I must have started writing at least three or our four blogs this year with words along the lines of “I don’t even know where to start with this one” or “this is one of the hardest blogs I’ve ever had to write”, but this time it’s truer than ever. It really has been. The fact that it’s taken me until nearly the end of the year to report back on September’s Great North Run tells its own story but I mean, seriously. How can I adequately sum up all that’s been achieved this year?
So there we are. Just look at the post title up there – we’ve done it. Following the completion of the RideLondon-Surrey 100 at the end of last month, we’ve now covered 1000 miles for motor neurone disease, and with events still to spare. A target we thought ridiculously over optimistic last November when we first began dreaming up this mad year of challenges is in the bag and we can all sit here and be extremely proud of the fact that we’ve achieved the aim of carrying ourselves through nothing more than human horsepower (and malt loaf) the equivalent of from Leamington Spa to Lake Garda. And best of all, we’ve raised nearly double our original target of £3000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
It’s been quite a year.
It’s 8am and the four of us are in Whitehaven, stood in the early morning drizzle with the back wheels of our bicycles plonked in the Irish Sea. It’s gloomy, it’s dark. It’s a little bit chilly with a fairly ripe breeze on our backs. It most definitely does not feel like early July. The main event of our 1000 miles for MND challenge is about to start and none of us are remotely looking forward to what lies ahead. None of us can believe this day is actually here.
This Saturday morning four of us will dip the wheels of our bikes into the sea in Whitehaven on the western coast of England and attempt to pedal 140-odd miles to Sunderland before tea time on Sunday to do the same over there on the eastern coast.
It’s time to return to the very roads where it all began, the scene of my very first ever 10k back in 2008. And this time I’m not alone.
I’ve literally lost count of how many of my friends are also out running on Sunday, with all of us having our own aims and challenges for the day, including three people running their first ever 10k. Two of the three are Jonny and his sister, both running in full MNDA colours and adding a few more miles towards our 1000 Miles for Motor Neurone Disease challenge.
The Stockton Duathlon on April 24th 2016 was the second event on our calendar and Jonny’s first, and with three participants alongside him it means following their successful completion of run / bike / run a fortnight or so ago we now stand at 111.4 miles, just under a tenth of our mammoth total in the bag. Here’s his story of how it all went.
Round #1 is now complete, the Greater Manchester Marathon is officially done and dusted. 26.2 out of 1000 miles for motor neurone disease are safely in the bag. We’re finally underway people, and we’ve hit our original fundraising total already with 973.8 miles still go. You are all ridiculously amazing, aren’t you?
For the third time in my life, here I am the day before it all becomes A Bit Real. D-Day. Endgame. The day of reckoning, just some of the phrases I have used in the past to describe the culmination of months of hard work as the practice finally becomes the reality. All those hours spent trundling round and round on my little feet are about to come in really quite handy as come 9am tomorrow morning I will be lining up on the Old Trafford startline with a simple goal: run the Greater Manchester Marathon.
I remember writing back in January that I knew that even though that was the week that broke me I would have bigger weeks to come. This week was that bigger week. The biggest, in fact. Ever. The most I have ever and probably will ever run in a seven day period, the equivalent of running round the M60 twice. 70 miles, over seven runs, with an 18 mile practice marathon pace effort right at the very end. The trouble with that though, is the actual logistics of fitting it all in.
Why we are all doing what it is that we are all doing The picture above is of two of my favourite men. I’ve known Jonny since 2003. We met at university, lived together after university and have spent several years after university sitting around talking absolute drivel to each other. I’ve known his Dad, Neil, almost…