On the weekend of 23 and 24 June 2012, I set out on a 69 mile run to raise awareness and funds for our charity. This is my story.
The Wall Ultra Run. 69 miles.
On Saturday morning, 23 June, I and 258 other souls stood at Carlisle Castle, faced towards Gateshead, and started to put one foot in front of the other, as fast as we could, for as long as we could.
It goes without saying, the run was exceptional. Exceptionally hard, exceptionally long, exceptionally poor weather, but without exception the greatest accomplishment of my life so far!
The marker for the weekend was set when the start was delayed to check the paths hadn’t washed away overnight. Sections were under shin deep water where rivers had burst their banks, but that was deemed acceptable! No chance of keeping feet dry.
Day 1 was 32 miles long and we reached the Wall after about 12 miles of riverside and roads. To coincide with my first sight of the wall was a torrential downpour but hey, if it ain’t raining, it ain’t training (or so the PT guys kept telling me when I was in the RAF). I got to the overnight camp after 6hrs 16mins, greeted by the very welcome sight of Helen and the family. Couple of photos, pop the tent up, boil the pasta, lots of muscle rub and lights out!
I woke up to the sound of rain on canvas, and day 2 was upon me. My legs felt surprisingly OK, so coffee and porridge preceded me collapsing the soaking tent and off I went. I was glad my legs were OK, as the first hill was upon me after 10 mins and it involved a scramble up the moorside. It was so steep my nose was nearly touching the heather!
After that it was time to zone out, go into myself and start to grind out the next 37 miles. Progress was made, miles were ticking off. With 15 miles to go the run took to cycle tracks and long drags of tarmac, and thats when the game shifted a gear. No energy, sore, and 15 miles of tarmac to batter bruised joints and burst blisters. I don’t mind saying it hurt a lot. Neither do I mind saying that all the sponsorship, all the good wishes, all the support made me carry on. You guys were my second pair of legs.
I have never been so happy to see a bridge as when I glimpsed the Millennium Bridge at Gateshead. Running over the bridge, spotting Helen and my children, my mum and dad, my mum-in-law, crossing that line, that was an amazing feeling. An overwhelming sense of achievement, satisfaction, pride. Job done, and in 14hrs 14min 16sec.
And now I can feel my feet again I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. And hopefully, with £1400 split between our charities, the papers, the radio interviews, I’ve managed to make my own small contribution along the way.
If you want to help me make a difference to families affected by chromosome 18 disorders and Nystagmus, you can still do so by clicking my Virgin Money Giving page.