Monday, 19 September 2011

The end of the challenge

Job done.  Yesterday's Great North Run concluded the "100 runs in 100 days" challenge.  It was an early start, I woke up around 3:30am, excited and nervous for the day ahead.  I picked up Gaz and Frank around 5:30 and we headed off to towards the M62 and met the A1 around 6am.  We listened to 5live and chatted about the race ahead of us and plans for after, given that Newcastle was all ours that evening.

A "toilet break" at Durham services, and we found ourselves joining other runners who had the same plan, so there was a substantial queue.  We got to the Travelodge around 8:15, to be met by the sight of a fire engine outside the hotel, dealing with the aftermath of a stag party - the police followed around 10 mins later.  We loaded up with essentials we were taking with us to the race and hopped in the pre-booked mini-bus which ferried us as near to the start line as it was possible to get.

Red Arrows Flyover

I was interviewed by BBC Radio Newcastle on the bridge.  This was pre-arranged by Louisa at the JDRF Press Office, and it was good to raise the profile of the JDRF and explain why I had chosen to undertake the challenge.  There must of been hundreds of charities competing for airspace, so I'm pleased they took interest in the challenge, my story and I was able to plug the charity.  I was wearing my "100 runs" t-shirt that Beth from A3 Sports made, as were Gaz and Frank - so many people stopped and asked about the challenge and were full of praise - thanks Beth!

Gaz, Me and Frank - pre race in Beth's T-shirts - much admired on the day!

The race itself went pretty well.  I mis-timed the last fluid intake so was desperate for a wee as soon as the gun went off.  I had to stop and relieve myself just under the flyover about a mile into the race.  I pretty much stuck to the plan and did my best to enjoy the atmosphere, whilst keeping my foot on the gas, and getting past people so I could get my desired 1hr 50min time.  As with most of these events, I was outnumbered by the bigger charities, however kept the pace with "Lu" who was running for Diabetes UK.  The lovely sunshine gave way to rain around mile 9, and from then until the finish we were running in the driving rain, causing my vest to rub and give me some of the old "nipple trouble".  I managed a sprint finish and got 1:57.  I'm not disappointed at missing a target time, because I was full of emotions at this being the 100th run that I wasn't bothered to be honest.  Gaz got a good 1:51 and Frank steamed to an impressive 1:34.

All done!

My schedule ment I couldn't meet up with the other JDRF runners at the end, however I did bump into Jon Medcraft at the start of the race, and he wished me well.

The journey back to the hotel wasn't too bad, Gaz and Frank presented me with a bottle of fizz, which was a really nice gesture, and I managed to to bag the double bed for myself in our "luxurious" Travelodge family room (one towel...).  Travelodge treated us to no hot water which was nice of them, just what you need when you've run 13.1 miles.  We all had quick showers, and popped into Newcastle for a few drinks and a well earned curry.  With one last mouthful of spicy food and bottle of Indian lager, the challenge was complete - 100 runs in 100 days.

My previous post covers all my thank yous, however I have had lots more donations on my justgiving site since then, so to everyone who donated and wished me well on facebook - thank you!  A follower on Twitter has let Justin Webb know that she no longer follows him, given his reluctance to "re-tweet" or show support to my cause.  If he doesn't re-tweet, then fair enough, however I don't think I could have done any more to try and "reach out" and spread the word on Twitter.  In the end I felt like I was begging, so I decided to leave Twitter alone for a while.  Until this morning that is.

A Tit, yesterday
The TV "pundit" and Mail on Sunday's Live Magazine Ian Hyland (formerly of the News of the World) has made a pretty tasteless remark regarding the X Factor contestent Amelia Lily, who has type 1 diabetes:

"I’m not so sure. But I’d be amazed if 16-year-old diabetic Amelia Lily wasn’t a contender.
And let’s face it, the fact that she has to inject herself three times a day means she’s already better prepared than most for a career in music."

The Daily Mail online website still has the quote on their website, and unbelievably carries the quote again in bold under the photo of Amelia.  I think he's tried to apologise via Twitter, however by keeping this rubbish on their website, the paper (if you can call it that) appears to endorse his attempt at wit.  Disgusting.

The challenge may be over, however the campaigning continues.  Let's celebrate everyone who lives with Type 1 and overcome the petty mindedness of people like Ian Hyland.  I raise my glass to you all, for you deserve all the plaudits I received during the challenge.

Saturday, 17 September 2011


So here we are then.  That's 99 done with just one run remaining.  It's been really worthwhile, although I may not think that tomorrow when I'm approaching mile 10.  Here's why:

1) I've raised nearly £1,570 on my just giving site with donations in cash from work colleagues, friends and family (thanks must go out to my Mother-Law Ann who sent me a very generous cheque along with a lovely card this morning). My Mum and Dad got the ball rolling with a generous donation on my site, and I had many friends of my sister Lucy's who donated after she encouraged them to do so.  My brother in Law, Mike made a lovely gesture by mentioning the challenge in his wedding speech and encouraged the guests to donate to my cause. This money will go direct to JDRF, the leading charity dedicated to funding the research to find a cure for type-1 diabetes.

2) I've come into contact with some amazing people -Parents of children who have been diagnosed at both Jake's age and much younger, some with other underlying conditions to treat as well as type-1 diabetes, as well as Adults who either have lived with type-1 for many years themselves, or have been recently diagnosed.

3) Parents who take action and get involved with campaigning, setting up groups such as Diabetes Power,  and those who campaign for against decisions to cut funding for beneficial medicine for those living with type 1.  Those who live with type-1 and act as JDRF T1 Ambassadors - sharing experiences and encouraging others to get involved.

4) Raising awareness of T1.  There are around 20,000 children living with T1, and they all do brilliantly in accepting they will have this for the rest of their lives, or until a cure is found.

5) I've had some good press in the Oldham Chronicle, Saddleworth Extra (thanks Lewis), Saddleworth News Online (thanks Richard),  Manchester Evening News, Saddleworth Monthly, Northern Running Guide Online, Running Fitness Magazine (thanks Tina).  This has been possible with the assistance of Louisa Sampson from JDRF's Press Office, thanks Louisa.

6) I've been the recipient of kindness from Helly Hansen, in particular Jax, who decided my challenge was worth a punt and provided me with a full running kit.  Rainbow Running also sent on 2 tops (thanks Michael) and as I've mentioned earlier in this blog, Beth and Nigel Marr of A3 Sports of Liphook were fantastic, and I'll wear their t-shirts with pride tomorrow.

7) Everyone has been really encouraging.  Friends old and new, neighbours and strangers - I've been really touched.

8) It's very hard to get recognition on Twitter.  I've had a couple of RT (retweets) and attracted a modest following, however I don't think my challenge has been given the "wow factor" on twitter the newspapers gave it.  I tried requesting RT's (modern "shout-outs") from Great Run (organisers of tomorrow's race), and the top running stars, as well as 5live, but so far nothing.  I'll give it one last go later then knock it on the head and use twitter to send messages to my mate Edwards.  All my friends on facebook have been great commenting on my posts and "liking" my status, even though they must be sick to the back teeth with me going on about the 100 runs challenge.

9) The running has ensured I stuck to the training.  I've really enjoyed the feeling you get when you know you've made progress.  My "Hill Legs" will be my secret weapon tomorrow.  I'm most grateful to Patrick Warrington, Colin Bishop, Gareth Dean, Frank Buckley and Mick Sheehan, who have supported me by joining my runs and given me some great advice and encouragement.  Take to the streets and Map My Run were valuable, as was Ann, my Mother-in-Law who assisted with routes to around Loch Gur and the Ballyhoura Mountains.

10) Last of all, the biggest thank you goes to Carolyn and Jake.  I must admit I had doubts about the feasibility of the challenge myself, but to have their support has been truly wonderful.  They've accommodated my challenge throughout weekends away, holidays in France and Ireland.  I've lost count of the amount of times I woke Carolyn up by mistake (and trying to be quiet) getting up at some silly hour in the morning because I had a hectic day at work and needed to be in the office early.  Carolyn also has had to put up with me disappearing in the evenings to type up the blog.  Thanks for arranging the massage at run 50, and for everything you have done. Jake has been so sensible and mature beyond his 7 years in living with type 1.  He agreed to run the last 100 yards of today's 6.2 mile run.  He's the inspiration and my reason for banging on about why things have to change.  I dedicate run number 100 to you both.

Run 99.  Driving rain and Jake joins me for the last 100 yards

Light at the end of the tunnel

Thursday evening saw my last run with Gaz and Frank until Sunday's GNR.  I've really enjoyed the runs around Mossley, Dovestones and Lydgate with them during the challenge.  They are both younger and fitter than me, so their pace is always good to test older legs (mine), and the banter is good too.  On Sunday they are both running for the stroke association, their justgiving site is - show your appreciation and drop them a donation.

Yesterday at work, I could tell it was payday.  I had Claire, Donna and Brett present me with crisp notes not long after I had switched on my pc.  Leanne & Craig, Phil, Mark, Charlotte and Alex (who used to work with us) a while back all contributed on the justgiving site, so thanks all! It's really competitive at work to get sponsorship, as their is an "Apprentice Challenge" taking place all month to raise as much money for various charities.  One such team is the Credit Review team, based in Southend who have chosen to raise money for JDRF. Headed up by Lauren King, the team were unsure of who to raise money for, and spoke to a friend of mine, Sarah Brown - who's son Ryan has type 1 and I dedicated run 50 to him.  Sarah is providing the team with JDRF/Diabetes Power posters and was influential in them choosing JDRF.  They are selling cakes and treats, conducting a sponsored silence, leg waxing - with consent, I'm told, and a charity raffle.  Good luck team and when you have your photo and justgiving site, I'll promote on here for you!

Louisa Sampson from the JDRF Press Office has arranged for me to be interviewed by BBC Newcastle around 9am, I also have the team JDRF group photo before getting in zone D and running like the wind!

I'm really looking forward to today's run.  On the last leg, I'm phoning home where Carolyn and Jake will then make their way to the bottom of the boat lane so Jake can run the last 200 yards with his Dad.  I'll update the blog to take in run number 99 later this afternoon.

Thursday's run - 7.4 miles
Friday's run - 6.2 miles

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Running with Colin and Pat

Another evening run with others - this time with Colin and Pat.  We met at the foot of the boat lane, alongside Saddleworth's best pub (The Diggle Hotel).  A trot up the boat lane and the bridle path up to Standedge Cutting.  Colin set a good pace, in fact I think he was being generous to take his usual pace down a notch or two to accomodate my trot, although I've seen improvements in my speed and stamina over the past 13 weeks.

Pat told us all about his business trip in Amsterdam, while Colin chatted about various different races he has either competed in, entered in or marshalled.  Really interesting to hear about how, as someone who has completed the notorious Bob Graham Round (70 peaks of the lake district over 80 miles within the time limit of 24 hours) how he returns to support those who are making an attempt themselves.

We ran over the skyline looking down on Castleshaw, behind the dis-used Horse and Jockey pub and down into Dobcross, and back home to Diggle.

Tonight I'm running again with Gaz and Frank for the last time before Sunday, then I'd like to do the Albion Farm route on Friday before work.  Then number 99 will be local and i'll finish for the last 200 yards with Jake - although he still hasn't said if he has a slot in his diary for this yet.

Colin and Pat said some very encouraging things about the running last night, and I'm most grateful for their support - thanks!

Last night's run: 6.5 miles

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Down to the last five...

Run number 95 this evening.  I was joined by Mick, Gaz and Frank and we ran from Uppermill through Greenfield, around Dovestones Reservoir and back up around the Greenfield loop to Uppermill again.  Mick has run the Great North a few times and has managed and owned the local gym for years before moving into the Senior care business.  It was good to go out with a group, and it made me feel pretty well supported, although I was at least 2 or three paces behind the others for most of the run.  I started off feeling nauseous, but hid it from the others, then when we were running back round the Greenfield loop my left ankle started to ache.  It turned out to be just a twinge of something, but I had to see the funny side, given I was telling Mick I'd had no injuries since the challenge started in June.

We got pretty soaked in the downpour on the way back to Uppermill, but we are just preparing ourselves for rain on Sunday if needs be. 

A follow-up story appeared in tonight's Oldham Chronicle, which is good to let people know the challenge is nearly over (i.e I saw the challenge through and didn't just disappear with the free running gear from Helly Hansen).  The story carried a photo taken in July when I have more layers on than a Man City Midfielder, and thankfully the chin has disappeared in real life, as I hoped it would.

My fellow runners this evening: Gaz, Mick and Frank

Thanks Mick, Gaz and Frank for setting the pace and encouraging me all the way tonight.

Yesterday's run - 6.5 miles
Tonight's run - 7.8 miles

Sunday, 11 September 2011

My sister's Wedding

After completing run number 91 on Friday morning, we set off for Liphook, the village where I grew up, in anticipation of my sister's wedding which was taking place in Guildford on Saturday.  Mum and Dad were very complimentary about the achievement so far, also how my body is looking in good nick, thanks to the increase in exercise. 

I knew Saturday was going to be busy - Not only did Mum and Dad have Myself, Carolyn and Jake staying over, but also Lucy on the eve of her wedding.  I set off for the morning run around 6:30am and did a 7 mile loop over through Hammer, Lynchmere, Highfield Close, back into Liphook via the Station, Old Portsmouth Road, Longmoor Road and The Avenue and onto Headley Road.  The role of "master of ceremonies" entailed a few jobs, some I knew about, others were a bit spontaneous, but I did my duty and all went to plan.

I chose a reading by Simon Armitage, entitled, "Let me put it this way", which I think went down well:

"Let me put it this way:
if you came to lay
your sleeping head
against my arm or sleeve,
and if my arm went dead,
or if I had to take my leave
at midnight, I should rather
cleave it from the joint or seam
than make a scene
or bring you round.
how does that sound?"

I woke up in the hotel this morning with a slightly fuzzy head, however hopped out of bed and got my gear on for a run wherever the roads would take me.  A place called "Bowlhead Green" was my destination from the venue in Churt.  I kept running until the GPS read "3.3 miles" then turned on my heels and ran back the way I came. 

Bowlhead Green

I twice passed a lovely looking pub (well, nearly as nice as The Diggle Hotel) in a village called Thursley - I may call in the next time we are down this way.

Three Horseshoes, Thursley

I met family and friends last night who I haven't met in years, all of who were very encouraging about the challenge  - thanks to everyone I spoke to who either shook my hand or kissed me on the cheek (and pushed money into my hand for the JDRF) It was a day and night to remember.

I'm dedicating today's run to Lucy and Mike xxx

Friday's run - 6.3 miles
Saturday's run - 7.0 miles
Today's run - 6.7 miles

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Down to the last 10

At work today I was asked by a colleague "How many runs have you done now?" It felt good to say, "90, just 10 left to do..." I was taken back to June when I was looking back on having run the first ten, but feeling overwhelmed by the thought of having to do it again for the next 90 days.

Last night was quite possibly the worse weather I've been out in since the challenge got under way.  It wasn't just a drop of rain.  It was hardened, northern rain, pelting down on my soft, southern skin.  I met Pat at the foot of the boat lane and we trotted up towards Brun Reservoir.  It may have been the effects of all this running, or the increased urgency in knowing a thunderstorm was brewing, but our pace was quick and sprightly for an evening run.

As we ran across the skyline (see below) looking down onto Castleshaw, we were blown all over the shop, and the wind was flicking up water from the reservoir below which made the run a bit more exciting, if somewhat more wet on top of the driving rain.  We were asked directions by some hikers who were walking the Pennine Way.  "Diglea is that way" we shouted above the rain.  I hope they weren't camping.

We got back, soaked to the skin, but feeling like we could do all 8 miles again - in worse weather.  That's the feeling you get at the end of a run - a real high - and it's legal!

I have planned my next 4 runs in advance due to Saturday being my dear sister's wedding.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with friends and family, and getting down to 94 runs by the time we are back home.

I finally got the hang of twitter, after some expert tuition from my sister Lucy and JDRF's Press Officer Louisa. My "handle" is 100runs4jdrf  I got a "RT" (re-tweet) from Iwan Thomas this morning, which helps spread the word of the challenge and awareness of Type-1.  I think I'll pester Paula Radcliffe next.

Yesterday's run - 8.1 miles
Today's run - 6.2 miles