivid now as it was then; this feeling stayed with me for the rest of the run, it helped fuel me to the finish and has left lasting memories about the race and what I love about being out in special places.
When I recall that moment and try to describe it to people its obvious you had to be there (and probably just had loads of sugar after not sleeping all night...). I’m left hoping they understand and ‘get’ at least part of the experience I’m trying to convey about why its so good to challenge yourself and experience the outdoors.
In a nutshell, its called Freedom Racing!