It seems a lifetime ago but in reality it’s been just two weeks to the day since I completed the 2018 Brathay 10in10. It’s taken those two weeks for me mull over those incredible 10 days in the Lake District and put everything into some kind of order in my mind, and the adjustment back to normal daily life has been just a wee bit challenging too. I think I’ve pretty much come to terms with it all now and if you’ll indulge me a little, I’m actually quite proud of what was achieved. My running far surpassed anything I could have expected and that was surely fuelled by the marvellous support (both spiritually and financially) that I received from so many friends and supporters. Thank you all so much.
There are so many pictures around and I’ve taken time to look through them and selected one for each day which I’d like to share. I believe this will tell a story that thousands of my words would struggle to complete:
Day 1: Doing it for the kids. There’s a primary school in Hawkshead (about 4 miles in) and each school day the teachers bring the kids out and they lean over the wall for high-fives from the 10in10ers. The support from the little ones is simply brill and a huge boost. Here’s John McCann, Mark Haynes and George Sheriffs in action.
Day 2: Dibbed and done. Each day we place our timing chip (dibber) in the box at the start and finish line. Without this we wouldn’t record a finish time and without a finish we would be out of the event. Needless to say it was always in the front of my mind and each day I was so pleased to make it I gave the box a smacker.
Day 3: You spin me round. Active recovery replaced ice baths this year, and after each marathon we were straight on the spinning bikes for 10 minutes. It got easier for me when I twigged that it wasn’t actually a spin class and I stopped caning it. It worked much better to calm muscles than ice cold water, but I kinda missed the numbing effect.
Day 4: Physiotherapy and deep tissue massage. Each day there was an hour in the morning to “flush out” the legs, and this was followed by up to two hours post marathon to loosen knots, “flush out” tightness, and to basically knead, bend, stretch and yank my legs in as many ways as possible. No joke that it’s more painful and tiring than the ruddy marathon and some of the expletives were heroic. Ryan and Nick, I’ll never forget you.
Day 5: Friends and fun. As a team we are stronger than the sum of our parts and each one of us brings our own personality, enthusiasm and wisdom to the event. Underneath all of our trials, punishment, hurt and tears, there is oodles of humour and support to push us on. Here’s eventual winner Paul Brown and my guru Malc Collins larking about with me.
Day 6: Lake Windermere. I spent a lot of time running around it, but with heavy focus on eating up 26.2 miles every day, it’s easy to forget just how majestic and beautiful she is. On Day 6 I stole an hour and wandered down to see her, dipping my feet in her cool refreshing water. I sat here for a long time and walked away as closer friends.
Day 7: It’s really hard. Running a marathon is generally perceived as a being a bit tough. Running 10 of them is tougher than tough. It’s amazing how strength of mind can push the body on when it hurts like hell, but every day I had to dig just that little bit deeper. It’s the heart and soul that hurts the most when it breaks though, and Day 7 was when it all got too much and I threw a double six. Sobbing like a lovesick teenager.
Day 8: It’s a numbers game. Ade was actually quite happy on the occasion of his 100th marathon, although to be fair he was in a fair amount of pain by this point. A pleasure and an honour to share the occasion with him after he sneaked up on me writing on a rock. We agreed they’re all hard, whatever number they are, and that it’s more important to extract as many positives as you can. The numbers will take care of themselves.
Day 9: Changing young lives. All of this is ultimately nothing to do with us and is all about raising funds to support the work of Brathay Trust. Please take some time to look at their site and find out about their work in communities across the North of England. The lovely kids at Hawkshead School made this for us and left it outside the school for the final Saturday & Sunday of the 10in10. I like to think we’ve inspired those little ones too.
Day 10: Joss. Legendary fell runner Joss Naylor (a spritely 82) is the patron of the 10in10, and before the start on Day 1 he imparted two pieces of wisdom. “Don’t go off like silly buggers” and “Don’t come back knackered.” Inevitably we all went off like silly buggers and we certainly all came back knackered. This is my favourite picture of the lot and shows Joss and I on the podium. What you can’t see is the big lump of Lakeland slate he’s pressing into my hands. Best trophy in the world. Joss said some lovely words and there was a twinkle in his eye as he leaned in and with a
hushed voice offered me a challenge. Plenty of food for thought.
So there you go. I ran well, made some great friends, knackered myself and most importantly contributed towards a fundraising pot of £80,000 for Brathay. The running was mine and the easy bit, the money came from everyone else and your generosity is both humbling and personally rewarding. Thank you with everything that I have.
I have been out running these last two weeks, although I don’t have a plan and it’s more about healing my troublesome knees and ankles which seems to be going reasonably ok. I’m a bit old school and have a “run it off” approach to injuries and niggles.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Please share and leave comments.