Inspiring Stories for the New Year!

BDS4 student Chelsea Cook stepped outside her comfort zone in 2021 with a year of challenges. These have ultimately benefitted and enhanced her life and studies as a busy dental student!

Chelsea set herself a year of physical (and mental) challenges at the weekends, deciding that once events started up again in 2021 she would train and attempt to take part in these, pushing herself like never before.  Her year of challenges culminated in a 50K ultramarathon from Grantown-on-Spey to Forres, following the Dava Way.

Chelsea explains “Having the opportunity of entering events completely taken away from me in 2020, made me want to just try everything outside of my comfort zone and really test my limits. I love dentistry but having hobbies, challenges and goals outside of the profession is very important to me. It really helps to put things into perspective and can provide you with self belief and mental strength that you can draw on in every day life, whether that be in the Institute of Dentistry or anywhere really! I pretty much said yes to every event that interested and scared me.  At the start of the year I didn’t own a pair of trail shoes, a running pack, a wetsuit or even a bike!

It’s funny that regardless of the distance, the hardest thing is always just lacing up the shoes and getting out the door. But you never regret it and personally, I always feel like a much better and kinder person afterwards. With running (or cycling and swimming) there is always someone faster than you, and always someone slower than you, that tends to put things into perspective when I’m scared to give something a go. As cheesy as it sounds, I really do believe we all can do so much more than we think we can.”

At the end of the year Chelsea had taken part in:

*Her first ever trail race - Blair Atholl 10K

*An application only 5K - accepted on predicted finish time – (no pressure!)

*Ben Rinnes 5 tops Hill race - 22K and 1500m elevation

*Knockburn Standard Triathlon - 1500m loch swim, 42K bike, 10K trail run

*Tayside Challenge - a 75K mass cycling event

*An Aquathlon - 800m swim, 10K run

*The Dava Way Ultramarathon - which actually turned out to be 52K, not 50 (that last 2K hurt!)

Does Chelsea’s story inspire you this year?  Whether it is physical activity or not, trying something new can improve our confidence, humility and skills sets.  It can also unlock the door to new friendships and perspectives.  We all hope that Covid restrictions will ease this year, giving rise to many more opportunities. Good luck!  

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