I’ll apologise for the essay now – Sorry! So sat here writing this and reading others I’m a little bit more emotional and overwhelmed than anticipated. To be there at Winchester with all these strange and unfamiliar faces, no one would have known that those same faces 4 days later would be as sorely missed as they are. Despite all the setbacks of the challenge, grumpy, old heartless caretakers, missing stops, going a couple miles wrong and yet still getting back on track, the shear agony on our legs and the long dwindling days in which light soon turned to dark, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world and looking back you could say that we all thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to step in again.
Of course, the support team were excellent. Always holding out a helping hand for you, putting their own hands in their pockets to fuel us (I must have had a tub of peanut butter to myself! Thank god for the change to tuna on the last day ) Waiting all day at various stops along the country but yet still be cheery and encouraging at the end. They all have a heart of gold! Even at the last stop of day 3 at bo peep car park, the heavens opened and there was me with nothing but shorts and a T-shirt. Dawne offered her fleece jacket for me to wear leaving her with nothing, in the cold of a minibus. It’s the little things that mattered. Joff in a cold a dingy changing room making me the biggest mug of tea at 11.30PM on the smallest of stoves because we weren’t allowed in the kitchen!! Not to mention him always having my change of trainers on hand in the back of a packed van! All the other guys bending over backwards to help us get things, cook things, clean up after ourselves, unloading and loading the van, driving us about…the list is endless! I don’t think they realise just how much help they were and for that I can only salute them!
Now the runners, well, they were just made of steel. A mile away from the finish line, Seb believes he’s in the circus, doing flips and cartwheels along the route. Must have got the energy from those skittles. Some of the injuries the runners were suffering were horrendous and yet they carried on through the pain! Jades little knees were flucked before a mile was ran, added to this 6 months ago she couldn’t run 1 mile without stopping, for her to finish was something else. Through the pain with nurofen and standing only due to her friendly wooden stick I may be a little bias but I think she is incredible. Also, I won’t forget how on the last day at a snail’s speed, Joe turning to me and saying ‘I’m at a peak pace’ due to his dodgy knee, shin splints and IT band (Still not convinced everyone knows what that is mate but your roller mat makes for a good foot raise at night!). Sarahs knee was pretty impressive to be still walking on too! Now I’m no physician, but basically, she had no knees. It was one solid mass of skin from her thigh to her ankle so I’m guessing something wasn’t right. And yet drondle on as she did with her heart of gold (still didn’t eat those homemade flapjacks, I was gutted!). I never saw anyone with as much determination to finish the challenge as Tara! She had her own setbacks, and yet told herself and everyone she was going to do it weather it took her all day and night! For Amy to continue after her dads injury I thought was extremely encouraging to watch. It would have been easy for her to drop out and yet she didn’t, although given where she was saying she hurt, don’t think there was a place on her body not in continuous pain!! Toz was just superhuman as always. Powering on through, fag in one hand beer in another. Loves his Mani’s pizza too, ate his own and anyone else that seemed to be ‘struggling’ with their own Absolutely horrendous feet and popped blisters by the end though! Now I am a podiatrist though, and I can say that his feet were disgusting and that he should seek medical help! that rusty old nail to pop them though probably wasn’t your best move! With ben, well, ben’s ben isn’t he. Not one injury and powered on through the 100 looking like he could run back home. All credit to him though for stepping in a week before. Think he lies a lot though given the amount of times I heard ‘ I reckon at the top of the hill, well go back down it and that’ll be the checkpoint. WRONG! And then there’s Steve. The fighter of them all. Wearing all the clothes he had to shield away from the sun and dripping in sweat yet still going. Even after his knee gave in he knew he was going to pass that finish line. Even when trying to be persuaded to pull out completely, he said no and up those rocky hills which weren’t good for his knees he went. A true legend that has certainly left his mark in plenty of people’s hearts.
Oh, and there’s Geoff, the late addition to the team. What a cracking man he is. The shoes made us laugh, The man made us laugh, The laugh made us laugh. He just kept on keeping us going and was a superb team player. Some great stories too (I won’t mention the one whispered at the pub at the end eh? )
And that’s it. It’s over. Gone. Forgotten about and I feel rather sad knowing that. Yet, what we have achieved, with no real professional help, will be felt by others and benefit people that we may never even meet. We done something silly in June, What will you do …?
Until the next time, Over and out.