Sunday, 31 July 2011

Brand new leg muscles

The first run in the second half of the challenge took place this morning. I don't want to speak too soon, and I'm not being offered any endorsements to say this but my legs feel like brand new after yesterday's massage.  I over took 2 runners on the A62, just before the Albion Farm Shop - I even over took a cyclist on the climb up Woods Lane in Dobcross - It's a case of so far, so faster.

On the decent down Wall Hill Road, I used the number of lampposts to include a little speed reps and increase the heart rate.  I caught a rare glimpse of a donkey being walked by a young girl on the Delph Donkey on my way back to Diggle via the canal side. 

I'm away in Edinburgh with work over the next couple of days, so will scout out a couple of routes and take the GPS with me.  It'll be nice to run in a different place, also prove to my work mates up there that I am really doing the challenge and not making it up!

Lots of people around this morning, as they are heading into Uppermill for the celebration event that is Yorkshire day.  Yorkshire Day is celebrated on 1 August to promote the historic English county of Yorkshire. It was celebrated in 1975, by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, initially in Beverley, as "protest movement against the Local Government re-organisation of 1974", The date alludes to the Battle of Minden, and also the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, had campaigned.

Today's run 7.4 miles

Saturday, 30 July 2011

The Half Way Mark

That's 50 done.  It feels good to be able to sit down, take stock and realise that I'm now officially over the half-way mark - or will be after tomorrow's run.

I took advantage of the good weather by running one of my favourite routes - Start at the wonderful Diggle Hotel (Best pint in Saddleworth) up to Standedge Cutting and up to the Trig Point above Castleshaw, round the reservoirs and back home via the boat lane.  I knew that Carolyn was planning a surprise, but I was not expecting a cheering station at the end, complete with JDRF balloons, followed by a nice carb-heavy lunch.  The promised massage was later at 4pm, so I have to take my hat of to Carolyn for making the run one to remember.

Although a variety of my running partners were unable to join me (Pat - Cambridge Folk Festival, Colin - Injured his calf, Gaz - Fractured his wrist), no matter - It was a run I had been looking forward to. 

Spurred on by the good weather and sense of occasion I wore my faithful team Pingu JDRF Vest and set off.  On the decent from the top of the boat lane I was greeted by Carolyn, Jo Taylor and her son Ned cheering and clapping as they came into view.  Again, not wanting to labour the point but I was really touched and have to add here how much a good support Carolyn has been since the challenge started.

Energy boosting cake...

I've just come back from the sports massage that took place at Body and Mind in Mossley and it appears that my leg muscles were not in the knotty mess I presumed they would be in.  It was good and I'll go again before the challenge is over.  They've got a great set up and really friendly, professional staff - there is even a loyalty scheme in place, so I'd recommend it.  Their website is

I dedicate today's run to Ryan Welton (see previous post).

It just leaves me to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me, Jon and Louisa at JDRF, Those who donated to the charity, donated free running gear and discounts, joined me on the runs and offered encouragement - it's very much appreciated and will keep me going through the next 50 runs.

Today's run - 7.6 miles

Today's run is dedicated to Ryan Welton

Well, the half-way mark is here.  I'm going to enjoy today's run because:
1) I'm heading out around 11:30, and there was no getting up at silly o'clock today - it is a Saturday, after all...and the sun is shining so to be running on the fells looking out over cattleshaw is going to be great.
2) It's good to have 50% of the challenge under my belt, and I can start counting down until the Great North Run.
3) I'm feeling the benefits of the daily 10K's - Running further distances, motivated to do more, and enjoying work during challenging times.  I've lost a few pounds too, which needed to happen.
4) Carolyn has booked me in for a sports massage this afternoon, and everyone I know has been full of support, encouraging me and donating to the charity.
5) That today's run is going to be dedicated to Sarah Brown's son Ryan.  Sarah works with me, although she is based in Southend and we have yet to meet up in person she's been a great support ever since Jake was diagnosed with T1.  Sarah does a lot of campaigning and has introduced me to other areas of support such as Diabetes Power.  Thanks Sarah for all your advice and I'm hoping to be in Southend soon so I can thank you in person.  I'm proud to dedicate my 50th run to your son Ryan.

Sarah tell's Ryan's story:
"I will never forget the day those three words ‘Type 1 Diabetes’ entered our lives.  It was August 2008, the height of summer, when my son, Ryan, fell ill.  He had seemed to be the picture of health albeit drinking more than normal but only to be expected with hot summer days spent on the beach. He liked to sleep during the day, but what teenager doesn’t? Mood swings were common, just teenage traits surely? It wasn’t until he fell extremely sick with vomiting and extreme weakness that we took him to see the doctor who immediately admitted him to hospital as an emergency after doing a simple urine test.  The rest was just a blur.....  ketoacidosis.... type 1 diabetes.... blood tests...... needles.... insulin.....  It was simply the worst and most frightening day of our lives!
Since then Ryan has learned to cope with several daily finger prick tests and injecting himself with insulin and I feel as if I have become an expert of the condition after reading all the literature I possibly can! He has involved his friends, giving them knowledge on his condition so they can support him in his daily life.
Our latest challenge is obtaining an insulin pump for Ryan.  This will put an end to the several injections a day he has to endure and will mean he will have a pump attached to him with a constant delivery of insulin to keep his sugar levels at a more stable level.  We have to wait until the end of the year to see if he will be granted one but, as with many things, it is all down to funding and, at present, this is not available so we shall have to wait patiently..... or take our fight to the PCT for something that should be readily available to give Ryan a better quality of life. 
Since Ryan's diagnosis, I have built a large support network of friends on the internet, all of whom either have Type 1 Diabetes or are parents of a child with diabetes.  Without these people, I would have found it even harder to cope with the many ups and downs that looking after and supporting my son brings.
Tom only wanted a couple of paragraphs and I feel I have gone on quite long enough now but, when it comes to our lives with diabetes, I could truly talk for England!  I just want to say a huge 'thank you' to Tom for this incredible challenge he has taken on to help raise funds for vital research into, hopefully one day, finding the cure for Type 1 Diabetes and is a great honour that he is dedicating run number 50 to my dear son, Ryan."

Look out for the second blog post later with details of today's milestone run

Friday, 29 July 2011

Today's run is dedicated to Dylan Dawe

Today's run is dedicated to young Dylan Dawe, who is approaching his 4th birthday, he was just 13 months old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Dylan's Mum Sabrina Dawe emailed me a couple of weeks ago:
"Well done on your amazing challenge- had already had a look at your blog, it's great.
I did the marathon this year myself for JDRF, so I know how difficult it must be running every day.
Best of luck with it all and thank you for dedicating one of the runs to Dylan". 

Thanks for the encouragement, Sabrina, and proud to dedicate today's run to Dylan.

Read Sabrina's entry on the JDRF 1 Campaign Scrapbook:

Today's run - 6.4 miles

Thursday, 28 July 2011

More Cow strife leads to an extended run

It's not funny anymore, this.  For the second time during the challenge, I've been up and over Cattleshaw on the Oldham Way only to be scared off the bridle path by these grumpy black cows.  I set off to do the bare minimum of 6.2 miles yesterday evening and all was going well until I approached that particular stretch of bridle path then two graving cows stopped me in my tracks...again (see run 14).  I followed a different path that brought me out on to Friarmere - all very nice, but miles out from where I wanted to be.

I soon found my way back to the other side of the bridle path and continued the route, albeit 3-4 miles out of my way.  I arrived home to find a note from Carolyn telling me that although she was out Jake and the Meg the dog, I should ring her as she was concerned as to where I was.  I tried blaming those retched cows, but that cut no ice.  Let's be honest it all sounds a bit far fetched...

I think Carolyn is planning a massage (from a professional, not her unfortunately) for me on Saturday as a reward for reaching 50 not out.  Colin Bishop should be joining me for the run on the day, with his wife Jennifer to take some celebratory photos.

Thanks to Mark Kenyon, Louise Bloxham and Jo Donvaband for the kind sponsorship on the justgiving page over the past couple of days.  £40 away from £1000 and half way through the challenge - brilliant!

Tuesday's run - 7 miles
Wednesday's run - 9.8 miles
Today's run - 6.2 miles

Monday, 25 July 2011

Today's run is dedicated to Claudia Allison

It's time to say farewell to Liphook and head back north this morning, via Bedfordshire to pick up Carolyn.  We've had a good time away and it's been great catching up with my family, my sister, her partner and my niece, Grace.  Whilst I was down, I met up with some of my oldest mates in London on Saturday evening, they were full of encouragement and wanting to know all about the challenge.  I logged onto the Justgiving site yesterday to see that Nick and Tom have donated £120 which I'm most grateful for.  Along with Louise Bloxham's further donation (Finlay's Mum, run 40's dedication) this takes me to £930 so far - great stuff!

I'm dedicating today's run to Claudia Allison.  Claudia's Mum Allison emailed me last week:

"Claudia was diagnosed with T1 in May 2008, aged 7 years old.  Now 10, she has a pump and cgm.  Diabetes Power is the website I set up in order to raise awareness of Type 1, along with the "Know the Symptoms" Campaign."

Read Angela's JDRF 1 Campaign Scrapbook entry:

Thanks for your hard work, Angela and I'm proud to dedicate today's run to Claudia.

Yesterday's run - 7.1 miles
Today's run - 6.2 miles

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Today's run is dedicated to Loraine Sheils

Jake and I are in Liphook for a few days, staying with my Mum and Dad whilst Carolyn is "away with the girls".  A long journey yesterday, hampered by all cliches regarding the M25 becoming reality.  The area seems to alter every time we visit.  The biggest of these is the new A3 Tunnel at Hindhead, the famous bottle-neck that caused countless delays for commuters and holiday makers travelling between London and Portsmouth over the years.  This will come to an end next week when the tunnel opens, however I can't help feeling annoyed (along with my fellow drivers yesterday evening) that the tunnel has been ready for over 3 weeks, and on the busiest Friday of the year it remained closed.  It appears this is due to waiting for the current Minister for Transport to find a window in his diary to commence the pomp to snip the tape.

I'd like to thank my Mum and Dad for the generous donation they made last night on my justgiving site - this really gives me a boost and helps with the confidence they have in me to reach the 100 - thanks again!

Jake opted to sleep with me last night, and getting up early for the run today I thought I had managed to get away without waking him up.  Not so.  I heard a small voice from behind the door as I tip-toed down the stairs.  "Dad - my legs are aching...".   A quick check of his blood sugar reading confirmed this and he was soon playing on his DS whilst taking a glug of Lucozade and a couple of biscuits.  Job done.

I did the route I worked out yesterday, taking in old familiar sights of the A3, Hammer Vale - passing the Prince of Wales pub, where I used to drink way too much of the lovely Butser Ale, and the strong HSB.  I made my way back to Lynchmere, over past Highfield School and back around the village and my old schools.  A trip down memory lane if ever there was one.

Elizabeth Sheils has asked that I dedicate today's run to her Mum, Loraine which I am happy to do - in fact today's run will be dedicated to both of them.

Here is Elizabeth's email to me regarding the dedication:

 "I have had type 1 since the age of 5 (and I am 21 now!) The diabetes technologies and knowledge back in 1995 were not as they are today. I went onto a mixed insulin syringe regime and only go introduced to carbohydrate counting and multiple daily injections when I reached secondary school. I have just recently gone on pump the beginning of this year!

Being diagnosed so young I really had no idea what was going on, which meant my mum had to fully look after me. During the early months of my type 1 I had panic attacks in the night which we were told was my bodies way of dealing with the stress and confusion. Being 5 years old I didn’t really understand why people were trying to put needles into me and say I had to eat at certain times without sweets.  I do remember my mum, Loraine Sheils, staying with me in hospital overnight which made me feel a lot less anxious. Being the first type 1 in my primary school caused a lot of concern for the teachers. It meant my mum had to be on call just in case my blood sugar was too high or too low making it impossible to have paid employment. She was and still is always there for me.

My mum has done a wonderful job in supporting me these past  16 years. I haven’t had much support from friends during my school years and my family were reluctant to get too involved. Therefore she has been my support system without having anyone herself to lean on. She has given me the guidance and confidence to manage my diabetes and has always taught me not to let it get in the way of my life. I have learnt the skills to be able to manage my type 1 to the best of my ability whilst working towards all my other goals in life.

I am passionate about trying to improve the lives of those with type 1 and hope to raise as much awareness as I can. I have been working with JDRF for the past three years as a T1 Youth Ambassador and I am currently working with a clinical psychologist in a diabetes centre as part of my psychology degree. I know I never would have achieved all the things I have without the ongoing support of my mum. "

Read Elizabeth's JDRF 1 Campaign Scrapbook entry:

Thanks Elizabeth - today's run is for you and Loraine

Friday, 22 July 2011

If in doubt...try a new route

The pressure was off this morning.  We are visiting my Mum and Dad, so I knew I could start this morning's run a little later and perhaps try a new route without having to rush back to get ready for work.  I am officially on holiday until next Tuesday.  That's holiday from work, not the running, by the way.

As I made my way down Sam Road and onto Huddersfield Road, my mind was racing - should I stick to one of the 6.2 mile "easy" routes, or should I throw caution to the wind and try a new, longer route?  I kind of did both - thinking I would do the new route that passes Albion Farm Shop.  Instead of dropping down Wall Hill Road (in the words of Forest Gump), I kept going...

I ran to Scouthead, dropping down Platting Road, looking for "a great quiet road" according to Patrick, who advised me of this route when we were out last week.  I turned down Lovers Lane and realised that I didn't know where I was.  A lovely splash of sunshine met me on Burnedge Road and I noticed local hills Pots and Pans and Alphin, so I just followed them.  It felt great to be on almost the shoulder of another hill, Wharmton as I took this country lane down into Dobcross and made my way back to Diggle.

I've had a really nice email from Julia Roebuck, who has an 18 month old boy, Alexander who was diagnosed with type 1 aged just 11 months.  Julia and her husband grew up in Saddleworth, living in Greenfield, however now live down in Exeter.  They came across the blog via a link on Twitter - Thanks for your kind words of enthusiasm, Julia and I'll be honoured to dedicate a future run for young Alexander.

On the downside, I've lost one of my running partners for at least 4 weeks.  Gareth has fratured his left wrist whilst playing football on Wednesday evening.  Chin up, Gaz and we'll pick up the runs when the plaster is off.  I really feel for him, as that's 4 weeks out of action, with only 8 weeks to go until the Great North Run.

Making my way down to Liphook in about an hour's time - I've already got a route planned for the runs down south.

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

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Run 40 is dedicated to Finlay Bloxham

That's 40 in 40 so far.  I treated myself this morning to running the route with the least hills, the Diggle-Friezland road route that is 6.4 miles - I know how to enjoy myself don't I?  This milestone run is dedicated to young Finlay Bloxham, who is just coming up to his first anniversary since being diagnosed with type 1.

Louise Bloxham, Finlay's Mum told me:

"Finlay is 5. His diagnosis date is 24th July 2010 so coming up to our first anniversary.  He will be so excited when I tell him about this dedication! We are doing the Bristol JDRF walk in September and have raised so far just over £900. Not as exhausting as your endeavours but I think 4.5 miles will be a stretch for little legs! 

Louise told JDRF's "1 Campaign" last year:
"Finlay's diagnosis came on the first day of the summer holidays last year. Looking after his diabetes requires constant vigilance, it never goes away, even when he's at school I am thinking about it and hoping he is not high or hypo. I have to weigh his food and work out the carbohydrates and give him his insulin injection. Everything requires planning, even going round to his friend's house for tea presents difficulties. It's hard on the whole family.

Read Louise's JDRF 1 Campaign scrapbook entry:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Angela's Diabetes Power Website

Angela Allison is mum with 5 children, Claudia aged 10, has Type 1 Diabetes and Coeliacs Disease, Isabella aged 12 has Coeliacs Disease,Darcy aged 6, Felicity aged 4 has egg,strawberry & shellfish allergies and Purdey 2.
Claudia was diagnosed with Type 1 on the 1st May 2008.  Angela set up this group because her friends with Diabetes inspired her.  All members of the group either have Type 1 Diabetes or have a child with Type 1 Diabetes. The group welcome support from anyone who has Diabetes or who cares for someone with Diabetes.  The aim of the group is to raise awarness of Type 1 Diabetes, and is a not for profit organisation working towards charitable status.
It is only through raising awareness of Type 1, that we will educate and gain the understanding of the wider public & the health professionals, through this hopefully we will help people identify the condition at it's early stage.

Keep up the good work, Angela.


NICE decide Lucentis is not an effective use of NHS resources - JDRF News

A new treatment for visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema (DMO) has this week been added to the list of medicines that are not considered an ‘effective use of NHS resources’. NICE has concluded that it does not recommend Lucentis® (ranibizumab) for use within the NHS in England and Wales for the treatment of visual impairment due to Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO).

JDRF believes it is vital that patients with diabetic macular oedema receive safe and effective treatments for their condition. This is why we supported the early development of Lucentis through our Innovative Grant programme. Further collaboration with Genentech, a biotech company based in San Francisco, and Johns Hopkins Medical School, enabled clinical research to help reveal the full therapeutic benefit of the drug for people with type 1 diabetes.
DMO is caused by swelling in the centre of the retina – the light-sensitive area at the back of the eye that provides detailed vision. The swelling results from damage to small blood vessels caused by years of elevated blood sugar levels, which –even with the best possible treatment – are hard to avoid entirely when living with type 1 diabetes.
The standard treatment for DMO has been the same for the last 25 years – laser treatment to destroy areas of abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye. However this treatment does not improve vision, it only slows the progression of the condition.
Therefore the decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to not recommend the drug ranibizumab (marketed as Lucentis) for use within the NHS to treat DMO is disappointing. Current research indicates that ranibizumab is highly effective in treating DMO and, significantly, that it meets an unmet need for patients who do not respond well to the current standard laser treatment.
Lucentis has been approved in the USA for the treatment of DMO, and is also approved in Europe for treating another eye condition, wet age-related macular degeneration. The fact that ranibizumab has not been NICE approved for the treatment of visual impairment caused by diabetic macular oedema means that clinicians may be forced to turn to unlicensed and therefore untested alternatives, putting patients’ sight at risk.

If left untreated, diabetic macular oedema can lead to vision loss. The condition affects approximately 28% of people who have had diabetes for at least 20 years. The standard treatment of this condition has been the same for the last 25 years – laser treatment to destroy areas of abnormal blood vessel growth at the back of the eye. However, despite reducing the progression of the condition, this treatment does not improve vision.
JDRF campaigns to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes, informing key decision makers about the issues people living with the condition face. If you haven't already, get involved with JDRF's 1 Campaign. Together we can lobby the Government to invest more money in medical research and to improve access to treatments.

Getting closer to the magic number 50

Well, I'm edging closer to the half way mark.  I keep thinking about the route I'll be taking that day, and how I will mark the occasion, given that It falls over a weekend.  Whatever I decide on, it'll be a great feeling to be on the countdown to final half of the challenge.

Last night I was joined on an evening run by both Gareth and Pat, where we ran the "Mossley loop", just over 7 miles from Uppermill, through Greenfield and up to top Mossley and back.  It almost felt like a day off to not get up before 5am to run, and It was cool to have company on the run too, so I'm grateful to both Gareth and  Pat for joining me, and setting a good pace.  I'm toying with asking a group of friends to come on the next evening run, but then it could get a bit "Forest Gump" couldn't it?

Last night's run - 7.2 miles
This morning's - 6.2 miles

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's run, where the countdown to 50 can really start.   It's also the first run I'm dedicating to someone living with type 1.  Step forward young Finlay Bloxham - tomorrow's run is dedicated to you - more in tomorrow's post.

Thanks everyone for the support and encouragement so far - it's all appreciated

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Get moving

I've been using the weekends to get away from the "routine" of very early starts and road running, switching to later runs, with company (my running parnter Pat) and swapping asphalt for the fells.  This worked a treat yesterday, however I was determined to pay close attention to my pace per mile on this morning's run.  I set off at 6am on the dot and decided to get weaving whilst there was a let up in the monsoon that's been ever-present in the district since Friday night.

All was going pretty well, clocking on average 8m 20 secs per mile, according to the GPS.  I had to find a secluded spot for a very quick toilet break, however my pace was broken by not one but two seperate lorries of workmen I met along stretches of the A62.  They must have come in from Oldham, in need of directions to a place called Diggle (followed by a chuckle). I must have the kind of face that says "Stop me, please - I'm happy to give you directions..."

I'm also betting Usain Bolt dosen't get this on his daily runs.

I was running the new route I made up on the spot on Friday.  On the way back along Dobcross New Road, I treated myself by leaving the pavement by the Newbank Garden Centre and joining the "Delph Donkey" and back along the canal side to Diggle, and home.  Whilst ever so slightly shorter than Friday's route, it still came in at just over 7 miles.

One of the local Micro-breweries, Greenfield Real Ale produces top quality real ales, one of them is named after the Railway Line that used to connect Oldham and Greenfield to the Huddersfield line.  It closed in 1955, and the "Delph Donkey" trail is where that line used to be.  The Greenfield Brewery ales are sold on site or in local outlets as well as selected pubs. 

I'm going to suggest to Pat that we reward ourselves with a tour of the brewery when the challenge is over.  Visit the site at

Today's run - 7.1 miles

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Carolyn makes "Go Faster Food"

Looking out of the window this morning, I knew that if I either stuck to the bare minimum of 6.2 miles or ventured further I'd get soaked to the bone.  Pat sent me a text this morning with news direct from a weather app on his iphone that at 2pm it would be "sunny".  I met him at the agreed 2pm out side the Diggle Hotel, and yes, it was sunny.  Breezy also, but none the less, it was sunny.

We ventured up the boat lane, up to Standedge cutting, and took the Pennine way route along the "Diggle Skyline" and picked up a favourite route of ours, The Cotton Famine Trail - an ancient transport link that was built to give folk jobs due to the "Cotton Famine" during the American Civil War.   It's an impressive view,  one that gives you the immediate feeling that you  are as far away from civilization as it is possible.  The rain lashed us as we made the way back over the moors and headed back towards Diggle.  Soaked to the bone, we completed 9 miles.  Thanks Pat for the company and for setting the pace - a good run.

After showering, I thought Carolyn was out walking the dog, however she was busy baking some energy-boosting treats from Kate Percy's recipe book "Go Faster Food".  What a nice surprise - really thoughtful and they taste great.  Honey, Lime & Ginger Oaties and Chocolate Biscuit Cake.  The oaties can be eaten anytime, however the chocolate biscuit cake is designed to send energy into tired muscles.  Thanks Carolyn!

Kate Percy's book

Oaties and Cake - just what a runner needs!

Does that mean the more I run, the more of these I can have?

Today's run - 9 miles on the nose

Dedicating future runs

I mentioned in an earlier post the idea that Colin and Carolyn put to me around deicating a run to someone living with type 1.  Well, it's picked up some momentum this week.  First of all I was in contact with Sarah Brown, who is going to send details and a picture of her son Ryan for a dedication.  I contacted Jon Medcraft at JDRF to see if he could assist with finding anyone else who would like a dedication, and he has sent on four already, which is great.

I've pencilled in dates for these dedications, and hopefully can do a bit more to raise awareness of what it is like living with type-1, especially with young children and the challenges they face, their hopes and fears for the future.  Thanks to Sarah Brown, Louisa Bloxham, Angela Allison, Sabrina Dawe and Teresa Keywood.

Looking at the rain outside, I think flippers rather than trainers are best for today's run...

Friday, 15 July 2011

Going the extra mile

It's a phrase that is often used these days, but perhaps is often used in the wrong context.  Offering your seat to someone elderly or opening a door for someone isn't really going the extra mile - just good manners, really.

A sudden bust of energy saw me break away from the usual routes and venture across to Dobcross and Delph.  I pretty much made up the route on the spot, which considering it wasn't a weekend run ment that I put a fair amount of pressure on myself to clock up the required 6.2 miles without getting hopelessly lost at the same time.  The Broadcaster Stuart Maconie has described all the Saddleworth Villages' names as sounding like Trumpton Firemen  - Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Denshaw, etc.

It went to plan, and it was a pleasure to take in the early morning views back to Dobcross, then Delph, especially when passing the Albion Farm Shop (home of the best cooked breakfast in Saddleworth, since you ask), then looking out over towards Pots and Pans and Greenfield.

I clocked 7.5 miles this morning, and it felt great to put in more than was required.  As I walked into the office this morning, I passed a sign that read "Will you go the extra mile today?" I smiled to myself - "Already have, thank you".

Yesterday's run - 6.2 miles
Today's run - 7.5 miles

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Justin Webb press article

I admire the campaigning work that Radio 4 Broadcaster Justin Webb undertakes to raise awareness of Type-1 Diabetes, and in particular the articles he writes speaking of his own personal experience when his son Sam was diagnosed with the disease.  I remember reading one in particular that my Mum had saved and sent up to me, where he was describing the experience when his Son was diagnosed over the Christmas holidays in 2008-9.  I could relate to the emotions he was describing and began to realise that we certainly wern't alone in what we were coming to terms with, despite the brilliant support from Janet the Diabetes Nurse and the JDRF website.

Below is a snippet from the article which appeared in the Daily Telepraph last September.  There are many thoughts and phrases so familiar to families living with Type1.  Keep up the good work, Justin.

"As Sarah and her interviewee were talking, I saw clearly and inescapably the sleeping face of my 10-year-old son Sam, who has an auto-immune disease, Type 1 Diabetes. Before I had left the house at 3.15 that morning, I had gone upstairs to prick his finger, fiddling about in the dark for the equipment and waking him in the process. As ever, he had been sweet and stoical as I checked his blood and administered insulin. He went back to sleep and I went to work. But the truth is that my wife Sarah and I carry his illness with us like an extra piece of luggage; it comes with us on holiday, it sits reproachfully next to us at a jolly lunch with friends, and it stalks us in the office.
We know deep in our hearts that when someone suggests that a cure is at hand for the illness that threatens our son day and night, we would do anything to seize it. We would go to any hospital anywhere. Not because we are stupid, but because we love him. By all means let us hear the warnings about the dodgy stem cells, and let us heed them, but let us not forget that seeking cures for sick relatives is a basic human desire; it is a good thing, not a cause for finger-wagging.
I do not exaggerate when I say that I begin every day with a glance at a Google alert that says "Type 1 Diabetes" and "cure". So far no luck: but a huge effort is under way and in Sam's lifetime it is not impossible. The wonderful fundraising efforts of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation have already had a significant impact in reducing the capacity of the disease to kill.

Nowadays a person in the western world who develops Type 1 Diabetes can expect, with luck and frequent blood-sugar checks and insulin injections with every meal, to live much longer. But it can be a pretty miserable life, particularly if you are undisciplined or poor. Family days out get very difficult when insulin needs to be transported and kept cold, when fruit juice is forbidden (too many carbohydrates too quickly absorbed) and when parents are exhausted and worried.

Having said that, I am deeply, painfully aware that our travails are minor compared with those that some parents suffer. Sam is still Sam. He is happy and affectionate and full of vigour and ambition. He is a classic case of the value of modernity. When people moan about our culture, the priorities and the fixations of the modern Western world, I think of Sam, who is cared for by NHS doctors, using insulin made by a US company. From the very moment he was diagnosed and rushed to hospital, he has benefited from the care and intellectual effort and wealth and pro-life priorities of the modern world. To suggest otherwise, as Jeremiahs sometimes do, is to be disrespectful to the many people who devote their lives to caring for those with chronic illnesses, and, frankly, to the UK taxpayers who bankroll the whole
enterprise with good grace.

One good thing has come out of Sam's illness. It is pretty small but here it is anyway: I think I am better at my job. Too many reporters are insulated from the distress of the world. As a young man I travelled to wars and famines and felt sympathy but never attachment. To those folks rushing off for the dodgy cell therapy, I now feel a genuine closeness. I also feel angry when I see Sam's disease misreported – confused, typically, with the more common Type 2 Diabetes that you generally get from over-eating. Too many medical and scientific stories are lazily reported: now I know the distress this can cause.

As for Sam, he is fine. He wastes no time at all fretting about cures and miracles. That's for Mum and Dad. We'll do it for him. And if one day I turn on my computer at 4 in the morning and someone in Timbuktu has found a cure, I shall wait until 9am, then I'll be on my way before the pips have stopped sounding..."

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Thirty Three makes a Third

It perhaps is only natural to make mini-milestones on a challenge such as this.  By breaking down the progress in this way, it helps to take away the exhuasting thought that I have to do twice as much as I already have done.  It's pleasing then, to note that at 33 runs, I'm a third of the way through my challenge.

Thank you to Bek and Ruth's Auntie Margaret for her dontation on my justgiving page today, also to SweatShop, who have offered me a 15% discount on the next pair of running trainers I purchase.  Their website is

I was also pleased to get an encouraging email from Louisa at the JDRF Press Office today to offer further support, and help generate another wave of publicity during the last week of the challenge leading up to the Bupa Great North Run. 

Onwards and Upwards.

Monday - 6.2 miles
Tuesday - 6.3 miles
Today - 6.3 miles

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Diggle Beach

It feels good to reach another mini-milestone.  That's 30 in 30 days now.  I decided to mix road and trail on today's run (7.5 miles) - and took in a big breath of what felt like sea air when I was approaching Brun Clough Resevior from the Pennine Bridleway.  Looking across I noticed how low the water was, and that it has revealed a beach.  I should add that it's hardly resort standard, nor a "secret cove of my own" - however amused me to think that Diggle could ever boast such a landmark.

"Diggle Beach"
Later on this afternoon, I took the dog for a walk back up there to take a few photos of "the beach" and also the landscape that is on a the desent back home from a few of my regular routes.  This morning's sunshine gave way to this afternoon's downpour, so both Meg and I got soaked all in the process of getting a photo for this blog.  What's pretty disappointing is also the drop in the water level has also revealed Brun Clough Resevior as a past flytippers' regular drop off point.  Large industrial gas bottles and the roof from the cab of a lorry were two such items now visible. Let's hope this stops.

From the top of Brun, heading towards the boat lane

The clever sheep keeps dry by not following the others

Mid-way down the boat lane, heading home

Yes..You've got your photos, so can we go home now please?

So by my calculation, I will have completed a third of the challenge by next Wednesday (13th July)...