London to Rome 2011


Apologies for any delay in getting this brief report out to you. I have been busy since getting back from Rome, reconnecting with friends and family, which I have to say is the best part of doing a challenge!

Well, I did it! 1457 miles to be exact (following the math of John Saunders)!! I have to say that it is probably the most satisfying, stressful, shattering, physically demanding and incredible event so far. To have dreamt up the idea of running to Rome and within a year and a half actually doing the event and completing it in 30 days and four hours, is, in my opinion, pretty cool! I won’t blog at length about the London to Rome challenge as there is a magazine article in the pipeline. However, I will give an overview as I think that this blog would not be doing justice to 10 Million Metres if I didn’t say a few words.

With the assistance of Dave Clamp, I ran the equivalent of almost 20 marathons in 10 days covering a distance of more than 500 miles on a route that certainly changed after Brussels. The reason for this was that I ran a bit like Tigger out of Winnie the Pooh. I know I’m bouncy and fun fun fun fun fun, but to run distances like this I need perfect a running shuffle. The resulting impact of my Tigger running produced tendinitis in my shins. Notwithstanding, I ran with the tendinitis and magic Paris. Standing underneath your Eiffel Tower was a massive highlight and a sense of achievement. This achievement was mixed with the realisation that I needed to stop running, albeit briefly, if I was to remain able to finish the challenge. The tendinitis was cured my me taking time out and riding a bike instead of running. Not any bike of course. No, the bike was £60, steel framed, cheap as you like special. It did the job and for the money it was a bargain! The Alps were challenge but running into the centre of Rome a month after setting off from London made all the effort, sweat, blood, blisters, torn muscles, missing toenails, fatigue, and pain all worthwhile!

Being my first attempt at organising a continent crossing challenge, I learnt a few things on the way, and I thought that I would share them with you:

  1. Accept that your budget will be blown and that you will need extra finance (this will always happen no matter how well you prepare);
  2. that fatigue and occupying a motorhome with an area less than a jail cell (I would like to point out that I have never seen the inside of a jail cell) will result in some kind of friction between the people on board;
  3. communication is key;
  4. you can run through pain without painkillers but it’s tough. Tough but achievable, except when you have damaged your tendon in your foot and run on it for miles and miles before admitting that it hurts too much;
  5. be prepared to be surprised by the kindness and support of complete strangers who believe in what you are trying to achieve;
  6. never ride a bike fast down a mountain while on tramadol, too much ibuprofen and very little sleep;
  7. always be flexible and remain open to change; and
  8. never, never, ever give up ( although it got bloody close on a couple of occasions!)

I also like to thank Mimi Anderson for being perfectly marvellous on the first day and putting up with my slow pace. The constant banter and song, as well as the pink camera, made the day a fantastic start to the challenge. I would also like to thank Anthony Young, who came up to London to run with Mimi, Dave and myself for almost 15 miles of the first leg of the challenge. Good running, mate!!

Thanks to the following sponsors: Saucony (the shoes rock!) Buff (never run without one!!), Orca (for raising donations too!!), Blade Printing, Crew Room, Power Bar, Compressport, the Big Adventure Store, PureTri, Garmin, Polaroid (for the best sunglasses), the Stick (so good – get one), CynergyPT and Yellow Brick – all of you rock!  Particularly, those who took my calls mid-challenge and those who emailed me.  You are special.

I would like to thank my core sponsor the deVere Group.  Without their support, generosity, faith, and help, the London to Rome Challenge would not have been possible. I am truly grateful for your continuing support in my campaign to raise £1Million for a cure for Parkinson’s.

Lastly and certainly not least: the support crew… thank you soooo much!

1. John Saunders

2. Paul Grindrod

3. Sam Clamp

Right, time to get training, to keep moving, to making change happen, and achieving my first line distance triathlon in the forthcoming Challenge Henley triathlon on 18 September 2011 in Henley-on-Thames. If you can be there to cheer me on, that would be great!!!

In the meantime, if you feel that this has inspired you, please consider donating to a worthwhile charity by selecting the Justgiving button on this site and donating to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust in confidence.  Every donation will make a difference.  Make change happen today!! Donate now!!!

Thanks. Keep moving!!


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