When my dad first told me he was terminally ill with cancer my whole world fell down beside me, I was devastated, how could this happen, this is my dad he is invincible, why has this happened to him but like I said this is my dad, there is no way he would let this defeat him and therefore there was no way I could crumble as he needed me. Through finding this out I found out who true friends are and found out just how loved and appreciated my dad is and along came #somethingsillyinjune.
Now of course I was going to participate, I would do anything for my family but when 8 other people put them selves forward I was in true awe of their commitment to my dad. We pull up at the start and everyone is full of beans, unsure of whats ahead but loving every minute. To be honest on day one it was pleasant, finding your feet, enjoying whats going on around you, hating Jon blowing that horn at every check point (which I then on day 3 was always praying to hear). Everyone got on attacked the challenge and at the end of the day we were all smiling. Of course there were a few niggles, aches and pains. Me and my dad made the perfect pair by 20 miles he was struggling up the hills and I was struggling down them, but you know what, we done it 30 miles down and 70 to go.
Day 2 I wake up and I can barely move but its ok everyone is smiling and laughing away there was no time to feel sorry for myself I just had to keep on keeping on. We push on, attack the day like we are invincible, the barber shop quartet leading the way. I’m with every step dying a little inside with pain but pushing through it, no time for feeling sorry for myself everyone was in the same boat. We fight our way through the haunted woods of death down the hill and we are at the first check point, brilliant! We set off again and bam! My dad is in trouble, its his knee. I knew it was bad when even the cows were spurring us on with their moo’s and he still wasn’t picking up the pace. Its just me and him slowly (like toddler steps) plodding along, not going to lie I wasn’t sure on what to do, with every step my dad took came a big yelp of pain or a swear word, we were pretty much at a stand still up a massive hill, and I was unsure of how I was going to get him to the next check point, but with patience and time we got there. He couldn’t go on, I stayed with him (you never leave a man behind) and good old Geoff (George) rose to the challenge, off the barber quartet went with the boat shoes in tow. My dad said he couldn’t go on so at the next stop I knew I had to, so I joined the quartet (I already knew in my head this was going to hurt) I was strapped up and jogging along with the boys. They amused me and were gentlemen, if they needed to fart they would run at the back, true gentlemen. We catch up with the others and come across a beast of a hill, it was worse than any of the hills we had already attacked, worse than the Winchester hill (if you read my dads blog you will know how hard that one was) but with a little encouragement and everyone’s smiles and banter I was at the top, woohoo! We get to the next check point strap up, refresh and off we go again. Then it gets hard, I don’t know what happened but this was the LONGEST 7 miles ever, I still say now that it wasn’t 7 miles because mentally it killed me. Everyone is powering on and then there was me and Sarah at the back, the pair of us limping away and in pain. It goes on, and on, and on. I start hallucinating thinking the sheep were the support crew cheering us on and when I found out it was only sheep I break. For the next 2 miles poor Sarah has a very depressed Amy along side her but its ok because we had each other. The mini bus is in sight but seemed so far away but we get there. I struggled alot when my dad wasn’t there, when he met us at the stop I just cried. Mentally this was tough. I wont even talk to you about what that evening had in store for us but we were not happy campers any more.
Day 3, the final day. I’m at an all time low. No one could hug me without me crying, even before we set off my lovely boyfriend comes to give me a morning hug and what happens I just cry. Oh brilliant i’m an emotional wreck and the rest of the team are going to have to put up with it, I try my very best to pull myself together, Toz clinks his cigarette against mine and we are off. Geoff in his boat shoes, still finding everything hilarious. We then head off in the fog and for the next 5 miles we just keep going up. Everyone is at a low, we are all feeling it but we trooping on. We start to come down and still there is no horn blowing, no white shirts, we have been going for 3 hours, WHAT IS GOING ON. I of course start my crying antics but its ok Ben, Tara and Joe give me a pat on the back I walk in front and keep going down. Then there it was, the steepest, muddiest, most horrible looking hill ever, I stand at the bottom, uhoh here we go again. I’m having a little moment but the boat shoes appear next to me, Geoff holds his arm out and up we go together, Geoff as always is laughing at the hill, it was always the smallest things that got you through. We get to where the stop should be but through a horrible load of coincidences the support crew weren’t there. But they arrive and then the most amazing thing happens; we are well behind on time and need the tempo upping so the next 14 miles or so are covered in 2 and a bit hours. It was the most amazing thing I have seen and I will always remember it – I would never have thought Tuna sandwiches could have such magical properties!!
Anyway as the story goes on there were more hills, more aches, but we made it as a team we crossed that line every single one of us. By that point Geoff had the speed kings which sounded like clogs clip clocking away, they brought us hours of amusement along the south downs. Every single person in that team brought something special which made every step that little easier so here I go:
Jade- one word AMAZING, through thick and thin she smiled, no matter what. She gave me so much encouragement to get back up and carry on. Gandolf became her nick name and even with a massive knee injury she just done it, she didn’t complain it was AMAZING.
Charlie- to me Charlie was silent but deadly. He was so quiet but there he was attacking every moment, he was pushing on helping Gandolf along the way, it was lovely to watch. He could walk next to me and be saying nothing yet some how it was just helping me no end.
Tara- in one word SUPER. Tara could be struggling but out of nowhere would just pull it out the bag and would just go, there was no stopping her, off she went like super woman. Picking everyone up along the way and taking them with her. She would crack a smile and everything would be ok.
Sarah- Incredible, in the most pain Sarah would just keep it going, singing her heart out, who would of thought after day 2 Sarah was going to be able to keep going with her poorly leg (Tara kindly names the tree trunk) but incredibly she did.
Ben- Invincible. Ben made it look like a complete breeze. We would hobble along with Ben in front of us strolling casually with his hands in his pockets, hopping the fences like he hadn’t already run 70miles.
Toz- Relentlessly enthusiastic is what I will say about Toz. He always found the silver lining in the cloud. No matter how crap it got Toz would just make it all seem that much better. He was consistent with his attitude and I never seen or heard a negative action come from him.
Joe- Snaggle tooth. There are much better words I could use for Joe as he was an absolute trooper but unfortunately for him he picked up snaggle tooth along the way. He has a heart of gold and was so committed to SSIJ it was great. He made sure there was no I in team on those 3 days.
Seb- Determined. There was no stopping Seb, absolutely nothing was getting in his way. He had so much life and soul throughout each day and he was never down about anything (well not to my knowledge). Seb always helped people without even realising.
Geoff- Speed kings. Geoff and his humour got me through a lot, when my dad pulled out and he stepped in his whole attitude was immense. He is so modest about his actions which makes it even better. I don’t think he will ever actually realise what he did for the team and how much of a breath of fresh air he brought.
My dad- HERO. Don’t think I need to say much else about him. He knew how to get me through the south downs and he just done it.
So that is it, no one will ever read this and even get a sense of what it was like for us. You just simply had to be there to understand just how difficult and how intense this challenge was. I must not forget to say just how INCREDIBLE the support team was. They too will never fully understand what they did for us and how they actually kept us together. Jonny, My Mummy, Aunty Alex, Uncle Joff, Craig, Luke and his amazing blister plasters, Dave oh no I mean Rich, Dawny Dawes, you are all wonderful people and without all of your cuddles, encouragement, enthusiasm towards us, time, patience and hard work it wouldn’t of been possible to of got through all of that. You are all WONDERFUL in my eyes.
I’m on top of the world today and will keep each moment locked away forever. I will never forget anyone that was involved and each of you have a special place in my heart. I’m in complete awe of you all and could never thank you enough for what you have done for my dad.
Thanks for all that have donated and believed in us and I guess I shall see you all next year YOU ABSOLUTE LEGENDS!!
Love hugs and kisses and remember …. Stay Classy!!!!