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Run, Relax, restore

Qigong & Trail Running in the heart of the Essex countryside

3 – 7 April 2022

Take some time to treat yourself

 

Explore cross-country trails and river paths of the delightful Essex countryside.

 

Enjoy morning Qigong practice followed by guided trail runs.

 

Staying at Pontlands Park, a family run hotel providing a unique combination of homely comfort and exceptional service.

 

Our philosophy

We'd like to take you on an adventure. To give you the opportunity to perhaps do something you've always wanted but never quite got around to.

Our adventures are always fun, challenging and rewarding.

Taking time out from your normal routine, doing something different with a small group of like-minded people is refreshing, energising and restorative.

You'll feel a sense of achievement and fulfilment at the end of each day after completing cross-country and river path trail runs.

You'll be guided in daily Qigong practice and running technique by your expert coaches. Go at your own pace – we guarantee that no-one is left behind.

We move naturally as a group, getting energy from nature, stopping to take photos, taking walking breaks, exploring the outdoors.

You are invited to join this challenging but competition-free adventure!

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”

Leonardo da Vinci

The adventure includes

  • 4 nights quality accommodation
  • 3 days of adventure
  • Outdoor Qigong practice
  • Guided trails with expert local guide
  • Trail running technique coaching
  • Relaxing breathwork and meditation
  • Breakfast, lunch and evening meals

Special bonuses

  • 2 x 121 coaching calls (pre and post adventure)
  • 6-month Premium Membership of Breathe. Balance. Move bi-weekly classes with Gray

£1,195.00£1,495.00

BOOK NOW

Clear

"The best part was the amazing, supportive bunch of people and the team that created this whole atmosphere. It was absolutely phenomenal.

Jane Lelean

Owner of The Institute of Dental Business

The Essex countryside is an amazing place to run. After three days of exploring the trails, river paths and the highest point in the county, you are guaranteed to feel a true sense of satisfaction and achievement.

Your Run, Relax, Restore: An Essex Adventure Holiday is led by Qigong teacher, breathworker and running coach Gray Caws, alongside trail runner, coach Elaine Jackson.

Each morning starts with Qigong practice before breakfast. Then we head out onto the trails. We recommend that you are able to comfortably run 7 miles at your own easy pace without getting out of breath. But this is certainly not a race and there are plenty of opportunities to stop, walk and enjoy the environment around you.

Each day will conclude with a restorative practice to help relax and restore the body before our wholesome evening meal.

This adventure is suitable for all ages. We don't focus on speed, we are travelling together on foot – a tribe of adventurers, a team moving at a different pace sometimes, but no-one is left behind. This is not a place for ego or competition.

You are joining an adventure that holds the essence of Qigong as a restorative, healing practice. It's your time to relish the experience, and discover the true sense of joy and freedom.

Places are limited to ensure complete personal attention.

Join The Adventure

On the Centenary Trail

Day 1: Centenary Circle. After our early morning Qigong practice in the grounds of the hotel we'll head out on our cross-country and trail run around the Century Circle. This is a circular footpath circumnavigating Chelmsford, which is 21 miles in total – but don’t worry, we’re not doing it all!

We'll finish our run with a picnic lunch at the wonderful Hylands Estate which has approximately 574 acres of historic parkland. Hylands House is a grade II listed neoclassical villa, originally built in 1730 and in 2004 it featured in a Warner Brothers film Chasing Liberty as a double for the White House.

River Run

Day 2: River Run. The Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation was created in 1793 to transport goods and is the only navigation still in private hands. We will follow this historic route along the river Chelmer, passing by a few locks before stopping for refreshments at Paper Mill Lock Tea Room. Continuing along the towpath, taking in the views of the cricket bat willows which line the canal. In time we will arrive at the town of Maldon. Famously known for its sea salt, sitting on the Blackwater estuary, this will be the perfect place to end our run.

Day 3: Hills & Trails. Danbury Country Park features 45 acres of grade II listed gardens, lakes and ancient woodland. Ideal for technical trails and open space to explore on our run. We can also take in the views from the highest point in Essex (112m). Little Baddow gives us the opportunity to work on some inclines, in addition to more scenic trails through National Trust woodlands.

We will run whatever the weather so make sure that you wear appropriate running gear and be prepared for typical British spring weather!

Meet The Team

Gray Caws – Retreat Leader
Elaine & Gray

GRAY CAWS

Adventure Leader

If you’re like me then you love nothing better than to get outside and explore.

I find that if I need a bit of a motivational boost – to get that feeling of true contentment – then to be outdoors running, walking, playing is where I need to be.

Following the success of our 'try out' of this adventure in June 2021, I'm looking forward to returning to Pontlands with it's friendly staff and excellent food. I'm particularly looking forward to the cream tea!

The aim is to have fun – go exploring, meet like-minded people, enjoy wholesome food, and take time out to relax and restore mind and body through our daily Qigong and breathwork practice.

This is an adventure holiday and to me this is what exercise is all about; not something to be endured but something to enjoy.

I've been coaching for over 10 years. I arranged my first adventure holiday in 2012, taking a group over to Costa Brava. Since then I've run the Costa Brava Adventure every year (apart from 2020).

My plan for 2020 was to run more adventures – I had Bali, Portugal and Costa Brava planned but, of course, due to COVID that all changed. This is what led me to explore closer to home and hence this Essex adventure.

I founded Adventures In Movement & Breath in 2015 with the aim of bringing a different approach to fitness training. I believe that true health and vitality come about by focusing your mind, listening to your body and tapping into your natural, intuitive flow of energy, movement and breath.

I’m a qualified personal trainer, running coach, and breathworker with a master certification in the Oxygen Advantage and Buteyko methods. I’m also a teacher of Qigong, training with Lee Holden.

Elaine Jackson – Trail Coach

Elaine Jackson

Trail Coach

Hi everyone, I’m Elaine and I’m delighted to be coaching on the Run, Relax, Restore Adventure Holiday. If you’re like me, I’m sure you want to know more about the team you’ll be with, so let me share with you!  

With a background in dance teaching, I started running to enhance my fitness but very quickly realised it was more than that. 

I found a sense of freedom and space, which was always welcome at the end of a day in school! Over the years I’ve taken part in various events from 5k to the London marathon in 2016, and subsequently qualified as a running coach in 2017.

My passion lies in helping others to progress, to achieve their own goals but more importantly, enjoy the journey along the way.  

I joined Gray on the Costa Brava Adventure in 2018 and I’m still telling everyone about it now! The scenery, the people, the camaraderie and fun make it an adventure never to forget. I worked with Gray in June as we did a mini version of this Essex adventure and I’m really looking forward to leading the trails and co-teaching with Gray again. We've devised a fantastic schedule for you so I do hope you’ll join us.

"I can now officially conclude that this has been the best holiday of my life. And there are lots of factors that go into that... The location was breathtaking. Every peak, twist and turn of the Catalonian countryside left me gasping in awe. The skies so clear, the sun so warm, the seas so blue and the landscapes so vivid. And in running I really felt like I saw parts of this wonderful place that even the locals don't know exist… After so many weeks and months of trying – I really feel like I have found my stride."

Cat Townsend

Founder of The Good Alliance

"I felt I can run forever on the Costa Brava with its wonderful scenery, medieval villages and challenging terrain. Can’t wait to go back!"

Nicky Dowson

"Gray changed my life within the first 10 seconds of seeing me run! I have been a serious runner since childhood but had all kinds of injuries. Then in my mid 30s I started getting calf tears more and more regularly. I tried everything to no avail. Someone put me onto the Chi Running book, which helped somewhat but not completely. Then I discovered Gray. Within 10 seconds of him watching me run he spotted things that no book could. He transformed my running immediately, and each week improves it further. I can now run as far as I like in complete confidence that I won’t get injured. Thank you Gray!"

Richard Thomas

Mathematician

Is this for me?

I’m an experienced runner looking for a new challenge.

We'll be running 7 – 10 miles each day. There are also different levels of trail. You’ll also learn how Qigong flow practice can lead to increased strength and power in your running. You'll get exercises too in breathing techniques to improve energy efficiency, and relaxation techniques to help rest and restore the body.

I’m new to running.

We'll be running 7 – 10 miles each day so if you are completely new to running at the moment you would need to make sure you have enough time to prepare. We would ask that you can run for at least 7 miles at your own comfortable pace without getting out of breath before you join the adventure.

We believe running is the most efficient mode of transportation to get to know a new place. Having this as your intention is a great way to start with no pressure at all to cover a certain distance.

From the experience of past adventures, many new runners have run far more than they expected, simply by setting their intention to ‘travel’ rather than ‘exercise’. And since there is so much to see, time goes quickly and before you know it you’ve covered several miles. Our guides will make sure that you keep a steady pace so that you don’t tire too soon.

I’m looking for a way to take a break from the stresses of everyday life.

Everyday life can be stressful. Everybody needs some ‘me-time’. This adventure is a great opportunity to get away from it all, meet new people and enjoy time outdoors. Numerous studies show that being active and outdoors is a proven way of reducing stress. We'll spend most of the time outdoors, whatever the weather, drawing on the therapeutic powers of nature and connecting with the natural environment.

Qigong practice will focus on efficient movement and breath, with an emphasis on rest and restoration of the mind and body. At the end of the adventure, you'll feel a sense of enormous achievement, more body awareness, and greater clarity of mind.

I like to meet new people and explore new places.

This adventure is the perfect way to meet new people and see new places. The trails will give you the time to explore, absorb the atmosphere and the amazing scenery. You’ll meet like-minded people from different walks of life with a common purpose of enjoying the outdoors and working together as a team rather than in competition. The small group ensures no-one feels overwhelmed or left out.

I want to enjoy running but it hurts too much and I’m plagued with niggles and injuries.

With anywhere between 30 – 80% of runners affected by injury it’s no wonder it has a bad reputation but this adventure will teach you a different approach to running. You’ll experience running with the intention to travel rather than exercise or to get fit, burn calories or get faster. Often just this change in mindset makes a huge difference to how you run. The Qigong flow practice each morning will relate directly to improved power in your running exploring how ease of movement comes first through relaxation. During Oxygen Advantage breathing practice, you'll discover how breathing too much air can be bad for your health! With the unique combination of Qigong and Oxygen Advantage, you'll soon get to experience the age-old idea that by doing less you can actually achieve much more. You’ll also get practical sessions to help rest, restore, and repair the body.