Dave Chamberlain isn’t like most people. Instead of slaving away at a regular nine to five job like the rest us, he is dedicating 7 years of his life to what he’s dubbed “The Hug Run”, with a whopping distance of 64,000km. Morgan Cardiff spent some time with Dave documenting this inspiring journey on camera, and one night in the South of Germany, in the side of a hay barn just shy of the Bravarian Alps, was Dave’s accomodation Morgan chats with Dave for an exclusive Man of Many interview giving insight into ‘The Hug Run’.
What is the Hug Run?
The hug run is a project to try and instil a sense of self belief and with the a sense of happiness in the people I meet along the way.
What inspired you to do the HUG run?
I think it was my mum, she told me never allow anyone to destroy your dreams and never ever ever even more ever, stop anyone else anyone else form believing in their own dreams. And that’s what really the self pleasure comes from, believe in your ability to be a better person at whatever you love, and support those dreams, so yeah.
This isn’t the first time you’ve run a long distance is it?
No this is project 4 and a half, including this one, 3 big ones prior and one little mini one just on the side. First was a north to south transverse of Argentina along RN40 which runs down the Andes. The second was a run from Walvis Bay, Namibia to Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and then in 2013 a was east to west traverse of Canada. the half one was just a little couple of hundred kilometres outside Pretoria in South Africa. Where these all unsupported? The First one was a crew of one, I ran and my girlfriend drove the camper van. But since then its all been self contained. Not to say I have been entirely on my own, there have been many times when people ran with me. But the idea being that everything is contained in whatever I’m pushing or pulling at the time.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen on one of your runs?
I haven’t actually had much crazy happen, but that’s just my personal point of view. The most awesome thing I have had, was a Wolf following me in Canada. This wolf just ran with me, and every time I stopped to look at it, it would just sit down and then continue when I started running. It maintained its distance, it never got closer. That was pretty incredible.
I hear you ran off into the desert without really thinking what that meant?
Haha, perhaps, I just embarked on a 6 year project to run around the world and I have not really thought about what it really means to do it. Yeah ignorance is bliss at some level, and secondly I just cant think that far ahead, I mean before I set off I try and consider all the dangers, but that’s something you can list in 7 or 8 minutes. It is very obvious, run out of water, getting bitten by this, hit by a car, get attacked by someone whatever. But then once you have accepted the danger, who cares about everything else, it will just all happen.
How far into the HUG Run are you now?
I am two and a half months into it, just over 3000km, which really is not very far, its about 4% of the run so far, but that’s fine, I’m not thinking the full distance, just take it one country at a time.
What countries have you been through so far?
Started in Norway, through Finland, Sweden, across to Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and now I’m in Germany. Switzerland is next and then into northern Italy, where the European leg will finish.
Where have you been sleeping throughout this epic journey?
Mostly in the forest. There have been some invited stays in hotels or houses, mostly on rest periods, and occasionally outside buildings that offer some protection from the rain. I also had a ditch, that was a disaster, but I got tired, and just couldn’t find a place to sleep, so I slept in a ditch by the side of the road, that was kind of wet and the mosquitoes were pretty horrible, but it was only a night, so I guess it was acceptable.
Explain your stroller-like cart that you push along as you run?
Its a Thule running pram, single carrier, they roll beautifully, and yeah it doesn’t take much to get used to the running style. Inside it is my tent, sleeping bag, little cooker, dry clothes, wet clothes, city clothes,running clothes, basic toiletries camera, valuables, little camping stove, and rolling pin to help with massaging.
What have been some of the highlights of the Hug Run journey so far?
There has always been spectacular scenery. Practicing Russian, German, just languages are always a bonus for me. But this run thus far has not been as dramatic as the previous project. It has been pretty tranquil and chill even in terms of the weather and scenery. That has not been too hectic in terms of difficulty, so its actually been quite a chilled experience. Northern Norway is just stunning, a couple of the sunrises and sunsets have been phenomenal. But just experiencing these little towns and cities that have heard about, but never visited. Czech Republic and Poland as well. Its just meeting people and going places.
Are there any places that you’re particularly looking forward to running to?
If the project goes according to plan, Nepal is going to be stunning, just running those hills will be awesome. If not entirely difficult to get the food logistics sorted, which I’m bad at anyway. And Australia, I have such a strong desire to run around Oz, I don’t know why, so i think those two are two territories that will be particularly awesome.
What are you expecting from the rest of your trip?
I’m expecting it to be Flat, Straight, Ice cream shops every 5km, cabanossi every 10k, and a massage every 50. If that doesn’t for some unlikely reason happen, Im expecting it to he amazing, just with everything, the food, the people, the views, the smells, just an overall awesome experience.